Your Guide to the Most Amazing Thanksgiving Mashed Potatoes - Tips from The Kitchn

Your Guide to the Most Amazing Thanksgiving Mashed Potatoes - Tips from The Kitchn
From The Kitchn - November 10, 2017

Mashed potatoes should be so good they do not even need a drizzle of gravy. That means they need to be light and fluffy, creamy and rich, and decadently buttery. For so many of us, Thanksgiving just is not Thanksgiving without them.

So how do you master the mash? Here's everything you need to know to achieve mashed potato greatness.

Making the Ultimate Mashed Potatoes

The best mashed potatoes start from the source: the potatoes themselves. Then it's all a matter of how you cook them, what you add to them, and the tools you use. We are sharing our tips and tricks from start to finish, all of which are built into our perfect mashed potato recipe. Even if you do not use this exact recipe, these tips will guarantee mashed potato success.

The Potatoes

A great mash starts with great potatoes. While there are a whole slew of potato varieties available, there are a few that work better than others.

Choose starchy potatoes.

Starchy Russet or Idaho potatoes are the best choice for mashed potatoes because they fall apart easily when cooked, but also absorb cream and butter well. Mashed potatoes made with these kinds ofpotatoes mash up the lightest and fluffiest. All-purpose potatoes like Yukon Golds wo not mash up quite as well, but you will still get very good results if that's what you have. Waxy potatoes, however, like New or Red Bliss, will mash up gummy, so they should be saved for more rustic preparations.

For the best texture and flavor, go 50/50.

High-starch potatoes tend to have the mildest flavor, so if you are craving the natural butteriness and golden color you get from Yukon Golds but still want the extra-light and fluffy texture you getfrom Russets, use half and half.

Read more: The Best Potatoes for Mashed Potatoes

The Dairy

Since the best mashed potatoes really just consist of a few simple ingredientspotatoes, butter, some form of cream, and salt and pepperthe dairy you use is equally as important as the potatoes.

Reach for unsalted, good-quality butter.

The benefit of using unsalted butter instead of salted butter is all in the control of the amount of salt. This way you can season the potatoes as you see fit. Since butter is really the predominant flavor in a great mash, use the best quality you can afford and make sure it's one you like the taste of.

Skip the whole milk and go for half-and-half or cream.

Liquid dairy is what makes mashed potatoes luscious and creamy. Since it's Thanksgiving, splurge a little and use half-and-half or splurge a lot and use cream. The final dish will thank you.

Related: What's the Difference Between Half-and-Half, Light Cream, Whipping Cream, and Heavy Cream?

The Method

Once you have assembled your ingredients, there are a few ways to make mashed potatoes. Whichever method you choose, the key is to work the potatoes as little as possible because the more you mash and mush them, the more starch is released and the more gummy and gluey they become.

Start by boiling unpeeled, uncut potatoes in cold, salted water.

Use the right mashing equipment.

Warm your dairy before adding it to your mash.

Know the right way to keep your mashed potatoes warm.

Messing with Perfection


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