A warm, fluffy, creamy bowl of mashed potatoes is a must on any Thanksgiving buffet. Some of us like them pure with just milk, butter and a pinch of sea salt, while others brighten them up with fresh herbs and cheese.
Here, we’re sharing a basic recipe and a step-by-step guide to perfect mashed potatoes — whatever flavors you choose, this technique will achieve the ideal texture every time.
Classic Mashed Potatoes
2 1/2 lb. (1.25 kg.) high-starch potatoes such as russet or medium-starch potatoes such as Yukon gold
1 1/2 tsp. sea salt
6 Tbs. (3 oz./90 g.) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml.) milk or half-and-half, warmed
1/8 tsp. freshly ground white pepper
|Mash or rice the potatoes
For chunky mashed potatoes, use a potato masher to press down on the potatoes, turning the masher a little each time and working your way around the pot as needed to break up the potatoes. Alternatively, for smooth mashed potatoes, pass the potatoes through a ricer back into the pot.
Quick mashed potatoes: Cut the potatoes into 2-inch (5-cm.) chunks. Follow the directions above, but reduce the cooking time to 15-18 minutes.
Mashed potatoes with olive oil and garlic: In a small frying pan over low heat, warm 1/4 cup (2 fl. oz./60 ml.) extra-virgin olive oil. Add 1 tablespoon minced garlic and saute until the oil is infused with garlic flavor but the garlic has not browned, about 10 minutes. Set aside. In a small saucepan over low heat, warm 1 cup (8 fl. oz./250 ml.) milk until small bubbles form around the edges of the pan. Stir in the olive oil-garlic mixture and set aside. Follow the directions above, replacing the milk and butter with the olive oil-garlic mixture.
Mashed potatoes with pesto: Follow the directions above. In step 5, add 1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml.) basil pesto, or more to taste, with the milk and butter.