A reader reached out last month asking for my go-to recipe for creamy mashed potatoes. I was actually surprised that I had not posted a basic mashed potato recipe as I seriously love potatoes. I did the next best thing and whipped up a batch so I could get the recipe perfect.
This is one of those recipes that I make completely by memory as I have been making them for as long as I could stand on a stool to help in the kitchen. There are a couple tips that I have changed and fine tuned over the years, and now I will share them.
Does it make a difference what type of potato? It absolutely does. I have tried making these super creamy mashed potatoes with yellow, red, purple and russets. Each type comes out differently and every time, hands down the russet wins. There is more starch in a russet potato and they begin to fall apart when cooking which makes them absorb more butter and cream, producing a fluffy mashed potato. Other potatoes make a gummy and gluey mashed potato. Other potatoes have more flavor but if you want a fluffy and creamy mashed potato reach for the russet.
Peel the potatoes and slice into rounds that are somewhat evenly sized. My slices are usually about 1/2″ thick. They will consistently cook to the right texture at the same time. Mismatched chunks of potatoes do not cook uniformly.
Do not salt the water. I use to salt the water with a heavy hand and then a chef friend told me to stop, as it will dry out the potatoes.
Place the potato slices into a large deep pan and cover with cold water. Place on the stove, bring to a boil and then lower to simmer. If you pop into already boiling water they will not cook evenly.
Drain and let sit in the colander about 10 minutes. If they potatoes are somewhat dry the ingredients coat them better.
Bring the butter to room temperature and heat the cream before mixing everything into the potatoes.
Ricer vs. potato masher? I use both and it really depends on how lazy I am being if I am being completely honest. Mashing them too much with a mixer or food processor releases the starch too fast, and causes them to break down. Be gentle and use some love when whipping them up.
To garnish or not? I only add some extra butter, salt and pepper. If I want a little color then I sprinkle on some parsley. I find chives tend to take away from the flavors of the gravy, and I love the gravy!
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Creamy Mashed Potatoes
** serves 4 – normal sized servings. Recipe doubles and triples well.
2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled, washed and cut into 1/2″ slices
1/2 stick of unsalted butter + 1 tablespoon, room temperature
1/2 cup heavy cream + 1 tablespoon, heat until warm to the touch
kosher salt, to taste
black pepper, to taste
parsley, to garnish
extra butter, to garnish
Place the potatoes into a large and deep pan, cover with cold water and place onto the stove. Bring to a boil and then lower heat to simmer. Cook until fork tender; about 20 – 25 minutes. I usually start testing at about 15 minutes and go from there.
Drain the potatoes and let sit in the colander about 10 – 15 minutes to dry them off. If you cannot wait, then shake of excess water and place back into the pan and onto the stove. Gently heat a little to remove extra water.
Using either a ricer or potato masher, add the butter and gently mash.
Stir in the heavy cream with a wooden spoon or spatula. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Place into a serving bowl and then garnish with extra butter and parsley.