Simple Tips and Tricks for Potato Perfection

By Kelsey Byrnes

Mashed potatoes with gravy is a classic comfort food everyone loves. Follow these simple tips and tricks for potato perfection!

Whether it’s the holiday season or a weeknight meal, a piping hot scoop of mashed potatoes with rich, flavorful gravy always seems to hit the spot.

Choosing the potatoes. First, let’s talk about which variety of potatoes are the best for this creamy side dish. Russet potatoes are my go-to for mashed potatoes because they’re starch and less likely to get goopy while absorbing flavor well.

Prepping. To prep the potatoes, peel and cube them. Cubing them will ensure the potatoes cook evenly, so although it’s an extra step, it’s worth it.

Cooking. Add cold water, potatoes and about a tablespoon of salt to a saucepan and bring it to a boil. Boil the potatoes until they’re very tender and fall apart when pricked with a fork.

Draining the cooked potatoes and making sure you’ve gotten rid of all the excess water is important, so you don’t end up with watery mashed potatoes. I like to place the pot of drained potatoes on the burner for a couple of minutes to let the remaining water evaporate.

Mashing. Now it’s time to mash! You can use a handheld potato masher, or a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. No matter what you choose to use, be sure that you don’t overwork the potatoes. Stirring them too much can result in sticky mashed potatoes.

Lastly, stir in hot milk, half and half or cream and softened butter. Warming the liquid is essential as you want to keep the mashed potatoes piping hot.

Now, you have a bowl of hot, fluffy mashed potatoes, so it’s time to make perfectly smooth, bursting-with-flavor gravy.

Steps to Making Delicious Gravy

No matter what type of meat you’re working with, you’ll want to start with hot drippings and/or cooking stock.

When adding the thickener (I like to use cold water mixed with cornstarch), be sure to use a whisk to keep lumps from forming. Nobody likes lumpy gravy!

Also, it’s important to add just a little bit of thickener at a time so you don’t overthicken the gravy. Once you’ve added enough thickener to reach the consistency you are going for, give it a taste and season with salt, if desired.

These tips and tricks will give you confidence going into the kitchen to whip up the ultimate delicious, classic side dish.

Watch the video below and check out the Dance Around the Kitchen blog for the full recipe, step-by-step instructions and flavor variations. 

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