Making Mashed Potatoes Article -
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How to Make Mashed Potatoes

There are many ways to mash potatoes. Here's a favorite way!

It's no secret mashed potatoes taste best when they're made with lots of cream and butter, and we don't skimp here. But keep in mind, you can use as much or as little butter and cream as you like.

1. We used a blend of red and russet potatoes. This combination creates a slight texture variation. If you prefer completely smooth mashed potatoes, this method still applies, but russet or Yukon Gold potatoes--with their high starch content--are the best mashers.

We used 6 potatoes, 1 cup heavy cream, 1/2 cup salted butter, and salt to taste.

2. Peel the potatoes, removing as many of the eyes as possible with the tip of your peeler. (If you prefer more rustic mashed potatoes, keep the skin on half of them.)

    3. Submerge the potatoes in a bowl of cold water to keep them from turning brown while you are chopping them.

      4. Cut the potatoes into similar-sized chunks so they will cook evenly: the cubes should be about 1½ to two inches wide.

        5. Use a pot large enough to hold the potatoes with enough water to cover. Add salt, if desired. Place the pot over a high heat and bring the water to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer.

          6. Simmer, covered, until tender--about 15 to 20 minutes. A knife tip inserted into a potato should meet no resistance; if the potato clings to the knife, the potatoes need to cook longer. When potatoes are done, remove from heat and drain immediately.

            7. Reserve the potato water if you would like to use it in place of butter or cream when mashing, or if you plan to make a vegetable soup stock or sourdough bread.

            8. Let the potatoes sit for a minute to dry and to allow any excess water to drain from the bottom of the colander. Meanwhile, heat the butter and cream in a small saucepan at a low temperature. (You can also use the microwave for this step.)

              9. We used a food mill to make these mashed potatoes. A food mill or potato ricer are probably the best tools for mashed potatoes, as they won't over-mix, which can result in a gluey texture. Other tools work just fine, however--but the finished product might not be as smooth and fluffy.

                10. A ricer or mill ensures that once the potatoes have passed through the grate at the bottom, they'll be lump-free: the potato is forced into small “grains” like rice. The biggest drawback with using electric mixers is that they can overwork the potatoes to the point where the starch molecules break. Use care: mix the potatoes enough to avoid lumps, but not so much that they take on a sticky, gummy consistency.

                  11. Once the potatoes have been passed through the mill, drizzle half of your hot cream through and around the grate to get every last bit of potato. Clean off the bottom of the ricer, and add any additional mashed potatoes to the bowl you have been working in. Gently stir in the remaining butter and cream.

                    12. At this point, taste the potatoes for seasoning and adjust to taste. Test for consistency, too: if the potatoes are too thick, add more cream. Other herbs and spices can be added at this point as well--chopped chives, Italian parsley, Parmesan cheese, crumbled bacon, roasted garlic, chopped scallions, or creamed leeks are all delicious additions.

                      13. To reduce the fat content of traditional mashed potatoes, use low-fat sour cream in place of butter, and milk or broth rather than cream. Try some of these excellent spiced-up mashed potato recipes:

