The 14 Absolute Best Uses For Your Masher

Now a beloved and comforting dinner item, mashed potatoes were once considered a high-class dish, and it's all thanks to the trusty potato masher. A very handy kitchen tool, potato mashers come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and designs, with grooves, cross hatches, holes, or a combination of everything. Regardless of the mashers' shape, they all do the same basic thing: mash.

While you might think it's only good for potatoes, mashers are useful for a variety of dishes. From appetizers and entrées to side dishes and desserts, the potato masher is very good at crumbling and mashing all sorts of ingredients. Cooking with a masher brings a lovely creaminess and consistent chunkiness to dishes, and the grooves make your mashed dishes much easier to make in less time. Next time you are in the kitchen, take advantage of this multipurpose utensil and explore the full capabilities of your masher. 

Perfect guacamole in no time

We all know that what a masher does well is mash, and one thing that it is perfect for is making a fan-favorite dip. Guacamole originates from Mexico and requires a delicate balance of flavors. Regardless of what you add to guacamole, avocados are always the most critical component. When you have the perfect avocados, they can make the most incredibly creamy and irresistible guacamole to serve as a condiment, appetizer, or side dish.

Once your avocados are perfectly ripe, simply scoop the flesh into a bowl, add your other ingredients (most often peppers, tomatoes, cilantro, and lime), and mash everything together until it reaches the consistency you desire. You can then eat it with tortilla chips or include the guacamole as a component in your sandwiches, tacos, or quesadillas. It is also great on top of any entrée and brings a bit of freshness and natural creaminess.

Enjoy comforting applesauce

Applesauce can be made in various ways, but one of the easiest methods is mashing apples with your masher. There are many varieties of apples, and you can preserve your favorite one by making it into applesauce. Applesauce can be canned and enjoyed all year long, or you can keep this comforting autumn treat in the fridge for seven to 10 days (via Does It Go Bad). 

To make applesauce, simmer your apples in water — with or without the skins — until they are incredibly tender. Let them cool for a moment to avoid burning yourself, then give them a good mash. Make sure to mix in some sugar if the apples are more tart and any spices you like, such as cinnamon or cardamom. Apples have a lot of fiber, and according to WebMD, they are great for digestion and can help with your daily intake of vitamin A. This makes applesauce a delicious and nutritious snack or dessert.

Mix up egg salad for lunch

A delectable combination of tangy, creamy, and salty with a satisfying bite, egg salad has a place at any summer lunch or can be used as a filling to make a divine sandwich. Normally, egg salad is made by mashing hard-boiled eggs with a fork, but to save time and clean up, try making this creamy salad with your trusty potato masher.

Just boil your eggs like usual and place them in a bowl with your other ingredients of choice, such as the classic mayo and mustard, and then give them a couple of mashes. In no time, you will have a great egg salad that you can flavor to taste. Another benefit of using a potato masher is that after only a couple of smashes, you will get a perfect combination of creamy and chunky. This produces an egg salad that is more consistent and ensures that you will not be left with any large chunks of egg floating around. You can dress up your favorite egg salad with peppers, avocado, olives, or whatever is sitting in your pantry.

Mash beans for chilis, stews, and more

Beans are a nutritious way to elevate your favorite chili or stew, and they add body to dishes. According to WebMD, beans are a fantastic source of protein and they keep you full because of the high fiber content. Another bonus is that beans are incredibly versatile, so they can be cooked and seasoned however you prefer. They also have a great texture when slightly mashed, which brings a satisfying creaminess to any dish. Semi-mashed beans can be an excellent thickener to baked beans or even a secret ingredient in brownies.

You can get your beans to the perfect mashed texture by using your masher and squishing them into whatever consistency you desire. For chili, stew, and other entrées, it is nice to leave some beans fully intact for extra texture. When making desserts, refried beans, or bean soup, mashing the beans more thoroughly will result in a velvety thick finished product that is comforting and irresistible. 

Crumble your favorite tofu

Tofu is made from soybeans. It's a delicious protein option for entrées and can serve as an egg substitute in baking recipes. Tofu can be a vehicle for almost any flavor and makes an excellent breakfast scramble. It comes in various forms, such as extra firm, silken, regular, fresh, and prefried, so you can undoubtedly find the perfect option to fit any of your culinary needs. 

