How To Prevent Soggy Mashed Potatoes

Of all the classic potato dishes out there, mashed potatoes have got to be among the most iconic. Typically a simple yet delicious mix of boiled potatoes, rich dairy, and salt, mashed potatoes seem to go with everything, from centerpiece special occasion dishes such as beef roast to simple weeknight dishes such as meatloaf or meatballs. Plain, buttery mashed potatoes are pretty irresistible on their own, but gussied-up versions utilizing cheddar, bacon, sour cream, and other rich add-ins only add to the dish's craveability.

Happily for those of us who love to prepare this side dish, making mashed potatoes is a dead-simple process. But it's not without its pitfalls: According to Serious Eats, issues that can befall mashed potatoes include them turning out gluey, bland, or soupy. That last issue is one that has undoubtedly plagued even the most experienced potato mashers among us, but luckily, there's an easy way to avoid it.

Don't overcook your cubed potatoes

If you've ever busted out your potato masher or ricer only to find that your "mashed" potatoes are more of a soupy, watery mess, then don't despair: There's an easy way to ensure that your next batch will turn out perfectly fluffy. According to Eating Well, soggy mashed potatoes are the result of either overcooking your potato cubes, or boiling them instead of gently simmering them: Either way, the potatoes will take on too much water, and, when they're mashed, they'll be too liquidy. The outlet suggests simmering cubed potatoes with the lid off in order to make sure the water doesn't reach a rolling boil, as well as draining them well once they're cooked.

If it's too late and you've already overcooked your potatoes, Serious Eats has a couple of suggestions for correcting the soupy mess. If you have some potatoes leftover, you can cook a couple more — correctly — mash them, and fold them into the runny potatoes, which should tighten up their consistency. Or, if you've got a box of instant mashed potatoes on hand, you can fold a handful into your potatoes: The extra starch (which you can also add in the form of cornstarch, tapioca starch, or potato starch, the outlet notes) will help save the texture of your mashed potatoes, too.