How to fix gluey mashed potatoes

If you’re making a dish as important as mashed potatoes for the holidays, you’ll definitely want to get them right. Think fluffy, creamy, and indulgent — never pasty, sticky, or, worst of all, gluey.

It all starts by selecting your potato: either one high in starch, like a tough-skinned russet, or waxy (like a thin-skinned, yellow potato). My personal favorite are Yukon Golds, which have a buttery flavor and creamy consistency. Peel them prior to cooking, since otherwise they’ll be too hot to handle. Boil them until soft but not yet dissolving in the pot. Once cooked, steam off any remaining moisture completely, as they need to be as dry as possible before mashing.

Now for the important part. To avoid a gummy, overstarched mess, mash the potatoes while they’re dry but still hot, and don’t use a food processor or a blender; these appliances tend to overmash the potatoes, creating an undesirably starchy consistency. If you’ve already gone too far with your food processor and you don’t have time to fix the gluey mess, transform it into a gratin instead: spread a thin layer across a baking dish; top with butter, cheese, and breadcrumbs; and bake to form a crispy top.

Additional reporting by Lauren Harano

How to fix gluey mashed potatoes

If you’re making a dish as important as mashed potatoes for the holidays, you’ll definitely want to get them right. Think fluffy, creamy, and indulgent — never pasty, sticky, or, worst of all, gluey.

It all starts by selecting your potato: either one high in starch, like a tough-skinned russet, or waxy (like a thin-skinned, yellow potato). My personal favorite are Yukon Golds, which have a buttery flavor and creamy consistency. Peel them prior to cooking, since otherwise they’ll be too hot to handle. Boil them until soft but not yet dissolving in the pot. Once cooked, steam off any remaining moisture completely, as they need to be as dry as possible before mashing.

Now for the important part. To avoid a gummy, overstarched mess, mash the potatoes while they’re dry but still hot, and don’t use a food processor or a blender; these appliances tend to overmash the potatoes, creating an undesirably starchy consistency. If you’ve already gone too far with your food processor and you don’t have time to fix the gluey mess, transform it into a gratin instead: spread a thin layer across a baking dish; top with butter, cheese, and breadcrumbs; and bake to form a crispy top.

How to fix gluey mashed potatoes

Just in time for Thanksgiving — our guide to perfect, delicious and oh-so-fluffy mashed potatoes!

How to fix gluey mashed potatoes

How to fix gluey mashed potatoes

Though the worst batch of mashed potatoes I ever made came from a box (gross, I know), the second-to-worst batch was gummy, sticky and rubbery. They tasted OK — but when it comes to truly enjoying food, presentation matters. That’s why we’re letting you in on a few secrets to avoiding rubbery, gooey mashed potatoes — and it’s right in time for Thanksgiving!

What causes rubbery mashed potatoes?

Mashed potatoes can turn out like glue for a number of different reasons. For one, you may have overbeaten them. Potatoes that have been beaten too much turn into a sticky, gooey paste because the starch in potatoes has been released. You also may have overcooked them (can you see how sensitive potatoes are?). Overcooking them makes them extra-soft and extra-easy to overbeat, again making them rubbery.

Tips on avoiding rubbery mashed potatoes

Choose a potato that’s naturally low in starch, such as red bliss. Russet potatoes are most commonly used in making mashed potatoes, but they actually contain the highest amount of starch when compared with other potatoes. Though the starches can create a fluffier version of mashed potatoes, if yours always tend to turn out rubbery, give a different type of potato a try!

Tip: If you are using russet potatoes, never overbeat them. Russet potatoes will give you the fluffiest potatoes but they’re also the easiest to mess up!

Use a hand mixer. We already told you that the primary reason for rubbery mashed potatoes is overworking them. To avoid being too rough on your potatoes, use a hand mixer instead of an electric one. Electric mixers are powerful and oftentimes too harsh for certain foods, like potatoes.

Dry the potatoes completely. Once the potatoes are done cooking in boiling water, make sure to dry them completely before mixing or adding other liquids. Let them sit in the colander for a few minutes to drain the excess water. Also, don’t cut the potatoes into small chunks before boiling. Though they may cook faster, they will likely absorb too much water and leave you with a rubbery end result.

