Why You Should Use Sour Cream In Your Mashed Potatoes

Smooth, creamy mashed potatoes make our taste buds sing. For a lot of people, mashed potatoes are comfort food right up there with ice cream and mac and cheese. According to the Little Potato Company, 55% of Americans reach for the potato when they need a little food therapy, and mashed potatoes are the favored way to have them prepared. But this is not at all surprising; mashed potatoes are pretty special.

Per Food Mag, mashed potatoes have quite a long history and their origin story is tied to a Frenchmen named Antoine-Augustin Parmentier during the Seven Years' War. After being captured by Prussians, Parmentier was forced to subsist on potatoes. The French soldier came out of the prison better for it (having learned that the spud doesn't cause leprosy as many believed at the time). Instead, he was inspired to create the dish we know as mashed potatoes. 

It's not difficult to make this side dish that we so love during the holidays and alongside our meatloaf with a little gravy. In fact, the basics of making mashed potatoes are quite simple. Quartz says to boil potatoes in water — we recommend salt water — mash it, and then add some butter or cream. But according to Martha Stewart, if you want truly creamy mashed potatoes, you should replace the cream with sour cream, and here's why. 

Sour cream adds a sharp acidic flavor

If you like your mashed potatoes creamy, sour cream may be the ingredient you should be reaching for, per Martha Stewart. Those food sites who advocate for the use of this dense cream all say it adds a pleasant tang or acidity to mashed potatoes that will set your taste buds into overdrive. However, if the idea of adding sour cream to your mashed potatoes sounds a little too rich and heavy for your liking, the blog Entertaining with Beth reveals you can still get that pop of flavor by adding sour cream and thinning your mashed potatoes with a little milk. This seems like a popular method to enjoy this side dish; Ina Garten's sour cream mashed potato recipe on Food Network uses all three — butter, milk, and sour cream — and a quick glance through the reviews shows they are quite the hit. 

Of course, if you want your mashed potatoes truly fluffy in addition to creamy and sharply acidic, we have a pro tip to help you achieve that texture. Idaho Potato suggests adding a ½ teaspoon of baking powder to the mixture while you are mashing. Bon appétit!