Mashed potatoes are the ultimate comfort food: a staple at holiday meals and weeknight suppers alike. Martie Duncan, cookbook author and host of the Homemade Podcast, makes them often using a classic potato masher she inherited from her mother. “But if you want an extra-smooth mashed potato for the holidays or another kind of special occasion, you might want to use a potato ricer,” says Duncan. She has both in her kitchen.
Many cooking experts recommend ricers for the fluffiest possible mashed potatoes. The way they process cooked potatoes through a screen guarantees a lump-free side dish. If you spend a lot of time in the kitchen, you may want to consider having both a masher and ricer. After all, though they’re known as potato mashers and ricers, they both have uses beyond the humble spud.
Mashers, which come in either a perforated or wave design, come in handy for quickly breaking down avocados for guacamole and bananas for banana bread. Ricers have a multitude of uses including making homemade baby food, applesauce, and even fresh fruit juices. They’re also ideal for squeezing excess water from greens and other veggies.
To help you find the best tools for perfectly creamy mashed potatoes and more, we sent top-rated potato ricers and mashers to our experienced product tester. Each one was used to mash potatoes and cauliflower and carefully assessed during hours of home kitchen testing. Then, the potato ricers and mashers were all rated on design, versatility, performance, ease of use, cleaning, and overall value.
Here, the best potato ricers and mashers for a variety of uses.
Best Overall, Potato Ricer
OXO Good Grips 3-in-1 Adjustable Potato Ricer
Interchangeable size settings
Loses sheen in dishwasher
This easy-to-use tool is actually three potato ricers in one, and it earned our top spot. It comes with three interchangeable settings: coarse, medium, and fine. We particularly liked the cleverly designed dial mechanism that allows you to switch between the three settings without swapping them out of the ricer. The fine setting made light-as-air mashed potatoes that were perfect for gnocchi. Vegetable purees were just the right consistency and were super quick to process. We also used unpeeled, diced potatoes in one of our tests to check if the ricer would clog up. The medium setting yielded a delightfully rustic mashed potato along with the skin. Using the coarse setting, we were able to make a chunky boiled egg salad, create chunky applesauce, and process tomatoes for a smooth sauce. Our favorite application was to make spätzle and lefse with it. Cutting down chunks of butter with the ricer was quite therapeutic.
The notched pot rest attachment sat securely on the rim of the mixing bowl and was really useful while processing bigger batches of food. The padded handles did not slip, and our hands were not fatigued even after putting scores of vegetables, potatoes, and eggs through it. When you have finished working the ricer and producing mounds of fluffy potatoes, just scrape the base and load it into the dishwasher. One downside to washing it in the dishwasher is that the plastic parts start to look dull after a couple of washes.
With a tiny adjustment in its dial, we were able to squeeze out extra moisture from cauliflower rice, blanched spinach, and hash browns. The base of the dial also comes off for easy cleaning.
Price at time of publish: $37
Material: Stainless steel, plastic | Dimensions: 11.75 x 5.75 x 5 inches | Weight: 1.35 pounds
"It was almost effortless. Even on the fine setting, the ricer did not need much pressure." — Renu Dhar, Product Tester
Best Overall, Potato Masher
Zyliss Stainless Steel Potato Masher
Comes with a scraper
Not suitable for nonstick cookware
We got used to the Zyliss potato masher quite easily because of its classic design, and it ended up as our best overall masher option. It felt familiar and looked like potato mashers we had always used. But when we started using it, it felt worlds apart (in a good way) and made quick and efficient work of our boiled spuds. The soft-touch silicone handle provided a firm and easy grip. The perforated mashing surface has an unusual design feature: The exterior holes are larger, while the interior holes are smaller, which leads to quicker mashing and an almost lump-free finished product.
The built-in bowl scraper lets you easily whisk your potatoes out of the bowl and into your serving dish, minimizing both waste and cleanup. We also used it to mix the butter and cream into the mashed potatoes. The masher has a clean design with minimal grooves and seams and was easy to quickly wash by hand as well as in the dishwasher.
It punched rather quickly through a dozen eggs for an egg salad and breezed through a bowl of avocados for guacamole. If we had to be picky, we thought it left our frijoles refritos (refried beans) a bit lumpy due to the skin on them and we couldn't use this in our nonstick pan while making said beans. Other than that, we found ourselves reaching for it even after we were done testing.