                      Sep. 14, 2009 3:38 pm
                      I combine chopped Green Onions and shredded chedder cheese to my mashed potatoes,
                      Nov. 1, 2009 2:04 pm
                      how do u make jelly cranberries sauce?
                      Nov. 18, 2009 10:07 am
                      I added a hand full of shredded Taco cheese, used a blend of half and half and buttermilk.We don't like lumps so I always use a hand mixer. The potatoes were terrific.
                      Nov. 20, 2009 6:27 pm
                      Thanks ! I did not know my electric mixer was a no no in mixing my potatoes, that answered some questions
                      Nov. 23, 2009 1:54 pm
                      moonwalker ~ jellied cranberry sauce is super easy! Follow the directions of the bag on cranberries for the amount of sugar you add, but the sauce thickens as it cools. It's so much better than canned! I add a touch of cinnamon too!
                      Nov. 24, 2009 2:18 pm
                      I wish they gave measurements for cream and butter! is it like 1 cup cream + 1/4 butter for every 2 lbs.? I don't know...but mine are never stellar...good-yes, great-no. For the cranberry sauce question, here is what I do, maybe you will like it (it is a mixture of a few different recipes I have found): I cook the a bag of cranberries in apple cider (about 2 cups) and some mulling spices (in a tea ball) until they pop. Then I stir in chopped dried apricots, some chunks of peeled apple, pear, orange segments, and a little orange and lemon zest (really finely grated.) Add sugar (to taste...some like it tart, some sweet.) Cook for about 15 minutes longer or until thick. I add more cider (ot water) if it gets too thick. Stir and keep your eye on it so it doesn't scorch. Take out spice ball and chill (or eat warm.) It is kind of like a chutney, but cooked. Everyone really likes
                      Nov. 24, 2009 5:11 pm
                      My husband always adds shredded cheese,green onion, bacon, milk and sour cream. Garlic powder- small amount and salt n pepper...They are fabulous with steak.
                      Nov. 25, 2009 5:48 pm
                      I just cooked and mashed my russet potatoes. I have added butter but no milk as i will add hot milk and reheat tomorrow for dinner. My husband says the potatoes are "mealy". Is it something i did wrong or will milk correct this?
                      Nov. 25, 2009 5:59 pm
                      i use Kenebec white cooked in salted water,,, drained,set pot with potatoes back on stove to dry,,be very careful i still burn them sometimes,,,,now add heated whole milk and butter,mix well,i use an electric mixer now,,years ago i did not,,,add white pepper to taste,,i also used to put cooked potatoes thru a ricer,,,i guess i'm getting lazy as i get older!!!!this is really the only way i have ever made mashed potatoes,, my grandmother taught me how and i have taught my grandaughter!!!!
                      Nov. 25, 2009 7:56 pm
                      Well, i answered my own question by going to! It explained that russets cook up "mealy and dry" which makes them the best potatoes for mashing. I'll wait till tomorrow and finish them and let you know what happens. Happy Thanksgiving!
                      Nov. 27, 2009 9:40 pm
                      Adding the milk and some hot broth made my potatoes terrific! They were not mealy or dry any longer. My family gobbled them up!
                      Nov. 27, 2009 9:46 pm
                      Dec. 29, 2009 12:35 pm
                      I made them with yukons for christmas - didn't have the ricer so just mashed them with fork and then mixed it all - they were very good! great help to those of us new to the world of cooking!
                      Jan. 23, 2010 6:03 pm
                      you can also add two tablespoons of Miracle Whip to russets before you mix them for an unusual but tasty change of pace plus it makes them very fluffy when you use a hand mixer.
                      Mar. 17, 2010 8:40 pm
                      I use an old fashioned hand masher, with fork only if necessary, for remaining lumps. Then add small knob butter & 1& 1/2tabs f/cream milk powder. Beat well with fork, with enough cooking water to moisten to desired consistency. Taste good, and low fat too!
                      Mar. 28, 2010 10:54 am
                      Patricia, I understand your concern. I cannot get my recipes to go into my Save Recipe section since last year. What gives?? Anybody have an answer?
                      Oct. 1, 2010 1:37 am
                      Your potatoes are delicious.I use meat gravy(leftover from the roast) instead of milk.Try it!!! Irene
