Mashed potatoes are a tasty and traditional side for countless types of meals. They're relatively cheap, simple to make, and highly customizable. However, just because they're relatively easy to make doesn't mean that things can't go wrong. There are so many different textures that you can get when making mashed potatoes, like lumpiness, that it's good to know exactly how they should turn out. We have looked into making the perfect mashed potatoes and how to fix the not-so-perfect so that you can make yours as great as possible!
Traditionally the perfect mashed potatoes should be smooth and lump-free. However, many individuals do still like some lumps in their mashed potatoes as a matter of preference. If your mashed potatoes do tend to turn out lumpy, then the cause usually always comes down to the cook of the potatoes. You might also be using the wrong kind of potato. There are a couple of ways to prevent and fix lumpy mashed potatoes.
How to prevent lumps
- Ensure that the potatoes are prepared properly
- Make sure that the potatoes are cooked correctly
How to fix lumps
- Smooth out the lumps
- Embrace the lumps
It's frustrating when your mashed potatoes don't turn out how you want them to. It's even more irritating when you try to fix them only to make things worse. There is some more information that could come in handy to help you with your mashed potatoes. Make sure to keep reading below to learn all about mashed potatoes in detail!
How To Make Your Mashed Potatoes Smooth
Having lumps in your mashed potatoes is a sign that they were not made entirely correctly. Some individuals may like a few lumps in their potatoes, but overall well made mashed potatoes are meant to be creamy.
If you find a few lumps in your potatoes, it may be better to leave them than overwork. Mashed potatoes can quickly become gummy and gluey if they are overworked so sometimes having a couple of lumps is the best alternative.
How Do You Know When Potatoes Are Ready To Be Mashed?
Potatoes are ready to be mashed when they are cooked all the way through. The easiest way to test when they are done is to pierce them. Using a fork, knife, or something similar, poke through a few of the potatoes.
When your chosen tool goes all the way through them with little effort, the potatoes are ready to be mashed. You want to make sure to test several of the largest chunks of potatoes. If the biggest ones can be mashed, then the rest can too!
What Potatoes Are Best For Mashed Potatoes?
The best potatoes to make mashed potatoes out of are russet and Yukon gold potatoes. Usually, russet potatoes are the go-to because they are generally the cheapest available. The starch levels in these varieties are what make them break down and become ideal for mashing. Yukon gold potatoes can make a slightly creamier mashed potato if that is preferred.
A couple of types of potatoes that may give an unwanted texture when mashed are white or red potatoes. They tend to be waxier than the other varieties. This means that they break down differently, making it harder to get the preferred texture from them.
How To Prevent Lumps
The easiest way to not have lumpy mashed potatoes is to prevent the lumps from happening! Lumps happen because when the potatoes are mashed, they are not all cooked thoroughly. So, when you go to mash them, the uncooked parts do not mash and become smooth like the rest. Smooth mashed potatoes can be achieved through a combination of preparing and cooking the potatoes properly!
1. Ensure that the potatoes are properly prepared
One of the most essential steps towards ensuring that your potatoes are cooked properly is how you cut them. When cutting up your potatoes for boiling, you should cut the chunks into even sizes as possible. Nobody is perfect, and you can't be expected to make each chunk of potato the same size. However, the closer you are to achieving this then the better your potatoes will cook together.
2. Make Sure That The Potatoes Are Cooked Correctly
Boiling your potatoes is the easiest way to soften them to be mashed. However, many individuals add their potatoes pieces when the water has started to boil. This is a mistake. Doing this can cause your potatoes to cook faster on the outside. So when you go to check them, they may seem cooked, but the middles might not be done entirely.
To fix this, you should put your potatoes in the pot right after you add the water. Then put the pot on the stove to boil. This will help to ensure a complete cook on all of the potato pieces!
How To Fix Lumps
Sometimes lumps happen, and all that you can do is find the best way to deal with them and move on. It's either that or make the dish completely over, and nobody has time for that!
1. Smooth Out The Lumps
If you want to make already lumpy mashed potatoes as smooth as possible, you will want to target the lumps. You could try to find them and remove them from your mashed potatoes. But that is a time-consuming and wasteful process.
The best method for smoothing out the lumps would be to break them down using a potato ricer. This will eliminate the lumps without possibly over-mixing the rest of the potatoes.
It might be your first instinct to get out the mixer or processer and put all of your mashed potatoes in there. However, this can very quickly lead to over-mixing, which will make your potatoes gummy. So it's best not to risk that happening.
2. Embrace The Lumps
This method won't get rid of your lumps, but it will make them easier to live with. To do this, you'll want to add things to your mashed potatoes. You can add anything from pieces of bacon to diced-up onion and everything in between. This will help to disguise the lumps and still give you a delicious type of mashed potatoes.
More Mashed Potato Questions
Lumps aren't the only thing that can go wrong with mashed potatoes, and there are different kinds of mashed potatoes. Let's look at some related questions that can help your mashed potatoes always be on top!
Why Are My Mashed Potatoes So Gummy?
The main reasons why this happens are that you've used the wrong kind of potatoes or that they have been overworked. As mentioned before, using red or white potatoes is likely to give you an undesired texture. Since they are waxier, they make gummier mashed potatoes.
When mashed potatoes are over-mixed, they can also become gummy and gluey. To prevent this, you should mix a little at a time and keep checking the consistency of your potatoes!
How Far In Advance Can You Peel Potatoes For Mashed Potatoes?
You can peel and cut your potatoes up to one full day before you plan on cooking and mashing them. Any more than that, you and you risk your potatoes starting to go bad since they will be exposed without their skin.
You also want to make sure that they are submerged in water once they are peeled until they are cooked. If they aren't, then they will oxidize fairly quickly and start to turn brown.
Why Are My Instant Mashed Potatoes Lumpy?
Overall instant mashed potatoes should not get lumpy. This is because they are dehydrated potatoes and tend to become runny and gummy before anything else.
However, if there are lumps, then it is probably from the instant potato mix clumping together. Not adding enough liquid or not mixing it properly could cause these clumps to form. For the best result with instant mashed potatoes, make sure to follow the packaging directions.
It's really a matter of preference if mashed potatoes have lumps or not. It is not wrong to have them; if anything, that can be a sign that they are made from scratch. However, if you want smooth restaurant-quality mashed potatoes, then the key is preparing and cooking the potatoes properly.
If you already have some lumps and want to remove them, you can use a potato ricer to smooth them out. Now that you know all of this information, you can make perfectly smooth mashed potatoes!
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