Getting Fluffy Taters: How to Mash Potatoes Without a Masher
If you aren't sure how to mash potatoes without a
masher, you are not alone. The kitchen tool has been part of the
cooking arsenal for over a 100 years, and very few can fathom mashing
spuds without it. I'm here to tell that you that it is possible, in
fact, there are a few devices that might be even better for creating
silky smooth taters with way less work. Which are those? Keep reading
and find out.
6 Ways to Mash your Potatoes With Other Utensils
1. Fork your way out
One of the simplest ways to get mashed potatoes is to do it with the fork. I know you may be thinking, how can it be used to make potatoes creamier or fluffier?
Well, as soon as you drain your potatoes, instead of using a masher, you proceed to pound them with the fork. The bigger the fork, the better, particularly if you cooked a big portion.
Just take the fork and mash away the potatoes. To get the most out of the fork, make sure your potatoes are soft before mashing. Pierce them and see if the fork work can go through without any effort. Any small bit of resistance means you will have to use major muscle strength if you want a smoother texture.
One of the advantages of doing it this way is that you don't need fancy gizmos or anything like that. I have to warn you though, even by taking all precautions you won't have the creamiest texture ever. As a matter of fact, you will have some chunks, and they might even feel grainy. Also, keep in mind that it will take a bit of time to smooth them.
Overall, if you have no tools, the fork is the best way
to go. It might take around 10 minutes, but it will get the job done.
2. Try the Potato Ricer
If you like fluffy potatoes, you have to give the ricer a try. What is the ricer? Well, it is a device used to force potatoes through tiny holes effectively getting rid of any big pieces.
By using sheer crushing strength, the spuds are forced through small perforations resulting in rice-shaped silky potatoes. For better results, cut the potatoes into cubes, boil until smooth (check them with a fork first), then take a few cubes and place them inside the ricer.
You will experience extra soft potatoes that no masher
can match. They are so good that you don't have to add any toppings.
Even after using red potatoes (which aren't exactly ideal for mashing)
the result is still chunk-less, fluffy mashed potatoes that are yummy
even without butter, milk, or cream (reference).
Using the ricer is a bit slow as you can only place a few potato cubes at a time and you may need to apply some muscle to it. It is also troublesome to clean (that's the only reason why I may hesitate to use it).
I'm very picky when it comes to my mashed potatoes, and
I do whatever it takes to make them as fluffy as possible. If you don't
have a masher, you can't go wrong with the ricer.
3. Check out the Food Mill
Another gadget you can use in place of a masher is a food mill (article). What does the mill do? Similarly to the ricer, you have to cut potatoes into cubes (or any other shape you like), boil, drain and place them inside of it. Instead of simply forcing spuds through the holes with a downward pressure like the ricer, the mill swirls them around with centripetal force while applying pressure to shove them out of the perforated bottom of the device.
Their texture is fluffy, light, and you will want to eat them right away. The main difference between the ricer and the food mill is that the food mill mash potatoes resulting in a less fluffy but smoother consistency.
Potatoes out of the mill are so soft that you don't even
need to chew them, they simply melt away in your mouth. Another
advantage of the mill is that is faster than the
ricer, although not by much, and requires less effort from your part to
make a smoother texture (info).
When the potatoes are out, they look like a slightly thicker version of the ones coming out of the ricer.
The main problem of the mill is that cleaning it takes
time. You have to disassemble a few parts, scrub each one of them, dry,
and put them together again. After taking all factors into
consideration, in the absence of a masher, using the mill is a good
4. Pull out the old Whisk
You can still mash your spuds even without fancy gadgets. You might be surprised that a large balloon-shaped whisk can do anything that a masher can and more (note). Once your potatoes are boiled and drained, place the whisk inside the bowl and whip away. In a few minutes (well maybe more than a few), you will have a dish of mashed potatoes that no one would think was done with a whisk!
Another good thing about the whisk is that you won't
have to spend 15 minutes trying to clean it. The disadvantage is that
you will have to work your wrist to achieve the fabled smooth texture.
Still, it is a less intensive workout than the fork. Will you get a few
chunks using the whisk? You bet. Although there are better ways to get
fluffy potatoes out there, it won't exhaust you like the fork.
5. Crank up the Electric Hand Mixer
Can an electric hand mixer mash your potatoes? Sure it can! You can use it to mash them in mere seconds and get a dense and hefty texture. You have to be super careful when using it though as the appearance of gluey potatoes is imminent if you over do it. Before you start, remember to use the lowest speed and check them every few seconds.
Taking your eyes away from the potatoes, even for one
second, could mean having sticky potatoes for dinner. They will go from
fluffy to creamy to gummy fast, so stop as soon as you see the desired
texture. Not the best way to have fully-flavored mashed potatoes, but
in the absence of anything else, it works.
6. Turn on the Processor
It may take a few minutes, but the food processor can turn potatoes into purée (definition). That may be good or bad depending on your preferences. While they can be extremely creamy, the risk of over beating and turning them gummy is real.
There is another problem with the processor. Once you are done with it you will have to clean the lid, attachments, and bowl. Not exactly a pleasant experience if you plan to relax after your meal. Additionally, it is slightly annoying adding the potatoes to the machine which takes some time.
Seasoned potato cooks will tell you to avoid touching a
processor with a ten feet pole if you want to mash potatoes. However,
there are a few potato fans out there that love the smoothness of the
mashed potatoes after going through the processor.
There is no need to wonder how to mash potatoes without
a hand masher anymore. Since most people disagree on which is the best
way for mashing potatoes, pick the method that seems easier for you or
according to what you already have in your kitchen.
To save time read some tips for leaving them already set up.
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