Salt & Vinegar Mashed Potatoes

November 11, 2019
5 Stars
Photo by Bobbi Lin
Author Notes

For better mashed potatoes, take a cue from potato chips. Salt-and-vinegar is one of the most popular flavors for good reason: These ingredients balance all the richness and heaviness. The same idea can be applied here. Traditional mashed potatoes are all richness and heaviness—butter! milk! potatoes!—but by bumping up the salt and adding a whisper of vinegar, the recipe feels new again. I like malted vinegar (probably from all the times I’ve shaken it over French fries), but white, apple cider, and rice work too. This recipe is inspired by Diane Morgan’s Genius Mashed Potatoes, which taught me to add the butter, then the milk, so the butteriness gets to the shine. Serve with a pat of butter on top if you want to gild the lily—I always do. About the type of potato: Most people prefer starchy Russets, because they yield extra-fluffy mashed potatoes. I oscillate between those and Yukon Golds, which have a golden color and an especially potato-y flavor. Pick your favorite (or, if you’re feeling rebellious, do a mix). —Emma Laperruque

Watch This Recipe
Salt & Vinegar Mashed Potatoes
  • Prep time 25 minutes
  • Cook time 15 minutes
  • Serves 8
  • 2 pounds Russet or Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • 4 tablespoons (½ stick) butter, melted
  • 6 tablespoons whole milk, warmed
  • 2 teaspoons malt vinegar, plus more to taste
  • Flaky salt, to sprinkle on top
In This Recipe
  1. Chop each potato into sixths or eighths, trying to keep the pieces about equal in size. Add these to a pot, along with the water and 2 teaspoons salt. Set on the stove over medium-high heat to come to a boil. Cook the potatoes for 10 to 15 minutes, until you can easily break apart a piece with a fork.
  2. When the potatoes are cooked, drain them, then add them back to the hot pot on the stove, but with the heat off. Mash the potatoes with a masher (or, if you don’t have one, a big fork), until they’re as broken down as possible. Add the melted butter and stir until smooth-ish. Add the milk and stir again. Now add the vinegar and remaining ½ teaspoon salt. Stir, then taste. More salt, vinegar, or butter? More milk to thin out? Adjust accordingly.
  3. Serve immediately with a pat of butter and flaky salt on top. You can also keep these warm on top of a double boiler, or reheat them (adding more milk as needed) just before serving.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • FrugalCat
  • Tom Thalon
    Tom Thalon
  • Sheila Taylor
    Sheila Taylor
  • Emma Laperruque
    Emma Laperruque
Emma is the food editor at Food52. Before this, she worked a lot of odd jobs, all at the same time. Think: stir-frying noodles on the fly, baking dozens of pastries at 3 a.m., and writing about the history of pie in North Carolina. Now she lives in New Jersey with her husband and their cat, Butter. Stay tuned every Tuesday for Emma's award-winning column, Big Little Recipes (also the cookbook in November 2021!). And see what she's up to on Instagram at @emmalaperruque.

12 Reviews

FrugalCat April 7, 2022
Came out great with white balsamic vinegar. I'm a big fan of salt n vinegar potato chips, almonds, etc.
nextdoor November 26, 2019
These are terrific! I used russets, and malt vinegar, followed recipe exactly. Very happy with result, surprised that just 2 teaspoons of vinegar could elevate mashed potatoes like this!
Author Comment
Emma L. November 26, 2019
Yay, so glad you like 'em!
karin S. November 15, 2019
I have a salt & vinegar roasted potato recipe that I believe is from Nigella & the potatoes are cooked in a vinegar & water mix. Could I use that instead of adding vinegar later. It tastes great as roasted potatoes so don't see why it wouldn't work here.
susanv November 15, 2019
Three cups water in which to boil two pounds of potatoes...should it not be more water?
Author Comment
Emma L. November 15, 2019
Hi! That amount of water is correct. If you need to add a little more to make sure the potatoes are submerged (depending on your pot shape/size), feel free—just adjust the salt accordingly.
susanv November 15, 2019
Thank you!
judy November 13, 2019
Well, S&V chips army favorite. So I will give this a try. But I never peel potatoes. When cooking potatoes to mash, I chop them into about 1/2 inch cubes, put them in some water or chicken broth to just cover, bring to boil. By the time they have come to a boil they are cooked just about right. Take them of the stove and drain. Mashing them is easy, peels are just the right size to blend into the mash well. And we leave them lumpy. So, I'll have to give this flavor twist a try. Thanks.
Tom T. November 12, 2019
Very cool recipe tweak! I love malt vinegar and always have a bottle in the cupboard. After I make them your way, I think I will also add some pressed garlic and see. Can't hurt, right?
Thanks, Emma!
Author Comment
Emma L. November 12, 2019
Do it! Def can't hurt :)
Sheila T. November 12, 2019
This looks delicious Emma. For the celiacs in my family, I need to swap out the Malt vinegar with something that is GF. Do you have a good runner-up? White vinegar? A wine or champagne vinegar? Thank you.
Author Comment
Emma L. November 12, 2019
Hi Sheila, thanks! White vinegar, apple cider vinegar, and rice vinegar would all work well. You just want something that's not too distracting.