When fluffiness is a goal for mashed potatoes, a ricer is THE way to get there. A ricer is basically a larger version of a garlic press with holes in it that forces food into tiny pieces about the width of rice. These little pieces are then more able to absorb ingredients like cream, butter, and other flavors such as garlic, wasabi, or rosemary, making your fluffy mashed potatoes an endless possibility for culinary exploration.
The astonishing part is that you don’t even have to peel the potatoes. You know how in some movies about boot camps, people have to peel potatoes as punishment? That’s because peeling potatoes is not a fun pastime. But by using a ricer, all you have to do is halve the cooked potatoes and the ricer itself pushes the tender potato through the holes, leaving tough skin behind. And that is just one of the things that makes this recipe easy!
A few other easy-to-manage factors that lead to fluffy mashed potatoes are to choose floury russet potatoes, boil them in their skins until they’re tender, add them to enough hot, well-seasoned butter and milk or cream, and then really gently fold in the riced potatoes. Don’t mix it like a fiend, though, because that will make the starches gluey, and glue is the enemy of fluffiness.
These are so easy that you can make them on a busy weeknight, but they are so good that they are worthy of a spot at your Thanksgiving table. Watch the video below and you'll master this method in no time.
Watch Now: How to Create Unbelievably Fluffy Mashed Potatoes
- 4 Russet potatoes (skin on)
- 1 1/2 cups half-and-half, or milk, or cream (plus more, if needed)
- 1 stick butter (cut into chunks)
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Optional: 1 clove garlic (crushed)
- Optional: 1 bay leaf
Gather the ingredients.
Put the potatoes into a medium saucepan and cover with water by an inch. Bring it to a boil, and cook until a knife slides easily into the center of a potato.
Save a bit of the potato water. Drain and halve the potatoes.
Put the half-and-half, all but one chunk of the butter, salt, pepper, garlic, and bay leaf into the saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a simmer.
When the butter is melted and the half-and-half is hot, remove the bay leaf and garlic clove.
Put a potato half, skin-side up, into the ricer and rice the potato into the hot liquid.
Discard the skin and repeat until the potatoes are all in the pot.
Gently stir together until the cream and potatoes are just combined. If it's not creamy enough add potato water a few teaspoons at a time but do not overmix.
Taste, adjust the seasoning and serve topped with the remaining pat of butter.
- Don’t mix it like a fiend because that will make the starches gluey, and glue is the enemy of fluffiness.
Do You Really Need a Ricer?
At first, I thought a ricer was a luxury tool: it has an awkward shape and is somewhat limited in its use. But, like it’s friend the tortilla press, it does its one task of squishing things so particularly well, that I think it’s worthwhile. While it's not the only tool that can make creamy mashed potatoes, yams, and butternut squash, the fact that it can, and then also provides the opportunity to make guacamole instantly, squeezes unwanted liquids from spinach, and makes 30-second egg salad possible, gives it a two-thumbs-up in our book!