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The Ultimate Mashed Potato Recipe

Mashed potatoes have been a favorite recipe of mine since I was a young kid. In fact, I was quite a picky eater for many years. My diet closely resembled a mix of mashed potatoes, mac and cheese, and gogurts. So, mashed potatoes and I go way back. Today, we’re focusing on this special dish – the mashed potato. This side dish, with its creamy texture and comforting flavor, is a delicious and simple recipe that you need to make. In this post, I will share with you how to make simple mashed potatoes, and how you can dress them up with a few variations. Enjoy!

Ingredients

A good mashed potato recipe starts with the right ingredients. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 2 pounds of russet potatoes
  • 4 tablespoons of unsalted butter
  • 1/2 to 1 cup of whole milk
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Step-by-Step Instructions

  1. Peel and Cut the Potatoes: Start by peeling your potatoes and cutting them into quarters. This step ensures even cooking.
  2. Boil the Potatoes: Place the potatoes in a large pot, fill it with water until they are covered, and bring to a boil. Add a generous pinch of salt.
  3. Cook until Tender: Let the potatoes cook for about 15-20 minutes, or until they are easily pierced with a fork.
  4. Drain and Dry: Drain the water and place the potatoes back in the pot. Let them dry out for a couple of minutes in the residual heat.
  5. Mash the Potatoes: Add butter and start mashing the potatoes with a potato masher. You can also use a paddle attachment on a stand mixer, switching to the whisk attachment once all of the potato has been mashed.
  6. Add Milk: Slowly add in the milk, while continuing to mash until you get a smooth and creamy texture. If using a stand mixer, turn up to medium-high speed for 1 minute to make them fluffier.
  7. Season: Finally, season with salt and pepper to taste.

History and Origin of Mashed Potatoes

The story of mashed potatoes starts in South America, where potatoes were first domesticated over 7,000 years ago. Spanish conquistadors brought potatoes to Europe in the 16th century.

The dish as we know it today, however, likely originated in the United Kingdom. The first known recipe for mashed potatoes was written by English food writer Hannah Glasse in 1747. If you want to see the original recipe book by Hannah Glasse, I was able to find it for free on the library of congress website here. The recipe quickly spread throughout Europe and later to North America, becoming a staple in many households.

Taste Description

Mashed potatoes are a symphony of textures and flavors. They’re creamy, buttery, and delightfully fluffy. The best mashed potatoes melt in your mouth while providing a gentle backdrop for other ingredients, such as gravy or roasted meats. Mashed potatoes taste best with the right amount of seasoning. I love to top them with freshly cracked pepper and just the right amount of salt. I used to use table salt for everything, but then I discovered the vast variety of salts that are available now. My new favorite is himalayan pink salt on my potatoes, but even a smoked salt tastes pretty good. Check out This Salt Guide I made for you to help in choosing which salts will bring your meals to another level.

Required Equipment

To make mashed potatoes, you’ll need the following equipment:

  • Large pot for boiling the potatoes
  • Knife and peeler for preparing the potatoes
  • Colander for draining
  • Potato masher or stand mixer
  • Wooden spoon for stirring

Troubleshooting the Mashed Potato Recipe

1. Lumpy Mashed Potatoes

If your mashed potatoes are lumpy, it likely means your potatoes weren’t fully cooked, or you did not fully mash them. Make sure the potatoes are tender before you start mashing.

2. Gluey or Gummy Mashed Potatoes

This often happens when potatoes are overworked or over mashed. Try to mash your potatoes just until they’re smooth.

3. Dry Mashed Potatoes

If your mashed potatoes are too dry, adding more milk or butter can save the dish.

Personal Experience with the Dish

I recall one chilly Thanksgiving evening when I was tasked with the all-important job of making the mashed potatoes. Being a novice cook back then, I didn’t realize the impact of over mashing. The result was a pot of gluey, unappetizing potatoes. Despite the setback, my family laughed it off and we enjoyed the evening nonetheless. That incident, though a kitchen disaster, taught me the importance of understanding the dish and its processes. It was a significant moment in my culinary journey that led me to perfect the art of making mashed potatoes. I have found that my favorite way to make mashed potatoes is with a stand mixer. I have been using my Kitchenaid for mashed potatoes for years, and have not had gluey potatoes since.

Common Variations to Try

The beauty of mashed potatoes lies in its versatility. Here are a few variations to try:

1. Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Add roasted garlic to your mashed potatoes for an added depth of flavor. Roasting the garlic mellows its sharpness and brings out a sweet, almost nutty flavor.

2. Cheesy Mashed Potatoes

Add your favorite cheese to your mashed potatoes. Cheddar, Parmesan, or Gruyère would work wonderfully.