Price at time of publish: $19
Material: Stainless steel, silicone | Dimensions: 3.46 x 11.22 x 3.74 inches | Weight: 0.55 pounds
"It took under 1 minute to completely mash the potatoes to a creamy texture." — Renu Dhar, Product Tester
Best for Gnocchi
Priority Chef Potato Ricer and Masher
Produces fine texture
Needs extra elbow grease
If you want to create pillowy soft gnocchi of your Italian food dreams, this ricer will have you covered. In our tests, it consistently mashed potatoes to a fine texture. Our pomme purée was silky smooth and decadent. We noticed that the ricer squeezed out extra moisture, and that’s just what you need to make dreamy gnocchi.
The fine holes required some extra elbow grease for pressing out the potatoes. The extra-long handles provided much-needed leverage for pressing. Even though the handles are padded for a comfortable grip, we noticed our hands tiring pretty quickly because of the force required to mash the spuds. It is top-rack dishwasher safe with one downside—the angle at which it stays in the top rack almost always leaves residue inside the hopper. We much preferred to hand-wash it because a quick rinse under water got it cleaned up in no time.
Price at time of publish: $25
Material: Stainless steel, silicone | Dimensions: 12.5 x 3 x 3.5 inches | Weight: 1.3 pounds
"The consistency of the final mashed potatoes was light and silky." — Renu Dhar, Product Tester
Best Wave-Style Masher
Tovolo Silicone Potato Masher
Works on nonstick surfaces
The waffle-style potato masher isn’t for everyone. Some cooks just prefer the look, feel, and performance of the wave-style masher. And if you enjoy a more rustic mashed potato with some texture or chunky guacamole, you’ll want to seek out this style.
The wave design makes it harder to overprocess your food. This model is silicone-coated, which was perfect for use on our cast iron and nonstick pans. Since this masher is heat-resistant, we mashed some refried beans on the stovetop. We also found it to be scratch-resistant and used it to make guacamole in a clay bowl. We particularly liked its design for making pav bhaji, a Mumbai-style vegetable mash served with airy buns. We didn’t want the vegetables overprocessed, but in nice chunks, and this wavy masher delivered on that. We found it to be versatile enough to muddle berries and fruits, mash potatoes and avocado, and process tomatoes in sauce.
The grip was comfortable, even after repetitive mashing, and cleaning it was a breeze.
Price at time of publish: $18 for charcoal
Material: BPA-free heat-resistant silicone, stainless steel | Dimensions: 4.5 x 2.75 x 9.8 inches | Weight: 0.42 pounds
"It was great for making chunky guacamole and in a few other applications where you only want to mash part of the food. I even used it as a muddler for berries." — Renu Dhar, Product Tester
Best Spring-Style Masher
Dreamfarm Smood Potato Masher
Handles only small quantities
Not for everyone
Though it may look like a large whisk, this is actually a uniquely designed potato masher. The basic idea is that food chunks get trapped inside the "cage," and the coils compress as you push down, resulting in a mash. That motion is supposed to reduce the number of times needed to punch the potatoes, making this tool a little easier on the wrist. So we went ahead and tested it.
We had fun using it for small batches of potatoes, whisking eggs with it, and mashing and whisking refried beans to create airy pockets. The silicone scraper, which is heat-safe up to 500 degrees, made quick work of scraping bits from the pan. Interestingly, the masher worked well, but with a caveat—it did not work as well or fast for larger quantities. We noticed it was easier on the wrists, but for a creamier mash, we had to use both hands. Again, for larger quantities, these benefits didn’t last. For smaller quantities, we were able to put things in a small bowl and mash and serve. It made for an easy cleanup overall, as this stainless steel masher can go straight to the dishwasher.
Price at time of publish: $35
Material: Stainless steel, silicone | Dimensions: 3.75 x 3.75 x 11.5 inches | Weight: 0.46 pounds
"It took slightly less than 2 minutes to get half a pound of potatoes to a creamy consistency with cream and butter added." — Renu Dhar, Product Tester
RSVP International Potato Ricer
Designed like a giant garlic press, this ricer easily turned boiled potatoes into a pile of evenly riced potato hills just waiting for the slightest encouragement and maybe some milk and butter to become fluffy mashed potatoes.
