Mashed potatoes are one of my favorite comfort foods. Making them is usually easy. But sometimes, even the best of us can make them a little too runny. If this happens to you, don’t worry!
Our blog post will show you how to thicken mashed potatoes so they are just how you like them!
Has this ever happened to you? You are in charge of the mashed potatoes at every holiday or family gathering.
The potatoes are cooking on the stovetop, and you can hardly wait to mash them with butter, milk, and salt. And it happens! Your mashed potatoes are too runny!
It’s happened to me several times! It’s so frustrating!
Here are five ways I use to thicken runny mashed potatoes so they turn out fluffy and delicious every time.
How To Thicken Mashed Potatoes (5 Ways)
1. Add A Thickening Agent
When it comes to how to thicken mashed potatoes, adding a starch-based thickening agent is the best way. The thickening agents we use include flour, cornstarch, and arrowroot powder.
Add a tablespoon at a time of your favorite thickener to the potatoes. Stir until combined. Cook the potatoes over low heat until they reach the desired consistency.
With this simple trick, you can avoid runny mashed potatoes for good.
2. Cook Your Mashed Potatoes Uncovered
Cooking your mashed potatoes in a pot uncovered on medium-low heat will help thicken them up. The stovetop’s heat will help absorb the excess moisture from the runny mashed potatoes.
Just be sure to check them often while the moisture evaporates. They can stick and become too thick and gummy.
If this happens, stir them occasionally while cooking them uncovered to get them to the desired consistency. Don’t over-stir! It can also make them gummy.
3. Add Dehydrated Potatoes
Dehydrated potatoes are a great way to thicken mashed potatoes. You don’t want to add many instant potatoes at once.
Start with about one tablespoon. Add it directly to the runny potatoes and stir.
Your mashed potatoes will start thickening up during the cooking process. Continue adding more potatoes, one tablespoon at a time, and stir until you get them to the desired consistency you want.
4. Nuke Your Mashed Potatoes In The Microwave
One of the best ways for thickening mashed potatoes is to nuke them in the microwave. It works by heating the potatoes and evaporating all the excess moisture, resulting in a thicker, creamier mashed potato dish.
To do this, place your mashed potatoes in a large microwave-safe bowl and heat them on high for a minute. Be sure to stir the potatoes after one minute.
Keep heating them in the microwave for one minute at a time until you get them to the desired consistency.
This method is quick and easy and can help boost your mashed potato’s smooth flavor and creaminess.
5. Finish Your Mashed Potatoes In The Oven
If you’re looking for a way to thicken your mashed potatoes, consider finishing them in the oven. This simple technique can help take some of the liquid out of the runny mashed potatoes.
To finish your mashed potatoes in the oven, spread them into an oven-safe dish and bake for 10-15 minutes at a low temperature.
Keep an eye on your dish while it’s in the oven. You don’t want the potatoes to become dry or overcooked. When finished, your mashed potatoes should be thick, creamy, and delicious.
Reasons Your Mashed Potatoes End Up Runny
Many people have trouble getting their mashed potatoes just right and, as a result, end up with soggy potatoes. So, what causes this problem?
The potato chunks were cut too small.
One of the most common reasons for runny mashed potatoes is that the potato pieces were cut too small before being boiled. When potatoes are cut into small pieces, they release more starch into the water, which can lead to mashed potatoes that are gluey and wet.
The solution? Cut your potato pieces a little bit larger next time you make them! Doing so will help to ensure that your mashed potatoes turn out nice and creamy.
The cooked potatoes were not drained enough.
Another common reason for runny mashed potatoes is that they weren’t drained completely after being boiled. When you don’t drain the water completely, it can cause the mashed potatoes to become watery and runny.
They were boiled too long.
Another reason why they might be runny is that they were overcooked. This usually happens when people try to hurry up the process by boiling them for too long.
As a general rule of thumb, you should boil potatoes until they’re fork-tender; any longer than that, they’ll start to break down and release too much starch into the water, making soupy potatoes.
6 Tips For Thick And Creamy Mashed Potatoes
Mashed potatoes are a delicious side dish to add to just about any main dish. Plus, they’re easy to make! With these simple tips, you’ll be well on your way to making the best and most delicious side dish ever.
