The holidays are around the corner and Mashed Potatoes are a must on the menu. I grew up with two different versions of Mashed Potatoes. Both are delicious but each unique in its own way.
Dad’s is the typical smooth or sometimes slightly lumpy version with butter, milk, salt and always served with gravy. Want to read a funny story about Mashed Potatoes and gravy? Read my Peruvian Hot Chocolate post!
Mom’s Peruvian version is creamy, smooth and slightly loose with no gravy required. Delicious! Instead, it is served with rice and mixed with the potato with every bite. Right now I will concentrate on Dad’s version.
The trick to making great Mashed Potatoes is to cook the potatoes until fork tender, drain, then add back into the saucepan over medium heat to dry them out. This not only removes excess water from the potatoes, as you stir them you break them up making it easier to mash when adding the cream and butter. Less water means more cream and butter are absorbed by the potatoes.
If you over boiled your potatoes, check out my post for How to Fix Over Boiled Potatoes.
I usually cook 5 – 6 pounds of potatoes for my family gatherings. I always feel it’s better to have a little too much than not enough. Any leftovers can be reheated in a saucepan with some milk or cream. I prefer using cream when making Mashed Potatoes. Cream adds richness, depth, and flavor. Stir the milk or cream until potatoes are heated through and add another pad of butter, if desired.
Another way to use up leftovers is to make Potato Pancakes. My husband, Bill, introduced me to this treat. His father would make them for him when he was a kid. Funny how food plays an important part in our family memories. He said his Dad would take out his big Lodge cast iron pan that was perfectly seasoned, add butter to the pan, form patties with the leftover mashed potatoes, and fry them for a few minutes on each side until browned. They are crispy on the outside and creamy on the inside. Delicious and a hit with the kids.
If you are like me and want to get as many things done before company arrives, here are some tips:
You can peel the potatoes the night before, cut into even slices – about 3/4″ – and place in a saucepan with cold salted water. Store in the refrigerator overnight. Next day, boil and continue with recipe.
Peel the potatoes, rinse them, slice, and place in a large saucepan with cold salted water and continue with recipe. Then coat the top with some cream without stirring. Place the pan into a skillet larger than your saucepan and add some hot water. Set the heat to low. Place the cover slightly askew. I sometimes place my wooden spoon on top of the pan and place cover on top. The water will heat up and keep the mashed potatoes warm until ready to serve. I would only recommend this for an hour or two. As long as the water is hot – not boiling – your Mashed Potatoes will stay hot without burning. When ready to serve, stir and plate.
I like to top the Mashed Potatoes with an additional pad or two of butter just for presentation. My family and I always fight for the first serving with the melted butter. I always see my youngest eyeing for that first scoop.
I hope you make these Mashed Potatoes and serve them at your next gathering.
If you have any leftovers, try the Potato Pancakes. They won’t disappoint.
- 3 pounds russet potatoes
- 1¼ - 1½ cups light cream or half and half
- 1 stick butter, sliced into 1" pieces
- Kosher salt to taste
- Peel the potatoes then rinse under cold water. Cut into even sized slices - about ¾" - then place in a large saucepan. Cover with cold water with at least 1" above potatoes.
- Add 2 tablespoons kosher salt to water. Bring to a boil and continue to gently boil for 15 to 20 minutes or until the potatoes are fork-tender.
- Meanwhile, heat the cream or half and half in microwave for 30 seconds until warmed. Alternatively, heat cream or half and half in small saucepan until warmed.
- Drain and return potatoes to saucepan over medium heat. Stir with wooden spoon to cook off excess moisture for about a minute. This not only dries potatoes, but starts to break them up for easy mashing.
- Stir in 1¼ cups cream and add butter. Mash until smooth. Add remainder of cream for creamier texture.
- Stir in additional kosher salt to your taste.
- Serve with an additional pad or two of butter if you like.