What Is the Best Way to Mash Potatoes?
Ask anyone how they make mashed potatoes and you'll probably get four or five different answers. You may even start an argument around the dinner table. I know that in my own family everyone seems to make them differently.
I've been making mashed potatoes for many years, and I've made them with all of the methods tested here. With some of the methods, they turn out really well, and with the others, they aren't so great.
For this article, I tested four kitchen tools that are commonly used. I included the same amount of potatoes and ingredients with each method tested. One kitchen tool stood out above the rest and just so happened to be my favorite way to mash potatoes. Check out the results of my non-scientific test below.
But first, I'd love to know which way you think is the best way to mash potatoes.
Let the Debate Begin
Which method do you think is the best way to mash potatoes?
The 4 Methods That Were Compared
Hand Held Masher
Inexpensive kitchen utensil, easy clean up
Lumps, time consuming
No lumps, quick preparation, easy clean up
Sticky, thick and gummy texture
Quick preparation, light and fluffy
Light and fluffy, no lumps
So what is the best way to mash potatoes? Making them with a ricer is tops. The potatoes are light and fluffy. The mixer method comes in a close second with the hand held masher method coming in third place. My least favorite way to mash potatoes is with an immersion blender. The potatoes get an odd gummy texture which isn't appealing.
Method #1 - Hand Held Potato Masher
There are a number of styles of hand held mashers available. They can be used for potatoes and other vegetables and probably some other things too. They do require some muscle power, especially if mashing a lot of potatoes.
I've always found potatoes mashed this way end up having lumps in them, no matter how long I mash them. On the up side, this kitchen tool is fairly inexpensive and doesn't require electricity.
If using a hand held masher, cook the potatoes until they are really soft. That will help make it easier to mash them.
Here are the mashed potatoes that were made using a hand held masher. They tasted good, but did have lumps.
Method #2 - Immersion Blender
Immersion blenders are one of my favorite kitchen tools. They make the creamiest soups and sauces in absolutely no time. Unfortunately they don't make great mashed potatoes.
The immersion blender cuts through potatoes quickly and makes them smooth and creamy with no lumps.
The problem is that the potatoes turn out really gummy. It's hard to explain but something happens to them when blended so quickly and they get sticky and thick. I'm not a scientist, but I'm guessing it has something to do with the starch.
As you can see in the picture above, potatoes mashed with an immersion blender get a weird shine to them. This method was definitely not my favorite.
Method #3 - Mixer (Hand Held or Stand)
Lots of people swear by the mixer method when they mash potatoes. Some folks use a stand mixer, others a hand held one. Either way, the potatoes turn out nicely, light and fluffy, but a little lumpy.
Making mashed potatoes with a mixer is quick and easy. I like using a hand held mixer because it's easier to stir up the potatoes in a large bowl. A stand mixer works well too, and is nice to use when preparing a big dinner with lots of things to do at one time.
Mashed potatoes made with a mixer usually turn out well. They are light, fluffy and delicious with just a few lumps. This is definitely a tried and true method and a favorite of many people.
Method # 4 - Ricer
Many people don't know about ricers, but growing up this was the only way my family ever made mashed potatoes. My Dad would bring out this old metal concoction and I would always volunteer to help. It was fun to use and it makes perfect mashed potatoes every time.
A ricer does take a little more time than an electric mixer, but it's worth it.
Fill cooked potatoes into the bucket and squeeze down. The potatoes come through the holes in the bottom. They do look like rice. Then just add the milk and butter and whatever other seasonings you want to put in and mix.
Mashed potatoes made with a ricer are perfect every time and are definitely the best way to mash potatoes.
Simple Mashed Potatoes
You can't have a bad meal when you have mashed potatoes on your plate and this simple recipe is my favorite way to make them.
What do you think about this recipe?
- 5 lbs potatoes, peeled and cut into about 2
- 1/2 cup milk, a little less or more depending on how you like the consistency
- 1/4 cup butter
- salt, to taste
- pepper, to taste
- Fill a large pot about 1/2 full with cold water. Peel and cut potatoes into about 2" pieces and put into the pot of water. Add more water to cover the potatoes completely.
- Bring the pot to a boil and let cook for about 15 - 20 minutes, checking on the potatoes to see when they are tender and split when a fork is inserted. Check a couple of potatoes just to be sure.
- Drain the potatoes and put into a large bowl. Use a ricer to mash the potatoes into a mixing bowl.
- Add the milk, butter, salt and pepper and mix thoroughly. You may need to add a bit more or less milk, depending on how you like the texture of your mashed potatoes.
- Serve and enjoy.
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