You've Been Mashing Your Potatoes Wrong All Along

Mashed potatoes are one of the best comfort foods out there. The side dish that might bring to mind holiday meals or childhood memories is perfectly smooth and creamy — and yet light and airy. And while mashed potatoes might seem like one of the foods that require the least amount of skill to make, they are deceptively difficult to get just right. No one wants gloopy potatoes.

There's one big no-no when it comes to obliterating cooked potatoes into a starchy mountain of whipped goodness, and that's to avoid blenders or food processors. According to The Kitchn, when the blades of appliances such as a blender or a food processor rapidly cut through the potatoes, they actually tear through the starch molecules. That means the liquid from the potatoes mingles with the released starch and causes the potatoes to become a thick, gluey paste. So to avoid gross, gummy potatoes, you'll want to use one of about three tools to make the consistency of mashed potatoes that make your taste buds sing.

Use these tools for your mashed potatoes

As you probably know as an avid mashed potato connoisseur, there are several textures you can accomplish with mashed potatoes. The first is light and fluffy, and the best way to get this consistency is to use a food mill or ricer. Food mills have a perforated disc that uses a hand crank to push the potatoes through it while removing the skin. What you'll be left with is a plethora of potatoes that have essentially been riced (via Food Network).

The next way to make mashed potatoes is to use a fork or hand masher to manually break up the potatoes. This results in a more rustic dish that is neither fluffy nor creamy, but smashes the potatoes instead.

Finally, you can use a stand mixer for particularly creamy mashed potatoes. The best thing about using the stand mixer's paddle attachment is that it doesn't break down the potatoes to the point of no going back. As long as you scrape down the sides of the bowl to ensure the potatoes are creamy and smooth, you'll have a delicious side dish in no time.

So, try a new method for a different result or pick one that's easiest for you based on your kitchen equipment. With some care and attention, great mashed potatoes are certainly within your reach.