The Best Mashed Potatoes
Mashed potatoes are the bomb! I mean they go with everything, and who doesn’t like all that smooth and rich deliciousness. I even prefer mashed potatoes with my steak. The best mashed potatoes are a relatively easy dish to make. There, are, however some tried and true tricks that can elevate them above your average spuds. We’ll discuss those here, along with some additions you can make to insert even more yuminess.
The first consideration is the type of potato to use. Russet potatoes are the standard go to because of their starchy make up. But Yukon Gold potatoes are great too, as they add some waxiness to your final dish. So I decided to use a blend of the two. The next issue is whether to leave the skin on. Leaving the skin on will add flavor. It also makes it easier to peel them if you desire to do so. I like really smooth mashed potatoes, so I’m going to remove the skin. When boiling, start out with cold water, and add some salt. The cold water makes for even cooking, and the salt adds flavor. If you cut the potatoes prior to boiling you will need to dry them afterward by placing them back into the hot pan. If you cook them whole they won’t absorb as much water, eliminating the drying step. Either way, you are looking for fork tender potatoes.
The Science of Mashed Potatoes
It’s all about the starch, my friends. More specifically, how the starch interacts with the rest of the ingredients, and the action of combining it all. You can mash your potatoes any way you like, but I would highly recommend using a ricer. It will save you time and aggravation. It also cuts down on the mixing action. Make sure to warm the dairy you are using, and melt the butter. These ingredients will absorb better if warm. Of major importance is the order in adding the butter and dairy. Add the butter first. It coats the starch granules. If you add the dairy first, it will make the potatoes like glue. Glue is good for other projects, but not so much for eating. Lastly, don’t over-mix your potatoes, or use a blender or food processor. You want to just combine everything, or you will break the starch, and have more glue.
Additions for Better Spuds
You can really run the gamut here. Don’t hold back. For extra creamy spuds, add about four ounces of cream cheese. Sour cream works well too. Are you a garlic lover like me? Go for it with some roasted garlic. Cheese and bacon are great incorporated into your mashed potatoes. I like Parmesan mashed potatoes. Put in some fresh herbs like thyme, parsley or rosemary. But for me, I like to just add some more butter and chives.
Can You Freeze and Reheat Mashed Potatoes?
Why yes, you can. To reheat the potatoes, put them in a glass bowl, and place the bowl over simmering water. Just don’t let the bowl touch the water. Alternately, you can heat them in a microwave on 75% power, stirring every two to three minutes. Mashed potatoes will keep, tightly wrapped, in the fridge for four days. You can freeze them in a freezer bag for up to six months. Just make sure you have plenty of dairy and butter in them. But then again, I really don’t think you’ll have a problem with that. I know I don’t.
The Best Mashed Potatoes
- 2 Pounds Russet and Yukon Gold Potatoes (About 8 potatoes)
- 3 Tablespoons Kosher Salt, Divided
- 8 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter, Plus More For the Top
- 1 Cup Heavy Cream (Can Substitute Your Choice of Dairy)
- Black Pepper, Freshly Ground to Taste
- Place unpeeled potatoes in a large pot, and cover by one inch with water. Stir in half of the salt. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Uncover, and reduce the heat to medium high. Cook for 30 minutes. The potatoes should be fork tender. Larger potatoes may take longer.
- While the potatoes are cooking, melt the butter in the microwave. Warm the dairy, and the rest of the salt in a small sauce pan, but don't let it boil.
- Drain the potatoes in a colander. Peel the potatoes by holding them with a towel or pot holder, and sliding the skin off. Mash or rice the potatoes into the pan they were cooked in. This will keep them warm.
- Pour half of the melted butter into the pan, and gently fold in with a wooden spoon. Repeat with the rest of the butter. Add the warm dairy, and continue the folding process until just combined. Don't over mix. Add more dairy to achieve desired consistency.
- Season with ground pepper, and taste. Adjust the seasoning as desired. Serve warm.