Mashed potatoes are very high on my list of favorite sides! It’s quite possibly my family’s number one side dish actually, and for a good reason. Mashed potatoes go well with literally anything… Fried pork chops, braised chicken thighs, braised beef shoulder… or can you think of something that wouldn’t be a good match for this fluffy and creamy goodness? I seriously can’t 🙂
I’m pretty sure we all have our favorite way of making mashed potatoes, or even several ones, but the one I’m going to show you today is something like my very basic way of cooking them. It’s so simple that it’s virtually impossible to mess this mashed potatoes recipe up.
But let’s solve one problem/dilemma first!
What Are The Best Potatoes For Mashing?
With so many potato types out there, which one should you choose when making mashed potatoes? The truth is, ANY potato type can be mashed and the result will still be solid, so to speak. But there are definitely some types that are more suitable for this way of preparation.
As a general rule, the more starchy types produce “better” mashed potatoes. The reason is simple, starchy potatoes break up easily, while the waxy types tend to hold their shape when fully cooked. So if you are looking for the super creamy and fluffy texture in your mashed potatoes, choose a starchy type such as the Russet potatoes.
This doesn’t mean you cannot use a “more” waxy type, such as Yukon Gold which is actually one of the most common potato types used for mashed potatoes. Yukon’s stand somewhere in the middle, these are not too starchy, not too waxy… pretty much the universal type.
Personally, I just try to stay away from the most waxy types, when making mashed potatoes. Which ones are these? Basically most of the “New” potatoes, Charlotte, Red Bliss, French fingerling, Red Adirondack…
Understanding all the various potato types would require quite a bit of research, but if you wanna go that route, check this potato types resource.
Ok ok, but what will happen if you choose the “wrong” type for making mashed potatoes? Well, nothing major, the taste will be just fine! The only “problem” would be the texture… it might become too dense and somewhat gluey, that’s about it.
Mashed Potatoes Ingredients (7-8 servings)
1.5kg / 3 pounds of Russet or Yellow potatoes
85g / 3 ounces of butter
1 cup of whole milk
Salt to taste
How To Make Mashed Potatoes
Watch the video or scroll down for step by step instructions:
We are going to start by peeling, cutting and boiling the potatoes. The amount depends on how many people you cook for. I’m working with roughly 3 pounds or 1 and a half kilo, which will be enough for 7 to 8 servings.
TIP: When using potatoes with fine skin, you don’t really have to peel them, it’s up to you. Personally, I always peel the potatoes though, I simply don’t like the small bits of the skin in my mashed potatoes.
Cook the potatoes in properly salted water for about 20 minutes. Once the potatoes start to boil, you will see foam forming on top, it’s a good idea to remove at least some of it. You don’t have to do this, after all it’s just starch that’s naturally part of the potatoes.
TIP: Some recipes do not use salt at this step, which is perfectly fine. You will just have to add more of it later on, when mashing the potatoes.
Make a fork test after 20 minutes, once the potatoes break easily when pushed against the side of the pot, they are ready.
Drain the water and add unsalted butter, while the potatoes are still hot. You don’t have to melt the butter, the hot potatoes will take care of it. I have used about 3 ounces which is roughly 85 grams. Pour in a bit of hot milk and start mashing with a hand masher. We will add more milk later, about one cup is needed in total.
Season the potatoes with salt, you will need about 1 teaspoon for this amount of potatoes. Add another batch of hot milk and keep mashing.
TIP: To make sure the salt distributes properly, you can add it to the milk and let it dissolve in it.
You can use a hand masher from start to finish, but it’s quite a bit of work and the texture of the mashed potatoes will not be as fine, smooth and creamy as it could be. That’s why I prefer to finish my mashed potatoes with a hand mixer. By the way, don’t use a hand blender or else your mashed potatoes will turn into glue.
Keep adding milk and mixing, until you reach the desired consistency. It will take just a few minutes. The key here is to mix long enough for all the potato pieces to break as we don’t want the small pieces to be present. On the other hand, if you mix too long, the consistency will become more and more gluey.
Make sure you give your mashed potatoes a taste and add salt if needed. As mentioned above, you will need to add a bit more salt in case you boiled the potatoes in unsalted water. ALWAYS taste when cooking anything, always!
Once you are happy with the taste, our mashed potatoes are ready to be served. Need some ideas on what to serve these with? Mashed potatoes go extremely well with Baked thighs, Oven roasted pork neck, Pork tenderloin medallions, Marinated chicken wings or a Pork steak.
Thanks for reading and see you next week!
Optional Tips & Notes
Can you freeze mashed potatoes?
Yes, just put them in a freezer bag and they will stay good for a few months. But truth to be told, freshly made mashed potatoes taste way better. On top of that, potatoes tend to degrade a little bit when frozen and that means a loss of quality.
How long do mashed potatoes stay good for?
You can safely store mashed potatoes in the fridge for about 3-4 days. Just make sure you place them into the fridge within 2 hours after cooking. Use an airtight container for the best results.
How to reheat mashed potatoes?
Microwaves work the best, but you can also reheat them in a pot or saucepan, just add some liquid (milk or water) and mix frequently on low heat. Frequent mixing will prevent them from burning so do not skip this.
How to make mashed potatoes taste better?
You can add several ingredients to modify and improve the taste of your mashed potatoes. Some people love to add garlic, Parmigiano or other cheese, herbs, black pepper, sour cream… feel free to experiment.
Personally, I like to keep it simple and I add just a bit of chopped parsley or chives on top and that’s about it 🙂
Mashed Potatoes | My Basic Recipe
- 1.5 kg of Russet or Yellow potatoes
- 85 g of butter
- 1 cup of whole milk
- Salt to taste
- Peel and cut the potatoes into small pieces. Some recipes advise boiling whole potatoes, but smaller pieces cook faster and more evenly.
- Once the potatoes are tender enough to be broken by a fork, it's time to drain them. This should take about 20 minutes of simmering.
- Add butter while the potatoes are still hot so it melts quickly. Pour in part of the milk and start mashing with a hand masher.
- Season the mashed potatoes with salt, you will need about 1 teaspoon for this amount of potatoes.
- Keep adding milk in batches and continue mashing. You can use a hand masher from start to finish or grab a hand mixer to make your life easier. When using a mixer, the final texture will be fluffier, creamier and smoother. Never use a hand blender, this would turn your mashed potatoes into glue.
- Give your mashed potatoes a taste and add more salt if needed. Once you are happy with the taste and texture, your mashed potatoes are ready to be served.