Try Our Tips for Fine-Tuning This Fluffy, Flavorful Side Dish!

We know turkey’s the star of Thanksgiving dinner and all, but we’re pretty sure there’d be a bigger uproar if the mashed potatoes didn’t make it to the table. We’re here to help you pump up your potato game, from preparation, to seasoning and serving. We’re even got ideas for making your potatoes ahead of time!

The Potatoes
Try a mix of two spuds to achieve the ultimate in light and creamy mashed potatoes. Here’s what our Chefs recommend:

  • Yukon Gold — the basis of any great bowl, both buttery and hearty.
  • Red Potatoes — leave on a bit of the skin on for added texture.
  • Idaho — choose a drier potato (you’ll be able to tell by the skin) to add a nice starchiness to the dish.

The Prep
Soak the cut potatoes in cold water until you’re ready to cook them.

Add salt to the pot of potatoes, then bring it all to a boil together. Lower to a simmer and cook until soft, but firm. Use a fork to check for doneness.

Drain, then return potatoes to the pot and cook over very low heat for about a minute. This helps to remove excess water, which can make potatoes, um, watery.

Make sure your milk, half-and-half or cream and butter are warm before mashing. Adding cold mix-ins to hot potatoes will result in a gluey dish.

We like a good old hand mixer for mashing, but many potato purists recommend ricing. You can also smash the potatoes with a hand masher for a more rustic consistency.

The Mix-ins

  • Toss 4 to 5 peeled garlic cloves into the pot of potatoes and cook it all together. Discard the cloves or mash them in for an intense hit of flavor.
  • Add a few tablespoons of truffle butter, a dash of truffle salt or a drizzle of truffle oil on top.
  • Stir in 1 cup of grated Parmesan cheese or ¼ cup of goat cheese.
  • Spoon in some pesto, to taste — premade pesto was made for this!
  • Try crème fraiche for a little tanginess. It’s best to add this in right before serving.

The Make-It-Ahead Advice
Looking to minimize last-minute cooking? Prep the potatoes and keep them warm in a crockpot set to low for up to four hours.

Or, if you’ll be serving them within the hour, place the potatoes in a double boiler set over barely simmering water.