How to Use a Potato Ricer

Quickly Make Smooth and Creamy Mashed Potatoes

Mashing potoatoes with potato ricer
Getty Images / Laurence Mouton

Knowing how to use a potato ricer will give you creamy mashed potatoes every time. If you are familiar with a garlic press, then you've got the idea of a potato ricer. It's a kitchen tool with two long handles; one is attached to a basket with small holes and the other ends with a flat piece that fits into the basket. Chunks of boiled potatoes are placed in the basket and then pressed through the perforations, coming out the other end looking something like rice (hence the name). This transformation allows for a quick, easy mash with a smooth, creamy result.

A potato ricer can be used for either white potatoes or sweet potatoes. You can also use it for pressing other types of foods, such as parsnips, turnips, or even making fruit coulis or small amounts of baby food. Some potato ricers will come with a choice of disks, each with different sized holes. The hole size will determine how fine the mash will be.

How to Use a Potato Ricer

Here’s how to use a potato ricer to make creamy mashed potatoes. 

  1. Peel several white potatoes (or your favorite potato for mashing) and cut them into equally sized pieces. The pieces should each be about 1-inch cubed. Cook them in boiling water for about 15 minutes or until they are soft enough to break up when pressed with a fork. Drain the potatoes in a colander; either leave them in the colander or return them to the empty cooking pot.
  2. Fill the basket with a few pieces of potatoes. If your potato ricer came with a choice of disks, fit the potato ricer with the one with the largest holes and fill the basket with a few chunks of potatoes.
  3. Hold the ricer over the empty pot or a bowl and squeeze the handles of the ricer together until the potato begins extruding through the holes. Continue refilling and pressing the potatoes, working quickly before the potatoes get cold. Make sure not to overfill the basket of the ricer or the potatoes might ooze out the sides. 
  4. When all the potatoes have been processed through the ricer, add the desired ingredients to your potatoes, such as butter, sour cream, warm milk, salt, pepper, or nutmeg. Stir with a wooden spoon to combine. If necessary, place the pot back on the stove and turn the heat on low to re-warm the potatoes before serving.
  1. Clean, or at least rinse, the ricer immediately after using it so that the starchy potato residue won't dry on the tool, making it difficult to clean later.

Using Your Ricer for Other Foods

Potatoes aren't the only type of food you can use your ricer to quickly mash. Here's how to use your potato ricer for other foods.

  • Thaw frozen berries or cook fresh berries in a saucepan with a little bit of sugar until soft. Fit the ricer with the disk with the smallest holes, then press the berries through the ricer into a bowl to make a coulis or fruit sauce.
  • Steam foods like apples, peas, or broccoli until very soft. Use the ricer fitted with the disk with the largest holes to press the food into a puree for baby food.
  • Make spaetzle with your potato ricer. Use the ricer to press the dough into boiling water, forming the noodles.