April 28, 2020 | Samantha Henman

What Are The Best Potatoes For Mashing?

Is there any better pleasure on earth than tucking into a fluffy, creamy pile of mashed potatoes? They might just be the ultimate comfort food. For many of us, they were a childhood staple, and each family had its own special way of preparing them—from lumpy to smooth, plain to cheesy to garlicky, with gravy or without. But! Not all potatoes are created equal. Some types of potato just turn to a gluey mush when you try to mash them. If you’re going put in the effort to mash potatoes, you want them to be AMAZING. So, what are the best potatoes for mashing?

What Are the Best Potatoes to Use for Mashed Potatoes?

There are about 4,000 varieties of potato in the world. Yup, you heard us right. And we tried every single one to determi...just kidding. That would be insane! There seems to be a general agreement about the types of potatoes best-used for making a mash. Starchy wins over waxy. Waxy potatoes can achieve a creamy texture, but they also hold their shape well, making them perfect for dishes like potato salad or scalloped potatoes.

Starchy or “floury” potatoes break down more than their waxy counterparts when they’re boiled, meaning that the composition of the spud and the hot water are doing the heavy lifting for you. What does starch have to do with it? Well, starch granules expand in boiling water, creating the fluffy texture that people love. Their creamy nature means you don’t have to overwork the potato to break it down into a mash.

Mashed Potatoes EditorialShutterstock


Sign up to our newsletter.

History’s most fascinating stories and darkest secrets, delivered to your inbox daily. Making distraction rewarding since 2017.

Thank you!
Error, please try again.

What Are the Best Starchy Potatoes?

The most popular variety of starchy potato for making mashed potatoes is the russet. You may see certain websites or cookbooks calling for russet or Idaho potatoes, but actually, they’re the same—in the US, russets are known as Idaho potatoes. While they’re beloved for both fries and mash, there is one caveat: if they’re overworked, they can become gluey and unpleasant to eat.

What’s the solution? A variety often referred to as an all-purpose potato: the Yukon Gold. It’s both waxy and starchy, so it can be kept in the pantry and used in a variety of dishes. The experts over at Bon Appetit have called the Yukon Gold their gold standard for mashed potatoes.

Those are the most common types of potatoes that can be found in any grocery store, but some other starchy types are Purple Peruvian and Katahdin. But, there are many more kinds of waxy potatoes than starchy, so whatever you choose, make sure you've got the right kind.

Mashed Potatoes EditorialShutterstock

How to Make Mashed Potatoes

Okay, you’ve got a couple pounds of Yukon Gold potatoes just waiting to be made into a delicious mash. What’s next? You can consult any recipe online, but the steps are generally the same: Wash your potatoes, peel them, chop them into uniform chunks, simmer in salted water, drain well, and mash away—but just until they’re fluffy. Most recipes are made extra creamy with a healthy amount of butter. Milk, cream, or yogurt are also popular additions. Season with salt, pepper, more butter, and whatever else your heart desires—roasted garlic! Chopped herbs! Blue cheese!—and serve. Voila, perfect mashed potatoes!

Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

More from Factinate

Featured Article

My mom never told me how her best friend died. Years later, I was using her phone when I made an utterly chilling discovery.

Dark Family Secrets

Dark Family Secrets Exposed

Nothing stays hidden forever—and these dark family secrets are proof that when the truth comes out, it can range from devastating to utterly chilling.
April 8, 2020 Samantha Henman

Featured Article

Madame de Pompadour was the alluring chief mistress of King Louis XV, but few people know her dark history—or the chilling secret shared by her and Louis.

Madame de Pompadour Facts

Entrancing Facts About Madame de Pompadour, France's Most Powerful Mistress

Madame de Pompadour was the alluring chief mistress of King Louis XV, but few people know her dark history—or the chilling secret shared by her and Louis.
December 7, 2018 Kyle Climans

More from Factinate

Featured Article

I tried to get my ex-wife served with divorce papers. I knew that she was going to take it badly, but I had no idea about the insane lengths she would go to just to get revenge and mess with my life.

These People Got Genius Revenges

When someone really pushes our buttons, we'd like to think that we'd hold our head high and turn the other cheek, but revenge is so, so sweet.
April 22, 2020 Scott Mazza

Featured Article

Catherine of Aragon is now infamous as King Henry VIII’s rejected queen—but few people know her even darker history.

Catherine of Aragon Facts

Tragic Facts About Catherine of Aragon, Henry VIII’s First Wife

Catherine of Aragon is now infamous as King Henry VIII’s rejected queen—but very few people know her even darker history.
June 7, 2018 Christine Tran

Dear reader,

Want to tell us to write facts on a topic? We’re always looking for your input! Please reach out to us to let us know what you’re interested in reading. Your suggestions can be as general or specific as you like, from “Life” to “Compact Cars and Trucks” to “A Subspecies of Capybara Called Hydrochoerus Isthmius.” We’ll get our writers on it because we want to create articles on the topics you’re interested in. Please submit feedback to contribute@factinate.com. Thanks for your time!

Do you question the accuracy of a fact you just read? At Factinate, we’re dedicated to getting things right. Our credibility is the turbo-charged engine of our success. We want our readers to trust us. Our editors are instructed to fact check thoroughly, including finding at least three references for each fact. However, despite our best efforts, we sometimes miss the mark. When we do, we depend on our loyal, helpful readers to point out how we can do better. Please let us know if a fact we’ve published is inaccurate (or even if you just suspect it’s inaccurate) by reaching out to us at contribute@factinate.com. Thanks for your help!

Warmest regards,

The Factinate team

Want to learn something new every day?

Join thousands of others and start your morning with our Fact Of The Day newsletter.

Thank you!

Error, please try again.