But when it comes to the mashed potatoes, there’s two ways of thinking: make them ahead or at the very last minute.
Because the freshly made mashed potatoes have the lightest texture, I always sweated over making them at the last minute. And it made the dinner a mad rush right before serving.
No matter how much I got done, mashing and whipping those mashed potatoes took all my muscle and attention.
Do-Ahead Mashed Potato Method
Hold them over a double boiler. Press a sheet of parchment paper over the surface to prevent it from drying out. You can even set the pot aside if you need to borrow the burner and the potatoes will stay piping hot from the hot water.
Simple, right? And no special apparatus is requires to ensure that your mashed potatoes are ready to serve.
I like to make them within about an hour of serving and before I make the gravy while the turkey rests.
Potato Mashing Methods
Now, there are many ways to get your potatoes from boiled to mashed. Each has its own pros and cons.
- There’s the hand masher, which leaves you with some lumps.
- The stand mixer with the whisk attachment eases the task
- The food processor produces a very smooth mash but can turn them gummy
- The food mill or ricer are less work than hand mashing with smoother results.
At our house, the ricer is the winner for producing the fluffiest mashed potatoes. But it’s a workout! Like a giant garlic press, it extrudes the potato through small holes, yielding a very smooth and uniform mash.
Add the butter, warmed cream and salt and pepper to taste, then taste again. And maybe once more. Are they just right? Yes, they are, cloud like bites of pure potato heaven.
Bring on the gravy.
What’s your favorite method for making the best mashed potatoes? Let me know in the comments below or tag a photo #lynnesforage on Instagram or Facebook.
Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes
This is the method I use to make a batch of mashed potatoes for my family. It can be increased by any measure. The trick, I learned from a potato farmer, is to use the starchiest potatoes and to be liberal with the butter. Once they're mashed, you can hold the potatoes in a bowl over a double boiler for hours to keep them warm.
- 5 medium Russet potatoes, scrubbed and cut into large chunks or peeled
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into cubes at room temperature
- 1/4 cup half and half or cream optional
- fine sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper
Put the potatoes in a large pot and cover with water and add the kosher salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and reduce to a simmer. Cook until you can pierce them easily with a fork, about 20 minutes.
Drain the potatoes well and return them to the pot to steam for 5 minutes. Add the butter and the cream, if using. Mash with a hand masher (or you favorite method as noted in the post) until they are as smooth as possible. Season to taste with salt and pepper.