                      Oct. 1, 2010 5:04 am
                      Adding a whole egg while mixing(MASHING) into hot potatoes adds protein and a little color.
                      Oct. 28, 2010 6:01 am
                      I am so busy trying to get everything to the table on Thanksgiving while it's still hot that I shy away from mashed potatoes. They are not great cold. Any suggestions?
                      Nov. 2, 2010 11:53 am
                      My grandmother taught us to add a tablespoon of Mayo- just a little hint of vinegar and they are wonderful and creamier.
                      Eat This! 
                      Nov. 5, 2010 9:06 pm
                      i found this article very helpful im just starting out so these basic recipes are great
                      Nov. 6, 2010 5:44 am
                      I mash my potatoes a day ahead (or 2), then put them in a slow cooker to re-heat on Thanksgiving or Xmas. They can warm gently on low for several hours and keep their fresh taste and texture. It helps to keep me calm when I'm doing all the other dishes!
                      Nov. 6, 2010 5:46 am
                      I mash my potatoes a day ahead (or 2), then put them in a slow cooker to re-heat on Thanksgiving or Xmas. They can warm gently on low for several hours and keep their fresh taste and texture. It helps to keep me calm when I'm doing all the other dishes!
                      Nov. 6, 2010 5:41 pm
                      Last year my mother and I did 40 pounds of potatoes for Thanksgiving. We did them a day ahead cooking them in salted water and then mashing with salted butter and cream cheese. We then reheated for Thanksgiving day in crockpots, wonderful, nobody knew that they were done the day before! We choose not to use the water because it cuts on taste, if it needs more liquid, we add a little milk.
                      Nov. 7, 2010 3:48 pm
                      Anyone know of a reference to putting potatoes in fridge after cooking and before you mash them...i just read a review of a hash brown recipe that used that technique and a reviewer stated that this also makes mashed potatoes good and fluffy? anyone have any thoughts or quidelines on this or have you done this?
                      Nov. 8, 2010 3:02 pm
                      DeborahJ...there is a recipe here for Make-ahead mashed potatoes. I have made them twice and then heat them in the crock pot with a little extra butter and cream...they will fluff up and taste great.
                      Nov. 17, 2010 8:18 pm
                      slwpk82, if you leave them in the fridge to the point where they chill, they'll be harder to mash where as when they're warm they're softer and thus lighter and flufflier so they mash well...but there could be a missing piece there in the person's intruction that proves me wrong.
                      Nov. 18, 2010 1:42 pm
                      Thanks for the great suggestion of mashing potatoes ahead of time and reheating (or keeping warm) in a crock pot!! So simple! I will do that this Thanksgiving in order to have one less last-minute item to make at dinner time! I love this idea! Aunt Tilly
                      Nov. 18, 2010 5:07 pm
                      Thanks so much for the make ahead mashed potatoes . I hate that last minute mess in the kitchen and have been searching for a reciped to make earlier .
                      Nov. 19, 2010 10:09 am
                      I don't know about anyone else but I like my mashed potatoes a little lumpy call it "country style"
                      Nov. 21, 2010 8:38 am
                      As to the make-ahead mashed potates in a crock pot....From the frig, how long in the crock pot until they are piping hot??
                      Nov. 21, 2010 2:14 pm
                      If they are cold from the fridge, pop them into the microwave to give them a "jump start" to being heated and then into the crock pot to finish and maintain the heat. Good way to be able to test them a bit and see if they need more liquid once reheated.
                      Stunt Tater 
                      Nov. 21, 2010 4:57 pm
                      Good tips on using russets (they have a higher starch content than reds which are better suited to salads and roasting) and heating the liquids to add to the mashed potatoes. For more mashing tips go to
                      Nov. 22, 2010 5:28 am
