The Basics: How to Make Mashed Potatoes

From the store to the kitchen to the table: We outline the steps that get you from raw ingredients to your dinner tonight, free of measurements and complicated techniques. It’s a method you’ll remember and whip out whenever you like. It is the most basic way to make the thing you’re making.

  • WHAT YOU’LL NEED:
  • - a vegetable peeler
  • - a large pot
  • - a colander
  • - a potato masher
  • - 4 pounds of russet potatoes
  • - salt and pepper
  • - a stick of butter
  • - a cup of cream

WHAT YOU’LL DO:

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  • 1. Wash and peel the potatoes, then cut them into large chunks and place them in the pot.

    Step 1
  • 2. Cover the potatoes with cold water by an inch or two and add a generous amount of salt. (You want the water to taste like the ocean.) Place the pot on the stove over high heat.

    Step 2
  • 3. Once the water boils, reduce the heat and simmer the potatoes until they are easily pierced with a knife, about 20 minutes.

    Step 3
  • 4. Drain the potatoes in a colander and let them rest in the sink while you prepare the butter and cream.

    Step 4
  • 5. Combine the butter and cream in the pot you cooked the potatoes in. Cook over low heat, stirring until the butter has melted and the cream is hot.

    Step 5
  • 6. Turn off the heat and add the drained potatoes to the hot butter-cream mixture. Mash the potatoes until they are fluffy and creamy. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Makes 6 servings. See more Thanksgiving Basics.

    Step 6

Illustrations by Bill Russell

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