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Perfect Mashed Potato

Follow my easy recipe to make Perfect Mashed Potato every time. Includes top tips for the ultimate in creamy hard to resist lump free mash.

Disappointed with your mash ? Too lumpy ? Too watery ? Too bland ? Well don’t worry, perfect creamy mashed potatoes are actually quick and easy to make.

The secret to success is simple: the best potatoes, melted butter and hot milk. And for me, my potato ricer delivers the ultimate in mashed potatoes.

Four small pots of perfect mashed potato and topped with lids.

We love our spuds at the Kitchen Shed, be it Bombay Potatoes on curry night or low fat oven chips. But a creamy, buttery mash is definitely our favourite comfort food. Especially as you can have this fluffy potato side dish ready in less than 30 minutes. Plus, it’s equally at home on a week night or a special occasion. (We always have mash and roast potatoes at Christmas) But a creamy, buttery mash is definitely our favourite comfort food.

Especially as you can have this fluffy potato side dish ready in less than 30 minutes. Plus, it’s equally at home on a week night or a special occasion. (We always have mash and roast potatoes at Christmas)

In my opinion, potatoes have been the subject of a lot of undeserved bad press. It’s way too easy to overlook all the good things about potatoes.

For instance, did you know potatoes are a great source of potassium, Vitamin C, Vitamin B6 and manganese ? That said, even though OH would enjoy it, probably best not to have buttery mashed potatoes every day.

Following the line of “all things in moderation”, we feel happy to have perfect mashed potatoes as a weekly treat.

Three small pots filled with spuds and topped with butter and parsley.

What equipment do I need ?

Potatoes going through a ricer.

Ideally, a potato ricer. One of the best gadgets I have in the kitchen is my ricer, a present no less from OH. I love it as it guarantees a lump free and fluffy mash.

A potato masher works well but doesn’t deliver quite as smooth a mash.

What ingredients do I need ?

Labelled ingredients on a worktop.

You only need four ingredients to make perfect mashed potatoes:

  • Potatoes – I’ve used Maris Piper but most floury potato varieties work well. See more information below.
  • Salt – I use sea salt. Whilst sea salt contains the same amount of sodium as table salt, it also contains minerals and is coarser grained. The minerals add to the flavour and the larger grains help you to use less.
  • Butter – I use unsalted butter as I prefer to season to our own tastes. If you are using salted butter, adjust the amount of salt to suit your taste.
  • Milk – full fat milk or, for a real treat, cream.

What Kind Of Potatoes Are Best For Perfect Mashed Potatoes?

The perfect mash starts with the potato, which is not just any old potato. If you don’t use the right variety of potato your fluffy mash won’t be as good as it could be.

When buying a bag of spuds, check the label for the variety. You can’t rely on a generic description such as “White Potatoes”. I always want to know the particular variety when buying potatoes so it matches the dish I’m making.

For mash you need a more floury, starchy variety such as Maris Piper, King Edward, Russet, Idaho or Wilja.

A floury potato gives a drier fluffier texture when cooked, which then soaks up the butter and milk or cream.

For main crop varieties, we always buy sacks of potatoes from our local grower, Upper Haythog Farm.

Two images of local farm spuds in a paper sack.

As well as being more economical, potatoes bought this way are unwashed and in a paper sack. Kept in a well aired, cool and dark place, the potatoes keep for ages.

Potatoes available in supermarkets tend to have been washed and then packaged in clear polythene bags.

Seeing as potatoes are best kept out of sunlight to reduce the risk of turning green, clear bags are questionable. Also, polythene bags make potatoes ‘sweat’ and this reduces the shelf life of your spuds.

Moisture clad potatoes in a polythene bag are not at their best and green potatoes can make you unwell.

If possible, it’s better to buy unwashed potatoes (loose or in sacks) from farm shops, markets or your local greengrocers.


If your potatoes come washed and in a plastic bag, remove from the bag and use as soon as possible.

