Tips For Making Perfect Mashed Potatoes

mashed potatoes
photo credit: HHLtDave5

Select The Right Potato

Select a good starchy potato, Yukon gold, yellow Finn or Russets.  Other types of potatoes can work too but these are some sure bets.

Simple Steps To Perfect Mashed Potato


Parboil potatoes for 20 minutes at 140 degrees, then plunge in the sink filled with cold water to stop the cooking process. Do not drain. 

Before You Are Ready To Mash

  1. Have your liquid (milk, cream of choice) heated.
  2. Return the potatoes to the cooktop and return to a boil and cook until they are tender but not falling apart, drain well (important) If you undercook the potatoes they will be gluey. Your liquid (milk or whatever) should be hot
  3. Now IMMEDIATELY using your masher or mixer mash till smooth. Once all the lumps are gone, add your hot liquid. Don’t add the liquid until the potatoes are smooth or you'll produce lumpy potatoes.
  4. Add your butter and seasonings. Make the mixture a little “creamier” than you want the final product to be because they will stiffen up as they sit. 

Potato Mashers

Everyone has their favorite masher.  Here are some of the most common types of mashers.  View images in the gallery to the right.

Waffle Masher Waffle Masher - This masher has a waffle-shaped plate with a long handle.  Pressing the masher against the cooked potatoes breaks the potatoes apart and forces them through the holes in the plate, eventually mashing them to a smooth texture.  This is my favorite, simple masher.
Wire Masher Wire Masher - This is a very old style masher still used in restaurants and a favorite of many home chefs as well.  Use in the same way as the waffle masher; potatoes are pulverized as pressure is applied.
Electric Hand Mixer Electric Hand Mixer - I'm not a fan of the electric mixer for making mashed potatoes because too much mixing will make the potatoes over starchy and paste-like.   Many chefs love it.
Wood Masher Wooden Potato Masher -  A very old-fashioned masher but it functions.  Not something you can put in the dishwasher but certainly still gets the job done.  These are hard to find today. Some are still made in the U.S. by local wood craftsmen and we still see them Mexico.
Potato Ricer Potato Ricer - This tool takes a bit more effort because the potatoes have to be placed inside the ricer, a few pieces at a time then compressed through the ricer plate.  You do end up with a very uniform product.
Plastic Masher Plastic Chef's Planet Masher - This is the new-kid-on-the-block potato masher. I've not tried this but the principal is similar to the wire or waffle masher.  The top ball is suppose to fit in the center of your palm for comfortable mashing. Dishwasher safe.

Nutrition Information For Tips For Making Perfect Mashed Potatoes

Serving Size
1 cup
Calories from Fat
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 3g
Saturated Fat 1g
Cholesterol 5mg
Sodium 545mg
Total Carbohydrate 39g
Dietary Fiber 0g
Sugars 0g
Protein 6g
Vitamin A  0% Vitamin C  0%
Calcium  0% Iron  0%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Barbara Bowman graduated with degree in Foods and Nutrition from San Jose State University. As CEO of she spends most waking hours writing, cooking, eating, gardening and traveling.