How to Thicken Runny Mashed Potatoes

How to Thicken Runny Mashed Potatoes. (Image: KarpenkovDenis/iStock/GettyImages)

When you think of mashed potatoes, you probably envision them as being smooth, homemade and buttery. You only need to type #mashedpotatoes on Instagram to find that there are over 800,000 posts from those who love potatoes.

As simple as they should be to make, if you are not careful, you could end up with a soupy mess instead of the velvety celebration of carbs for which your inner Martha Stewart was hoping. Don't fret or give up your apron just yet. All hope isn't lost, because there are a few methods that you can try to help you thicken mashed potatoes.

Add Some Heat

To start, place a large saucepan on a burner over low heat and add the runny mashed potatoes or runny instant mashed potatoes. Do not cover the pot because that will create more steam and liquid. Leaving the lid off allows the excess liquid to evaporate. To keep the potatoes from sticking to the bottom of the pot, use a fork and stir slowly and frequently.

Let the Liquid Dissolve

As the liquid decreases, stir less or else you may cause the mashed potatoes to become a stiff and gluey mess. Once the moisture has been fully absorbed, and your potatoes are at the desired consistency, immediately remove them from the heat and serve them warm.

To cut down on the chances of having mashed potatoes that came out soupy, do not put potatoes in hot or boiling water. Instead, place peeled and cut potatoes in a saucepan with cold, salted water and bring it to a low simmer. This helps to stop the potatoes from falling apart.

Thicken Mashed Potatoes

You can thicken your loose mashed potatoes by adding 1 tablespoon of either flour, cornstarch, powdered milk, arrowroot or Pecorino Romano cheese to your potatoes with a wooden spoon to get them smooth. They can add body because they absorb excess liquid. Whisk or stir until all ingredients are mixed together thoroughly.

Getting Creamy Mashed Potatoes

Keep adding thickener until the desired consistency has been reached, but add only one tablespoon at a time. This will allow you to avoid lumps or avoid making them too thick. Once finished, you can fluff them with a fork.

Also, do not add ingredients to potatoes directly from the fridge. Instead, whisk them in when they are at room temperature and whisk continuously. Do not overwork your potatoes by whipping them too quickly and/or vigorously.

Drain Your Potatoes

To avoid excess liquid in your mashed potatoes, you should always well drain your potatoes when they are done cooking. If you didn't, then doing so after they are loose can help to remedy the problem and give them some body.

Add your liquidy potatoes to a fine sieve lined with cheesecloth or white paper towel and place it over a bowl. Cover it with cheesecloth or a paper towel and let it sit for about 30 minutes.

Enjoy Your Mashed Potatoes

After the 30 minutes have elapsed, remove the cheesecloth or paper towel and then place the potatoes in a bowl or saucepan. Since they will have become a bit cool, you can reheat them in a bowl in the microwave. You can also warm them on top of a burner in a pan. Just be careful not to overheat because that could cause them to become gloppy.

Sometimes, great mashed potatoes just means switching to starchy Yukon or russet because they aren't waxy like red potatoes.

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