Favorite Mashed Potato Recipe

booberry85January 5, 2014

This is actually a request from the DH. A few years ago we were asked to make the mashed potatoes for a family gathering. We did, but used the mixer to "mash" the potatoes. The potatoes case out gluey. We have been shunned from making mashed potatoes ever since.

So the DH has been on a quest to make the perfect mashed potatoes ever since. He recently bought a potato ricer. He made mashed potaoes. The consistency was perfect, but the taste was lacking. He did add milk, butter and sour cream to the potatoes so it was surprising that they were still missing something.

So what are your secrets to perfect mashed potatoes? Have a favorite recipe to share?

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I just mash with a hand held masher and add butter, milk and salt to taste. Did you use salt?

    Bookmark   January 5, 2014 at 8:37PM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

I also use a ricer and add warmed half &half and butter slices.
If you want something "more" for basic mashed potatoes, I would look at adding chicken base or seasoning salt.
Other than that, you get into garlic, cheese, bacon, etc. and it's not plain mashed potatoes.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2014 at 8:57PM
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I always mash by hand and add lots of fresh-ground mixed pepper and a couple pinches (or more, to taste) of nutmeg. I never use milk, just a little butter.
For special occasions, however, I throw in generous amounts of chive cream cheese and omit the nutmeg. :o)

    Bookmark   January 5, 2014 at 10:16PM
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I like to throw in a couple mashed large cloves of garlic in with the potatoes when steaming or boiling them for mashed-- & always use a hand masher and mash garlic & potatoes into a slightly lumpy semi mash with plenty of butter, some sour cream & S & P.

I've heard people say the type of potato makes a big difference too but I prefer a red skin .


    Bookmark   January 5, 2014 at 10:45PM
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Maybe your husband forgot to salt the boiling water really good?

I make mine simply, just salt the boiling water good and then I use the water to mix with dry milk instead of using bottled milk, use some butter and mash with a hand masher to combine and then I use my hand mixer briefly to fluff them up. You can use a mixer, you just have to be careful and not mix too much.

I remember when I got my new food processor, I thought I'd use that to make the best potatoes ever...WRONG, I made a large batch of glue! I had no idea potatoes would turn to glue?

    Bookmark   January 5, 2014 at 11:33PM
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Cooked leeks are lovely in mash. Added mashed rutabaga is good too. ALways start with well salted potatoes as said above.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2014 at 4:28AM
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I'm a purist: just potatoes, butter and salt.

Potatoes should be as dry as possible. When I have time and am not as frugal as usual - I bake them. When I don't have time and am my usual frugal self, I cook them (no salt in the water though), drain the water, and rock'n'roll the potatoes in the pot to get as much liquid out in the form of steam.

I don't wait for the potatoes go cool. I mash them manually in the pot with LOTS of butter. The quality of the butter will determine the quality of the mashed potatoes. I use Lurpak when possible.

How much butter? According to taste. The more buttery the better! I usually add 50 gr butter to 2-3 medium potatoes and am sorely tempted to put in some more.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2014 at 7:18AM
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Oh and one importan point: I never ever let the mashed potatoes wait. I make them just before serving. If covered up and left to wait, they change flavour and acquire a sort of off taste, at least for me.

i never reheat mashed potatoes. Any leftovers go into an omelette.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2014 at 7:25AM
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It begins with the choice of potatoes. Some varieties of potatoes are waxy and others are starchy, and for a potato dish that starts with boiled potatoes, choose a waxy type (Yukon Gold, Red Rose, White Rose). They have less starch and don't break apart when boiled. Leave the Idaho and russets for applications where they are baked, or if you are going to mash them, steam them instead of boiling because they absorb too much liquid. A waxy potato also has more flavor than a boiled starchy potato.

Skip the high-speed mixer and food processor and use a simple potato masher or ricer. Here's the science, "over-beating cooked potatoes breaks down the cells and releases their starch, resulting in paste". It's okay for mashed potatoes to be a little "rough", not completely smooth, so you don't chance over-beating them.

Before adding any ingredients, break up the large chunks of potato with the masher using an up and down motion, not a stirring motion, or use a ricer. Add a small amount of HOT liquid (milk, buttermilk, half-and-half, vegetable broth, chicken broth - your choice) and mash only until incorporated. Keep in mind they will get stiffer as they stand and the starch has a chance to mix with the liquid. Last, add any high-fat ingredients like butter, sour cream, cream cheese, cheese, etc.. Once again, only mix together until the ingredients are incorporated.

