Mashed potatoes are quite possibly my favorite side dish. Definitely in the top three favorite comfort foods. I make them almost once a week during the colder months of the year, but there are many variations.
So, I am going to talk about options and help you figure out which kind of mashed potatoes are best for you. Let's look at how to make the best whipped vs mashed potatoes. Which potatoes should you use and which mashing device is best? Are we using milk, cream, sour cream, or a combination? Let's start with the potatoes...
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Which Potatoes Are Best For Mashing?
There actually isn't one clear choice when it comes to choosing the potatoes you want for mashed or whipped potatoes. It depends on if you like creamy dense mashed potatoes or fluffy mashed potatoes with a light texture. Let's compare the options and which potatoes to avoid altogether.
Yukon Gold Potatoes have great flavor and the right consistency for a thicker mashed potato texture. Depending on which method you choose for processing the potatoes, you can have smooth and creamy potatoes or thicker potatoes with chunks left.
Russet Potatoes are the go to potato if you're looking for fluffy whipped potatoes. Russets have a higher starch content making them perfect for a lighter consistency. These however, have less flavor than Yukon gold potatoes.
Red potatoes are the perfect roasting potatoes and don't mash very well. They are more waxy and less starchy. These potatoes are best for boiling or roasting with butter and lots of herbs.
How To Mash Potatoes
Now, here there are many choices. Holy cow, so many and I have a lot of them. Hand mixer, hand masher, ricer, food mill... But my favorite is using my Kitchen Aid stand mixer with the whisk attachment. Here's my review on each method:
Stand Mixer- best for a smooth consistency. Especially useful for large batches of mashed potatoes. It gets the job done quickly and it does all the work for you. Not very labor intensive.
Electric Hand Mixer- This is just one step over from you a stand mixer. An electric mixer still does a good job, but can be messy and fling potato bits all over the kitchen making for extra clean up (I hate cleaning a messy kitchen). Good for consistency but not as good as the stand mixer. Medium effort on labor.
Hand Masher- An old school potato masher makes more of smashed potatoes recipe which leaves lumps (but if you like lumpy mashed potatoes this one is for you). Easy on clean up. Medium effort on labor.
Ricer or Food Mill- I have a love hate relationship with this one. It produces a good consistency. However, it's time consuming to load up that little vessel over and over again to get through all the potatoes, it's a pain to clean for some reason, and I don't love big tools that only do one job. High level of effort required.
Food Processor- can be used to process potatoes, but because this large cumbersome appliance is more difficult to wash and tucked away in a cabinet, I just don't pull it out very often. I would much rather use my stand mixer.
Best Ingredients for Delicious Mashed Potatoes
Whether you are whipping or mashing your potatoes, you need the flavor enhancers including butter and some sort of liquid. Check it out-
- Heavy Cream OR
- Half n Half OR
- Whole Milk
- Butter - not negotiable
- Sour Cream
- Cream Cheese
- Shredded Cheeses - cheddar cheese, parmesan
- Roasted Garlic
- Herbs- parsley, chives, or green onion
My Favorite Mashed Potato Recipes
Now that you some mashed potato basics under your belt, let's put it all together. I have two different methods for making my favorite mashed potatoes and choose which one I want to make based on the meal I am serving them with.
Mashed Potatoes Using Yukons
My perfect mashed potatoes include:
- Yukon golds
- unsalted sweet cream butter
- heavy whipping cream
- black pepper
- wash, peel, and chop the potatoes
- put them in a large pot and cover with cold water
- place the pot over medium heat and bring the water up to a boil cook for 10 minutes or until the potatoes are fork tender
- drain the potatoes and transfer them to the bowl of a stand mixer
- use the whisk attachment and whip the potatoes for 1 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl halfway through
- add the salt and butter - repeat the mixing process
- lastly, add the cream and black pepper
- mix for just another 30 seconds or until the cream has fully combined
With this method and recipe you will have lots of flavor from the Yukon gold potatoes and an incredibly thick and hearty texture. The final product will have you swimming in comfort food perfection. The texture will be smooth overall and have a uniform texture from being mixed.
We like to serve these potatoes in a big bowl with an extra tablespoon of butter of on top
Mashed Potatoes Using Russets
Second favorite option goes like this:
- Russet potatoes
- unsalted sweet cream butter
- half n half
- black pepper
- much like above, we need to wash, peel and chop our potatoes
- get them in a large saucepan or large stockpot and cover with cool water
- place over high heat and bring up to a boil. lower the heat to medium and cook for 10 minutes or until the potatoes are fork tender
- after the potatoes are fork tender, drain the hot water and set the pot back over the stove with the heat turned off
- use a ricer to process the potatoes back into the pot that you used to cook the potatoes
- season the potatoes with salt and add the butter
- turn the stove back on to low heat and add in the half n half and pepper
- stir to combine all of the ingredients
This is the recipe I go to when I want an airy texture. This recipe is also great with gravy or stew. Since the potatoes have less flavor than Yukon golds, they won't compete with a flavorful gravy. I like making these for dinner when we have Rotisserie Chicken Stew.
Lastly, the russet potato skin is high in fiber and has some iron. If you're okay with the texture, go ahead and leave some of the potato skin to increase the nutrient content.
Ways You Can Dress Up Mashed Potatoes
Gravy (without pan drippings)- Nothing says comfort food more for me than mashed potatoes and gravy. This gravy recipe is simple because you don't need pan drippings or a roast to make it. But it has two secret ingredients that give it plenty of flavor.
Shallots and Brown Butter- this toppings was originally made for steak, but over time I started putting it on side dishes like broccoli and mashed potatoes. If you're into gravy, but want a little something special give this a try.
My Mashed Potato Recipe Card
- 2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes
- 3 tablespoon unsalted butter room temperature
- ¼ cup heavy whipping cream room temperature
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Wash, peel, and cut potoatoes into ½ inch pices.
- Place cut potatoes in a pot of cool water until they are covered completely plus a half an inch of water above them.
- Put pot of potatoes on stove and turn on to medium high. Once the water is boiling, lower to medium heat and cook potatoes for 10-15 minutes until they are fork tender. That means when you poke the potatoes with a fork, they fall off the fork immediately.
- Drain the potatoes completely and add to the bowl of your stand mixer.
- With the whisk attachment, beat the potatoes on low at first and increase the speed gradually to a 4. Lots of steam will leave the potatoes which is important. Let the mixer go for 1-2 minutes and scrape down the sides as needed.
- Turn the mixer off. Scrape down the sides and add 1 teaspoon of salt and ½ a teaspoon of pepper.
- Turn the mixer back on to a low speed and add one tablespoon of butter at a time.
- Scrape down the sides, turn the mixer back on low and slowly add the heavy cream. You made need more or less cream depending on your desired consistency.
- Once the potatoes are completely mixed and amazing, return them to the pot they cooked in and put the lid to keep them warm until serving.