Thanksgiving
The Biggest Mistakes Made When People Cook Mashed Potatoes
There are the right – and wrong ways to cooking the best mashed potatoes.
Kathleen Shipman
11.24.20

Move over turkey, you’re not the only important food on a Thanksgiving table! Hungry guests look forward to the yummy sides as well – one being the mashed potatoes, which seem to complete the meal just perfectly.

Unsplash/Pro Church Media
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Unsplash/Pro Church Media

If you’re making mashed potatoes from scratch this year, there are common mistakes to avoid. The list below can help steer you away from lumpy, bland potatoes, and instead towards the creamy, flavorful kind that everyone wants.

Don’t just avoid these mashed potato mistakes around the holidays though. With how delicious of a side they are – these tricks will be useful year-round!

YouTube Screenshot/Chowhound
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YouTube Screenshot/Chowhound

Mistake #1 – Selecting the wrong spuds

Amazing mashed potatoes can’t be achieved with just any potato. It’s important to use a starchy potato, like Yukon Golds or russets.

Pixabay/Brett Hondow
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Pixabay/Brett Hondow

Mistake #2 – Cutting them into pieces that are too small

Food Network explains:

“They’ll absorb too much water during cooking, preventing them from soaking up all the yummy butter and cream when it comes time for mashing.”

Pixabay/Iris Hamelmann
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Pixabay/Iris Hamelmann

They suggest that the ideal size to cut your potatoes into is approximately 1 1/2 inch pieces. Sunset magazine food editor, Margo True, recommends that they’re “even chunks” so they “cook at the same rate.”

YouTube Screenshot/Chowhound
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YouTube Screenshot/Chowhound

Mistake #3 – You don’t add salt to the water

Your potatoes can become infused with salt if you put some in the water – similar to pasta. However, just make sure to taste the mashed potatoes later before seasoning them, to help determine if you’d like additional salt.

Pixabay/Bruno/Germany
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Pixabay/Bruno/Germany

Mistake #4 – Waiting until the water boils to add in your potato pieces

If you were to add the chunks after the water boils, their outsides will cook faster than their insides. This will lead to an undesirable texture. Instead, put your pieces into a pot, fill with cold water, then bring to a boil.

YouTube Screenshot/Chowhound
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YouTube Screenshot/Chowhound

Mistake #5 – Mashing the potatoes with the wrong kitchen tool

Using a food processor might seem like a quick way to get the potatoes whipped up – but it actually gives them a “gluey” texture. All Recipes explains:

“The fast speed and intense mixing process will release the potatoes’ natural starch, which can quickly make them gluey or spongy.”

A ricer is a great tool for making this side dish, as it allows you to break down the potatoes into even strips. According to True, a ricer will help give you “super-smooth, silky potatoes.” Or, a handheld masher works too.

YouTube Screenshot/Chowhound
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YouTube Screenshot/Chowhound

Mistake #6 – Using butter and cream that’s still cold

Don’t just take these ingredients straight from the fridge and plop them in. No, they need to be warmed up first! After all, cold butter and cream will cool your mashed potatoes down.

Just warm the butter and cream together in a small saucepan. When the butter is fully melted and the cream warm, just stir the ingredients in the mashed potatoes.

Pixabay/congerdesign
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Pixabay/congerdesign

Everyone has their own favorite recipes and tricks that perhaps their moms taught them. However, these mashed potato mistakes are common ones that experts agree on. If you keep them in mind this holiday season, hopefully, you’ll get those dreamy potatoes that make guests cheer! Just prepare to be asked for your secret…

YouTube Screenshot/Chowhound
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YouTube Screenshot/Chowhound

Wanna find out how Margo True makes her mashed potatoes? Watch the video below to see her demonstration!

Please SHARE this with your friends and family.

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By Kathleen Shipman
hi@sbly.com
Kathleen Shipman is a contributor at SBLY Media.
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