To get tofu into bite-sized pieces, give it a good mash with your masher. You will quickly have nicely crumbled tofu ready for a stir-fry or stew. While you may be most familiar with cutting tofu into cubes, crumbled tofu is an ingenious way to use the curds to your advantage. When crushed, tofu breaks into small chunks and becomes texturally like ground meat or chopped mushrooms, which can add a lot of bite to a dish. This technique is also time efficient because instead of precutting the tofu, you can plop it right into a bowl, pan, or pot and mash it right there, saving you prep and cleanup time and resulting in a crumbly, tasty dish.

Mix ground meat quickly

Ground meat is one of the most versatile forms of protein. It is the base for dishes like burgers, meatloaf, and meatballs and makes the perfect addition to sauces, stews, and many other dishes. Ground meat can be stored in the freezer and thawed when you are ready to use it, so it's the ideal backup for many improvised meals.

There are also many types of ground meat, from turkey to beef to meat substitutes, so you have many options when choosing the type that best fits your preferences. Regardless of your choice, when mixing ground meat, you may not be so keen on getting your hands dirty.

Your potato masher is a great alternative when you need to mix in your seasonings, like salt, pepper, spices, or any other ingredients. The meat easily squishes through the grooves, breaking up the coiled texture and incorporating your other components. You can also use the masher as a sort of spoon, pushing the meat around so that all your additions are evenly incorporated.

Pressed sandwiches to make your day

Pressed sandwiches are always a delicious treat. Maybe you like pickles on the side or a nice scoop of potato salad ... either way, a good sandwich can make anyone's day. Nonetheless, splurging on a sandwich press or panini maker can be a commitment, but that doesn't mean you cannot still enjoy a crispy pressed sandwich whenever you want.

No matter the filling — whether it is cheese, tuna, veggies, or any combination — your potato masher works as an impromptu sandwich press. By pushing down on your sandwich as it grills, the even distribution of weight from the broad base of the masher creates a crunchy panini look-alike. When using this technique, check the bottom as it browns to ensure that the bread is not burning before the insides heat up. If it's browning too quickly, turn down the heat. Oiling the pan or spreading butter or mayo on the outside of the bread will result in that signature crispy, browned crust that we all love.

Another benefit of using your masher as a sandwich press is that you get to decide how pressed you want your sandwich. The more pressure, the flatter your lunch! You can use this technique with all sandwich variations, from your favorite grilled cheese to a delightful breakfast sandwich.

Savor summer with tomato sauce

In the summertime, produce markets are ornate with tomatoes of all colors: yellow, green, red, black, and orange, of varying sizes and shapes. Striped, warty, and plump, these decorative summer jewels have their place in your kitchen. One of the best ways to process tomatoes and enjoy the taste of summer, even in the depths of winter, is by making them into a sauce.

Tomato sauce keeps well in the freezer (via National Center for Home Food Preservation) and can be pulled out and warmed up for pasta sauce, soup, or chili. When you make tomato sauce from fresh or canned tomatoes, using your masher is a fast and easy way to create a chunky sauce. Cooking tomatoes down without mashing results in an uneven, mushy mess, but if you break the tomatoes up with a masher, you release the seeds and liquid, creating a flavorfully rich sauce. The masher's holes also make uniform chunks that cook down faster and more consistently.

Create comforting mofongo for any meal

Plantains are a staple starchy or sweet component in many meals worldwide. They can be eaten when overripe, resulting in a soft, sweet, and almost caramel banana flavor, or when they are very green. Green plantains or under-ripe plantains are very starchy, making them versatile and oh-so-comforting. Mofongo, a Puerto Rican plantain mash whose origins stem back to Angola (via The Washington Post), is usually made from green plantains, which makes the final product both savory and satisfying.

Mofongo works for any meal and is very easy to make using your masher. All you need to do is boil your plantains and mash them with your fat of choice (oil, butter, bacon fat, etc.) and any other flavorings you would like to incorporate. Using your masher creates a nice mixture of smooth, sticky, chunky, and chewy that pairs well with shrimp and other sides such as beans, meat, fried eggs, and vegetables. It's a party in your mouth and satisfaction in your belly.