                      I've been reading all the comments, etc. about mashed potatoes and just had to add mine - about keeping hot or reheating. Years ago my potatoes were done and mashed but some guests were missing, and missing. Anyway I kept stirring and heating potatoes thinking that would thin them out (by evaporation). Well it doesn't work that way. They got thinner and thinner until they were potato soup. . . . so, thereafter I decided to come up with another solution and I thought - what do restaurants do? They use steam tables! Now I make the mashed potatoes whenever. I mash them in the cooking pot. Then I place the potatoes and pot in a larger pot of boiling water. This can keep them fresh and consistent for hours. Hope this helps someone.
                      Nov. 22, 2010 5:35 am
                      When I mash my potatoes, I add butter, milk, cream cheese, and sour cream, your potatoes will never again become hard when cold, and always be white and fluffy. I season as for taste You can make these ahead of time, and just reheat, they are so good.
                      grandma anne 
                      Nov. 24, 2010 5:33 pm
                      I just mashed 5 pounds of small red-skin potatoes with their skins, which I had cooked with lots of garlic. I didn't know about the hand mixer making them gluey, which it did. Is there anything I can do to remedy this? I'm bringing them to the family dinner tomorrow and planned to just heat them. Thanks for any help.
                      Nov. 28, 2010 9:36 pm
                      I,too,would like to know about gooey,gluey potatoes. First,what causes it? Is there any way to fix it? What is this about an electric mixer ?
                      Nov. 29, 2010 7:36 am
                      Diana, I believe it is the starch content. I never use a mixer to mash red skins or california whites. They get gluey. When I have a taste for "mashed redskins", I simply cut them, cutting in butter & sour cream... They are lumpy, but amazingly delicous. Stick to Idaho, russets, or golden potatoes for traditional mashed potatoes.
                      Dec. 29, 2010 8:57 pm
                      I've been making crowd-pleasig mashed potatoes for forty-five years and I use the same basic method taught by my mother five decades ago. I cleanly peel five pounds of red , yellow or Yukon gold and cut into small quarter portions and place in cold, salted water and bring to a boil. Then simmer until a fork easily penetrates into the centers. Drain and while still steaming add two sticks of butter (no substitutes)generously salt and pepper and add a pint of whole milk and begin beating with a hand electric mixer adding small amounts of milk until a smooth silky texture is achieved. Then pour into a foil tin or oven-safe ceramic bowl. Place several pats of butter around the surface of the potaoes, cover with foil and warm at 200 degrees until ready to serve.
                      Feb. 17, 2011 3:33 am
                      Didn't know you had to warm the milk and butter... Definitely the thing to do next time I make mashed potatoes...
                      Feb. 17, 2011 7:08 am
                      the cream adds way too much fat to the potatoes, I have always substituted fat free half and half, and I can't believe it's not butter. Cuts the fat way down and is delicious
                      Feb. 19, 2011 3:43 pm
                      Use any kind of potatoes,add anything you wish, mash any way you want. At the end when all are mashed and before you put them in the crock pot or a bowl for the table. Add a teaspoon of baking powder and mix they will light and fluffy.
                      Feb. 21, 2011 11:42 pm
                      The problem anymore is finding potatos that actually COOK TENDER. I'm in Oklahoma, so I dont have high altitude issues. But most of the time anymore, I can't find potatos that will cook tender, no matter how long they are cooked. And I learned to cook from two of the best. And I always use russets if I'm going to mash them, from Idaho if I can get them. None of that seems to matter though. They are still hard as rocks.
                      Mar. 12, 2011 8:17 am
                      I like to make the potatos ahead and put them in a casserole bowl and reheat low in oven or hot to taste like twice baked. Carry them in a basket or a cooler (put newspaper under bowl).
                      Mar. 12, 2011 8:19 am
                      I like to make the potatos ahead and put them in a casserole bowl and reheat low in oven or hot to taste like twice baked. Carry them in a basket or a cooler (put newspaper under bowl).
                      Mar. 18, 2011 9:30 am
                      After mashing your potatoes, place in an oven-safe dish and cover with cheddar cheese. Cover dish; place in oven until cheese melts. Amazing mashed potatoes!
                      Apr. 2, 2011 6:48 pm
                      I love mashed potatoes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
                      Apr. 23, 2011 6:10 pm
