Even a side dish deserves full attention. Mashed potato has always been a side dish that is present whenever there’s big gathering like Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year or even on ordinary meals. Often times, people get so caught up preparing the main course that they forget to pay attention to side dishes.
Even a side dish can be the center of attention when done properly. I always see side dish as something that makes the main course elevated if not standout. They’re like “side-kick” or helpers that completes the taste of main course. It only means that it matters, it makes a difference and so we should also give it the proper TLC (tender loving care).
Imagine eating just the turkey or roasted beef or chicken and nothing else. Of course the taste of the meat itself will not change, but wouldn’t it be more appetizing and inviting if you have something to go with it? Perhaps roasted or steamed veggies, fresh salad, grilled corn or even better, the all time favorite mashed potato.
This is why today, I am not only going to share with you recipe for a simple mashed potato, but I will also share with you tips on how to achieve the silky smooth texture. I’ve done some research and I’ve tried and tested them to make sure you’ll get a fool-proof recipe that will give you the fluffy, smooth, light and creamy to die for mashed potato. Don’t be alarmed with the list of tips listed here. Yes, they’re a bit long but once you know them, it will come natural every time you make a mashed potato.
Below you will see that the steps are short and simple, but don’t take for granted the tips provided above. As simple as it may seem, it’s easy to end up with a tough and dry masked potato which we don’t like. Remember their purpose, to make the main course standout, not to ruin them. Get your potatoes ready and let’s make the best ever mashed potato. Let’s get started!
Tips For a Soft and Fluffy Mashed Potato:
- Choose the right type of potato, that is Yukon Gold (yellow, smooth and thin skin potato) or Russet (brown, thick and most of the time dirty looking skin). I personally prefer Yukon over Russet, as the texture tends to be smoother. Do not use red potatoes or fingerling potatoes as these waxy and they have low starch content. They do not break easily and they do not absorb dairy as much as the starchy potatoes.
- Cut the potatoes as evenly as possible to allow the potatoes to cook at the same time.
- Do not forget to salt the water for boiling potatoes. Potatoes are naturally bland, and adding salt in the water will make the potatoes absorb the taste.
- Start with COLD water. Using hot water to start the cooking could result to uneven cooking, resulting to some potatoes being cooked and some not cooked inside or outside.
- Butter and Cream SHOULD be in room temperature. Do NOT use it straight from the fridge as it will cool the mashed potato mixture. It will not be absorb easily by the potatoes and will make the mixing longer thus resulting to a tough mashed potatoes.
- Do NOT over-mix the mashed potatoes as it will result to a gummy texture. When you mix potatoes, starch is released and over doing the mixing will release more starch, and more starch means potatoes could be gluey, gummy or tough. This is also the reason why using a blender or food processor is not advisable. Use of ricer gives a fluffier texture as less mixing is required.
- Preferably, use a Ricer to get a smooth and creamy texture. This will require less mixing as the texture is already soft. Do not use food processor or blender as your mash potato will become tough. If you do not have a ricer, you can use potato masher but this will not be as creamy and smooth, a little bit chunky which is also nice.
- Pass the potato in the ricer while it is still hot. This will make a softer and fluffier mashed potatoes and will make the process easier.
- Stir cream and butter gradually: It is easier to adjust the consistency if you add the cream and butter gradually. Once your mashed potato turns runny, there’s no rescuing it. Potato size and weight could vary and not every time you will be weighing each piece, so the amount of cream and milk might need to be slightly adjusted depending on the size of the potatoes.
Now that you are armed with these tricks, let’s put them to use!
Small Batch of 3 Ingredients:
- 3 pieces medium size Yukon Potatoes or Russet Potatoes (about 500 grams)
- 1/3 cup full fat milk or cream (if you want it lighter, add 1 tbsp of cream at a time until you get your preferred consistency. If you want it thicker, reduce the cream) – room temperature
- 1/2 tsp Salt (Can also be reduced or increased to suit your preference)
- 1/4 tsp Pepper (Can also be reduced or increased to suit your preference)
- 3 tbsp salted butter – room temperature and cut into cubes (You can also use unsalted butter and increase the salt as needed)
For a larger batch: I normally allocate 1 medium size potato per person and used the ratio of 1 tbsp butter and cream per potato as a starting point. Then I gradually adjust it to attain my preferred consistency.
Singe Serving Portion:
- 1 piece medium size Yukon Potatoes or Russet Potatoes (about 162 grams)
- 1 tbsp full fat milk or cream – room temperature
- 1/4 tsp Salt (Can also be reduced or increased to suit your preference)
- 1/8 tsp Pepper (Can also be reduced or increased to suit your preference)
- 1 tbsp salted butter – room temperature and cut into cubes (You can also use unsalted butter and increase the salt as needed)
- Cheesy Mashed Potato
- Serving for 3: Add 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp (approx 45- 50 grams) Parmesan Cheese (can be substituted with other types of cheese)
- Serving for 1: Add 2 1/2 tbsp (approx 20 grams) Parmesan Cheese (can be substituted with other types of cheese)
- Spinach Mashed Potato
- Garlic Mashed Potato
- Serving for 3: – Add 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- Serving for 1: – Add 1/8 tsp garlic powder
- Garlic and Cheese Mashed Potato: Combine the add-on ingredients for both Cheese Mashed Potato and Garlic Mashed Potato
Some garlic powder are stronger than the other. Add garlic powder gradually start at 1/4 tsp and taste before adding more. All ingredients to create variations should be added in step 6. You can also increase/decrease the add-on ingredients to make the variations.
- Peel the potatoes and dice the potatoes into even sizes as possible.
- Add COLD water in a large pan and add the diced potatoes. Use enough water to fully cover the potatoes, then add 2 tablespoons of salt. Boil for 20 – 25 minutes or until potatoes are tender. I used a fork and pressed the potatoes in the side of the pan to check if it is done. If it gets mashed easily, its done.
- Drain the potatoes, then return it to the pan and cover for 5 minutes. This will steam the potato and remove the excess water.
- While still hot, run the potatoes through the ricer and transfer them back to the pan over a low heat, just enough to keep the mashed potato warm while you are mixing the butter and cream. Alternatively you can skip the ricing step and simply mash the potatoes with a potato masher, although the texture will be more chunky than smooth.
- Gradually stir in the cream and butter (1 tbsp at a time) and continue mixing until smooth and you reach the consistency that you prefer.
- Add salt and pepper to taste. If you are doing any of the variation, this is the step to add the additional ingredients. Mix until just fully combined and smooth. Do NOT over-mix.
This can be made ahead of time and store in the refrigerator. When you are ready to serve it, cover and microwave until soft. Lightly stir to restore smooth texture. I like adding melted butter before stirring it, it revives the texture of the mashed potato.
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Try it and let me know how it goes. Feel free to share this recipe and let’s get the community home cooking!♥