Recipes
7 common mistakes you need to avoid when cooking mashed potatoes
Mashed potatoes it has never been so delicious until now.
Kenny Fernandez
09.25.21

Mashed potatoes make the perfect side dish. Whether you’re making them for the holidays or with your everyday dinner, they can be a tasty and delicious addition to your meal. But, not everyone’s mashed potatoes come out 5-star.

mashed potoates
Pixabay
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Pixabay

If you’re making them from scratch, chances are your mashed potatoes have come out a bit lumpy and bland. You may have followed the recipe, but there are some things you may be doing wrong that are causing your potatoes to tank.

There are several mashed potato mistakes that you could be making that are keeping you from having creamy, tasty potatoes that everyone will love.

Are you making any of these mistakes? Let’s take a look.

Mistake #1: You’re picking the wrong potatoes.

Pixabay
Source:
Pixabay

You can’t just pick up any potatoes to make mashed potatoes. Yukon Gold or Russet are the best choices because they’re high in starch. According to Fine Cooking, they are low in moisture and make the fluffiest potatoes which is just what you want.

Mistake #2: You’re cutting the potatoes too small.

mashed potatoes
YouTube/Chowhound
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YouTube/Chowhound

You may think that cooking potatoes smaller is better. All Recipes suggests cutting them into pieces that are 1 1/2 to 2 inches wide. You want to make sure you cut them all into similar sized chunks because they’ll cook evenly.

Mistake #3: You forgot to add salt to the water.

best mashed potatoes
YouTube/Chowhound
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YouTube/Chowhound

Putting salt in water allows your potatoes to get infused with salt. It’s the same concept as when you make pasta. While you want to add some salt to the water for taste, you don’t want to go crazy. You can always add more salt later when you’re actually mashing the potatoes.

Mistake #4: You waited until the water was boiling to add the potato chunks.

potatoes
YouTube/Chowhound
Source:
YouTube/Chowhound

If you do this, the outside of the potatoes will cook faster than the inside of the potatoes. This leads to a texture that isn’t going to give you the creamy potatoes you want.

Be sure to put all of your potato pieces in the pot, add cold water, and then boil everything.

Mistake #5: You’re not cooking the potatoes long enough.

best mashed potatoes
YouTube/Chowhound
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YouTube/Chowhound

If your potatoes are hard when you take them out of the pot, they’re going to be difficult to mash, leading to many lumps. Typically, 25 minutes is a good cook time. But, since everyone’s stove cooks differently you may have to modify this.

You can tell your potatoes are cooked enough when you stick a knife in them and they fall apart. You can also look to see that the edges of the potato are falling off. Once you see these things happening, you can take the potatoes off the stove and drain them.

Mistake #6: You’re using the wrong tool to mash the potatoes.

best mashed potatoes
YouTube/Chowhound
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YouTube/Chowhound

While you may be tempted to throw the potatoes into the food processor to mash them, this is going to lead to potatoes that look like glue. Yuck! Instead, reach for the handheld masher or a ricer. A ricer gives your potatoes a real silky and smooth taste because it breaks the potatoes down thoroughly.

Mistake #7: Your ingredients are too cold.

best mashed potates
YouTube/Chowhound
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YouTube/Chowhound

If you take your butter and cream straight out of the fridge and dump them right into your mashed potatoes, you’re doing it wrong! This will not only cool down your potatoes but will also not mix well.

Instead, warm the butter and cream together in a saucepan. When the butter is fully melted and the cream is warm, stir them into the potatoes.

When you’re all done you can dress up your potatoes with some chives and more butter.

best mashed potatoes
YouTube/Chowhound
Source:
YouTube/Chowhound

If you’re making any of these mistakes (or maybe even all of them), your mashed potatoes are probably not coming out that great. But, all of these things are easy to make and can lead to prized potatoes that will have everyone asking for seconds…and maybe even thirds!

To get a full tutorial on the perfect mashed taters, watch the video below.

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By Kenny Fernandez
hi@sbly.com
Kenny Fernandez is a contributor at SBLY Media.
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