1. Choose the Right Potatoes
Not all potatoes are created equal. Some are better suited for mashed potatoes than others. You’ll want to use russet or Yukon Gold.
They have a high starch content, which helps to make them nice and fluffy when they’re mashed. Plus, they absorb flavor well, so your finished product will be super flavorful.
2. Peel and Chop them into Even Pieces
Now that you’ve got your russet potatoes, it’s time to prepare them for mashing. The first step is to peel them.
You can do this with a vegetable peeler or a paring knife; whichever you’re more comfortable with will work fine. Once they’re peeled, chop them into even pieces to cook evenly.
3. Boil the Potatoes in Salted Water until They’re Soft
Once your potatoes are peeled and chopped, it’s time to start boiling them. You’ll want to put them in a pot of salted water and let them cook until they’re nice and soft; this usually takes about 15-20 minutes. Remember to keep an eye on them so they don’t overcook!
4. Drain the Potatoes and Return Them to the Pot
Once your potatoes are cooked through, it’s time to drain them. Be sure to save some of the drained liquid; you might need it later if your potatoes are too thick. Once they’re drained, return the potatoes to the pot.
5. Add Butter, Milk, Salt, and Pepper to Taste
The fun part comes: adding all the ingredients that will take your delicious side dish from good to great!
Start by adding butter; most recipes call for about 1/4 cup per pound of potatoes. Then add milk. But don’t add too much milk. It can make the mash soggy!
Finally, add salt and pepper to taste and give everything a good stir. Adding more seasonings if needed.
6. Mash them with a handheld potato masher or an immersion blender until they’re smooth
And now for the final step: mashing your potatoes until they’re smooth and creamy. You can do this with a handheld potato masher, a potato ricer, or an immersion blender.
If you want them extra smooth, feel free to put them through a food mill or a ricer before mashing them; this isn’t strictly necessary, but it will help break them down even further.
How To Thicken Mashed Potatoes FAQ
What do I do if my mashed potatoes are too watery?
If they turn out watery, you need to know how to thicken mashed potatoes because nobody likes runny mashed potatoes.
The best way is to add corn starch one tablespoon at a time. Corn starch has twice the thickening power of flour or powdered milk.
Then add more if necessary. Mix the starch into the thin mashed potatoes and stir until they’re thickened to the desired consistency.
You could also put them back on the stovetop and add dehydrated potatoes. If you don’t have any dehydrated potatoes, you could use a cheese grater to shred 1 or 2 extra potatoes and add more potatoes to the watery mixture. Then cook them on low to medium heat.
Be sure to stir occasionally, so they don’t stick or burn while the excess moisture evaporates.
What kind of starches can I use to thicken mashed potatoes?
You can use a few different types of starch as thickening agents for soupy mashed potatoes. Flour and cornstarch are the most common, but you could also use arrowroot powder, potato starch, powdered milk, corn flour, or tapioca flour.
Just be sure to add it gradually; too much starch will make potatoes gluey.
You can also use instant potato flakes as a thickening agent. Just be sure to add the instant potato mix in small amounts, until the potatoes thicken to the right texture.
Can I use cheese to thicken mashed potatoes?
Yes, you can use hard cheese to thicken mashed potatoes. Cheddar cheese or parmesan cheese can be added to help thicken them and give them a savory flavor.
Be sure to add the cheese in small amounts so that you don’t end up with mashed potatoes that are too thick.
How much starch should I add to thicken mashed potatoes?
Generally, you should add about 1 tablespoon of starch per cup of mashed potatoes. However, you may need to adjust the thickening agent amount depending on how thick you want the delicious side dish consistency.
Should I throw out my mashed potatoes if they are too runny?
No, depending on how runny they are, you may salvage them using one of our thickening methods.
And if all else fails, you can always look for delicious recipes for potato soup, use the soupy mixture, and add those extra potatoes you have left over.
Key Takeaways for How to Thicken Mashed Potatoes
Now that you know how to thicken mashed potatoes, there’s no need to throw out those runny potatoes ever again!
With a few simple steps, you can transform your mashed potatoes from watery to creamy in no time.
So, the next time you find yourself with thin mashed potatoes, don’t despair—just follow these easy steps and enjoy delicious, thick mashed potatoes in no time.