How To Make Creamy Mashed Potatoes

1.5 kgs or 6 large potatoes will make six generous portions of mash. However, mash lovers such as OH are likely to say you’re looking at four portions.

Peeled potatoes on a board with a knife.
  • Peel and chop your potatoes into 5cm to 7.5cm (2 to 3 inch) pieces. It’s important to cut your potatoes to roughly the same size so they cook evenly.
  • Once cut, rinse and drain your potatoes to remove any excess starch.
Two images showing salting the potatoes in the pan and followed by cooking in a pan.
  • Place potatoes in a saucepan, cover with cold water and add salt.
  • Bring to the boil and simmer gently for 15 to 20 minutes until fork tender.
Two images showing cooked  potatoes in a pan followed by a pan covered with a cloth.
  • Drain your potatoes, leave them in the saucepan and place it back on the hob. Cover with a tea towel and gently heat for a minute or two to dry out.
  • Use two separate pans to individually melt the butter and warm the milk. Alternatively, use a microwave and two glass bowls or jugs.
  • Pass your potatoes through a ricer and gently fold in the warmed butter first. Melted butter coats the starch molecules in the potatoes, resulting in a velvety smooth mash.
Two images showing ricing of spuds.
  • It’s now time to add the warmed milk or cream. Gently does it, you don’t want to overwork the mash.
  • Check for seasoning and add extra salt if necessary.
  • Serve immediately or keep in a warm place for up to 20 minutes covered with a clean tea towel.
Four images showing the mixing of the mash and adding milk.

Alternatively, keep warm in a slow cooker set on warm: Grease the inside of your slow cooker pot with butter and add a few dots of butter on the bottom.
Transfer your mash to the slow cooker pot and put the lid on. Your creamy mash will keep warm for a couple of hours. Add a couple of dots of butter and fluff up before serving.

Top Tips for Perfect Mashed Potato

Cold Start

Start with your potatoes in cold water and bring them up to temperature. The key is to be gentle with your potatoes from start to finish. If you start with boiling water, potatoes cook unevenly, with the outside falling apart before the inside is cooked. This can help with crunchy roast potatoes but not with mash.

Salt

Dissolve salt in the water at the beginning so the expanding potato starch granules absorb the dissolved salt. This means you don’t need as much salt as you would if you added salt at the end of cooking.

Gently Does It

Cook on a gentle simmer. Potatoes vigorously bubbling and bashing about release too much starch and deliver a watery mash.

Dry

Drain your potatoes well as you don’t want waterlogged potatoes. Pop the saucepan with the drained potatoes back onto the hob for a couple of minutes on the lowest light.

Warm

Heat the butter and milk so the potatoes absorb all the creaminess without cooling down the mash.

Potato Ricer

Spud going through a ricer into a mixing bowl.

I can’t recommend enough the use of a ricer for mashed potato. It really does the job well but if you prefer you can use a masher. Don’t push the potatoes through a ricer too hard and too quickly. Remember, the key is to be gentle with your potatoes.

Electric Mixer

DON’T use an electric mixer. I know a lot of recipes specify an electric mixer but it’s far too easy to overwork the mash. Gently fold the warmed butter and milk into the riced potatoes with a spatula or wooden spoon.

Seasoning

Check for seasoning and add more salt if necessary as a bland flavourless mash is disappointing.

Keep Warm

Don’t prepare your mash too early because it does cool quickly. Mash keeps warm with a tea towel over the top of your dish if kept in a warm place. If your mash needs to keep warmer for longer, a warm slow cooker is good for a couple of hours.

What Can You Add To Mashed Potatoes ?

The versatility of potatoes means they go with so many additional flavours. We love them as they are but for a special treat we serve them with added butter and chopped parsley.

A small pot filled with spuds and topped with butter and parsley.

