Mashed potatoes may seem like a pretty straightforward side dish. But as simple as they seem, they don’t always turn out as planned! The fluffy, flavorful potatoes you envisioned may turn out starchy, gummy, or downright bland. But I recently learned about a simple trick that can enhance both the taste and texture of your mashed potatoes, and that’s what I’ll be sharing with you today!
Do you use one type of potato when making your mashed potatoes? Most people do! But choosing only one potato may actually be working against you. Because when you use only one type of potato, there’s not a lot of room for error. Failing to get the flavor or texture just right can ruin your poor potatoes! But as I recently discovered, there are actually two simple ways to get around this mashed potato problem!
The Secret To Better Mashed Potatoes
The first way to improve the taste and texture of your mashed potatoes is to use two or three different varieties of potatoes, rather than just one. Combining a variety of different textures and starch levels makes for more interesting and flavorful mashed potatoes!
The second option for enhancing your mashed potatoes is to supplement your potatoes with other root vegetables. You could use turnips, parsnips, sunchokes, or sweet potatoes—whatever you like best! Adding different roots in with your potatoes will add a ton of flavor and character to your mashed potatoes.
To take this advice for a spin, I decided to try both methods at once. To my usual choice of russet potatoes, I added both Yukon gold potatoes and parsnips into the mix. After mashing everything together and adding a healthy amount of butter, I was delighted by how delicious it turned out! I had been worried that the additions would make my mashed potatoes unrecognizable, but that wasn’t the case at all. The Yukon golds and parsnips simply enhanced the flavor and texture of my mashed potatoes in a really wonderful way.
After seeing (and tasting!) what a difference it made, I don’t know if I’ll ever go back to using just one type of potato!
4 More Mashed Potato Mistakes (And How To Fix Them!)
1. Cutting Your Potatoes Too Small
Cutting your potatoes into small pieces may make them cook faster, but that’s where the good news ends. Small potato pieces will absorb more water than larger pieces during cooking. Water-logged potato pieces lead to watery and bland mashed potatoes, and no one wants that! So when you’re cutting your potatoes before cooking them, make sure your pieces are at least 1 1/2” wide.
2. Letting Your Cooked Potatoes Sit In The Water
If you boil your potatoes before mashing them, it’s important to take them out of the pot as soon as they’re done cooking. If your potatoes continue to sit in the water, they’ll continue absorbing more water. This leads to the same issues I mentioned above—watery, bland mashed potatoes. Make sure to drain your potatoes as soon as they’re done!
3. Mashing Potatoes With A Food Processor
Your food processor is a very handy tool, but when it comes to making mashed potatoes, it is not your friend! Processing cooked potatoes will unlock all of the starches trapped inside them. Those starches will turn your mashed potatoes into a gummy, glue-like mess! Instead, use a handheld potato masher. The wavy kind is great if you like your potatoes a bit lumpy. If you like them really smooth, use a grid-style masher.
4. Adding Cold Liquids
Whether you like to add milk, cream, or chicken broth to your potatoes, it’s best to warm the liquid up first. Adding warm liquids to your warm potatoes makes them easier to combine. It will also help your potatoes will stay warmer, longer!
I like to take it to the next level by sautéing some garlic in a bit of butter, then pouring my milk in. Then I add the warmed garlic butter milk to my potatoes, and it makes for great texture and flavor!
What do you like to add to your mashed potatoes?