Whether they are served up with sausages or mixed up with cheese and spinach, mashed potatoes are a reliable, staple dish which is both super versatile and delicious.
Everyone has their own preference when it comes to the texture – some prefer it smooth and buttery whilst others prefer it rustic and chunky. Whatever your preference, we just want you to get your mashed potato right!
That’s why we thought we would share some tips on how to make mashed potatoes so you can get them perfect every time!
Choose the right spud
There are a lot of potato varieties out there and some are better suited for mashing than others. When it comes to mash, you’re going to want the smooth types to get that lightness you need when it comes to getting the masher out. We recommend using Maris Piper or Desiree but any of the spuds found in our smooth section work just as well!
Smooth potatoes have a lower proportion of starch to water, meaning they make a smoother, creamier mash without the need for added butter or milk. They are also better suited, to absorb more flavour from other ingredients, so if you’re adding extras such as herbs, garlic or onions roll up your sleeves as it will still be worth the effort!
Keep it even
It’s important that you cut your potatoes into chunks of the same size – this means that they can all cook at the same rate, instead of the larger pieces being undercooked and vice versa. Also, start off with cold water and bring the lot to the boil so that the insides can be cook at the same rate as the outside. Finally, make sure to add a pinch of salt so that the potatoes can absorb the flavour and have that lovely seasoned taste from the inside.
Drain and dry
Do you want your mash to taste of water? Of course not! That’s why you need to make sure you drain and dry the potatoes properly before getting stuck in to the mashing. After you’ve let them drain a bit, put them back in the dry pot on a low heat for a few minutes, gently shaking and moving them around. This helps evaporate any residual water, leaving you with dry potatoes ready for mashing.
Cream and butter
If you’re looking to make your mash creamy and indulgent, make sure that you let them warm up to room temperature first. If you add cold butter or milk from the fridge, they won’t absorb into the mixture as well and will also cool everything too much.
Don’t mash too much!
Right, it’s time for the main event! Pull up your sleeves and get ready to mash but do keep in mind that it is possible to go too far. After being cooked, the starch cells in the cooked potatoes are more delicate, meaning that if treated too roughly your mash will end up gluey and unappetising. Instead, mash gently using a ricer if possible and you’ll end up with a much better result. Do not use a blender or food processor as this is far too aggressive and will release all the starch.
Now you’ve got the basics covered, why not check out some of the amazing ways you can use mashed potato to spice up your meal? Try out the following recipes:
- Colcannan Mash – a fluffy creation full of bright flavours
- Mustard Mash – with a delicious fillet of poached cod
- Garlic Mash – accompanied by a tasty sea bream
So there you have it – some things to keep in mind the next time you’re looking to mash up a treat. For more details on the recipe and some ideas for additions check out our mashed potato recipe for inspiration.