The material looked a little flimsy at first as it is made from heavy-duty plastic. However, upon testing it many times, it stood its ground and proved its durability. With the notched extension, we were able to securely anchor it over a bowl, and it stayed there without slipping. We found the contour of the handles easy to hold, but the size (height and width) of the handles may not work for those with smaller hands.
There are two plates included—one medium and one coarse. The medium was ideal for mashed potatoes, and it did wonderfully with both skin-on and peeled potatoes. The coarse setting was good for making a rustic mash and chunks of boiled eggs for salad. The ricer disassembles easily for cleaning, and it is dishwasher safe, but the downside is that you have to disassemble it every time you clean and remember to put the plates back into the ricer once clean and dry.
Price at time of publish: $21
Material: Heavy duty plastic, stainless steel discs | Dimensions: 13.5 x 4.5 x 3.75 inches | Weight: One pound
"The ricer made chunky mashed potatoes with the coarse setting and slightly airy ones with the medium setting." — Renu Dhar, Product Tester
Best Large-Capacity Ricer
MyLifeUNIT Heavy Duty Commercial Potato Ricer
Not suited for unpeeled foods
This ricer looks and feels sturdy because of the no-frills design. It is designed to work hard, and it sure does. The grip is secure and doesn’t slip. We did find that it got a bit uncomfortable after a while, and using a dish towel or clean mittens to press reduced the discomfort. With a 0.3mm diameter in the perforations, this ricer makes light-as-air mashed potatoes. We found that we did not have to dice the potatoes before using the ricer, as the hopper capacity was large enough to house half a medium potato. Although when we did test it with diced potatoes, the potatoes pressed out faster and more easily. We were not able to work as quickly or smoothly when we used potatoes with skin on as they kept clogging the hopper. Because of the fine perforations, we were able to make smooth purees of carrots and pumpkins and squeeze out moisture from hash browns.
We liked that the ricer is detachable. A metal rod holds the two parts—hopper and plunger—together with a tiny plastic tube securing it. Sliding this rod separates the parts. This made for a very easy cleanup in the dishwasher. The downside is remembering where we put that pin and the plastic tube. The edge of the ricer looks like it was designed to rest on a pan or pot. We found that we needed a really thin-rimmed metal bowl to anchor it in place. There wasn’t much gap between the bowl and the end of the hopper, so we mostly used the ricer using just our hands, which was tiring after some time.
Price at time of publish: $25
Material: Stainless steel | Dimensions: 12 x 3.5 x 3.7 inches | Weight: 1.3 pounds
"This ricer produced light and airy mashed potatoes that were quite creamy in texture." — Renu Dhar, Product Tester
How We Tested
These selected potato ricers and mashers were tested for hours by our product tester for the most authentic results. We rated these ricers based on design/comfort, versatility, performance, ease of use, cleaning, and overall value. Testing was conducted with peeled and unpeeled potatoes, as well as with cauliflower. We considered the final texture of the potatoes and the level of difficulty in fully mashing up the food.
The type of potato you choose for mashing will depend on what type of mashed potatoes you prefer. When it comes to getting the creamiest mashed potatoes, Yukon Gold is the variety of choice. Its dense and uniform flesh isn't grainy or mushy, and the natural buttery flavor lends itself to mashed potatoes. Waxy potatoes like red potatoes will need more mashing time to remove the chunks but are great at absorbing other flavors and therefore ideal for roasted garlic mashed potatoes. Russets make for a light and fluffy dish.
Other Options We Tested
- RSVP International Endurance Jumbo Potato Ricer: A large-capacity ricer is much needed when you are cooking for a large gathering, and you want to make quick work mashing all those spuds so you can move on to your next chore. This large-capacity ricer is made from stainless steel, with santoprene-covered handles for a comfortable grip. We first tested this with diced potatoes and instantly noticed that we needed to exert a lot more pressure to squeeze out the potatoes even when the hopper was not full. Even after using all the force we could muster, the ricer left a disc of pressed potatoes inside the hopper. Seeking assistance from stronger hands and using brute force, we tried once more, and the result was marginally improved but still left a lot of potatoes compressed inside. Next, we tried using a whole boiled potato, but the results were not any different. The handles did not feel comfortable, especially when using so much pressure. One thing we did like was that this ricer excelled at squeezing out liquids from blanched spinach, napa cabbage, hash browns, etc.
