I want to talk about how to make chunky mashed potatoes. Mashed potatoes are an iconic dish in many cultures, and they can be made with a number of different ingredients in a number of different ways. Which style you prefer will depend on your taste buds, or even your cultural background.
What are mashed potatoes, anyway?
Mashed potatoes are a side dish that is very simple to make with little preparation. The recipe for mashed potatoes is usually butter, cream or milk, and (optionally) cheese, chives or onion.
There are several different styles of mashed potatoes.
First Style: Mashed potatoes can be made simply by boiling the potato in water. The potatoes are drained of excess water and then mixed with butter, cream or milk. Salt and pepper can be added for taste.
This style is often called chunky mashed potatoes because the potato chunks add a certain amount of texture to the dish.
Second Style: Mashed potatoes can also be made by steaming the potato in its skin. The potato is then peeled and boiled again before mixing with the other ingredients. This leaves chunkier mashed potatoes than the first style, but they are still relatively smooth.
This style of mashed potatoes is more typically used for making mashed sweet potatoes (a dish often called candied yams).
Third Style: Mashed potatoes can also be made by peeling and cubing the potato, boiling it in water until cooked, then draining. The potatoes are placed back in the pot with butter, cream or milk and seasonings. This is very similar to making homemade mashed potatoes without a food mill or ricer.
This style of mashed potatoes produces fairly smooth texture because most of the potato is grated instead of mashed.
Why are homemade mashed potatoes far superior to store-bought mashed potatoes?
First, homemade mashed potatoes taste better. This isn’t just because they’re made with real ingredients; it’s true even if you use instant mashed potato mix. The main reason commercial mixes are inferior is that they contain powdered dehydrated potatoes (and sometimes powdered milk and powdered butter) to make the mix shelf-stable. Dried potatoes taste like nothing, and dried dairy products have a rancid flavor that can’t be masked even by copious amounts of salt.
Second, store-bought mashed potatoes come in weird colors such as blue (for “cheese” flavored instant mashed potatoes) and pink (for “salad” flavor instant mashed potatoes).
Third, store-bought instant mashed potato mixes are often watery. If you were to follow the directions on a box of dehydrated potatoes, you’d add twice as much water as mix. Most people don’t do this; they try to compensate with more powdered mix. This dilutes the flavor and can cause your potatoes to be too thin or watery.
Fourth, store-bought instant mashed potatoes often contain filler ingredients like dextrose (a type of sugar) which you don’t need if you make them with real ingredients.
Recipe: How to make chunky mashed potatoes
First, start with peeled whole Russet potatoes. Cut the potatoes into one-inch cubes. Try not to cut any larger or smaller than this because you’ll end up with either overcooked or undercooked mashed potatoes.
Second, place the potato cubes in a pot of salted water. The goal is to cover all of the cubed potatoes with at least an inch or two of water. If you care about your mashed potatoes being light and fluffy, use more.
Third, bring the potatoes to a boil until they are fork-tender. This should take about 20 minutes or so.
Fourth, drain all excess water from the boiling pot into a strainer with a handle that you can hold over the sink without burning yourself.
Fifth, return the potato cubes to the pot.
Sixth, add butter, cream or milk, salt, and pepper. You can mix like this or use a food mill or ricer to mash the potatoes. The lumpy mashed potatoes are ready! Mix in your other ingredients.
Chunky mashed potatoes are a great way to make your dish stick out – and taste better. They’re also easy to make at home with just a few ingredients like butter, cream or milk, salt, and pepper. The next time you are trying to decide on the perfect side dish, remember you now know how to make chunky mashed potatoes!
Note: This is also an excellent side dish if you’re looking for what to make with turkey on Thanksgiving!
We also have an excellent recipe for Garlic Mashed Potatoes in our post about