For a Thanksgiving dish set to please any all tastebuds, look no further than the humble mashed potato. And the secret to this fluffy and silky mash is in the steaming. Rather than boiling the potatoes, which can dilute their natural flavors, steaming leaves all that natural goodness intact. Try to get your hands on Russet Burbank potatoes for this dish, they are the easiest to mash and have a great final texture.
Fluffy Mashed Potatoes
Serves: 6-8. Cooking time: 40 mins
- 3 pounds russet potatoes
- 1 cup whole milk, plus more as needed
- ½ cup cold salted butter, cut into pieces
- Freshly ground white or black pepper
- ¼ cup heavy cream, plus more as needed (optional)
Prepare a steamer above a large pot. Add enough water to the pot to sit just below the base of the steamer and bring water to a boil over medium-high heat.
Rinse potatoes well, then peel and rinse again. Cut into 1-inch chunks and spread evenly in the steamer, cover, reduce heat to medium and steam until the potatoes you can easily slide a fork in and break a piece, 20 to 25 minutes. Turn off the stove, carefully remove the steamer insert and drain the water from the pot. Pour the potatoes back into the pot and spread evenly.
Let the potatoes stand until their surfaces are dry, about 3 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the milk in a small saucepan over medium-high until steaming, then keep warm over low. Set the potatoes over low heat and mash thoroughly with a dinner fork. Add about one-quarter of the milk and mash until the milk is mixed through.
Scatter the butter evenly over the potatoes and mash in until fully incorporated. Add half of the remaining milk and mash to mix it in, then add the rest of the milk and gently whip until smooth. If you don’t want your mashed potatoes so thick, beat in more milk. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, taste, and season more if you’d like.
Serve immediately, keep warm over low heat for up to 1 hour, or transfer to airtight containers and refrigerate for up to 2 days. Mashed potatoes thicken as they cool, so they need cream to regain the right consistency. If kept warm, gently mash in heavy cream until smooth and loose again. If cold, heat the cream in a large pot until steaming, then add the potatoes. Gently mash and whip, adding more cream as needed, until heated through and fluffy. Season to taste again before serving.