The perfect mashed potatoes should be creamy, fluffy, decadently buttery and so good it requires little to no gravy if made right. Why then have we grumbled over gluey, lumpy and sloppy interpretations of what is a simple staple on every holiday menu? You need only follow 8 incredibly easy tips for the lightest and most sublime mashed potatoes. This spuds for you.
1. Mix it Up
We like Yukon gold potatoes for their buttery texture and golden hue, and Russet potatoes for their starchy, dry quality, making for a lighter mash. Choose one or mix the two for the best of both worlds.
2. Size Matters
Peel and cut the potatoes the same size and add to a large pot of cold water. Both measures will ensure even cooking to prevent the outer layer from breaking down, avoiding lumps.
3. Seasoning is Everything
Add enough kosher salt or sea salt to boiling water until salty to the tongue, about 1 Tbsp salt to 6 cups water. Two cloves of garlic will flavour the cooking liquid and the potatoes when you mash together.
4. Shake the Pot
Drain the potatoes and return to the pot. Set over medium heat, shaking the pot, uncovered until all moisture has evaporated, about 1 minute.
5. Hot Liquid Equals Smooth Mash
Heat butter and cream or milk in a saucepan until steaming, and keep warm. A hot mixture is easily and quickly absorbed into the mashed potatoes. Starch requires full-fat dairy for a creamy texture, so don’t skimp out during the holiday.
6. A Ricer is Nicer
A ricer or food mill is a professional cook’s tool to push the spuds through small holes to get that restaurant-quality texture every time.
7. Fresh is Best
Reheated mashed potatoes are never as good as freshly made. To prep ahead: peel, cut and soak your potatoes in cold water, and combine the butter and cream or milk in a saucepan, covered. Stir in the seasoned cream mixture into the potatoes and taste for seasoning. You may need to sprinkle more salt, and remember, reserve any remaining cream mixture, as the potatoes will continue to absorb the liquid.
8. Dress for Success
Perfect in its natural state, don’t forgo a simple garnish like a square of butter, and or chopped chives, green onions or parsley. You can also stir in a spoonful of sour cream for a tangy finish.
Classic Creamy Mashed Potatoes Recipe
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 8 to 10
1.5 kg russet and Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut in large chunks
3 cloves garlic, smashed
¾ cup 35% cream
¼ cup milk
½ cup butter
1 ½ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
3 green onions, chopped (optional)
2 Tbsp butter (optional)
1. Fill a large pot of cold salted water; add potatoes and garlic. Bring to boil over medium-high heat and cook until potatoes are falling apart, about 15 minutes.
2. Drain potato mixture and return to pot over medium heat; shake pot, uncovered until potatoes are dry, about 1 minute. Transfer to bowl.
3. Using a ricer or food mill, press potatoes and garlic through ricer back into pot.
4. Heat cream, milk, butter, salt and pepper in saucepan over medium heat until butter is melted, and mixture is hot. Stir into potato mixture and taste for seasoning, adding more salt and pepper if needed.
5. Transfer to serving dish and top with butter and green onions (if using).
See here for the ultimate guide to turkey cooking times, a reliable Thanksgiving checklist to stay ahead of the stress, and the best make-ahead baked stuffing.