Use some baked ‘taters for creamy, set-it-and-forget-it mashed potatoes.
When I’m making a meal that involves mashed potatoes, I often stress about juggling the timing of it all. How far ahead can I peel those potatoes and get them in water? How far ahead can I mash them? How long can they sit and stay warm? But there’s no need for such stress.
There’s an easier way to get silky smooth mashed taters — a way with no peeling required, no boiling water necessary, and even enough flexibility that you can make them a bit ahead. You use baked potatoes and you end up with the smoothest, creamiest potatoes you could ever want. Here’s how you do it:
First things first, you need potatoes. Four pounds. I like a mix of Yukon Golds and russets because it provides the ideal texture combo — russets are fluffy while Yukons are creamy, so with both you get the best of both worlds. Aside from potatoes, you just need butter, half and half, and salt and pepper. Easy.
The first step is to bake the potatoes. There aren’t any special tricks here — it’s the same process as any other baked potato — just poke them with a fork and get them in a hot oven. You want to make sure you really bake them thoroughly until a knife slides easily through them so they’ll mash up smooth.
You’ll want to let the potatoes cool just long enough that you’re able to handle them with a towel. You don’t want to let them cool completely or they might go gluey on you… so just let them sit until you can stand to touch them, and then halve them and scoop the flesh into a bowl.
Then you’ll mash those potatoes until lumps are a bygone concern. (This picture is pre de-lumping.)
Then you’ll simply heat the butter and half and half on the stove top until it’s hot but not quite boiling…
… and then pour half of that mixture into the potatoes…
… and stir. Add the remainder and stir again. You’ve got creamy, luxurious, smooth mashed potatoes.
But I told you you could make them ahead! You sure can. If you’re planning to do that, you’ll want to reserve a half cup of that half and half/butter mixture and pour it over the top of the potatoes to form a kind of protective layer. Don’t stir it in. When you’re ready to serve, heat the potatoes over low heat and stir in that top dairy layer.
Make ahead or serve right away, this method gives you beautiful mashed potatoes in a much more set-it-and-forget-it manner. And whether it’s Thanksgiving dinner or a simpler weeknight meal, I often find a little set-it-and-forget-it-ness is usually a welcome relief.
Mashed Baked Potatoes
5m prep time
1h 15m cook time
- 2 lbs russet potatoes, scrubbed
- 2 lbs Yukon Gold potatoes, scrubbed
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
- 1 1/2 cups half and half, plus more as needed
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Preheat oven to 425°F.
- Prick potatoes all over with a fork. Place potatoes directly on middle rack in oven.
- Bake until a knife slides easily through potatoes, about 1 hour. Potatoes should be very soft.
- Remove potatoes from oven and let cool just slightly so you can handle them.
- Slice potatoes in half and scrape flesh into a large bowl. Mash with a potato masher until any lumps are gone.
- Slice butter and place in a saucepan along with the half and half. Heat over medium-low until butter melts and half and half is warm but not boiling.
- Pour half of the dairy mixture over the potatoes, then stir until smooth.
- Add remaining dairy and stir again until incorporated and season generously with salt and pepper.
- Note: If you are not serving immediately, reserve a 1/2 cup of the dairy mixture and pour that over the top of the potatoes but don't stir in. Cover dish with plastic. When ready to serve, heat over low heat and stir in liquid that's floating on top of potatoes. Enjoy!
Recipe adapted from The Food Network.