I’m sharing all the secrets to making the fluffiest mashed potatoes ever! It’s all about the choice of potatoes and the mashing method. This recipe has been perfected throughout the years in my kitchen. The best fluffy mashed potatoes recipe ever!
Here’s an all-American favorite: mashed potatoes!
There are so many ways to make mashed potatoes, and everyone likes them a certain way: light and fluffy, creamy and rich, extra-buttery, skin-on…you name it. Today, I’ll be showing you how to make the absolute BEST fluffy mashed potatoes! Fluffy mashed potatoes are my favorite because they are so light and the texture is just perfect.
So let’s get started. I’ll show you all the tips and tricks for the best fluffy mashed potatoes ever!
Ingredients for Fluffy Mashed Potatoes
You only need 4 ingredients:
- Russet potatoes: It is important that we use russet potatoes for light and fluffy mashed potatoes.
- Whole milk: Whole milk will make it a bit creamy and provide better structure. You can also use 2%. Try not to use 1% or skim milk since that will make the mashed potatoes a bit watery.
- Unsalted butter: What’s mashed potatoes without butter?!
- Seasoning: Salt and pepper will be enough, but you can also use garlic powder for extra flavor.
What Type of Potatoes to Use
There is only one answer here! To make light and fluffy mashed potatoes, always use russet potatoes. And it’s all about the starch.
They key here is to release as little starch as possible and wash off the starch released right after cutting and after cooking (yes twice!). Russet potatoes cook and break down much faster than other types of potatoes, which means that they require less mashing. Less mashing will result in less starch being released, and that’s what’s going to help us get that awesome fluffy consistency.
How to Make Fluffy Mashed Potatoes
Now that we’ve picked the right type of potatoes, let’s talk about the right cooking and mashing methods.
- Peel and cut the potatoes into 1 inch chunks: The smaller you cut them, the more starch you’ll be able to wash off later during rinsing. Just make sure that all the pieces are the same size for even cooking.
- Wash them using a colander to remove the starch: this is the first round of washing off the starch. Use a colander so that the starch escapes with the water.
- Place in a pot with cold water and boil: Here’s a trick – start with a pot of cold water and then add the potatoes instead of boiling the water first. This will help with more consistent cooking from the outside in.
- Heat milk and butter to combine until melted: You can do this in a separate saucepan or in the microwave oven.
- Drain the cooked potatoes and rinse in hot water: Rinse for about 1 minute and use a colander.
- Press potatoes through a ricer: Potato ricers are designed specifically to mash potatoes with little force. This is important because the less force you use, the less starch will be released…and this is crucial for fluffiness and airiness.
- Fold in the warm milk and butter mixture: Gently fold in the milk and butter mixture using a rubber spatula until just combined.
- Season with salt and pepper, and serve!
The Secret Technique
As you can see, each step is about releasing as little starch as possible plus removing the starch released AND using the right type of potatoes.
Potato choice: Russet potatoes are a great option!
Method: To control the amount of starch in the final product, all you have to do is 1) rinse them off before and after cooking, 2) use the right mashing techniques and tools (potato ricer), and 3) gently fold in the milk and melted butter.
Tools to Make the Perfect Mashed Potatoes
To mash the potatoes, I’d highly recommend using a potato ricer. A potato ricer presses the cooked potatoes into thin shreds, making them lighter and fluffier. You can also use a handheld potato masher, just make sure it’s the one with holes (not the one with the curvy pattern).
To fold in the milk and melted butter mixture into the mashed potatoes, I’d recommend using a simple rubber spatula.
Quick note: For this recipe, do not use your mixer or food processor. Using a mixer will release more starch, and that’s not what we want in this case. You can use your mixer for creamy mashed potatoes instead. And NEVER EVER use a food processor – it will only make them gummy and…well…gross. No, thank you.
Alrighty, friends, all my mashed potato secrets right there!
If you’re looking for more awesome potato sides, check out the following:
- Crispy Herb Roasted Potatoes
- Garlic Roasted Potato Wedges
- Blue Cheese and Bacon Potato Salad
- Cheesy Garlic Leftover Mashed Potato Pancakes by Aberdeen’s Kitchen (a great option to use leftovers!)
- Cheesy Garlic Scalloped Potatoes by Joyous Apron
Thanks for reading and please don’t forget to pin this recipe. Much appreciated!
The Fluffiest Mashed Potatoes Ever
- Choose the right type of potato: Russet potatoes are best for this. See “What Type of Potatoes to Use” section above for more info!
- Make sure the potatoes are cut to the same size for even cooking.
- Rinse twice to remove the starch: rinse once before cooking and one more time after cooking.
- Start with the potatoes in a pot of cold water (instead of pre-boiling the water) to ensure even cooking from the outside in.
- Use a potato ricer to press the potatoes. Potato ricers are designed to press potatoes into thin shreds without applying too much force, therefore reducing the amount of starch released.
- Fold in the liquid (milk plus melted butter) gently using a rubber spatula to ensure that the consistency stays light.
Fluffy Mashed Potatoes
- 2 pounds russet potatoes (washed)
- 1 cup whole milk (or 2 percent milk)
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Peel and cut potatoes into 1 inch chunks. It's important that they are all the same size for even cooking. Rinse them through a colander to wash off the starch.
- Place the potatoes in a medium pot with cold water. Make sure that the water covers all the potatoes. Bring to a boil on high heat, and then reduce to medium heat. Cook until tender and easily pierced, about 15-20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, heat milk with butter until melted and warm. You can also do this in the microwave oven if you prefer.
- Once the potatoes are done cooking, drain them through a colander. Rinse with hot water for about 30-60 seconds to get rid of the starch.
- Press the potatoes through a potato ricer into a large bowl (see note about potato ricers below). Gradually, fold in the milk and butter mixture using a rubber spatula until light and fluffy. You may not need all the milk and butter, add until desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper to taste and fold in a few more times. Enjoy!
- Special equipment: Potato ricer, rubber spatula.
- Potato ricers are designed to press potatoes into thin shreds with low force, helping them stay light and fluffy. I'd definitely recommend getting one!
- The secret to fluffy mashed potatoes is removing as much starch as possible and minimizing the amount of starch released. To do so, 1) wash off the starch before and after cooking the potatoes, and 2) limit force used while mashing by using a potato ricer to press the potatoes and a rubber spatula to fold in the milk and butter into the pressed potatoes.
- Start with cold water (instead of pre-boiling water) to ensure even cooking. If you add the potatoes to boiling water, the outside of the potatoes will break down too much, changing the consistency desired.
- Recipe adapted from Serious Eats