There is a secret to learning how to make fluffy mashed potatoes that you have likely been overlooking. It is so simple, it's genius! Get ready to make the best mashed potatoes ever!
There isn't a more basic side dish than mashed potatoes. At the same time, there isn't a side dish that can elevate any meal quite like properly prepared mashed potatoes. The best mashed potatoes will be as light and fluffy as the clouds in heaven and have your taste buds singing hallelujah in a resounding heavenly chorus, while dense and lumpy mashed potatoes are often best reserved for spackling drywall.
This recipe yields mashed potatoes so light and fluffy they could practically float away. Luckily they are blended with enough butter and cream to ensure you never do! In my humble opinion, if the amount of butter used doesn't leave you with the unsettling feeling that Jesus may have been watching, then you didn't add enough.
So are loads of butter the secret to crafting the fluffiest mashed potatoes? No. Using plenty of butter just tastes good in my opinion, you don't have to use as much as I do. But you should.
Tip: If you need to make dairy-free mashed potatoes, check out my mashed potatoes recipe without milk instead.
Ingredients and Substitutions
- Russet potatoes - These are also called baking potatoes. Russets are more mealy potatoes with a high starch content, making them ideal for mashing. I don't recommend substituting Yukon gold potatoes or red potatoes because waxy potatoes have less starch, making them really dense when mashed.
- Heavy cream - Whole milk can be substituted.
- Kosher salt - Table salt or sea salt is fine to substitute.
- Ground black pepper - Fresh ground black pepper will have the best flavor, but you can substitute white pepper if you don't want to see the specs.
Optional: Feel free to mix in roasted garlic, sour cream, or fresh thyme.
How to Make Fluffy Mashed Potatoes
Follow these simple steps for making the best fluffy mashed potatoes:
- Start with cold water for best results. Many people throw their potatoes into a pot of boiling water. You will actually get better results by starting with cold water because the potatoes will cook more evenly as the water heats up. By starting with boiling water, the exterior will begin falling apart before the interior is cooked.
- Use lukewarm butter and cream. You don't want the butter and cream to be overly cold when added to the potatoes. This will require you to mix it more to incorporate. The more you mix, the denser your mashed potatoes will be.
- Your mashing method matters! Mixing mashed potatoes release starch. Too much starch is what makes mashed potato gluey and ruins its fluffy texture. If you want to keep your mashed potatoes from getting gummy the best way to do this is using a potato ricer. Otherwise, you can still make classic fluffy mashed potatoes without a ricer by using a Food Mill instead. Both will work best since it breaks down the cooked potatoes without excessive mashing. Avoid using a hand mixer, blender, or food processor for this reason.
This brings us to the secret to making the fluffiest mashed potatoes: Removing excess starch.
The more starch you remove, the lighter and fluffier your mashed potatoes will be. To remove excess starch you will want to rinse the potatoes after peeling and chopping them, and then rinse them again after boiling the potatoes. When combined with the previously mentioned tips, this is the secret to making the best mashed potatoes!
Rinsing away excess starch is the same secret I used to perfect my homemade shredded hash browns. This has been one of my blog's most popular recipes for years!
If you found this recipe helpful, I also recommend reading my Secret to Perfectly Crispy Roasted Potatoes! You never make potatoes the same way again!
How to Make Fluffy Mashed Potatoes
- Food mill or ricer
- 4 pounds russet potatoes peeled and cut into 1" chunks
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 12 tablespoons butter room temperature, cut into ½-inch chunks
- kosher salt to taste
- freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Rinse cut and peeled potatoes under cold water until water runs clear.
- Add potatoes to a large pot of cold salted water, water should cover potatoes by one inch, and bring to a rolling boil on the stovetop over high heat. Once boiling, reduce to medium heat and simmer for 15 minutes or until potatoes are cooked and fork tender.
- Drain potatoes from water and rinse the hot potatoes in a colander under warm water.
- Run potatoes through a ricer or food mill and add butter, cream, salt and pepper. Gently fold with a spatula until fully incorporated and taste for salt.
- Place into a large bowl and serve immediately.
Troubleshooting this recipe
If your mashed potatoes are gummy or a gluey mess it is likely because you made one of these common mistakes. To avoid having gummy mashed potatoes it is important to only use starchy potatoes rather than waxy potatoes like Yukon golds. Your cut potatoes should also be rinsed under water before and after boiling, and then mashed finely with a food mill or ricer without over-mixing.
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This recipe was originally published on FoxValleyFoodie.com February 11, 2017.