The Baking Staple That Helps Thicken Runny Mashed Potatoes

Mashed potatoes are a beloved comfort food, but sometimes they can turn out runny and lack the desired creaminess. However, one simple, unexpected ingredient can rescue them: powdered milk. This baking staple works wonders for thickening and enhancing the consistency of your mashed potatoes, giving them a velvety smoothness that will satisfy your taste buds.

Mashed potatoes are a classic side dish enjoyed by people around the world. Their creamy texture and buttery flavor make them the perfect complement to a wide range of main courses. However, achieving the ideal softness can be a challenge. If you've ever had a watery or thin mashed potato dish, then you know it can be disappointing. That's where powdered milk comes to the rescue.

Also known as dry milk, powdered milk is made by evaporating milk to remove all its moisture content, resulting in a fine powder. It is a common ingredient in baking and cooking due to its long shelf life and versatility. While most people associate powdered milk with making beverages or a substitute for fresh milk, its thickening properties make it excellent for boosting runny mashed potatoes. The secret lies in how powdered milk absorbs moisture. The milk sugars and proteins work their magic to absorb the extra liquid and, as a result, create thicker, more substantial mashed potatoes in minutes.

How to use powdered milk to thicken mashed potatoes

Not only does powdered milk serve as an effective thickening agent, but it also contributes to the overall creaminess of mashed potatoes. Powdered milk easily dissolves into the hot potatoes, creating a smooth, velvety texture as you mash them. 

Beyond its thickening properties, powdered milk adds a subtle dairy flavor to the mashed potatoes. This flavor complements the potatoes without overpowering their subtlety. To incorporate powdered milk, start by preparing mashed potatoes as you normally would: Boil peeled potatoes until tender and mash them with butter, salt, and pepper. At that point, if you find them too watery, gradually add powdered milk to the mashed potatoes — 1 tablespoon at a time — while stirring continuously over low heat. Keep adding powdered milk until you achieve your desired thickness and creaminess.

The next time you find yourself with runny mashed potatoes, don't despair. Reach for the box of powdered milk in your pantry and let it transform your waterlogged potatoes. With a few scoops of this baking staple, you can turn your lackluster mash into a delightful culinary experience.