How to Make the Best Mashed Potatoes Recipe (With & Without Cream)

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Mashed potatoes are a staple in American households. While they may not be the star of the meal, you can undoubtedly perfect them, so they’re eaten every time you serve them. They really are the ideal side dish as the ingredients are simple and affordable, they bring warmth and comfort to any meal, and you need not be celebrity chef Gordon Ramsey to make them – although he does make a mean mashed potato. 

In this article, we’ll take you through some mashed potato tips, help you choose your potatoes, share a recipe and how to make them, and answer some FAQs, including how Chef Ramsey makes his. 

Tips on how to make the best mashed potatoes recipe

  • Use a half and half combination of russet and Yukon gold potatoes for mashed potatoes that are the perfect mix of starchy and soft. 
  • When it comes to making the best mashed potatoes, this one is no secret, avoid watery spuds. Cutting them into large chunks before bringing them to a boil in cold water helps. Overboiling will also contribute to a mash that’s too moist, so make sure to set a timer when cooking.
  • Dry your potatoes before mashing by returning them to the empty pot and placing it on another burner over low heat, moving them around for one minute to cook off some of the steam.
  • Avoid adding all the liquids at once. Let the butter melt in and stir before gradually adding the milk to allow the potatoes to absorb it.
  • Mix in the liquids until just combined to ensure you keep the ideal texture. 
  • Taste as you do to make sure you can detect the salt as it can dilute. While it’s added to the water and again before serving, you may want to make sure you can still taste it after adding each ingredient.

How to choose your potatoes

kkolosov – stock.adobe.com

For mashed potatoes, you want a spud that’s starchy like russets or Yukon golds. Some folks swear by one or the other. However, that’s to do with preference as russets tend to produce a firmer mash and Yukon gold, a softer or more buttery textured dish. Avoid using red potatoes or fingerlings since they’re less starchy and waxier, making for a gluey mash.

Making the ultimate mashed potatoes

This recipe makes four servings, takes 10 minutes to prepare, 25 minutes to cook, with a total time of 35 minutes.

Ingredients

3.5 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, cut into large chunks

3.5 teaspoons salt, plus more to taste

6 tablespoon butter, at room temperature

1/2 cup sour cream

1 cup half and half cream*

1/2 teaspoon black pepper, optional

Notes: you can substitute milk for cream.

Directions

  1. Start with combining the cream and sour cream in a small bowl, allowing it to come to room temperature as you prepare the potatoes.
  2. Peel the potatoes, give them a quick rinse, and cut them into chunks about two inches thick. If you want to leave your skins on, follow the same directions, washing your potatoes first to remove any dirt.
  3. Place the potatoes in a large pot and cover them with cold water until one inch of water sits above them.
  4. Bring the water to a gentle boil and add the salt.
  5. Set a timer for 25 minutes and let the potatoes cook until they’re fork-tender.
  6. Drain the water from the pot, using a colander to catch your potatoes.
  7. Place the potatoes back in the empty pot and put it over another burner set to low heat. Moving them around consistently for one minute will cook off some of the steam.
  8. Turn the burner off and remove the potatoes from the heat. Stir in the butter and let it melt.
  9. Taste for the salt and add a pinch if needed.
  10. Carefully add 3/4 of the cream mixture to the potatoes and mash until just combined, avoiding over-mashing. 
  11. Taste for the salt again. 
  12. You only need to add the remaining dairy if you’d like a slightly more creamy texture. If you do add this or additional salt, mix until just combined.

Nutritional values per serving

Calories: 591

Carbohydrates: 73 grams

Protein: 11 grams

Fat: 30 grams

Saturated fat: 19 grams

Cholesterol: 82 grams

Sodium: 1094 milligrams

Fiber: 9 grams

Sugar: 4 grams

Original recipe: The Cozy Cook

What to add to mashed potatoes for flavor 

For a cheesy mashed potato recipe, replace the sour cream with cream cheese and add your desired amount of shredded cheddar. To make your potatoes garlicky, add four to five cloves of garlic, heated with a bit of olive oil for one minute. Also, remember it need not be Thanksgiving for you mashed potatoes to be topped with gravy.

Mashed potatoes FAQs

Joe Gough – stock.adobe.com

Is milk or cream better for mashed potatoes?

The answer to this boils down to preference. Milk is a lower fat and less costly solution to adding moisture to your mash. Using cream gives your potatoes a richer taste like that of a fancy steakhouse.

How do you make mashed potatoes without a masher?

If you’re making mashed potatoes without a masher, you can use a fork or whisk to do the work. Additionally, you can use a food processor for a quick mash, but you want to make sure you avoid turning it into a puree or paste. While it may seem strange, you can also use the bottom side of a hefty mug.

How does Gordon Ramsey make his mashed potatoes?

Gordon Ramsey makes his best-masked potatoes a bit differently than we’ve outlined here. To achieve his ideal texture, he cooks his liquids, adds his potatoes to boiling water, works while the ingredients are hot, and puts his spuds through a ricer to mix instead of mash. His potato boiling time also differs. Here’s a quick summary of how that looks. 

Ingredients

2.2 pounds of potatoes

1/3 cup of butter

6 tablespoons and 1 teaspoon of milk

6 tablespoons and 1 teaspoon of heavy cream

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Directions

  1. In a large pot, bring salted water to a boil and add the potatoes.
  2. Put the lid on and cook them for 15 minutes.
  3. As they cook, mix the butter, milk, and cream in a small saucepan.
  4. Bring the mixture to a simmer over low heat.
  5. Once the potatoes are cooked, drain them using a colander and put them through a ricer quickly – take caution as the potatoes are hot.
  6. Return the riced potatoes to their pot and pour the cream in your saucepan over them, mixing until combined. Add salt and pepper to taste, stirring again before serving.

Taters gonna tate

Once you perfect your mashed potato game, you and those at your table will want to finish every bite. You may want this to be the whole meal, but since mashed potatoes are typically a side dish, you’ll want to find a main to pair it with, but we’ve got you covered. Check out these grilling ideas or this recipe for chicken parmesan, which pairs wonderfully with potatoes in place of pasta.

If you’re searching for some new recipes and want to gather ingredients, you can order in seconds and get them in a matter of minutes with Gopuff. You can find additional inspiration on their blog

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