My Best Mashed Potatoes for Thanksgiving Dinner

Thanksgiving in Canada has been over for weeks. We are already gearing up for Christmas. Yikes!

Thanksgiving in the United States is 21 days away. I will be posting my tips and tricks that I used this past Thanksgiving.

First up, My Best Mashed Potatoes.

My Best Mashed Potatoes for Thanksgiving Dinner

Serves 6 to 8
Thanksgiving Dinner 2014

Thanksgiving Dinner 2014

Mise en Place

Unpeeled and Unsliced Potatoes

Unpeeled and Unsliced Potatoes

  • 2 medium Yukon Gold potatoes per person, unpeeled, unsliced well-scrubbed*
  • ¼ cup salted butter**
  • 2 ½ cups half-and-half cream
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • Chives (optional)
  • Additional pat of butter (optional)

Place your unpeeled, unsliced and well-scrubbed potatoes in a large pot and add cold water to an inch above the potatoes. Season the cold water with 1 tablespoon of salt. Cover and bring to a gentle boil. Using a sharp knife, check doneness, the knife should easily go through the potato at the 30 minute mark, larger potatoes will take about 45 minutes.

While the potatoes are cooking, place the butter, the half-and-half, the salt and the ground white pepper in a microwavable measuring cup. Heat the mixture in microwave for 3-5 minutes until butter is completely melted or warm through.

The reason I add salt to the butter/cream mixture so it dissolves and can be evenly distributed into the mashed potatoes. Heating the butter/cream mixture is an old restaurant trick to prevent a ‘gluey’ mess of mashed potatoes, hot liquids to hot. Just like making gravy for avoiding a lumpy gravy. 😉

Reserve 1-2 cups of potato water for gravy. Drain the potatoes.

I don’t peel or slice my potatoes before cooking them. Unpeeled and unsliced potatoes will absorb less water while being boiled. Taking the peels off after cooking is quicker and easier. This is another trick to avoid a gluey, watery mash and helps to absorb the dairy. And why do that extra step! 😉

UPDATE: I started off with an inexpensive ricer from IKEA, which is no longer available. This is the version available now Potato press – IKEA  I’m presently using this version Potato ricer white – KUHN RIKON SWITZERLAND which I found at a great price at WINNERS/Homesense in Canada (TJMAXX/Homegoods in US)

Rice the potatoes while they are still hot into a stainless steel mixing bowl. I recommend using a potato ricer, or food mill, place the unpeeled potato into the ricer and use those biceps and push the potato through. Then open up the ricer and presto there is the potato skin only. Remove skin and place another potato in the ricer. Sometimes larger potatoes will have to be sliced to fit in the ricer.

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Add the freshly grated nutmeg to the butter and cream mixture. Add the hot butter, and half-and-half mixture to the hot potatoes gently stirring with a spatula to incorporate. The potatoes will seem soupy at first but will gradually absorb the liquid and turn into a creamy mixture.

Taste your potatoes and add up to another teaspoon of salt if needed.

Make a Bain-marie with a pot and the stainless steel bowl. Place the pot on the back of the stove over gently simmering water to keep warm while making gravy and craving turkey.

Mashed Potatoes in Stainless Steel Bowl for Bain-Marie

Mashed Potatoes in Stainless Steel Bowl for Bain-Marie

Keep warm in bain-marie until dinner. I serve my thanksgiving dinner from the kitchen to cut down on dishes later. But you can certainly spoon the mashed potatoes into your serving dish and top with optional finely chopped chives and additional gloss of butter.

* As with the size of turkey to roast, I calculate the amount of potatoes to cook by how much each person will eat and how much leftovers I would like. I count on each person eating approx. 1 lb. of turkey and 2 potatoes each.

** I only purchase salted butter, and knowing this I cut down the additional salt I add to my dishes or recipes. If you are using unsalted butter, please taste and adjust accordingly. Really you should always being tasting as you cook.

Thanksgiving Dinner

Thanksgiving Dinner

Additional Tips:

Mashed potatoes is part of Thanksgiving dinner you can make in advance of serving. The best way to reheat mashed potatoes that have been refrigerated is to place them in a low oven, covered, for 20 to 30 minutes. Mashed potatoes that have reheated are drier and the cream and butter components might separate. Heat up some more half-and-half or milk to bring them back to their creaminess.

Using a stand mixer or hand-held beaters, is an alternative method to achieve mashed potatoes. I personally wouldn’t recommend these methods. I find that this over-mixes the potatoes. And you have taken all these measures to avoid gluey potatoes. So just be very careful!

If you like a little tanginess in your mashed potatoes substitute some or all of the half-and-half with cream cheese, sour cream and yogurt.