How to get smooth mashed potatoes

Published 9:27 am Monday, November 25, 2019

When it comes to comfort food, who can say no to a steaming scoop of fluffy mashed potatoes? Whether you like ’em smothered in gravy or topped with a big pat of butter, there’s no denying that mashed is one of our favorite ways to enjoy a spud.

However, achieving the perfect mashed potato consistency can be a bit of a challenge. That’s why we tried four different methods to come up with the best technique. Here’s what we found. Never serve lumpy mashed potatoes again. A ricer or food mill will turn your cooked spuds into a light and oh-so-fluffy side. This technique presses the potatoes through tiny holes, eliminating any and all clumps. It also helps incorporate air into the mixture, ensuring your potatoes reach a creamy, crave-worthy consistency.

The only downside? This method requires good ol’ fashioned manual labor. Plus, not everyone has a ricer or food mill in their gadget arsenal.

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HAND MASH: If you like your mashed potatoes on the chunky side, you can use a hand masher. This retro gadget uses manual power to squish cooked potato chunks to the desired consistency.

ELECTRIC MIXER: This is the method my mom uses, and it yields super-smooth and fluffy spuds. Start by turning your mixer on a low speed, then start to churn the potatoes. Slowly add warm milk and butter until you reach the desired consistency. Wondering which hand mixer to buy? This is the best one, according to our Test Kitchen.


Unless you like gummy, gluey potatoes, avoid using a blender or food processor. Even though it’s quick and easy, the end result of this method is a mess. Honestly, a simple fork is better.

Some recipes you might want to try this Thanksgiving.




4 to 5 large potatoes (about 2-1/2 pounds)

3 ounces cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup sour cream

1 tablespoon chopped chives

3/4 teaspoon onion salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1 tablespoon butter

Paprika, optional


Peel and cube the potatoes; place in a saucepan and cover with water. Cook over medium heat until tender; drain. Mash until smooth (do not add milk or butter). Stir in cream cheese, sour cream, chives, onion salt and pepper. Spoon into a greased 1-1/2-qt. baking dish. Dot with butter; sprinkle with paprika if desired. Cover and bake at 350° for 35-40 minutes or until heated through.



4 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cubed (about 8 cups)

1/2 cup butter, softened

1-1/4 teaspoons salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

3/4 to 1 cup buttermilk

Optional toppings: crumbled cooked bacon, sour cream and thinly sliced green onions


Place potatoes in a 6-qt. stockpot; add water to cover. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cook, uncovered, until tender, 10-15 minutes.

Drain; return to pan. Mash potatoes, gradually adding butter, salt, pepper and enough buttermilk to reach desired consistency. Serve with toppings as desired.



3 ounces cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup sour cream

1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon softened butter, divided

1 envelope ranch salad dressing mix

1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley

6 cups warm mashed potatoes (without added milk or butter)


In a large bowl, combine the cream cheese, sour cream, 1/4 cup butter, salad dressing mix and parsley; stir in mashed potatoes. Transfer to a 3-qt. slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 2-3 hours. Top with remaining butter.

Editor’s Note: This recipe was tested with fresh potatoes (not instant) in a slow cooker with heating elements surrounding the unit, not only in the base.