Avoid food processors. It may seem easier — especially if you’re trying to cook multiple dishes in the preparation of Thanksgiving dinner — but food processors are just too harsh on potatoes and will never give you the fluffiness you’re looking for. Take the time to mash them by hand with a potato masher or ricer.

Mashed potatoes—creamy, fluffy, and filled with buttery flavor—make a delightful side dish, whether for a holiday meal or weekday dinner. But despite good intentions, they can easily turn out gummy, heavy, and nearly inedible, making what is normally a fan-favorite into wasted food. If you follow a few tried and true tips and tricks, however, you can learn to make your mashed potatoes light and fluffy every time.

Start With the Proper Potato

Although you can make mashed potatoes with a variety of potatoes, what you choose to use does affect the final outcome of the dish. You want to avoid low-starch, high-moisture potatoes such as red bliss or white potatoes, which need more exuberant mashing to break them down, potentially overworking the starch and turning them gluey.

Russets, also called Idaho or baker potatoes, make the fluffiest mashed potatoes. The high starch content and low moisture result in a drier texture and lighter mash. Yukon Gold potatoes contain a medium level of starch and relatively low moisture, but with a thinner skin and a naturally creamier texture. Some cooks prefer to give up some of the fluffiness of russet in favor of the Yukon Gold’s creamier texture, naturally buttery flavor, and an attractive yellow hue. For the best of both worlds, consider combining the two. Yukon Golds also make a good choice for those who prefer to keep the potato skins.

Prepare the Potato Correctly

An important part of making mashed potatoes is preparing and cooking the potato properly. The potatoes need to be cut into same-size pieces in order to cook evenly, and should be boiled for a certain amount of time to produce the ideal consistency.

If using russets, scrub, peel, and cut them into uniform 1- to 2-inch chunks; for Yukon Gold potatoes, simply scrub and cut—no peeling necessary. Place potato pieces in a pot and add cold water to cover; it is important you use cold water because warm or hot water would begin cooking the outside before the inside of the potatoes and result in unevenly cooked potato pieces. Bring the water to a full rolling boil, then reduce the heat slightly and keep them at a constant low boil for about 20 minutes or until you can insert a knife with no resistance.

Drain the potatoes thoroughly, then return them to the hot pot and gently move them around for a minute or two until all of the surface moisture evaporates. If you mash potatoes with some moisture still attached, your side dish can be watery.

Alternatively, you can bake scrubbed russets in their skins in a 400 F oven for about an hour, or until a knife slides in easily. Let them cool, then split them in half lengthwise and scoop out the flesh for mashing. This method eliminates the need to peel the potatoes, cutting the prep time significantly.

Use the Right Tool and Technique

With so many small appliances and pieces of kitchen equipment available to make cooking easier, it is tempting to use a blender, hand mixer, or food processor to save time and elbow grease when making mashed potatoes. But mashing potatoes with these types of tools break down the potato cells, releasing starch, and results in mashed potatoes with the consistency of wallpaper paste.

Better choices are a ricer, food mill, or hand masher, which pose less of a threat than those metal blades whirling at thousands of revolutions per minute. The ricer and food mill both yield a silkier texture than a hand masher, which may leave a few smallish lumps. (If you plan to use a food mill, you can skip the step of peeling the potatoes before you boil them.)

No matter which tool you use, you want to mash the potatoes as gently as possible. If you process them too much, you will essentially act as a blender or food processor and work them into a state of gumminess.

Add Warm Ingredients

No matter what you are cooking, when combining hot ingredients with cold there is often a reaction that can change the texture and consistency of the dish. So it is important that when you add the butter, milk or cream, or sour cream to the hot mashed potatoes that they are not straight from the fridge.

When adding butter, it is not only best that it isn’t cold, but it should also be melted for the most cohesive combination. Keep the melted butter warm until it is time to add to the potatoes. Similarly, you should heat any milk or cream or sour cream before mixing into the potatoes while they are still warm.

There’s nothing worse than gluey, lumpy or bland mashed potatoes. To keep your spuds from turning out subpar, follow these easy fixes for frequently made mistakes.

