Bookmark this recipe for the next time you’re hosting a large crowd that’s hungry for creamy mashed potatoes (say, Thanksgiving?). It intentionally makes a lot of potatoes so you can easily serve 10-12 people and still have a little bit leftover—after all, Thanksgiving leftovers are just as good as the real deal.
There are a couple of things that help achieve ultra-creamy mashed potatoes. The first is tools: use a potato ricer. Not a hand mixer, not a traditional potato masher, not a food mill, but a potato ricer. This model is my favorite; sure it’s bulky and never quite fits perfectly in a kitchen drawer, but every time I make mashed potatoes, I remember why I swear by it. Nothing smooshes cooked spuds quite like a potato ricer, meaning you’ll have lump-free creamy mashed potatoes every time. I know we’re strangers and you have no reason to trust me, but for your sake (and your guests’), trust me—it's worth the investment and awkward storage.
There’s a fine line between creamy mashed potatoes and gummy ones. Mashing, mashing, and more mashing will create smooth spuds, for sure, but they can quickly turn from silky to gummy with the quick turn of a spatula. A potato ricer will help to prevent the taters from being overworked, but so will hot dairy. Instead of adding cold milk and cold pats of butter to the mashed potatoes, heat them up on the stovetop in advance, allowing the milk to steam and butter to melt; by using hot dairy, the temperature of the mashed potatoes will stay consistent, lessening the risk of serving gummy mashed potatoes. (It’s the same logic behind letting steak or salmon come to room temperature before grilling it). This will become, without a doubt, your family’s new favorite mashed potato recipe.
Test Kitchen Notes
These taste, in the best possible way, like the best possible version of boxed mashed potatoes: perfectly salty, wonderfully buttery, incredibly satisfying texture. I'd happily have these on my holiday table. —Caroline Lange
russet potatoes, peeled and cut in half crosswise
half and half, plus more as needed
1 1/4 cups
(2 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Place peeled potatoes in an 8-quart pot and fill with cold water, covering the potatoes by about 2 inches. Place the pot on the stove over medium heat and cook, keeping the potatoes at a soft boil, until the potatoes are fork-tender, about 45 to 50 minutes from the moment you put the pot on the stove.
Meanwhile, heat the half-and-half and butter in a small saucepan over medium heat, until the butter is melted and milk is steaming, 3 to 5 minutes; turn the heat down low to keep warm, but prevent the milk from scorching.
Once the potatoes are cooked, strain in a colander. Using a potato ricer, press the potatoes into a large bowl until fully mashed.
Fold half-and-half and butter mixture into the potatoes using a spatula until incorporated. Add more half-and-half, if needed, to achieve desired consistency. Season with kosher salt and black pepper. Serve hot.
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