For Tastier Mashed Potatoes, Cook Your Spuds In Large Chunks

Did you know a national survey by Idaho Potato Commission (IPC) once claimed potatoes were America's favorite vegetable? Most tater-lovers disclosed that they enjoy a potato dish an average of two days every week. Moreover, the survey verified that mashed potatoes rank at the top for ways people can prepare taters. While our favorite vegetables have changed in recent years, potatoes remain a popular choice. 

Since Americans eat potatoes so often, it's no wonder that many of us are curious about how to make them tastier to ensure every meal featuring humble spuds is a delight. One surefire way of whipping up yummier mashed potatoes is to cook them in bigger chunks.

You've probably noticed that the tinier your cubes of taters are, the more watery they become after cooking. Smaller potato pieces allow more water to sink into their flesh than larger ones. Therefore, mashed potatoes made from smaller chopped spuds may end up getting waterlogged and become less tasty as a result. However, larger chunks allow the taters to maintain their natural flavor and creaminess. Thus, you end up with a more delicious mash. It's all in the science.

Why larger pieces of potatoes are better for mashing

Here's some science to better explain the concept — but don't worry, we won't get too technical. Scientists refer to a concept called surface-area-to-volume ratio, which explains why a big object will allow less liquid to seep in when placed inside the water. 

This happens because the object's surface area is smaller than its inner volume. On the other hand, with smaller objects, the surrounding area is larger than the internal volume, so water gets more opportunity to slip through. This is precisely what happens with your spuds when dropped in a pot of water to boil, and it's why it's better to have larger chunks. Because large chunks of potatoes will absorb less water, they maintain a higher flavor concentration when cooked.

Apart from chopping up larger-sized taters, you can add a few ingredients to upgrade your mashed potatoes even further, such as a little more butter, good old salt and pepper, and a whole lot of cheese, among others. Lastly, if you don't want to worry about how much water soaked into your spuds, skip the boiling entirely and prepare mashed baked potatoes instead.