A nice bowl of mashed potatoes with a pat of melty butter on top is the ultimate in comfort food. But if you don’t use the right potatoes, you might end up with a dish you weren’t expecting.
There are a variety of potatoes that work well for mashed potatoes, and of course it depends on what type of mashed potatoes you like. You’d choose one type for a smooth, creamy texture and another for a more rustic or smashed potato dish.
Russet potatoes are probably the potato most people have grown up with, and they work well for mashed potatoes. With russet potatoes, because they have a drier texture than other potatoes, you’ll need to add lots of butter and milk to get a good bowl of mashies out of them.
Yukon Gold potatoes are a newer potato, and some people haven’t used them yet. They make excellent mashed dishes. Yukon Golds have less of a starchy texture for a smooth result. Most people are used to white potatoes, but Yukon Golds have a pale yellow color and make a nice point of color on the plate, where a white potato doesn’t.
Fingerlings work great for a smashed rather than mashed potato. They are lumpy and have interesting shapes rather than the round or oval shape of other potatoes. They’re tough to peel but you can leave some of the peel on for a change of pace from regular mashed potatoes.
New or red potatoes are also good for making a smashed potato side dish. The lovely pink/red skin is best left on for presentation and color. There are several varieties of red potatoes, and all of them are good for smashed potatoes.
Using more than one type of potato in mashed potatoes will jazz up your recipe. Try combining Yukon Gold and russets and see how you like the combination.
Whichever type of potato you choose for your mashed potatoes, be sure to cut off any green spots, as that will cause your dish to be bitter. A quick wash in cold water is also a must before cooking potatoes.
The type of potato you choose will change the texture and flavor of the dishes, and experimentation can lead to new favorites. You just have to know what type of dish you are aiming for and choose the potato that works with it.