What causes gooy mashed potatoes?

Joined Dec 13, 2001
Thought of another question I've always wondered about. I suppose this is so basic you all already know the answer or have talked about it. I couldn't find it when I searched for the topic though.

What causes and how to avoid or prevent your mash potatoes from being gooey? This isn't caused my adding too much liquid. I suppose the variety of the potatoes makes a difference. We have about 5 varieties we grew the year. Thanks for your help.
Lora :confused:
Joined Jul 31, 2000
Hi Lora,Welcome to cheftalk.

Yes the variaty of the spud you use does matter, However theres a little step you can take to help your potatoes. When you drain them make sure to drain them well. Wipe out any water in the pot before you return your spuds. Then put the stove on medium heat,or low flame if gas,And let your potatoes dry out in the pan for a couple of minutes. This will help, also I do not melt my butter with the cream to add to my mash, I always add my butter at room tempature to the hot potatoes,This way the butter has a chance to slowly melt and kind of "cream" the spuds. I then add my cream "hot"a little at a time until I get the desired consistency.

Happy Mashing
Joined Mar 13, 2001
Everything's been said already and I really have nothing to add, except to wish you a warm welcome to Cheftalk, Lora!

Joined Dec 13, 2001
Couldn't of asked for a better reply. I'll try to think of something else. :) Lora
Joined Apr 30, 2001
Yup...almost everything has been said. One minor addition, Shirley Corihher advises to precook potatoes for 20 minutes well below a simmer at 140F. Then cool them and when ready to mash, bring to a boil and cook until tender. The Potato Commission apparently claims that this precooking allows the starch to firm which makes less gluey mashed potatoes. After starch has swollen and then cooled, it loses its ability to dissolve in water so that even when you break the cells during mashing, the starch does not give you a gluey mess.

I'm learning to just love food science.
Joined Nov 17, 2000
Lora-thanks for asking the question!
cchiu-thank for the good info!

I haven't made mashed potatoes in about 15 years, but I'll be mashing away next week when I fix Christmas dinner for my husband. I used to make decent mashed spuds, but I have forgotten how I did it!

Now I know what to do!:D
Joined Jun 28, 2001
Hello all.
At the Restaurant I work at I make a Garlic/Dill mashed potato as a side item sometimes.Instead of peeling all of those **** potatos, we bake as we would normally(we do not wrap them in foil by the way) and I let them cool a little.

I then cut them in half and spoon out the flesh.I use a little of the left over skins in them also.

This way you have added no water at all to the potatos and avoid them being too "mushey"

To give you an idea of what is in them (going off the top of my head for 6 servings)

6-8 Large Baking potatos,Baked
3-4 Slices of cooked bacon,coarsely choped
4 oz of softened butter
2 medium gloves of roasted,finley choped garlic
2 tablespoons fresh choped dill weed
2 tablespoons Lawry's seasoning salt
2 tablespoons fresh choped parsley
1 1/2 tablespoons black pepper
Milk as needed

Bake potatoes. Cool. Cut in half and spoon out flesh into mixing bowl.Reserve some of the skins if you want to.Cut into strips.
Add the rest of the ing. and whisk with milk untill the desired consistancy is reached.

Like I said, I use this at the restaurant and it is always a big seller.
And yes I am in the South so thats why bacon is in it.

Hope you guys and girls enjoy them.

Joined Feb 2, 2002
Hi Lora:

There are a lot of good points here from other chefs.

But, there are several ways of doing it.

Russets have a high starch content, and work well for mashed potatoes, but you can make good mashed potatoes out of any type of potato.

Some of the best mashed potatoes I have ever had were from Red Bliss, which do not have near the starch levels of other types.

A few tips that I find helpful.....

Get rid of excessive liquid, but do not cool the potatoes (exception described later)
Mash while they are still real hot.

Do not overmash. The more you play with them the better chance that you will turn them to glue.

Using a hand Potato Masher. Up and Down motions to break them down. Add the hot milk, butter, etc....and fold the ingredients in with a rubber spatula, wooden spoon, etc.....
When the ingredients are folded in........leave them alone.
Eat right away, or tranfer to a holding container, and keep warm.
(If you are fast you can add the milk, or cream, and butter without heating them--only softening the butter)

If you want to make small quantities at a time you can.....

Take Red Bliss, or Yukon Gold type potatoes.....Pre-cook, until cooked but still slightly firm. Cool, hold under refridgeration.

When ready to make the Mashed Potatoes......Place in a saute pan with a small amount of water....cover and heat until all the liquid is dissolved and the potatoes are dry, and hot (be careful not to burn).....Mash, add your other ingredients, and fold.

If you do it right you will not be able to tell the difference between freshly cooked potatoes, and the ones cooled completely.

If you make a mistake by adding too much liquid, and your potatoes become watery......... and you do not have any dried potato starch to add to them.......return to the heat, and fold in some bread crumbs......sounds weird, but you can tighten the potatoes, and make more of a "Country Style" Variety.

Sometimes I will make them this way on purpose because I like the change.

What do you do if your potatoes turn to glue?

Throw them away, and start over....

Chef Nosko
A Fresh Endeavor
Boston, MA
Joined Dec 6, 2001
It helps to not cut your tatoes into pieces that are too small...otherwise they absorb too much water and lose flavor and texture. I just do 4-6 chunks per tato. Also, for my family's tastes, we like the baker potatoes best. Thats what I use to boil/mash.

I dont simmer my tatoes, I really boil them with a lid left askew on pot. Put drained tatoes back on burner for 30sec to dry them out a bit before mashing. I dont use milk anymore, I use sourcream, butter and half n half.

Good luck!
Joined Jul 28, 2001
dirty mashed are the best, why throw those skins away.
ADVICE: for making any type of potato at home, NEVER throw the skins in the garbage disposal!
Joined Nov 29, 2001
Boil baking potatoes (these being Idaho or russets), drain them well, then use a ricer to mash them if you want a smooth but not gooey consistency. If you're looking for a more "rustic" appearance, you can use a potato masher utensil. There's no more science to it than that.

Never use a food processor or you will have gray glue.

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