Teach Your Kids to Make the Best Mashed Potatoes
Mashed potatoes make a great side dish for many kinds of meals, making it a addition in our cooking series Recipes Kids Should Know How to Make Before Leaving Home. Mashed potatoes are simple to make and don’t require many ingredients, however they are a food you can actually mess up pretty easily. But don’t worry! We’re here today to teach you all the things you need to know to make the very best mashed potatoes. For this recipe my 8-year-old daughter Anna helped me out and she made some delicious mashed potatoes that we gobbled right up!
Before we get to the recipe, here are a few tips and tricks that I learned from my own mom when she taught me how to make mashed potatoes as a kid:
- Use a non-waxy, starchy potato. Russet and Yukon Gold potatoes are the best for mashed potatoes! If you use the wrong kind of potato, your mashed potatoes will turn into glue. (Trust me, I’ve done it!) Stick with Russet or Yukon Gold and you will be good to go.
- Cook the potatoes starting in cold water. My mom told me to do this. My friend who is a chef says to do this. Alton Brown even said it. The potatoes cook more evenly this way.
- Bake the potatoes after they have boiled. This step is optional but it helps remove excess moisture from the potatoes, yielding better texture in your final product.
- The cream/milk and butter you add to the potatoes should be warm. Again, better texture is the result!
I think it’s time we cooked up some potatoes, don’t you? Here we go!
How to Make the Best Mashed Potatoes Recipe
INGREDIENTS for Mashed Potatoes
- 2 pounds Yukon Gold or Russet Potatoes
- 4 tablespoons butter, melted
- 1/2 cup cream or whole milk, warmed
- salt and pepper
DIRECTIONS for kids to make Mashed Potatoes
1. Wash and peel the potatoes. Cut potatoes into quarters, so you have four (4) evenly-sized pieces from each potato.
2. Place potatoes in a pan that is large enough so the potatoes are not crowded. Add cold water to the pot so that the water level is 1/2″ – 1″ above the tops of the potatoes. Add 1 teaspoon of salt to the water. Bring to a boil on high heat on the stove. Reduce heat a little bit to around medium-high but so you still maintain a boil – you just don’t want the water boiling super vigorously.
3. Cook for about 20 minutes, or until potatoes are easily pierced with a knife. It will depend on the size of your potatoes how long you should cook them, so be sure to check for doneness starting around 10 minutes. Once soft, remove potatoes from the stove and drain in a colander in the sink. (Be careful! The water will be very hot!)
4. Optional step: Place potatoes on a parchment or aluminum foil lined baking sheet in an even layer. Bake in a 400º F oven for 5 minutes, to remove excess moisture.
5. Place potatoes back in original pot or in a stand mixer (if you want to let the stand mixer do the mashing). Begin by breaking up the potatoes by hand with a potato masher. Add half of the warmed cream/milk (cream is better but milk will do in a pinch!) and all of the melted butter and mash everything together. At this point if the potatoes seem dry (they probably will) add the rest of the warmed cream/milk. Add 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. If you want smooth potatoes, use a electric hand blender or a stand mixer to mash the potatoes until well mashed (don’t overmix). If you like lumpy potatoes, just keep on mashing by hand with your potato masher! Once the potatoes are mixed and mashed well, taste to see if they have enough salt. If not, add salt 1/8 teaspoon at a time, mixing well after each addition and tasting again.
6. Serve hot!