Add-ins are a personal preference, but butter and whole milk (or half-and-half) are good starters. Heavy cream adds richness and buttermilk gives it some tanginess. I personally think white pepper looks better than black pepper, if this is an ingredient you add, but I leave it to each person to apply themselves at the table and don't add it while mashing. Heavy doses of black pepper are more rustic, and appropriate, if that's the type of meal you are having. If it's a formal occasion, use white pepper or leave it out completely. I once heard someone comment when served mashed potatoes heavy with black pepper - is the kitchen full of roaches? He obviously associated the black specks in his white potatoes with roach droppings.

When bringing mashed potatoes for a family occasion I would skip adding garlic, leeks, onions, onion or garlic powder, and other vegetables like parsnips, turnips, etc. Not everyone cares for, or expects, those add-ins in their mashed potatoes. Or you can bring plain mashed potatoes and another that is flavored so people have a choice. Taste is subjective, so keep the non-traditional add-ins for your personal enjoyment.

My daughter always adds Spike seasoning, but it's not a flavoring everyone would like, so when she makes mashed potatoes for other people, she also has a pepper mill, shaker of Spike, and other add-ins people may enjoy for dressing their plain mashed potatoes.

If gravy is being served with the mashed potatoes, that is another reason to consider any add-ins. A heavily-peppered country cream gravy means the potatoes probably don't need to be peppered as well.

If the mashed potatoes need to travel and be kept warm for a prolonged period of time, choose a recipe that is designed for "keeping".


This post was edited by grainlady on Mon, Jan 6, 14 at 8:13

    Bookmark   January 6, 2014 at 7:34AM
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Annie Deighnaugh

Thank you grainlady. My mom always made fluffy mashed potatoes, and as many times as she showed me how, mine always came out like brick mortar....now I know...I won't mash them so much, and I'll use less milk.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2014 at 10:02AM
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Thanks everyone. I've been passing this advice along to the DH. He thinks he may have overcooked the potatoes. He also used white potatoes that were on sale at the grocery store, which may have not been ideal for mashing.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2014 at 10:47AM
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I place potatoes, water, and a lot (scant handful) of salt in a heavy pot with a tightly fitting lid. Bring it all to a boil, and boil at least 20 minutes, before even trying to see if potatoes are tender. Then try piercing with a metal skewer. Just do that one time in one potato to see if the skewer goes all the way through easily. If not, cook another 10 minutes and try again. You want to make the fewest possible holes in the skin. Once the potatoes are tender, pour potatoes and water into a colander, emptying pot of all water. Return the potatoes to the pot and place back on the stove. Use the pots residual heat to dry the potatoes by shaking the pot every couple of minutes for ten minutes or so. Using a silicone mitt to hold each hot potato, carefully peel all the potatoes and place them back in the pan. Rice them twice with a good ricer, add hot milk and softened butter, and whip with a wooden spoon. Add salt and pepper to taste.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2014 at 10:03PM
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The best mashed potatoes I have made are with b size (smaller the better) yukon golds, I do leave the skin on which may not be everyone's cup of tea but they are so thin that you barely notice them. I wash them well and boil them until a fork will pierce them with ease. I strain the potatoes and put them back in the pot. I then use almost the same method as kitchen detective to dry them, except I turn the heat back on the stove, and using oven mitts I hold the pot over the stove and shake it until I feel the potatoes are completely dry, about 2 minutes. I then mash with a potato masher with butter, salt, sour cream, white pepper, and a little half and half or milk, which ever I have on hand.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2014 at 11:06PM
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I liked red potatoes best for mashed potatoes,

Here is a link that might be useful: Mashed Red Potatoes

    Bookmark   January 6, 2014 at 11:17PM
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I agree with grainlady. I too think it makes a difference what type of potatoes you are using. I use very little milk, butter and salt and pepper and most always a hand masher. I have used a ricer in the past, I also think that an electric mixer will work if you don't over beat the potato mixture. I would never use a food processor unless you want wallpaper paste.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2014 at 8:00AM
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I am not too particular about what type of potato, usually russet or gold, with gold seeming a little better. Bring a pot of heavily salted water to boil; for a deeper though non-traditional flavor I'll use chicken stock instead. Quarter potatoes, into pot, and boil until fork pierces with moderate resistance. They will cook quickly, being quartered. Hand mash with lot of butter and heated dairy (milk, half & half, or even a little heavy cream). I don't use a mixer or blender or food processor, too much risk of library paste. I have used a ricer, but that merely adds a step. Sometimes I add a little white pepper or horseradish if I want some zing. The other choices for me are skin-on and roughly mashed (rustic), versus skin-off and whipped smooth with more added dairy (French-style).

    Bookmark   January 7, 2014 at 9:39AM
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I borrowed this from a hotel we stayed at in Hawaii:

My new favorite is goat cheese mashed potatoes. I use a ricer, lots of butter, add goat cheese to taste after the butter and then as needed dairy of choice (half and half or whatever you have).

