The holidays are here, and we all know what that means– food, glorious food! And for most of us, no holiday is complete without a huge bowl of creamy, buttery mashed potatoes. While you may be following your family’s traditional mashed potato recipe or one you picked up online while in a hurry, you might have noticed that there are several ways to approach any mashed potato recipe. However, there are definitely several don’ts as much as there are dos that you should keep in mind.
Here are six common mistakes you should avoid making in your next bowl of mashed potatoes.
6. You’re Only Using Russet Potatoes
What’s wrong with only using Russet potatoes? Well, to begin with, they are starchy and have thick skin. Russets tend to cook up very lightly and become fluffy, while the waxier spuds hold their shape, which makes them ideal for roasting and making into potato salad. Best use? Mix Russets with other potatoes like Yukon Gold. Mashed together, they become strong enough to handle larger amounts of dairy and still keep everything together.
5. You’re Under-Seasoning
By nature, potatoes are incredibly starchy and that means they require a lot of salt to get a good taste out of them. Under-seasoning potatoes means that the outside of your potatoes will hold the salt. Try cooking your potatoes with generous amounts of salt next time.
4. You’re Not Using Enough Butter
It’s no secret that butter makes everything taste better! And it’s crucial to add the right amount of butter to your mashed potatoes, or else they can be lacking in flavor. Sometimes adding that extra stick of butter can be all the difference between an amazing pot of mashed potatoes and one that’s just okay.
3. You’re Using Butter Alone
Potatoes need more than just butter! Adding half and half, milk, or heavy and/or sour cream to your mashed potatoes can help create a luscious creamy texture that is almost always absent from most mashed potatoes.
2. You’re Not Using Fresh Herbs
Adding sprigs of fresh rosemary, thyme, or sage can liven up even the dullest mashed potatoes. Try adding the fresh herbs to the milk before heating.
1. You’re Not Saving Your Potato Water
If you’re planning on making mashed potatoes ahead of time, the trick lies with the potato water! A splash of warm potato water can loosen up even the most set potatoes. Just be sure to add the water slowly.