Homemade Mashed Potatoes
Editor's Note: This easy mashed potato recipe from Julia Child will teach you everything you need to know about homemade mashed potatoes! Mashed potatoes are a staple on any holiday table, so this is an essential recipe to have in your arsenal. One of the secrets to this Homemade Mashed Potatoes recipe is to heat the milk or cream in a saucepan. Many people add cold milk to their hot potatoes, but this recipe will teach you to avoid that. Ricing the hot potatoes also help them to incorporate seamlessly with the milk, resulting in perfectly fluffy potatoes that the whole family will love.
Total Timeunder 1 hour
Make Ahead RecipeYes
One Pot MealYes
Recipe CourseSide Dish
Five Ingredients or LessYes
Taste and TextureCreamy, Savory
Type of DishVegetable
- 4 or 5 large “baking” potatoes
- ½ cup or so milk and/or cream, heated in a saucepan
- 2 or more tablespoons softened butter
- Freshly ground white pepper
Preliminary cooking. You may bake or steam the potatoes whole before mashing them, or boil them in pieces as suggested here. Wash and peel the potatoes and cut into quarters. Set in a saucepan with lightly salted water to cover (l½ teaspoons salt per quart of water). Bring to the boil, cover loosely, and boil 10 to 15 minutes or longer, until potatoes are tender when pierced with a knife. Cut a piece in half and eat a bit to be sure they are just done; undercooked potatoes will not mash properly. Drain the water out of the pan (you may wish to save it for soup making); toss the potatoes over moderate heat for a moment, until they begin to film the pan; this is to evaporate excess moisture.
Mashing. While still warm, either put the potatoes through a ricer (my preference) and return to the pan, or place in the large bowl of your electric mixer and, using the wire whip attachment and moderate speed; puree them with ¼ cup of the milk and/or cream.
Seasoning. Beat in driblets of hot milk and/or cream, alternating with ½ tablespoons of butter—careful not to make them too soft. Season with salt and pepper to taste. The sooner you can serve them, the better.
Suggested Special Equipment
A potato ricer, or an electric mixer
Home-style mashed potatoes are becoming trendy in bistro-type restaurants at this writing, and they’re careful to leave in some lumps so we’ll presume they’re not instant mashed—or perhaps they use instant plus one or two lumpily mashed fresh potatoes. Hmm!
If you cannot serve at once, beat in only a minimum of milk, etc. (Turn the potatoes into a saucepan if you have used an electric mixer.) Set in another pan of hot but not simmering water, and cover the potatoes loosely—they must stay warm to retain their fresh quality, and they must have air circulation or they develop an off-taste. At serving time, bring the water to the simmer, beating the potatoes with a wooden spoon; then beat in more hot milk or cream and soft butter to your taste.
1989 Julia Child