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Perfect mashed potatoes

Although they seem straightforward, following a few key tips will ensure mashed potato success. Always start cooking potatoes in cold water and mash them while still warm. At Le Cordon Bleu, we used an old-fashioned food mill, others swear by a ricer or a hand-held mixer. You can use a traditional masher or even a fork, just avoid any temptation to use a food processor. Use room temperature butter and milk for best results and don't skimp on the salt.


  • 2 1/2 pounds of potatoes Yukon Gold or Russet, peeled
  • 8 oz of butter
  • 1/2 cup milk heated
  • Plenty of salt and pepper
  • Pinch or two of ground nutmeg optional


  • Peel the potatoes and then slice into even pieces. Add them to a pan of cold water and then bring to a gentle boil. Cook until the potatoes are soft enough to pierce with a paring knife, about 10 minutes. Drain.
  • At this point, situate a food mill over a large bowl or pot. Add a few potatoes at a time and press through the food mill. Alternately you can use a ricer or, should you want to go old-school, use a hand-held masher. Just be sure that while the potatoes are still warm, add the heated milk the butter, salt and pepper. If you wait until they’ve become cold, the flavors will not meld properly. Taste. Add salt and pepper until it taste good to you.