16 hacks that will take your mashed potato game to the next level

Everyone loves mashed potatoes, but sometimes they could use a little something. Luckily there are many simple mashed potato hacks that will turn this beloved side dish into the star of any meal.

Whether it’s using buttermilk instead of cream and butter, or mixing in add-ins like herbs or cheese, make sure to try one of these easy tweaks to take your mashed potatoes to the next level.

Use Yukon Gold potatoes for naturally buttery mashed potatoes.

Yellow potatoes are naturally buttery and rich-tasting, which makes them perfect for mashed potatoes. And because they’re already flavorful, you can add less cream and butter to make them healthier.

Another reason why Yukon Gold potatoes work so well as mashed potatoes is because they’re high in starch, which makes them fluffy and smooth.

Boil potatoes in cream and butter.

cheeseslave / FlickrCream and butter will make your mashed potatoes extra decadent.

“Food Network” star chef Tyler Florence told Popsugar to boil potatoes straight in cream, butter, herbs, and olive oil, rather than water, because “when you cook potatoes in water and you pour that water down the drain, you’ve extracted all the flavour of the potato.”

Put the potatoes in cold water first, then bring the water to a boil, for more evenly cooked potatoes.

Jade Y/ShutterstockKeeping the potatoes in water for a longer period of time is beneficial.

If you put your potatoes into water that is already boiling, the outside will cook much faster than the inside.

Bon Appetit explains that you should put your potatoes into a pot with cold water, cover it, and then bring the water to a boil for more evenly cooked potatoes.

Peel the potatoes with your hands.

schankz/ShutterstockPeeling potatoes with your hands is much faster once you get the hang of it.

Peeling cooked potatoes with your hands is actually faster than using a knife – just place the potatoes in a bowl of ice water for five to 10 seconds after cooking them, to loosen the skin.

Hand mash the potatoes to get more texture.

Peter Horrox/ShutterstockHand mashing gives the potatoes a personal touch.

While there are many ways to mash potatoes, mashing them by hand will give your potatoes more texture.

When the potatoes are tender, dump out the water they cooked in, return the drained potatoes, and heat them for another minute.

Thomas Tolkien/FlickrYou want to preserve as much of the starch as you can.

When your potatoes are done, drain the pot of all water, then then cook the potatoes on medium-high heat for another minute or so (stir, and make sure not to burn them). This removes any excess water, ensuring thick and creamy mashed potatoes that aren’t watery.

Boil potatoes whole, and with the skin on for less gluey mashed potatoes.

UllrichG/ShutterstockLeaving the potato skins on saves time and improves texture.

By leaving the potato skins on, Kitchn explains that the potatoes will absorb less water while being boiled, which maintains the starch. Less water also means that potatoes will instead absorb more of the butter or milk you add, resulting in less gluey mashed potatoes.

Plus, peels add flavour.

Double boil the potatoes to remove excess potassium.

Many people like to double boil their potatoes when making mashed potatoes because it removes excess potassium. One baked potato contains over 900 milligrams of potassium, which is about half of what someone on a low potassium diet can have. After double boiling (boiling them for another 10 minutes or so), they only retain about 200 milligrams.

Make them in a slow cooker.

Paul Howritz/ ShutterstockYou can’t go wrong with a slow cooker.

Using a slow cooker is great because you do half the work for the same delicious result: per the Kitchn, just chop up your potatoes and throw them in the slow cooker with a little liquid. Once they’re done, you can mash them in the pot and add some milk or butter.

Use Russet potatoes for extra fluffy mashed potatoes.

16:9clue / FlickrRusset potatoes.

Russet potatoes are a good choice for mashed potatoes because they have thick skins and are high in starch, which the Kitchn explains makes mashed potatoes that are “light and fluffy, and absorb butter and cream like a dream.”

The difference between Russet potatoes and Yukon Golds is that Russets have a much milder flavour than buttery Yukons.

Mix in buttermilk instead of cream or butter.

If you want your mashed potatoes to be extra creamy, use buttermilk. According to Martha Stewart, buttermilk will also give mashed potatoes a nice litle tang.

Cook the potatoes in the microwave to save time.

Zynatis/ShutterstockThe microwave can save time and effort.

Making mashed potatoes can be a labour-intensive process, especially if you’re cooking several dishes at once, so save a bit of time and energy by cooking the potatoes in the microwave. The microwave will both cook the potatoes and make sure they don’t absorb too much water.

Per Food Network, 20 minutes should do the trick.

Mix in fresh herbs for added flavour.

Mixing in herbs with mashed potatoes gives them a little more pizzazz.

Epicurious suggests adding chives and parsley, or onions and scallions. However, options are endless.

Consider add-ins like bacon to liven up your mashed potatoes.

Stephanie / FlickrMexican mashed potatoes.

Add-ins make mashed potatoes heartier and more flavorful. If you add enough extras, you can turn your mashed potatoes into their own meal.

You can add a number of things to mashed potatoes to beef them up, from bacon and cheddar to garlic and parmesan cauliflower.

Throw in some cheese.

Stefano A./FlickrMashed potatoes and cheese are a perfect combo.

Let’s be honest, cheese makes everything better. And when it comes to mashed potatoes, cheese makes them even creamier. You can use any kind of cheese, but certain types will reap different results. For example, cream cheese will make the potatoes super creamy, while cheddar will add flavour.

Use water to make your mashed potatoes vegan.

Joanna FantozziDon’t let dairy hold you back from enjoying mashed potatoes.

You can easily make vegan mashed potatoes by swapping cream and butter for water, and still make them flavorful with your add-ins.

Minimalist Baker recommends avoiding almond milk at all costs, as it makes the potatoes “kind of mealy” and, understandably, a little nutty.

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