How To Prevent Salty Mashed Potatoes

There are few kitchen staples more delicious — and reliable — than potatoes. According to the Little Potato Company, nearly half of all Americans eat potatoes several times a week. Whether the spuds take the form of French fries, potato salad, roasted potatoes, potato pancakes, or any other delicious dish, we certainly wouldn't want to find our pantries devoid of these tubers. 

Of all the iconic potato recipes, the first one that comes to mind for many has got to be mashed potatoes. (It's actually Americans' preferred way to prepare the spuds, per the Little Potato Company.) Most often, a simple yet indulgent combination of boiled potatoes, butter, and milk or cream mashed potatoes is a classic side dish that always seems at home whether it's served with a holiday dish like roasted turkey or everyday comfort food such as juicy meatloaf

Mashed potatoes are easy to make and come together quickly, but there are nevertheless a few things to avoid when making them: Overmixing, for example, can lead to gluey mashed potatoes, and overcooking the potatoes can leave the mash watery. Another pitfall that can strike homemade mashed potatoes? Saltiness.

Hold off on salting until after the potatoes are cooked

Chances are we've all dug our forks into mashed potatoes that were bland and underseasoned, but what about the opposite end of the spectrum? If you're not careful with salting your mashed potatoes, overseasoning is another undesirable outcome, and according to EatingWell, it's one that's easily avoided by not seasoning the water your potato chunks cook in.

Those of us who regularly cook pasta know how important it is to heavily salt the water it boils in, in order to season the pasta as it cooks and not just afterward. And although many mashed potato recipes use the same logic, instructing cooks to salt the water in which the potatoes simmer, EatingWell advises holding off on any salting until after the potatoes are cooked and drained in order to avoid mashing potatoes that are just too salty. Once the potatoes are cooked, and it's time to mash, you can add the salt along with the milk, butter, and other ingredients, tasting as you go until you reach the right level of seasoning. As the outlet notes, it's always easier to add salt than it is to remove it.