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Thursday, November 19, 2009

Mashed Potatoes {Like a Mashed Potato…That Can Do the Twist}

Thanksgiving is only 1 week away! I think it’s time we start our preparations, don’t you? Today I’m going to share all my mashed potato tips so we can all win at mashed potatoes.

Great Mashed Potato Tips, including recipe for dirty garlic mashed potatoes, pictured here

What’s a Thanksgiving feast without mashed potatoes? I thought I would share my various mashed potato tips and variations with you. Some of these mashed potatoes can do the twist, while others are classic and comforting. Whatever your taste (or dance style!), one of these options should tickle your potato fancy!

The Basics of Mashed Potatoes

  • I like to use Russet potatoes, although Yukons work nicely, too.
  • To cook, cut potatoes into similar sized chunks, about 2 inch-square. Place in cold water, boil over medium/medium-high heat until soft enough to mash, then drain the water.
  • If you have a hot oven and a little extra time, my friend Aimee has a great tip that makes the potatoes extra tasty: post-boiling, spread potatoes on a baking sheet and bake for a few minutes. (Check out Aimee’s post for more detail on this tip as well as other great mashed potato insight.)
  • When you add the cream or milk and butter, be sure to warm them first before adding to the potatoes. It truly does help with the texture.
  • Lastly, don’t be shy with the salt! That said, add a little at a time so you don’t oversalt your potatoes…but adding enough salt is key to successful mashed potatoes.

Classic Mashed Potatoes

For my classic fluffy mashed potatoes I use cream (milk can work if that’s all you have), butter, salt & pepper. Peel the potatoes before cutting up. Cook as described above. Warm the cream and butter prior to adding to the potatoes. Add cream a bit at a time to achieve the right consistency, as well as butter (4 Tbsp per 2 large potatoes), and salt & pepper to taste. Blend well with hand mixer.

Dirty Garlic Mashed Potatoes (pictured)

Same recipe as the Classic, but don’t peel the potatoes and add some garlic cloves when you start mashing. For 2 large potatoes I added 2 garlic cloves, using my garlic press.

BLT (Bacon, Leek, Tomato) Mashed Potatoes

This is an idea from Rachel Ray and it’s very tasty. Chop up bacon, cook on the stove, then sauté in chopped leeks with the bacon. When mashing the potatoes, add the bacon, leeks & chopped tomato as well as milk or cream, salt & pepper. Hand mash with a potato masher instead of with a hand mixer.

Butternut Squash Mashed Potatoes

Cate and I sampled butternut squash mashed potatoes at Williams-Sonoma last week and Cate loved them! They also are a nice complement to a traditional Thanksgiving meal. Simply make classic mashed potatoes and add a bit of the Williams-Sonoma butternut squash puree. If you want to make your own puree, the ingredients are squash, brown sugar, broth, cinnamon and nutmeg…I have no idea the amounts since I just read the ingredients off the jar!

I know these recipes aren’t very exact. I never measure when I make mashed potatoes, but if you have any questions please let me know!

Also, if you have your own mashed potato tips or another recipe to share, please do!


  1. 1

    jane, all these recipes sound great! i am itching to try the butternut squash rendition to add a little fun to the day! i just had to share our family’s protocol for AFTER the potatoes are done (and maybe many of you do this too, but we just figured it out a few years ago)
    ….there is so much to prepare the day of, and trying to get it all on the table at the same time–HOT–is nearly impossible. so having one less thing to worry about is always nice. we do the potatoes a few hours beforehand and then stick them in the crock pot on “warm” and….Voila! the potatoes are done and piping hot when it’s time to sit down for our feast!

  2. what a fantastic idea! thank you jenny!!

  3. 3

    First I just want to say that I came across your site a few months ago and love it. Also, I have added chive flavoured cream cheese to my mashed potatoes or sometimes I mix sweet potatoes and white potatoes together (which I have seen Nigella Lawson do as well). To the white potato and sweet potato mix I add some cream, butter, cinnamon and brown sugar and salt to taste. Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

  4. Thanks for the recipes. I need to sit down over the weekend and plan our meal out!

  5. Mmmmm. So excited for Thanksgiving. It’s my very favorite holiday!! These recipes look fantastic. Thanks for sharing!

  6. 6

    There’s the Jewish way…spread chicken fat on top and heat in oven at the end…yum. We never peeled our potatoes, and now we’re all trendy 🙂 We also used to steam them in the microwave, then mix in non-fat powdered milk and butter, leaving the hot water in.

  7. 7

    Cream vs milk. since milk is cream minus the butterfat, when I’m cooking and don’t have cream, I just add a little more butter.

  8. My hubby is always in charge of the potatoes and he makes ’em dirty style with skins and garlic, but we use red potatoes and they are amazing! I’m not a huge fan of russet skins, but I will eat red skins anytime!

  9. 9

    We love the flavor of Yukon gold potatoes for mashed, but using 100% Yukon gold potatoes results in a gummy mush, which while delightful in taste isn’t always the best for texture. So we’ve taken to doing some standard Russet potatoes along with Yukon Gold (about 50/50) and we end up with the a nice balance of flavor and fluff.

    I’m torn on what I’m going to do for flavoring of my mashers this year. On one hand, I love roasted garlic mashed; however, on the other hand I’m having a craving for blue cheese mashed. We’ll see what I’m in the mood for as we get closer to the day.

    I LOVE the crock pot idea! Brilliant! We’re deep frying the Turkey again this year (it’s been a couple years since we deep fried the Thanksgiving turkey), so we typically don’t have oven space issues when the Turkey is fried. But, I’ll keep that in mind!

  10. 10

    I’m trying to figure out what to do for the taters on T-Day too. I would LOVE to try the Butternut squash recipe but I don’t know if my in laws would be up for that. I found this recipe in Parent’s Mag and I may convert it into something.
    It looks like it could be a good jumping off point.

  11. 11

    I love your site! It gives me so many great ideas. When I make regular mashed potatoes I use half & half instead of cream in the interest of my waistline. It’s just as good and creamy, with that hint of sweetness from the cream. When I make garlic mashed potatoes, I steep the minced garlic (from my garlic press as well) in the cream on the stove while the potatoes are boiling. I keep it on low so it will not boil or curdle. It turns out amazing! So garlicky!!

  12. 12

    Try adding carmelized onions that have been pureed with a small amount of olive oil into your dirty garlic mash and for a delicious hint of flavor add some celeriac…wow what a great taste…mmmm

  13. 13
    Jane Maynard

    great tips, thanks sharon! sounds delish!

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