Mashed potatoes are a classic and beloved side dish that is enjoyed by many people all over the world. Whether you're cooking for a dinner party or a simple weeknight meal, mashed potatoes are a crowd-pleaser that can be made easily with just a few ingredients.
To make the perfect mashed potatoes, you will need:
- 2 pounds of potatoes (preferably Russet, Yukon gold, or red potatoes)
- 1/2 cup of milk
- 6 tablespoons of unsalted butter
- 2 cloves of garlic (optional)
- Salt and pepper to taste
Step 1: Choose the right potatoes
The first step in making mashed potatoes is to choose the right type of potatoes. Russet potatoes are the most commonly used for making mashed potatoes because they are starchy and fluffy. However, you can also use Yukon gold or red potatoes if you prefer a creamier texture. As a rule of thumb, choose potatoes that are similar in size to ensure even cooking.
Step 2: Peel and chop the potatoes
After choosing your potatoes, it's time to prep them for cooking. Begin by peeling the potatoes using a vegetable peeler. Once they are peeled, chop them into even-sized pieces, about 1 inch in diameter. This will ensure they cook evenly.
Step 3: Boil the potatoes
Next, place the chopped potatoes in a large pot and cover them with cold water. Bring the water to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer the potatoes for 15-20 minutes or until they are tender when pierced with a fork.
Step 4: Drain the potatoes
Once the potatoes are cooked through, drain them in a colander and let them sit for a few minutes to allow any excess moisture to evaporate.
Step 5: Add the butter and milk
While the potatoes are still warm, transfer them back into the pot and add the butter and milk. You can also add minced garlic to add an extra bit of flavor. Using a potato masher or a fork, mash the potatoes until they are smooth and creamy. You can adjust the amount of butter and milk to your liking, depending on how rich and fluffy you want your mashed potatoes to be.
Step 6: Season to taste
Finally, season the mashed potatoes with salt and pepper to taste. Be sure to taste the potatoes as you go, as the amount of salt and pepper you need will depend on the type of potatoes you used and your personal taste preferences.
Tips for perfect mashed potatoes
- Don't overcook the potatoes, or they will become too mushy and hard to mash.
- Make sure to season the mashed potatoes well, as blandness can be a common issue with this dish.
- If you want a creamier texture, you can add more milk or sour cream.
- Using a potato ricer or a food mill instead of a potato masher can result in an even smoother texture.
- You can also add in other ingredients to the mashed potatoes, such as cheese, herbs, or bacon bits, to ramp up the flavor.
Making mashed potatoes is a simple process that can be easily mastered with a little practice. Keep in mind the type of potatoes you use, how you season them, and how smooth you want the texture to be. With these tips in mind, you'll be able to whip up a bowl of creamy and delicious mashed potatoes that will be a hit at any meal.