Chef Explains: How to Make the Perfect Mashed Potatoes

Written by Henrik Rothen

Nov.27 - 2023 11:43 AM CET

How to make the perfect mashed potatoes.

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Mashed potatoes are a fantastic side dish for most meals, whether you're serving sausages or making a shepherd's pie.

However, lumpy or just not quite right mashed potatoes can make or break a meal. Fortunately, a top chef has shared how to perfect your mash every time – and many of us are making a simple mistake.

According to, Mary-Frances Heck, who works in the Bon Appetit test kitchen, revealed her top nine tips for this tasty comfort food this winter, with some hints that are sure to surprise a few.

The first tip is to use more than one type of potato. This might seem a bit unnecessary, but the method can actually help improve the texture of your side dish.

The chef suggests trying a mix of waxy and starchy potatoes for the optimal consistency.

The second tip is to make sure to wash your potatoes. While this might seem obvious to some, dirt and grit can greatly affect your mash if you overlook this step.

You should also avoid using boiling water, Mary-Frances recommended. Instead, start with cold water and add your potatoes before turning up the heat. This ensures they cook evenly. It's also important to add plenty of salt to the water, as the potatoes will absorb the seasoning and become more flavorful.

After this, you should keep the temperature steady, as vigorous boiling can cause your potatoes to fall apart. Instead, it's recommended to let them simmer.

Next, ensure you drain the potatoes properly before starting to mash them. Mary Frances advises investing in a proper potato masher instead of using a fork. If you're feeling a bit fancy, you can also try using a potato ricer to do the job. This will give the potatoes a wonderfully airy texture without any lumps and bumps.

You should also heat the milk before adding it to the potatoes, Mary said. This will make your mash nice and smooth. In contrast, the butter you add should be cold, straight from the refrigerator, to ensure it melts evenly into the mash.

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