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How to Make Mashed Potatoes

Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Mashed potatoes are a fabled side dish—and for good reason. With a little help, you can learn how to make mashed potatoes in many ways and impress your guests with ease.

What you'll need to make mashed potatoes:

  • Potatoes
  • Mixing ingredients – depending on your recipe, this may include butter, cream cheese, milk and more.
  • Large pot
  • Large Strainer
  • Potato masher

Choosing the Right Potato

Knowing how to make mashed potatoes starts, quite simply, with knowing which types of potatoes are best for mashing. When selecting your potatoes for mashing, you'll want to go with something that's higher in starch content. High-starch potatoes, like Idaho or russet potatoes when boiled to deliver the soft, creamy texture you want from a batch of mashed potatoes. Sweet potatoes also make for great mashed potatoes, and they bring a little variety to the table with their natural sweetness. Yukon gold potatoes are also an excellent choice for mashed potatoes.

Typically, you'll want to avoid low-starch potatoes like the Norland and Red Bliss varieties. These potatoes will be tougher to break down and mash to the consistency that you desire and are best reserved for dishes like potato salads and dishes that call for roasted or boiled potatoes.

Prepare Your Potatoes

Peel and cut the potatoes into ½ inch chunks. Potatoes are a root vegetable. They like being in cool dark places. The best way to prepare your potatoes for mashing is to add cold water to cover the potatoes in a large pot, add some salt, cover with a lid and bring to a boil. Cook for 20 minutes or until tender. Drain and you are to mash. If you find that the potatoes seem watery – do not fear, Return the pot to the same burner. Let the potatoes sit for 10 minutes on the burner, with the heat turned off. This ensures the rest of the water at the bottom of the pot evaporates, so you don’t have watery mashed potatoes.

Mashing Your Potatoes

Using a potato masher, mash the potatoes right in the pot where you cooked them. Who needs one more dish to clean? Depending on how smooth you like your mashed potatoes this could take a few minutes. Here are a few rules to getting the perfect mashed potatoes. Do not overwork the potatoes. Starch is released when potatoes are mashed the more you mash the more starch is released – the gummier the mashed potato. Do not aggressively mash the potatoes. Never use a food processor or a blender. Always add hot milk, cream or butter to the potatoes. Adding cold ingredients brings the temperature down. Never use a food processor or a blender. Always add hot milk, cream or butter to the potatoes. Adding cold ingredients brings the temperature down. Mix-ins and toppings like bacon or veggies should be stirred in last. Follow your particular recipe for the best direction.

Varieties of Mashed Potatoes

Once you've finished learning how to make mashed potatoes you can easily spice things up by choosing a variety of toppings and mix-ins. Some just prefer to top with extra butter and a little salt and pepper, chives and onions, bacon and spinach, or with the gravy from their Thanksgiving turkey. There's certainly no shortage of ways to enjoy your mashed potatoes.

Garlic lovers can try our Garlic Mashed Potatoes, and cream cheese fans will enjoy our PHILADELPHIA Mashed Potatoes that come loaded with rich cream cheese, paprika and more.

Those looking to save time or just have their potatoes ready and waiting for them at home will love our Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes.

After you've mastered how to make mashed with the help of your guide, the sky is the limit. With just a little bit of practice, you'll be able to easily turn out show-stopping mashed potato side dishes, whether it's for the holidays or a weeknight family dinner.