What to Look for in a Potato Masher or Ricer
The head of a potato masher is usually made out of stainless steel—this ensures the perforations are sharp enough to slice through the potatoes. Stainless steel is also an ideal choice for its ease of cleaning. Or, if you want to use your masher in a hot pan while the potatoes are cooking, go for a masher made out of heat-resistant silicone or nylon.
Some mashers and ricers have silicone handles with an ergonomic design, which we recommend for the most comfortable grip. You want it nonslip and sturdy enough for effective mashing and ricing.
Pay attention to the construction of the perforations, which are the small holes that do the mashing and ricing. The size of the holes affects the consistency of the potatoes. Larger perforations result in more textured mashes that may be less even. For the fluffiest of results, we recommend choosing a masher or tool with small perforations. There are also mashers that feature a single wire head, which is simpler to use and a lot easier to clean but may be time-consuming and requires more effort to achieve a smooth mash.
What's the difference between a potato ricer and masher?
A potato ricer extrudes the potatoes out through small perforations in its base. As you press down the plunger, the force pats down the potatoes and forces them to extrude through the holes in the hopper. Because hot air doesn’t get trapped in the potatoes, an airy texture is created in the mashed potatoes. This is just the sort of base you want in the creamiest, fluffiest mashed potatoes or for making gnocchi. The potatoes mashed in a ricer are not gluey and have a rice-like look. The ricers usually look like giant garlic presses, and they work like one as well. In addition to using them for "ricing" potatoes, you can use them to extract excess liquid from vegetables and hash browns and for making baby food or pureeing soft-boiled vegetables.
Potato mashers, on the other hand, work by direct force applied to the potatoes. Since you need multiple passes on the same area to get them smoother, the resulting mashed potatoes turn into a paste form rather than a dry, airy rice form. One way to get a smoother texture with mashers is to not overwork them, or let them get cold. Mashers are also handy for making rustic mashed potatoes with skins, guacamole, or refried beans.
How do you rice potatoes?
Depending on the size of the ricer’s hopper, you can either use diced potatoes or potatoes cut in halves. Peel, dice, and boil potatoes until they are tender. Drain the potatoes. Then place the ricer on top of a bowl securing the notch on the edge of the bowl. If you are using peeled potatoes, place potatoes in the hopper almost to the top. Place the lid on top of it, close the plunger, and firmly squeeze with one or both hands until all the potatoes have extruded. If you are using potatoes with skin on, put the potatoes skin side up and press to extrude. The skin will stay back in the hopper—remove and repeat. When you have used all the potatoes, scrape the base and sides (if perforated) of your potato ricer to collect all the riced potatoes.
How do you make cauliflower rice with a potato ricer?
Cauliflower rice made with a potato ricer has a noticeably different texture as compared to the one made in a food processor or with a grater. To make cauliflower rice with a ricer, either blanch the cauliflower first or roast it so it can easily pass through the ricer. For both options, clean and cut the cauliflower into florets and remove the stems. Both of these methods only work when cauliflower is cooked through.
Boiling: Boil a pan of water, add salt, and place the cauliflower florets in. Simmer for about 10 minutes on medium heat or until tender. Scoop the florets into the hopper of the potato ricer, close the plunger, and press gently at first to remove extra water. Then squeeze the handles together until all the cauliflower has extruded.
Roasting: Drizzle the florets with oil, then roast the cauliflower at 400 degrees for 25-35 minutes (until soft), scoop the florets into the hopper of the potato ricer, close the plunger, and press to squeeze the handles together until all the cauliflower has extruded.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
The original author of this roundup, Joy Manning, is a food writer and recipe developer. Her work has appeared in many publications, including The Philadelphia Inquirer and The Washington Post. She’s the author of Almost Meatless and Stuff Every Cook Should Know.
Renu Dhar, personal chef, culinary instructor, and food writer, updated this roundup after personally testing each item on this list.