Project Description

Perfect Mashed Potato

Follow these steps and you, too will make perfect mashed potato. Read on and scroll down for variations.

Serves: 6
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 30 minutes


1 kg evenly sized medium potatoes
Salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste
150 mls milk
125g butter, diced, at room temperature


  1. Select evenly-sized potatoes so they will take the same length of time to cook through. If not the smaller potatoes will burst their skins, break down and become watery before the larger ones are cooked.
  2. Wash the unpeeled potatoes and place in a large saucepan, cover with cold water and add the 1 teaspoon salt. It is important to cook the potatoes whole in their skins because the skins will help stop water being absorbed by the potatoes as they are cooked thus preventing them from becoming waterlogged.
  3. Bring the water to the boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes or until very soft. Test by piercing the potatoes right through the centre with a skewer towards the end of the cooking time. Don’t pierce the potatoes too often as this will cause the potatoes to absorb excess water making them watery and causing them to break up.
  4. Place milk in a small saucepan over low heat and bring to just below boiling point. Or heat in microwave. Remove from heat
  5. Drain the cooked potatoes and return them to the saucepan. Shake the pan over low heat for 15-30 seconds to remove the remaining moisture. Remove the saucepan from the heat and cover with a clean cloth or tea towel and leave for 5 minutes so that it can absorb some of the steam and the potatoes will cool a little. If the potatoes are still too hot to handle, use a clean cloth to hold them. Peel away the skins. They should peel quite easily using your fingers.
  6. Mash potatoes with a potato masher (or put through a mouli legume first) with the diced butter, salt and pepper, mash around the whole saucepan, pushing down firmly to the bottom of the pan and moving the mash around as you go. Make sure it is thoroughly mashed and the mixture is smooth. This is perhaps the single most important step for making sublime mash.
  7. When you are satisfied you have removed all lumps from the potato, add half of the warmed milk. Only add half the milk at a time so that you can check the consistency of the mash as you go.
  8. Vigorously beat the mash with a wooden spoon or metal fork until the milk is incorporated and the mash is smooth and soft. The idea is to incorporate as much air as possible into the mash, helping to make it light Add the remaining milk if you require a softer mash and beat again until well incorporated. Serve immediately.

Lyndey’s Note: The desired consistency of the mash will depend on its purpose. Mash to eat as a meal accompaniment can be softer and runnier than one being used on top of a shepherd’s pie or in potato cakes. As a general rule, a firm mash needs around 60g butter and 150 – 275mls milk per kg of potatoes.
500g potatoes + 30g butter + 75-80mls milk = 1 ½ – 1 ¾ cups mash

To keep warm:
If the mash is not to be used immediately, it can be kept warm in a hot water bath (bain marie) either in the oven or on the stove top. Smear melted butter over the top of the mash and cover carefully with foil to prevent it drying out or forming a crust. When ready to serve, whisk in the butter with a fork.

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Duck Breast with Port & Orange Sauce