How To: Make Mashed Potatoes

The key to fluffy mashed potatoes is to use a potato masher, not a hand mixer, and to not over-mash them. If you mash them for too long they get really gummy. It has something to do with the cell walls collapsing and the potato starch being released. Mash them only as long as it takes to work out all the big lumps. If you don’t have a potato masher you can use a fork.

Makes: 2 cups

Preparation time: 10m
Cooking time: 10m
Total time: 40m




  1. Wash the dirt off the potatoes and give them a good scrub. If you want mashed potatoes like in the photo you will need to peel them. Otherwise I love to leave the skins on.
  2. Chop the potatoes into roughly equal sized pieces, about an inch large.
  3. Place the chopped potatoes in a saucepan large enough to hold the potatoes with a few inches of room above them.
  4. Cover the potatoes with water and bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce to a simmer. If you want to you can salt the potatoes while they are cooking but I like to wait and salt them when I am mashing them.
  5. Cook the potatoes until they are so tender that when you put a fork into one the potato breaks apart or falls right off the fork. It should take 20-30 minutes of cooking depending on how large your potato chunks are.
  6. Drain the potatoes and pour them into a large bowl.
  7. Using a potato masher mash the potatoes until you have broken up all the chunks, this should take about a minute or two. If you over mash them they will start to get gummy so try to keep it short.
  8. At this point you have unseasoned mashed potatoes that can now be worked into other recipes or eaten as is. You might want to add some salt and butter first. You can add any kind of liquid you like but keep it to a minimum. I would suggest no more than 2 Tbsp liquid to 1/2 cup of mash, otherwise you will end up with really wet mashed potatoes.