The Unexpected Ingredient Guy Fieri Uses In His Mashed Potatoes

Mashed potatoes are one of those dishes that seem so simple, but there are endless variations, and every cook has their preferred hacks and secret ingredients to level up the final product. Yes, you want to start with a solid base and avoid some of the common mistakes, as Bon Appétit explains. This includes missteps like not using the right kind of potatoes, failing to salt the water, and tossing the potatoes into ferociously boiling water. For those who always do this, just know it has the potential to overcook the outside while leaving the inside underdone — plopping those potato chunks in cold water and then bringing everything to a boil at once is the key.

However, another key to most beloved mashed potato recipes is all the mix-ins that go beyond just the potatoes, milk or cream, butter, and salt. Sure, there are some purists who want to keep things simple. Many others, though, relish the addition of roasted garlic, cheeses from sharp cheddar to fragrant parmesan, fresh herbs, classics like bacon, and much more.

Television personality and restaurateur Guy Fieri, who is known for his bold flavors and even more over-the-top presentation style, has a unique ingredient that he likes to add to his mashed potatoes — and if you're forever on a quest to level up your version of the carb-packed comfort food, you just might want to give it a shot.

Fieri's secret ingredient with a kick

Guy Fieri's mashed potato recipe, shared with Food Network, includes all the usual suspects that help pack mashed potatoes with flavor and creamy texture, including heavy cream, butter, a whole head of garlic, and of course, the necessary salt and pepper. However, there's one unusual ingredient in the mix that you may not have considered adding to your mash — wasabi powder. Fieri's recipe calls for a generous four teaspoons of the spicy addition.

In order to properly incorporate the powder, Fieri's recipe includes instructions to mix it with water until a paste is formed, which is also what Pogogi suggests to create a wasabi paste that can accompany sushi and sashimi.

While it may seem a bit out of the box, several reviews seem to indicate it isn't as crazy as it sounds — something about the combination of ingredients just works together. A writer from Suggest gave the recipe a shot, and said that the wasabi's kick was mellowed by the heavy cream and butter in the recipe, allowing the secret ingredient to add spice and flavor without being too overpowering. Several home cooks who tried the recipe agreed, singing its praises in the comments section of the Food Network recipe. One commented they'd swapped out the wasabi powder with paste and had good results still, while another commented that the kick from the wasabi turned the mashed potatoes into "an instant favorite."

Other celebrity chefs' upgrades

Now, Guy Fieri obviously isn't the only celebrity chef to put his own spin on mashed potatoes. After all, they're an endlessly customizable comfort food side dish. While Fieri's add-in is certainly outside the box, delivering a serious burst of flavor as well as that signature kick found in wasabi, many other chefs keep things a bit simpler with their additions.

Bobby Flay, for example, swears by a particularly creamy mix-in — but it's not the standard cream or milk. Instead, as Food Network reports, Flay levels up his mashed potatoes by adding in creme fraiche. Not only does the ingredient add some creaminess, as any dairy addition would, it also incorporates a bit of tangy flavor that Flay loves in the dish.

Another celebrity turned chef, rapper Snoop Dogg, relishes the combination of creaminess and tang with his mashed potato mix-in of choice, which he shared in his cookbook "From Crook to Cook." As Esquire reports, Snoop adds in both heavy cream and mayonnaise for a mashed potato dish that delivers on flavor (though it certainly doesn't skimp on calories).

Finally, while you may know actor and foodie Stanley Tucci best for the Italian dishes he's shared in his various cookbooks and television specials, he, too, has a hack for the classic comfort food — with an Italian twist, of course. As shared by the New Haven Register, Tucci and his wife shun milk or cream in their mashed potatoes, instead adding richness with olive oil.

Nigella Lawson's mock mash

While many decadent recipes are packed with ingredients like milk, cream, or butter, mashed potatoes can easily be customized to be dairy-free or switched up in whatever way accommodates a particular dietary restriction. After all, as long as you have a base of mashed potatoes, you can get pretty creative with the recipe (as Guy Fieri's fiery addition exemplifies). However, what if there's a situation where you want to skip the potatoes entirely, or are simply short on time? Well, British culinary queen Nigella Lawson has an answer for that.

Those who have made mashed potatoes know that it isn't always the quickest dish — you typically have to peel all those potatoes and boil them until they're perfectly tender before you can even start mashing them and pulling together your dish. Lawson, however, has a quick recipe for a carb-packed, comforting side dish that shares many similarities with the classic mashed potatoes (via Nigella).

Her "mock mash" recipe uses semolina as the base rather than potatoes, which she cooks in boiling milk until the grain is thickened. The recipe incorporates plenty of flavor with additions like butter, nutmeg, and parmesan, and takes just minutes to make.

If you're in the mood for something a bit healthier, Meal Prep on Fleek explains that you can transform a ton of different vegetables into a "mock mash," including cauliflower, turnips, parsnips, and rutabaga, to name just a few.