These tend to be a little thinner, but if you like goat cheese and potatoes you may love these too!

    Bookmark   January 7, 2014 at 2:28PM
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wow I guess I am the only one who uses light cream instead of milk in hers. Lots of butter and black pepper. Heavily salted water to cook them in.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2014 at 12:14AM
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I season mashed potatoes with a teaspoon of savoury and some onion powder, and lots of pepper, that makes them taste just right imo…..

    Bookmark   January 9, 2014 at 5:48AM
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I love Pioneer Woman's mashed potatoes, yum yum.

Here is a link that might be useful: PW's Mashed Potatoes

    Bookmark   January 9, 2014 at 11:41AM
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What is savoury?

    Bookmark   January 9, 2014 at 11:58AM
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What is savoury?

    Bookmark   January 9, 2014 at 12:23PM
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sorry , it's savory, my iPad autocorrected it to savoury,

"(Satureja hortensis), an annual herb, used to flavour food"

I've never known of anyone growing it, is it widely used in the u.s.a. ?

    Bookmark   January 9, 2014 at 7:28PM
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Hmmmm... I foresee the DH buying Yukon Golds in our near future!

Thanks everyone!

    Bookmark   January 9, 2014 at 7:46PM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

For enhanced mashed potatoes, these are amazing. The best I've ever had in beyond basic mashed potato.
I had them at a potluck recently and tracked down the cook for the recipe. She used red potatoes and no green onion and they are A LOT better than other make ahead cream cheese mashed potato recipes I've used. Maybe it's the proportions.

Mashed Potatoes
Creamy Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes
Creamy mashed potatoes get even better when topped with a savory trio of cheese, onions and bacon. Plus, these potatoes offer make-ahead appeal. �"JoAnn Koerkenmeier, Damiansville, Illinois
10 ServingsPrep: 35 min. + chilling Bake: 40 min.

3 pounds potatoes (about 9 medium), peeled and cubed
6 bacon strips, chopped
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup butter, cubed
1/4 cup 2% milk
1-1/2 teaspoons onion powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese
3 green onions, chopped


Place potatoes in a Dutch oven; add water to cover. Bring to a boil.
Reduce heat; cook, uncovered, 10-15 minutes or until tender.
Meanwhile, in a skillet, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp.
Remove to paper towels with a slotted spoon; drain.
Drain potatoes; return to pan. Mash potatoes, gradually adding cream
cheese, sour cream and butter. Stir in milk and seasonings. Transfer
to a greased 13x9-in. baking dish; sprinkle with cheese, green
onions and bacon. Refrigerate, covered, up to 1 day.
Preheat oven to 350°. Remove potatoes from refrigerator and let stand while oven heats. Bake, uncovered, 40-50 minutes or until heated through. Yield: 10 servings.

© Taste of Home 2014

About regular, basic mashed potatoes, I had the Best ever about 15 years ago and it was startling. Peel, cube and boil russet potatoes until done but not falling apart. Drain, return to pan and shake the potatoes dry until scaly/flaky. Place in Kitchen Aid Mixer and beat a little while until mashed. Add a mixture of warm melted butter and whole (or heavier) milk. Keep adding the butter milk mixture until the potatoes are soupy!

This makes soft, not gluey, whipped, beautiful potatoes. I have been doing this for years until I switched to a ricer 2 years ago. I still add HUGE amounts of melted butter/milk to the riced potatoes.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2014 at 8:13PM
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I have mentioned this before but a fun change is to make purple mashed potatoes from, naturally, purple potatoes. Kids can find this fun. The thing is, the flesh is not quite purple enough. Blend the skin into a purée and mix that in with the flesh, then it will mash into a nice purple dish.

Another fun thing to do with mashed potatoes is to roll it into balls and deep fry them, without or without breading. Get a tasty crust around a soft mashed interior. The balls need to be fairly small, or you need to do tricks to make them hold up better.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2014 at 6:06PM
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I make mine like johnliu, with russet or gold potatoes. Every time I make them with red potatoes, they turn out like glue. They turn out best when I use Yukon Gold potatoes.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2014 at 7:22PM
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The most important thing about making good mashed potatoes, in my opinion, is that your milk be heated HOT. Just before the boiling point.

    Bookmark   January 12, 2014 at 5:21PM
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I made them tonight with small Yukon Golds, hot whole milk, melted butter, the milk gravy on the thread I started, and my First Successful Fried Chicken, thanks to the Cooking Forum mavens!!!!! Those Yukon Golds taste like butter even without the butter.

    Bookmark   January 12, 2014 at 9:48PM
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