                      I have read everyones comments and ideas. I'm thrilled to be a part of this group. I have always used Idahos and make sure that they are not over-coooked; they should be very hot when the butter and milk(or cream) is added; salt & pepper to taste. I do them ahead and put them in a microwave safe bowl for a few minutes before serving. The bowl should have a cover to keep them warm. If I remember, I put a slab of butter on top before serving. I think I will try adding the cream cheese as was mentioned. Janet Edsall, Newton, Ma.
                      Apr. 29, 2011 5:25 pm
                      Was an interesting read, as an older single, I make a big pot of russet mashed with margarine and 3% milk and freeze the same day in single size portions for future meals at work. I find the microwaved potatoes taste as good as the day I made them. I have't tried that egg yet. I also bake sweet potatoes [to die for] at the same time and meatloaf.
                      Aug. 6, 2011 1:29 pm
                      I always cook my taters in chicken broth or veggie broth for flavor. Hits the spot every time!
                      Oct. 17, 2011 1:07 pm
                      I love the idea of adding cream cheese to the mashed potatoes. :)
                      Oct. 18, 2011 12:19 pm
                      I, too, loved the make-ahead/reaheat in crockpot idea and will do that this year! Thanks, Nora!! :-)
                      Oct. 19, 2011 5:27 am
                      The trick to great mashed potatoes is to get all the water off (as stated in the directions)and then mash them BEFORE adding any liquid! YUM.
                      Nov. 11, 2011 3:48 am
                      The way I make them is I boil them in water, and drain it off after they are cooked.I mash them before I add all the additions such as butter, milk and sour cream. I have never put cream cheese in mashed potatoes, but do put sour cream. milk, and butter. I am not a big fan of cream cheese. My son loves my mashed potatoes, and asks for them every time.
                      Nov. 11, 2011 9:49 pm
                      I use chicken broth instead of water , to boil the potatoes. Then add the cream and butter after they are totally drained. The broth adds lots of extra flavor ! I am new onsite and love all of your ideas.
                      Nov. 14, 2011 7:49 pm
                      When my daughter was young I would ask if she wanted smooth or lumpy potatoes. Smooth were instant, NO WAY. Lumpy were real potatoes. I just use a hand masher and I use evaporated milk, no water, and butter. Sometimes I add minced garlic. The little bet of lumps prove the potatoes were real. Some people can't have a lot of salt so I leave that up to the person eating. Enjoy!
                      Dec. 4, 2011 5:28 pm
                      I only add salt and Cream cheese, then mash potatoes. after that then add how much ever butter you want! They are delicous! If they are to stiff for you, then you can add some milk!
                      Dec. 10, 2011 2:19 pm
                      i would like to make mashed potatoes this week & freeze them to use at Christmas time -- lots of company & I would like to have that done already -- Can you freeze mashed potatoes (casserole)???
                      Dec. 16, 2011 7:35 pm
                      I also cut some Velveta Cheese up in mine. They are so good!
                      Feb. 18, 2012 7:46 am
                      Why do my potatoes turn to mush in the boiling phase. I watch them, I poke them. It seems that they go from not quite done to completely falling apart baby mush in a blink. This only happens when I use a yukon gold or a russet yet that what all the reviews say to use. I don't have the same problem with the reds but reviews say don't use them?????
                      Mar. 8, 2012 2:56 am
                      thank u teresa,
                      Mar. 8, 2012 7:31 am
                      No one mentioned steaming the potatoes .They are much drier and do not need to be drained so they stay hot longer.I use an asparagus steamer and it works great.
                      May 28, 2012 6:10 am
                      Memorial Day...we are grilling steaks tonight, I was going to do baked, I've got to have some mashed taters! Back to Publix for me!
                      Nov. 21, 2012 6:56 am
                      for mashed potatoes--can i pare them & immerse them in water & put in the frig the nite before & have them be good the next day to mash?
                      Apr. 20, 2014 10:47 am
                      How far ahead can you peel and cut potatos before boiling them to be mashed?
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