Optional extras:

  • A strong Cheddar or Red Leicester makes a really tasty cheesy mash.
  • Sour cream and chives -use soured cream in place of the milk.
  • Mustard or horseradish – add a bit of heat to your mash. Be careful though as 1 to 2 teaspoons is plenty ! Goes well with a roast beef dinner.

What to eat with Creamy Mash

Beef Goulash
Bangers and Mash – Veggie sausages and onion gravy
Sunday roast

Can I reheat it ?

Two small pots of mash with lids.

I prefer to serve creamy mash straightaway or keep it warm in the slow cooker. However, you can achieve good results reheating mash in a microwave. Microwave on full power a minute at a time, stirring as you go. You may find the need to add more milk and butter as the mash can dry out a little.

Can I freeze it ?

I wouldn’t recommend freezing mashed potato to reheat and serve because reheated frozen mash tends to go grainy and watery. In my opinion, reheating in a pan to dry out the defrosted mash isn’t worth it.
That said, I do freeze leftover mash to use in soups, potato bread or my chocolate potato muffins.

If you like this recipe you might also like……..

Easy Bombay Potatoes
Homemade Crispy Oven Chips

Perfect Mashed Potato

Follow my easy recipe to make Perfect Mashed Potato every time. Includes top tips for the ultimate in creamy hard to resist lump free mash.
5 from 41 votes
Print Pin Rate this Recipe Save Recipe
Course: Main, Side Dish
Cuisine: British
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 6
Calories: 320kcal
Author: Sarah James

Equipment

  • potato ricer

Ingredients

  • 1.5 kg floury potatoes e.g. King Edward, Maris Piper, Mozart, Wilja (I used Maris Piper)
  • 2 teaspoon sea salt plus extra to taste
  • 100 g butter
  • 75 ml milk or cream

Instructions

  • Peel and chop your potatoes into 5 to 7 cm (2 to 3 inch) pieces.
  • Once cut, rinse and drain your potatoes to remove any excess starch.
  • Place in a saucepan and cover with cold water and add salt.
  • Bring to the boil and simmer gently for 15 to 20 minutes until fork tender.
  • Drain and put the potatoes back on the hob, cover with a clean tea towel and gently heat for a minute or two to dry out.
  • Use two separate pans to individually melt the butter and warm the milk. Alternatively, use a microwave and two glass bowls or jugs.
  • Pass your potatoes through a ricer and gently fold in the warmed butter first.
  • Add the warmed milk or cream and gently fold in. Be careful not to overwork the mash.
  • Check the seasoning and add extra salt if necessary.
  • Serve immediately or keep in a warm place for up to 20 minutes covered with a clean tea towel – or try the slow cooker.

Notes

  • Serve them as they are but for a special treat we serve them with added butter and chopped parsley.
  • Optional extras:
    A strong Cheddar or Red Leicester makes a really tasty cheesy mash.
    Sour cream and chives – replace the milk with soured cream.
    Mustard or horseradish – add a bit of heat to your mash. Be careful though as 1 to 2 teaspoons is plenty ! Goes well with a roast beef dinner.
  • Reheating: I prefer to serve creamy mash straightaway or keep it warm in the slow cooker. However, you can achieve good results reheating mash in a microwave. Microwave on full power a minute at a time, stirring as you go. You may find the need to add more milk and butter as the mash can dry out a little.
  • Freezing: I wouldn’t recommend freezing mashed potato to reheat and serve because reheated frozen mash tends to go grainy and watery. Defrosted mash can be used in soups or in baking.
  • Nutrition information is approximate and meant as a guideline only.
Calories: 320kcal | Carbohydrates: 44g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 37mg | Sodium: 915mg | Potassium: 1073mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 442IU | Vitamin C: 49mg | Calcium: 49mg | Iron: 2mg

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Four small pots of mashed potato with lids.

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I like the idea of being able to keep the potatoes warm in a slow cooker. Haven't thought of that, perhaps my OH can now have his beloved roast potatoes AND mash at Christmas.

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