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Classic Mashed Potatoes

Updated: Feb 5

With thousands of different mashed potato recipes in other blogs and cookbooks, there are so many to choose from. Variations in the potato type, amount of cream, butter, the addition of sour cream, and the list goes on and on. While there will be numerous mashed potato recipe variations on this website in the future, I will provide you with a very basic and versatile recipe.


potatoes, russet, Irish, starchy, starch, bakers, baker potatoes, vegtable

One of the biggest variations between mashed potato recipes is the types of potatoes used. While some call for russet potatoes, the kind you’d likely have when eating a baked potato, others call for red potatoes. For this recipe and ease of cooking, we will use russet potatoes.

The best thing about these potatoes, when used for mashed potatoes, is that they do not require a long baking time or extensive mashing. The cells easily break down, leading to their fluffy and light texture. I’ve tried to make mashed potatoes in a food processor for kicks, and I made a glue-like paste that took days to soak and clean out! Because you don’t have to work them as much, you have much less risk of the potatoes becoming like glue…

Cooking Methods

After looking at how other recipes and blogs suggest making mashed potatoes, I’m shocked by how few tell you to bake the potatoes and instead have you boil the potatoes. This all comes back to the type of potato you use. If you're using a red potato, boiling is the best way to cook it. Russet potatoes with a high starch content should be baked and NOT boiled. Think about it, when you make a baked potato with a russet potato, do you bake or boil it?

There are numerous reasons behind this; when you boil a potato, it loses flavor as water takes the place of its flavorings. Along with the loss of flavor comes the loss of nutrients.

Mash potatoes, mash, creamy, smooth, black pepper, salt, cream, russet, baker, russets, oven potatoes

Baking is also incredibly easy; rub in olive oil, salt, and pepper, stick it on a sheet pan in the oven for just over an hour, and peel and mash with cream and butter. You don’t have to boil water or check up on them. This is incredibly helpful when making large batches of mashed potatoes; there are only so many potatoes you can fit into a stock pot.

While baking the potatoes does run the slight risk of drier mashed potatoes, simply wrapping the potatoes in tin foil will help this process and lead to more even baking. You can also add more cream and butter to the final result.

The differentiator

You should always mash potatoes to the consistency that you prefer. Some like a lumpier mash, while some like it silky smooth. If you like it lumpy, use a hand masher and mash away till it’s what you desire. You are in luck if you want a smooth and creamy mash. While a ricer helps make mashed potatoes, it isn’t perfect; the mixture can often turn out grainy. What you truly need is a fine mesh sieve. After you peel the potatoes, you’ll want to mix in half the butter and cream, then, using a wooden spoon, push it through a fine mesh sieve back into the other half of the cream. The result is a fluffy, silky-smooth cloud of mashed potatoes.

And with all that knowledge on perfecting your mashed potatoes, let’s begin cooking!


Chef Olson

"The Flying Chef"

planes, flight, trained chef, pastry chef, French cook, experienced, Owner, Founder

Chefs Notes:

- I highly recommend only mashing potatoes by hand and not using any machinery such as a mixer or food processor.

- It’s essential that you continually taste the potatoes as you add cream and butter. Season throughout the cooking process.

- Be very careful not to overmix the potatoes, you don’t want them to lose their qualities

It can be a challenge to push the mash through a sieve but adding cream and using a wooden spoon will help.

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