How to make mashed potato

How to make mashed potato

How to make mashed potato

by Great British Chefs8 December 2014

How to make mashed potato

When it comes to the perfect mashed potato recipe, it’s all down to flavour. For many, texture is also key - some like robust, roughly mashed potatoes, some like fluffy or whipped, while others like theirs to resemble baby food or purée.

Another dilemma: floury or waxy potatoes? The received wisdom is that floury or fluffy varieties such as Maris Piper or King Edward are the best spuds for the job, although the Potato Council suggests the smooth Desiree for velvety mash. Chefs tend to opt for waxy types, which absorb flavour - in the right hands this kind of mashed potato can be elevated to Michelin standard, but doesn’t result in the home-cooked comfort food most of us know and love.

On top of this, the question remains - what do add, and how much? Butter is usually used, but others swear by milk, cream, buttermilk, stock or cheese. Should you flavour your mash or leave it unadulterated? Mashed potato can be enhanced by salt, pepper, herbs, garlic or mustard, to name but a few.

There really is no right way to make mashed potato – what is delectable for one person is anathema to another. However, there are a few tips you can adhere to in order to ensure yours doesn’t turn into a gloopy, sticky paste.


Peel and cut the potatoes into similar-sized pieces so they cook evenly
Place the potatoes in cold salted water and bring to the boil. Skim off the scum that appears on the surface, then turn down the heat and cook until tender, for around 20-25 minutes
Drain the potatoes very well and mash - Mash the potatoes either by hand or with a ricer, mouli or drum sieve - this will ensure an ultra-smooth finish
Once they are a smooth consistency, season generously and add butter and milk to taste


Try adding different flavours to lift up your mash, horseradish and mustard work particularly well. For a richer mash add more butter or even cheese. Daniel Clifford uses Reblochon cheese in his pomme puree.


Mash potato is a fantastic accompaniment to any meal, either as a side dish or on top of a pie. Try Adam Byatt's Beef and onion cottage pie or Simon Hulstone's Fish pie with warm tartare suace.

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