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Spud-Saving Secrets

Pillow-white, creamy and smooth — mashed potatoes are impossible not to love. A steaming spoonful will seduce even the pickiest eater to the table and can turn a plain piece of meat into a meal. But for something so simple, they’re surprisingly nuanced. Here are easy repairs for frequently made mistake.

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The Mistake: Using the Wrong Kind of Potato

The Mistake: Cutting Potatoes Into Too-Small Pieces

They’ll absorb too much water during cooking, preventing them from soaking up all the yummy butter and cream when it comes time for mashing. The best-size chunks for boiling: about 1 1/2 inches. If you’ve gone too small, keep a close eye on the pot so they don’t overcook and become waterlogged.

Photo: S.K. Howard/Getty Images

The Mistake: Not Salting the Water

The Mistake: Adding Potatoes to Boiling Water

Potatoes require a long cook time. When you add them to boiling water, the exterior can cook faster than the inside, leading to an unevenly cooked and lumpy mash. Always start potatoes in cold water. Too late? Lower the water to a simmer so the potatoes cook slowly.

How to fix gluey mashed potatoes

Both a staple at modest diners and a blank palette for a four-star chef’s creativity, mashed potatoes absorb and transport the flavours of a meal. Whipping potatoes too vigorously with a hand mixer or putting them in a food processor can result in something akin to wallpaper paste. To achieve the desired light, fluffy texture, use high-starch potatoes like russets or Yukon golds and mash them gently by hand to prevent the release of excess starch. You can probably salvage slightly gummy potatoes. But if they’ve really turned to glue, you’re better off disguising the texture in a casserole or potato pancakes.

  • Both a staple at modest diners and a blank palette for a four-star chef’s creativity, mashed potatoes absorb and transport the flavours of a meal.
  • To achieve the desired light, fluffy texture, use high-starch potatoes like russets or Yukon golds and mash them gently by hand to prevent the release of excess starch.

Sprinkle 2 tbsp flour evenly across the surface of the mashed potatoes, assuming you started with 0.907kg. of raw potatoes, which feeds four to five people.

Drizzle 2 tbsp melted butter evenly across the surface of the mashed potatoes.

  • Drizzle 2 tbsp melted butter evenly across the surface of the mashed potatoes.

Fold the flour and butter into the potatoes with a spatula, scraping from the bottom of the bowl and mixing towards the centre.

Spread the mashed potatoes evenly into an 8×8 casserole dish, assuming you started with 0.907kg. of raw potatoes, which feeds four to five people.

Sprinkle 1/2 cup of breadcrumbs evenly across the surface of the potatoes.

Add 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, sprinkled evenly across the surface of the casserole, if desired. Dot the surface with 2 tbsp butter.

Bake the casserole at 177 degrees Celsius for 30 minutes, or until browned on top and hot throughout.

Heat a 12-inch skillet with 2 tbsp vegetable oil and 2 tbsp butter over medium heat.

Fold 1/2 cup finely chopped onion, salt and pepper to taste, 2 tbsp melted butter and 2 tbsp sour cream into the mashed potatoes. This assumes you started with 0.907kg. of raw potatoes, which feeds four or five people.

Scoop 1/4 cup of mashed potatoes into your clean hands. Pat the glob of potatoes into a flat disk approximately 1/4 inch thick.

  • Bake the casserole at 177 degrees Celsius for 30 minutes, or until browned on top and hot throughout.
  • Pat the glob of potatoes into a flat disk approximately 1/4 inch thick.

Dip the potato pancake into a pie plate with 1/4 cup of flour in it. Flip it over to lightly coat both sides with flour. Repeat to form eight pancakes.

  • Dip the potato pancake into a pie plate with 1/4 cup of flour in it.

Pan fry the potato pancakes in the skillet until golden brown on one side, approximately five to eight minutes. Flip and repeat on the other side.

Transfer the pancakes to a plate lined with paper towels to drain excess grease. Serve immediately with gravy or a dab of butter, or use the pancake as a base for a piece of meat or fish.

The bad news with gluey mashed potatoes is that there’s no real way to fix them. Once you’ve incorporated that excess starch into the mix, you can’t take it out.

If you overwork potatoes, too much starch is released. The mash becomes gummy, gluey and unappetizing. If you’re using a food processor or stand mixer, you’re probably whipping the life out of your potatoes. … A food mill makes the best mashed potatoes.

