Here's Why You Should Never Boil Potatoes For Mash In Water

I have so much to reconsider.
Oleg Begunenco / 500px via Getty Images

Usually, I’m a carbohydrate libertarian; what you choose to do with your spuds is none of my business. After all, I grew up on mashed potato sandwiches (don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it) and once even ate a battered boiled potato (that, you can judge).

But recently, I’ve been converted to a pretty particular mashed potato method; and it’s turned me off boiling my future mashees in water altogether.

To begin with, we’re not meant to plunge our spuds into boiling-hot water; this leads to falling-apart outsides and raw insides.

Secondly, like pasta, potatoes slowly release starches as they cook; and just like with pasta water, this water has its creamy, emulsifying uses.

So much so, in fact, that director of education at Milk Street Cooking School Rosemary Gill referred to the fluid as ”liquid gold ― allowing us to get lush, silky, creamy, mashed potatoes” on TikTok.

So what should I cook them in, then?

Milk, the chef suggests. In fact, she reckons that the technique is so effective at adding a creamy texture to your mash that you might even be able to forego cream.

In a video that’s racked up almost five million views, the cooking pro said that “When you throw out water that you cook your potatoes in, you throw all the starch down the drain, so you’re wasting it.”

So, instead, she retains all the milk that the potatoes have been boiled in, allowing the dairy (and the released starches) to become the foundation of her mashed potato.

She adds butter and seasonings at the end after mashing the spuds directly in the pot (I’m a diehard dill-in-mash fan, but to each your own).

And having tried it myself this weekend, I have to agree with the chef; it delivers the smoothest, creamiest results I’ve tried yet.

Psst ― if you’ve got leftover mashed potatoes after all this (somehow), I strongly recommend the two-ingredient potato flatbread recipe I ALSO swear by. I made this myself a couple of days ago; the unusually creamy spuds were a perfect candidate for the job.

Happy spudding!


Simmer your mashed potatoes in milk, not water! Potatoes are like pasta, in that they leach starches into their cooking liquid. In the case of pasta, you want to reserve some of that liquid to give sauce a luscious shine and bind it to the noodles. In mashed potatoes, cooking in milk, and preserving that starchy liquid, gives your potatoes a natural creaminess and allows you to skip the weighty heavy cream. #MilkStreetCookingSchool director Rosie Gill demonstrates. #milkstreet #milkstreetrecipes #milkstreetsides #sidesrecipes #thanksgiving #thanksgivingrecipes #potatoes #potatorecipes #mashedpotatoes #mashedpotatorecipes #vegetables #milkstreetrecipes #holiday #holidayrecipes #food #cooking #easyrecipes

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