How To Prevent Lumpy Mashed Potatoes

As simple as mashed potatoes are on paper, there sure are a whole bunch of ways you can mess it up. Perhaps flaws found in the simplest of things stand out because the simpler something is, the easier it is to get it perfect. This might be why lumpy mashed potatoes are just so darn frustrating. If you're expecting a smooth, even consistency and keep getting rocky road potatoes instead, it's time to reevaluate how you're preparing your mash. 

 According to Eating Well, the lumpy texture is most likely coming from unevenly cooked potatoes. If some of the potatoes you use in your mash are cooked more thoroughly than others, the texture of your mash will be in for a literally bumpy ride. To ensure uniformly cooked potatoes, make sure to cut your potatoes into pieces that are the same size, this will guarantee they boil at a relatively even rate. 

Also, start all your potatoes out in cold water before turning on the burner and bringing it to a boil; If you don't do this, the outside of the potatoes will cook much faster than the insides, resulting in unevenly cooked potatoes and a lumpy mash.

Damage control and general tips for mashed potatoes

One of the simplest and easiest ways to prevent lumpy mashed potatoes is to break down them down more thoroughly. But at the risk of your potatoes getting gummy and gluey, just mashing harder will not work. Instead, using a ricer or a food mill in conjunction with the even cooking processes will help to break down the potatoes while still preserving their fluffy textures.

If you've already made the mash and found your potatoes to be a little more lumpy than your palate will allow, The Kitchn recommends scooping your lumpy mashed potatoes into a pan and cooking low and slow with healthy additions of cream, milk, half-and-half, or sour cream mixed in. Keep cooking and mixing until that smooth consistency you want is reached, although ideally these measures will be entirely avoided by way of your evenly cut and cooked potatoes — and your trusty ricer tool.