In this regard, How do you fix overcooked mashed potatoes?

Or just as bad, you overcook them. The problem with overcooked potatoes is that they absorb a ton of water. When you go to mash them, they’ll be soupy and sad. One way to fix them is by placing them in a pot over low heat and gently cooking them. The excess water will turn into steam, and your mash will dry out.

Can you eat gluey mashed potatoes?

Mashed potatoes are a great side dish for a variety of meals, but they’re a little less tasty when they have a gluey and gummy consistency. … If you’re looking for a less time-consuming process, transfer your gluey mashed potatoes to a baking dish and sprinkle them with a few ingredients to make a gratin.

Also, How do you fix lumpy mashed potatoes?

Lumpy mashed potatoes generally mean undercooked potatoes. If you get to this point and you realize you’ve undercooked your potatoes, just add a little bit of milk or cream and cook the potatoes over a low heat until the lumps begin to soften.

How do you rejuvenate mashed potatoes?

– Reheat in the oven: keep foil on mashed potatoes at 375 for 30-40 minutes.
– Reheat in a slow cooker, add a little cream and butter to keep them moist.
– Place mashed potatoes in a zip lock bag, seal well and place carefully in a simmering pan of water.

25 Related Question Answers Found

Can you get sick from old mashed potatoes?

Big offenders include rice salads, pasta salads and “that bowl of mashed potatoes, if it’s not put into the fridge a couple of hours after serving it.” These starchy dishes are breeding grounds for Bacillus cereus, a microbe that can cause severe vomiting or disabling diarrhea.

Can you reheat mashed potatoes in the microwave?

The microwave, it turns out, is actually perfect for reheating mashed potatoes. Simply add your mashed potatoes to a microwave-safe bowl, along with a tablespoon or so of milk or cream.

Can old potatoes make you sick?

Potatoes sometimes cause food poisoning. To avoid getting sick, be sure to eat cooked potatoes within 4 days and immediately throw away any potatoes that show signs of mold.

Why do mashed potatoes get gluey?

Too much — or too vigorous — mashing will produce gluey potatoes. Your best tool is an old-fashioned masher, fork, ricer or food mill. If you’ve already done the damage, turn pasty potatoes into a casserole: Spread them in a baking dish, drizzle with melted butter and sprinkle with grated cheese and breadcrumbs.

Can mashed potatoes cause food poisoning?

Mashed potatoes can cause food poisoning if it was not handled and cooked correctly. The reason is the solanine contained in a potato’s tuber, a glycoalkaloid whose consumption in excess can cause poisoning.

How can you tell if mashed potatoes are bad?

For mashed potatoes, they are starting to get old when the liquid begins to separate from the solid. At first the liquid is fairly clear and can be mixed back in and used, but then the liquid will form a white haze and the potatoes will smell sour – at which point you need to toss the mashed potatoes.

Can old potatoes kill you?

If you leave potatoes sitting in in your cupboard for too long, they might sprout or turn green, but it’s not like eating old vegetables is going to kill you or anything. … After sitting around for a while and perhaps rotting, potatoes contain a potent toxin called solanine.

Can you fix gluey mashed potatoes?

Too much — or too vigorous — mashing will produce gluey potatoes. … If you’ve already done the damage, turn pasty potatoes into a casserole: Spread them in a baking dish, drizzle with melted butter and sprinkle with grated cheese and breadcrumbs. Bake until bubbling and browned on top.

Why do you put an egg yolk in mashed potatoes?

To finish the potatoes, they beat in an egg yolk. Yes, raw. This takes the creamy richness of the mashed potatoes to a whole new level, and you’ll wonder why you never did this before.

How do you get lumps out of MASH?

Lumpy mashed potatoes generally mean undercooked potatoes. If you get to this point and you realize you’ve undercooked your potatoes, just add a little bit of milk or cream and cook the potatoes over a low heat until the lumps begin to soften.

What can I do with gluey mashed potatoes?

Lumpy mashed potatoes generally indicate undercooked potatoes. If you get to this point and realize you’ve undercooked your potatoes, just add a little bit of milk or cream, then cook the potatoes over low heat until the lumps begin to soften.

How do you fix grainy mashed potatoes?