3. Sour Cream and Chives Mashed Potatoes

Adding sour cream gives the potatoes a tangy flavor and creamier texture. Sprinkle some freshly chopped chives for a pop of color and freshness.

4. Bacon and Green Onion Mashed Potatoes

Stir in some crispy cooked bacon and chopped green onions for a smoky, savory twist.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What type of potatoes are best for mashed potatoes?

Russet potatoes are the best for mashed potatoes due to their high starch content, which gives a fluffier texture. If you want to try something a little different, use half gold potatoes and half russet.

2. Can I make mashed potatoes ahead of time?

Yes, you can make mashed potatoes ahead of time. Reheat them on the stovetop or in the oven, adding a bit of milk or cream to retain moisture.

3. Can I freeze mashed potatoes?

Yes, mashed potatoes can be frozen and reheated. However, the texture may change slightly. I learned a great tip the other day. Use an ice cream scoop and freeze scoops of potato on a cookie sheet. Once frozen, transfer them to a freezer ziplock bag. Then, you can take out a few scoops per person you are having over for dinner and only heat up what you need! Here’s a link to a quick video guide.

4. How can I make my mashed potatoes creamier?

Adding more butter or cream can make your mashed potatoes creamier. Also, ensure the potatoes are well-cooked before mashing.

5. Why are my mashed potatoes gluey?

Over-mashing potatoes can lead to a gluey texture. Be careful not to overdo it.

6. Can I use skim milk or almond milk instead of whole milk?

Yes, but it may affect the creaminess of your mashed potatoes. Whole milk adds richness to the dish.

7. What can I add to my mashed potatoes for flavor?

You can add ingredients like roasted garlic, cheese, sour cream, chives, or even bacon for added flavor.

Conclusion

Whether you’re a seasoned home cook or a beginner in the kitchen, this mashed potato recipe is a must-try. With its rich history, straightforward steps, and endless possibilities for variation, it’s no wonder this dish has become a universal comfort food. Remember to take your time, respect the process, and most importantly, have fun! After all, the joy of cooking is in the journey as much as the delicious end result.

Whether you’re whipping up a weeknight dinner or preparing a feast for loved ones, a bowl of homemade mashed potatoes is sure to warm hearts and bellies alike. Happy cooking!

Mashed Potato Recipe in a white bowl with russet potatoes in the background

Mashed Potato

Mashed potatoes are a symphony of textures and flavors. They’re creamy, buttery, and delightfully fluffy. The best mashed potatoes melt in your mouth while providing a gentle backdrop for other ingredients, such as gravy or roasted meats.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Course dinner, Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 5
Calories 238 kcal

Equipment

  • Large pot
  • Peeler
  • Colander
  • Potato masher Optional Stand Mixer
  • Wooden spoon

Ingredients
  

  • 2 lbs Russet potatoes
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/2 to 1 cup whole milk
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions
 

  • Start by washing your potatoes in warm water.
  • Then peel your potatoes and cut them into quarters. This step ensures even cooking.
  • Place the potatoes in a large pot, fill it with water until they are covered, and bring to a boil. Add a generous pinch of salt.
  • Let the potatoes cook for about 15-20 minutes, or until they are easily pierced with a fork.
  • Drain the water using a colander and place the potatoes back in the pot. Let them dry out for a couple of minutes in the residual heat.
  • Add butter and start mashing the potatoes with a potato masher. You can also use a paddle attachment on a stand mixer, switching to the whisk attachment once all of the potato have been mashed.
  • Slowly add in the milk, while continuing to mash until you get a smooth and creamy texture. If using a stand mixer, turn up to medium-high speed for 1 minute to make them fluffier.
  • Finally, season with salt and pepper to taste.

Notes

Common Variations to Try

The beauty of mashed potatoes lies in its versatility. Here are a few variations to try:

1. Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Add roasted garlic to your mashed potatoes for an added depth of flavor. Roasting the garlic mellows its sharpness and brings out a sweet, almost nutty flavor.

2. Cheesy Mashed Potatoes

Add your favorite cheese to your mashed potatoes. Cheddar, Parmesan, or Gruyère would work wonderfully.

3. Sour Cream and Chives Mashed Potatoes

Adding sour cream gives the potatoes a tangy flavor and creamier texture. Sprinkle some freshly chopped chives for a pop of color and freshness.

4. Bacon and Green Onion Mashed Potatoes

Stir in some crispy cooked bacon and chopped green onions for a smoky, savory twist.

Nutrition

Serving: 210gCalories: 238kcalCarbohydrates: 34gProtein: 5gFat: 10gSaturated Fat: 6gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.4gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0.4gCholesterol: 27mgSodium: 20mgPotassium: 796mgFiber: 2gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 321IUVitamin C: 10mgCalcium: 56mgIron: 2mg
Keyword Cheap Meals, Potato
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