Mashed red potatoes are the perfect side dish for any occasion. Just by removing excess starches and boiling until fork tender ensures a fluffy and creamy texture. Season with salt, pepper, chives and enjoy!
Mashed red potatoes are a classic side dish, no question. It’s the ideal way to soak up sauces and homemade gravy. The trick to light and creamy mashed potatoes is paying attention to your cooking techniques.
Potatoes contain a lot of starch. Removing some before they cook and right after boiling help to reduce the gluey consistency. Folding crushed potatoes with butter before adding half-and-half coats the starches to control the sticky factor.
Do you need to peel red potatoes?
No, red potatoes do not need to be peeled before boiling. The skin is very thin, so it’s easy to bite and chew. Make sure to scrub and wash the outside of the potato skin before cooking to remove any excess soil or reside.
Unless a smoother texture is preferred, leave the skin on. However, the potatoes should be cut in half or fourths depending on size. This makes the pieces smaller for eating and it cooks quicker.
What causes gluey-textured mashed potatoes?
Potatoes are a vegetable naturally high in starch which can add creaminess or turn gluey. Starches love water and expand to become sticky in the presence of hot liquids.
The excess starches can be rinsed off with cold water right after cutting, and then with hot water immediately after cooking to remove those starches that swell and thicken.
The role of butter
Adding fat like butter to potatoes before any liquid-like cream or half-and-half lessens gumminess. The fat coats the starches and reduces its ability to thicken and get a cohesive consistency.
What are red potatoes good for?
Reds are a waxy type of potato that is high in moisture, sugar, and low in starch compared to starchy potatoes like Russets. They have a smooth texture when cooked, for those who like a heartier mashed potato texture. They also hold their shape very well when roasted, great for super crispy roasted red potatoes.
- 8 cups water, (2 quarts)
- 1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, (12g) divided
- 2 pounds red potatoes, (908g)
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, (30g, 1 ounce)
- 1/2 cup half-and-half, (120ml)
- black pepper, as needed for seasoning
- 1 tablespoon chopped chives
- In a large pot add 2 quarts (8 cups) of water and 1 teaspoon salt, bring to a boil.
- Cut potatoes into quarters and add to a colander. Rinse under cool water to remove the starches. The water should run clear, about two to three times. Drain potatoes and add to the boiling water.
- Cook potatoes until fork tender, about 15 minutes.
- Drain potatoes using a colander and then rinse with hot water to remove any residual potato starches, 30 seconds.
- Add well-drained potatoes back to the pot and use a potato masher to lightly break them down until smooth.
- Add butter and gently fold in.
- Microwave half-and-half for 45 seconds until warmed, about 120ºF (49ºC).
- Whisk together half-and-half and ½ teaspoon salt.
- Gradually fold into potatoes in three additions, until the half-and-half is absorbed. If needed rewarm the potatoes over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
- Taste and season with salt and pepper as desired.
- Garnish with black pepper and chives.