How Wolfgang Puck Upgrades His Mashed Potatoes

Mashed potatoes are one of the ultimate comfort foods. They're creamy, decadent, packed with carbs, and go oh-so-well with a huge variety of other cozy dishes, from tender and juicy meatloaf to roasted chicken with perfectly browned, crispy skin. And they're a dish that allows cooks to flex their culinary creativity. The simplicity of mashed potatoes means you can't go too wild adding in a whole bunch of things that will transform it into an entirely different dish. But you can make small tweaks to elevate your mashed potatoes, as Food Network demonstrates.

This can involve using a richer type of dairy, swapping out standard milk for heavy cream or crème fraîche, for example. Perhaps you decide to liven up the spuds with cheese or a burst of flavor with an add-in such as chipotle peppers. And then, of course, there are spices and seasonings. For example, Guy Fieri swears by adding wasabi powder to give his signature mashed potatoes a kick.

But sometimes, what you need to take a dish to a new level is a simple ingredient, as chef Wolfgang Puck demonstrates with his favorite upgrade for mashed potatoes. Better yet, his tip uses an ingredient you were likely already planning to use in your mashed potatoes, just prepared a little differently.

A simple upgrade — brown the butter

Wolfgang Puck shared a short video clip on TikTok in which he spilled his mashed potato upgrade and demonstrated what the mashed potatoes should look like. In the six-second video, Puck crafts a batch of decadent-looking mashed potatoes and then shows a pan filled with a generous amount of butter he browns, then drizzles atop the spuds.

That's right — all you need to do is brown the butter, rather than just adding it as-is. According to Puck, brown butter adds a ton more flavor than regular butter, which will level up any mashed potato recipe. As The Kitchn outlines, the browning process cooks out some of the water, intensifying the decadent flavor of the butter. And the browning process caramelizes the milk solids in the butter, which adds slightly nutty flavor notes.

For those who want to be walked through the process a bit more, Puck has a longer video on TikTok in which he makes a batch of mashed potatoes from start to finish.

Not quite sure how to brown butter? As Barley and Sage demonstrate, all you need to do is melt butter in a pan on low heat until it starts bubbling and eventually takes on a caramel-colored hue — you should be able to see and smell when it's ready.