The Case For Leaving The Skin On Your Mashed Potatoes

You might think the first step to making mashed potatoes is to peel the spuds before they go into a pot to boil — but think again. There's a strong argument for keeping the skin on while they boil. For starters, it saves you a lot of hassle and prep work. The skin also traps the potato's nutrients inside during the cooking process. More importantly, peeled potatoes soak up less water, which retains the starch content. This means your potatoes won't end up watery and will be able to absorb the butter, cream, or milk you mix in to make a perfectly creamy mash.

Then, if you want to peel your potatoes for serving, it's much easier to do so once they're boiled. You can score the potatoes with a sharp knife before adding them to the water so that after they boil and cool down, the skin will essentially slip off. If you don't score your potatoes, it's still easy to peel them — just don't burn your hands.

To peel or not to peel your potatoes

There are some good reasons to serve mashed potatoes without peeling them at all. A potato's outer layer contains a lot of fiber, so you're losing out on that valuable nutrient if you peel and toss the skin. Nutritional value aside, keeping the skin on will also give your mashed potatoes a little extra texture in each bite. You can still make your potatoes creamy with your go-to choice of dairy because the skin will break down during the mashing process. Another workaround is to only peel half of your potatoes, so your creamy mash has an optimal balance of textures.

Despite all of those perks, some chefs will insist that peeled potatoes are the way to go. The type of potato you're using can make a big difference; starchier potatoes like Idaho and Russets are considered the best options for mashed potatoes because they break down better — but they also have thicker skins. If you're aiming for the creamiest, fluffiest mashed potatoes you can imagine, discarding the skin is essential. At the end of the day, there are pros and cons to eating skin-on mashed potatoes, but to simplify your time in the kitchen, you should definitely peel them after they are boiled.