Lumpy mashed potatoes generally indicate undercooked potatoes. If you get to this point and realize you’ve undercooked your potatoes, just add a little bit of milk or cream, then cook the potatoes over low heat until the lumps begin to soften.

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How to fix gluey mashed potatoes

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Gluey mashed potatoes…if that’s what you have now, start over! If you are trying to AVOID it before you start, you have come to the right place!

The Quick Answers:

  1. Use Russett Potatoes.
  2. Don’t use a food processor to whip (hand mixer is okay).
  3. Do use a hand potato masher or potato ricer.

It is not uncommon for mashed potatoes to become gluey. It is a rookie mistake that you will never make again after knowing WHY it happens. Basically…STARCH. It’s science.

You basically want a high-starch potato to get fluffy mashed potatoes we all love. Russet potatoes are the best choice. But the starch is what can be the gluey problem if you don’t treat the potatoes right.

Starch is released in the process of cooking, but the mashing process releases more starch throughout. So the key is in “getting rid of lumps” stage. You want to lesson the starch release and it will result in less gluey mashed potatoes.

The best tool to use for this is a potato ricer. It gently turns boiled potatoes into mush without missing lumps. When you miss lumps you are tempted to just keep at it…mixing, mixing, mixing.

The second choice is just a hand potato masher. This can break the potatoes up gently enough.

Then actually, you can use an electric hand mixer (we like the ones that have the heavier beaters) at the end to incorporate the milk and butter, and to whip them into smooth deliciousness!

You might think that the mixer would release too much starch. It can, but you have saved a lot of mixing by ricing or hand mashing. That makes all the difference. Whipping at the end just really makes them creamy and the perfect consistency.

If you are looking for a great recipe, we think that a lot of butter and a little milk and a lot of salt is all you need! The best mashed potatoes are done by taste by the cook. Don’t skimp on the good stuff. People can skimp on their portion if they want, but you want to make the BEST mashed potatoes anyone has ever tasted!

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Make the best mashed potatoes ever by avoiding these pitfalls, like gummy, soggy and cold mashed potatoes.

While they may not be the star of the show, mashed potatoes are an essential part of Thanksgiving dinner. Smooth and buttery, they help round out the bigger flavors; and perhaps even more importantly, they're easy to make when you've got other more labor-intensive parts of the meal to tend to. But even simple sides can take a turn south if you don't follow a few rules. We want you to have your best (and easiest) mashed potatoes yet, so here are six possible pitfalls and what you can do to avoid them.

Mistake to Avoid #1: Poor Potato Prep

If your potatoes are less than perfect, it could be that you're missing a few steps at the beginning. It's always a good idea to scrub your potatoes even if you're planning to peel them. And if you're not peeling, then scrubbing the skin is an even more essential step to remove any dirt and debris that could be lingering. You'll also want to remove any "eyes" from the potatoes. These are the little brown or black bumpy spots on the skin where the potato would sprout if you were planting it. Cutting them out with the tip of a small knife is the best way to get rid of them. And if all or part of your potatoes are green? Toss them. Green potatoes may contain high levels of solanine—a chemical that not only tastes bad, but can also make you sick.

Mistake to Avoid #2: Gummy Mashed Potatoes

You want your mashed potatoes smooth and silky, not thick and chewy. If the latter is the case, you've got gummy potatoes. It's a less than ideal result, and it's pretty common. Why does it happen? You could be using the wrong potatoes. Potatoes are generally considered "waxy" or "starchy." Waxy potatoes (like white potatoes and red potatoes) are more prone to gumminess when mashed, as opposed to starchy potatoes (like Yukon Golds and russets). Choose starchy potatoes or a mixture of waxy and starchy potatoes. But be warned: even starchy potatoes can turn to a sticky paste if they're overworked. The lesson here? Don't overmix the potatoes! For mashed potatoes that are smooth without being gummy, a potato ricer is your best bet. It gently presses the potato into fine pieces so all that's left to do is add your liquid and a pat or two of butter. If you choose to use an electric mixer, add your butter and milk toward the beginning of the mixing, and mix gently, stopping as soon as the potatoes are smooth. You can also use a potato masher, but this will produce more rustic potatoes, not a smooth mash.