Sunday, March 4, 2007

Perfect Mashed Potatoes – Breaking the Cycle of Generational Potato Dysfunction

Well, I just posted a meatloaf clip so I thought I would re-post this mashed potato demo. Every day, all across the country, people sit down to plates of lumpy, watery, sticky, gluey, pasty mashed potatoes. This demo will hopefully show you the proper techniques to turn out perfect mashed potatoes every time; always light, fluffy and lump-free.

It’s not hard, but it does require breaking some bad, old habits you may have. Making mashed potatoes is one of those comfort foods that you probably learned from your mother. If she used waxy red potatoes, then that’s what you use. If she mixed them for 20 minutes and ended up with something resembling wallpaper paste, then that’s what you do. Well, it’s time to face a harsh reality…your mom may not have known what the hell she was doing. There, I said it. Now, if you mom’s mashers came out great and she taught you well, fantastic! But if you do suffer from this generational potato dysfunction, then watch and learn. As they say, it’s never too late to have a happy childhood (mashed potato-wise at least).

I suggest NOT using a non-stick pot for these, as I will be using a metal wire-style potato masher.

Ingredients:
Serves 4
3 large Russet potatoes
1/2 stick butter
1/2 cup milk
salt and pepper to taste

37 comments:

Shaz said...

umm. i think might be an overmasher. but i really like my potatoes! i use yukon golds. i just like the flavor and color. i use a touch of heavy cream, butter, and sour cream. I think next time i'll use your tip about mashing then whisking. very good idea, thanks!

foodwishes said...

they sound fabulous! if its not broke...

Vivi said...

Lol.. I really enjoy your videos & jokes, chef John. Tomorrow I'm gonna try the salmon cake, and the mashed potatoes some day next week. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

do you use a potatoe ricer?

Chef John said...

i have, but for an everyday meal it just an extra step for such a simple dish. If you don't over mash they're delicious.

Richard said...

I just finished making these and they came out delicious! Thanks Chef John for the simple, yet amazing recipe! =]

Amanda said...

Could i add chives to this?????? i absolutely adore them!!!!!!!

Chef John said...

Well, since the photo shows mine garnished with chive...I'll have to say yes. ;)

BrooklynCook said...

Chef John, you are simply the best. You're wonderful personality makes these videos so much fun to watch! I hope to see you on the big screen someday. You rock!!!

Anonymous said...

Is it ok to make the mashed potatoes earlier in the day and then just reheat them at dinnertime? Reheat them in the microwave? Would you recommend this?

Chef John said...

sure, that works

Chris said...

I love your recipes, I'm hooked on your website, and I like the witty commentary and sense of humor. I made the chocolate mousse and baked pudding for v-day and they were great. I have to say though, you kill me with saying potata and tomata lol

Keep up the good work!

takatophilip said...

i'm from indonesia and haven't seen any mashed potatoes at my house nor teached by my mom..

so, i think your video explain anything that what should i do when make mashed potatoes...

keep cooking GBU

Peter said...

If I'm serving 20 people do I just multiply the ingredients by 5?

Chef John said...

yes, that should be plenty

Razors Edge said...

Chef John, how would using buttermilk change the taste of this recipe?

Chef John said...

it's tangy and delicious!

Razor Ramon said...

Chef John,

I followed your recipe with precision and my mashed potatoes turned out flawless. My only question is how much salt and pepper you add to your final mix.

Thank you,

Razor Ramon

Chef John said...

that's to your taste. I can't give amounts for that. add and taste and then add some more

Mitsuko H said...

Dear Chef John,

If you don't mind my asking- at the end of your video, what exactly did you use? Just some melted butter and chives?

Chef John said...

yes! delish!

Sy said...

Yay! No lumps! Thank you, Chef John.

Anonymous said...

Hi Chef John.


I've now made this for at least the 10th time, and I still love them every time. Just a little something I "discovered". I put a couple of carrots in with the potatoes, this gives the mashed potato a few more chunks, and an awesome color. =)

And to any out there, here a some great recipies I've tried:

his lasagna:
http://foodwishes.blogspot.com/2010/12/christmas-lasagna.html

(This is the best lasagna I've ever eaten, (sorry mom), try it if you haven't.. NOW..!)

And chocolate dessert:
http://foodwishes.blogspot.com/2011/02/valentines-day-chocolate-mocha-pot-de.html

Thanks for your work, you've made me a far better cook than I was just a year ago =)

A Fan from Denmark
Thor Nielsen
nielsenthor@hotmail.com

Chef John said...

Thanks!

Lauren said...

Chef John,

This Thanksgiving, I am going to try your mashed potato recipe - serving 15.

Do you have any brand and/or size recommendations for the metal potato masher and the whisk?

Thanks, Lauren

Andrew C (UK) said...

Amazing stuff Chef John!

One tip I learned from a Chef here in the UK is to make sure the milk you add is hot. Many people just use cold milk straight from the fridge, but this way helps prevent it from reducing the temperature of the mash further.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing this technique. I had recently discovered (or rediscovered, who knows at my age?) that the russet is the best potato for this dish. Excellent texture, and it does justice to the humble potato. I had not thought to try buttermilk, but I will with tonight's dinner. Shabbat shalom!

Anonymous said...

If I may ask a possibly dumb science question: Why is it that when you're applying heat to something it doesn't steam. But as soon as you turn the heat off, it releases a whole bunch of steam. Like your potatoes did here at around the 2:55 mark when you turned off the heat.

Anonymous said...

would adding a little sour cream or heating up the milk be proper technique to you? thank you for the video and recipe!

Anonymous said...

Thank you! I just made these tonight and they were the probably best potatoes I've ever made (and I've been cooking for 35 years). At last I know the right potatoes to use and the right amounts of butter and milk. I only recently discovered your videos and I've already tried some of your other recips. Love them! thanks again, Sandy in Georgia

Marie said...

Can you make mashed potatoes with Philadelphia Cream Cheese?

Alec006 said...

it woulden't be great with nutmeg?

Kiki Curran said...

I made your mashed potatoes tonight and they came out delicious! I've actually never made homemade potatoes before, my husband is of the belief that boxed is the best. I grew up on homemade myself. And believe it or not my husband loved them! These will be a staple in my kitchen for now on!!!

Lindsay J said...

Made these tonight and true to your word, they were perfect. Fluffy, creamy, buttery. Perfect for gravies but SO delicious on their own. My husband asked if I could make them for thanksgiving. Mmm

Derek said...

One thing I think you should add to the ingredients is a preparation time. It would be nice when planning and cooking more than one of your recipes.

Derek said...

One thing I think you should add to your ingredients or description is a prep and prepare time. It would be nice when planning and preparing more than one of your recipes.

Stacey said...

these really are perfect, thanks!!