For years I have been making mashed potatoes. And for years I have been using different recipes. I was always on the lookout for the perfect recipe. And of course as luck would have it, the best recipe is the simplest.
Look it’s no secret, really awesome mashed potatoes have 2 things in common: butter and potatoes. However, those two ingredients alone will not create perfect mashers. I have realized that for the ultimate mashed potato experience, there are few tricks to learn.
1. Cook the potatoes until FORK TENDER, typically depending on the size of the cubes this is about 10-13 minutes after the water comes to a boil. If you continue cooking them too long, they fall apart and start absorbing water which is no good.
***Make ahead tip: When making mashers for a large party, pre-cut your potatoes the night before into about 1-inch pieces, store them in a pot of water. The next day you can just cook them off right away.
2. Once the potatoes are fork tender, they need to be drained really well in a colander so that no water remains. Water makes for watery, diluted mashed potatoes. No bueno.
3. Silky creamy mashed potatoes have just the right texture. How does one get that texture? A food mill or a ricer. This is the one I have and I love it. I used for mashed potatoes and always have the best textured mashers. Plus kids love to crank this thing so it makes for a great little helper in the kitchen 🙂
4. Add in only warm liquids. Regardless of what you use, milk, half and half or butter, always bring it up to a boil on the stove first and then add into the taters. They will absorb the liquid much better and will not bring down the temperature of the potatoes.
5. If you want to add any flavorings into your mashed potatoes, ie garlic, chives etc, always simmer them with the liquids you will be adding. This will give it a much more subtle flavor and will ensure that it is evenly distributed.
6. Add in your liquids a bit at a time and mix well. You want nice creamy and fluffy mashers, not uber liquidy.
7. Salt. One word. Salt. It’s taters best friend! Make sure that if you are adding anything with lots of salt in it, like bacon or cheddar, you do not add too much salt to the taters. I always add in sour cream into mine because I love the tanginess it gives.
That’s it! Follow these easy 7 steps for the easiest and best mashed potatoes!
***If you are making this ahead of time, you can keep it the mashers in a bowl over a steaming pot of water. Just cover the bowl with aluminum to keep the heat in.
- 5 pounds potatoes, peeled, cut and washed
- 1 stick of butter
- 1 cup of half and half
- ¾ cup sour cream
- salt and pepper to season
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced on a microplaner
- Boil potatoes until they are fork tender.
- In a small saucepan, melt the butter with the half and half and garlic on a low flame; keep warm.
- Strain the potatoes in a colander or strainer so that there is no water left.
- For the actual mashing process, I have found that using a food mill is by far the most effective way to get the creamiest mashed potatoes, with minimal effort. If you do not have a food mill then use a smasher or a mixer if you have it.
- Add all the sour cream and half of the butter mixture to the potatoes. Combine and see the consistency.
- Add in more butter and half and half if necessary. I like mine super creamy so I added it all in. Just add it in a bit at a time so the potatoes get a chance to absorb the liquids.
- 6. Taste for seasonings.