I’ve come to a startling realization this past year or so.
I prefer my mashed potatoes lumpy.
For years and years, I whipped potatoes into a frenzy in a frenetic attempt to achieve the perfect silky-smooth consistency. Then I heard somewhere that you shouldn’t beat your potatoes with a mixer to within an inch of their lives, because it breaks down the starches in the potatoes and makes them gummy. I bought it. And so the next batch was all by hand with a potato masher. Were they super, duper smooth? No. Were they oh-so delicious and, with their little lumps here and there, unmistakably and perfectly homemade? Oh, yes.
And then I found this recipe from Queen Martha, and I gave cream cheese a spin. Boil the potatoes and drain, as usual. Then hand-mash them with copious amounts of butter, an entire block of cream cheese, and milk.
Gah. So good.
I call these “Best-Ever Mashed Potatoes” because they’re the best I’ve ever made (or tasted, for that matter). Please don’t take it as my bashing your granny’s recipe. Just, to my family and to me, they’re the best ever.
The cream cheese gives them such a decadent, almost melt-in-your-mouth texture, plus just a tad bit of tang that you don’t get otherwise.
As far as the lumps go, I’m sure you could hand-mash them to a perfectly smooth consistency with relative ease. But why would you want to go and do something so crazy?! Viva la lump!
Best-Ever Mashed Potatoes
- 3 1/2 pounds russet potatoes (peeled (about 10 medium))
- 8 ounces cream cheese (room temperature is best)
- 1/2 cup 1 stick unsalted butter (room temperature is best)
- 3/4 cup whole milk
- Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
- Fill a large pot halfway with water. Bring to a boil over high heat.
- Carefully add peeled potatoes.
- Boil over high heat until the potatoes are fork-tender, about 25 minutes.
- Remove from heat and drain potatoes in a colander. Put drained potatoes back in the pot and put back on the stove over low heat.
- Add the cream cheese, butter, 1/2 cup of the milk, and a hefty pinch salt and pepper.
- Mash the potatoes with a potato masher until they reach desired consistency. Taste and add additional salt and pepper to taste.
- Spoon into a large bowl and top with a generous pat of butter. Serve.