Make classic mashed potatoes

It doesn't matter if it is Thanksgiving or not; mashed potatoes are always a creamy, welcome dish. Delicious with mushroom gravy or as an ingredient in dinner rolls, mashed potatoes are versatile and incredibly easy to make. You can cook mashed potatoes in various ways, and their final consistency is entirely up to you. Mashed potatoes can be smooth, chunky, creamy, or everything all at once, and the potato masher is your one-stop shop.

As soon as the potatoes are cooked, start mashing and adding ingredients like cheese, butter, chives, garlic, and more. The more you smash, the smoother your potatoes will be, but don't be alarmed if some chunks remain. A few larger pieces of potato or skin can add welcome texture to your mash and make the dish more interesting, convincing you to go back for seconds. At your next dinner party, try elevating your mashed potatoes with lobster and wow your guests with this decadent showstopper.

Use cookie crumbs for the best desserts

Cookie crumbs are an undeniably great addition to desserts. They add a crunchy and salty element that pairs beautifully with creamy or smooth components and can be transformed into crusts or used as decorations for a nice texture. They make delicious layers in desserts, crackly cookie bases, and toppings for puddings.

These days you can buy cookie crumbs in the grocery store. If you are in a bind or just have some stale biscuits sitting around, you can always mash up some crumbs yourself. Instead of getting your food processor dirty or banging your rolling pin on the counter, you can mash the cookies gently with your masher until they are the desired consistency. This way, you can also control the size of your crumbs, and thus the crunch factor! Once you have a nice powder, try making this peanut butter chocolate pie for your next dessert.

Employ an emergency cookie press

Peanut butter cookies are irresistibly buttery, soft, and slightly salty. They make the perfect afternoon snack or decadent dessert. Next time you are whipping up a batch, try decorating them by gently pressing your potato masher into the top of the cookie. This saves you loads of time and leaves an elegant swirl or crosshatch, depending on your masher.

You don't need to wait for peanut butter cookies to try this technique. From chocolate chip and oatmeal raisin to snickerdoodles and gingersnaps, countless cookie recipes can be a little tastier with a tap. They'll come out more elegant and uniform, and imprinting cookies can help them spread out in the oven to ensure a more even bake, helping you achieve that perfect chew-to-crisp ratio.

If you find that the cookie dough is sticking to the masher, quickly dip the masher in some sugar before pressing down the next dough ball. All of your sticky woes should dissipate.

Fashion an impromptu drink muddler

Mixology is a delicate science all about dancing between tastes and flavors. The combination of sweet, salty, bitter, sour, and umami that a great drink can embody is a true art form, and a huge part of that is the specific way a drink's components are muddled. Muddling is the act of crushing ingredients — herbs, fruit, sugar, you name it — into a pulp that is then mixed with the drink to extract deeper flavors.

An actual muddler can feel like an excessive indulgence, especially since our kitchens are already filled with all sorts of multipurpose tools. Therefore, if you do not have a drink muddler, a potato masher is a foolproof substitute to create the same pulpy mash. Just place whatever you want to mash in a bowl or wide-rimmed cup and gently mash it until you have the desired consistency. You can easily muddle some mint or citrus for a refreshing mojito or if you want an even more summery version of this, add some rosé wine, and you won't be able to stop muddling.

Celebrate summer with agua fresca

Who doesn't love a piece of chilled fruit on a hot day? A juicy strawberry or a slice of a perfectly succulent melon always helps cool us off and bring a bit of sweetness to the afternoon. Now, if you turn that melon into agua fresca, you get the best of both worlds ... melon and a refreshing drink! It's just one of the many flavors for the beloved drink, and it is a must-try.

Agua frescas originate from Mexico (via Medium), and this beverage is internationally enjoyed today. The classic summertime drink is usually made from fruit but can also come in flavors such as cucumber, hibiscus, and tamarind. No matter the base ingredients, all agua frescas are sweet, zesty, refreshing, and downright irresistible, especially on a long summer day.

The best part is that they're easy to make at home. Agua frescas are typically made in a blender, but if you don't have one or want to bother with cleanup, your masher works as a great substitute to macerate the fruit into a juicy pulp. All you need to do is mash the ingredients with some sugar, add water, strain the pulpy mixture, and enjoy.