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The Quest for Perfect Mashed Potatoes

The classic holiday meal side dish is mashed potatoes. But, what can make or break this dish is the type of potato used.

There are more than 200 species of potatoes, but they all contain two primary components, starch and moisture. Low starch potatoes give a firm, waxy texture and maintain shape after boiling. High starch potatoes give a crumbly, mealy texture, and become soft after boiling.

Low starch potatoes include small round red or white potatoes with a thin skin, such as Red Bliss potatoes. They are good for boiling, stewing, or chunkier mashed potatoes. Low starch potatoes absorb less liquid, thus yielding a firmer texture.

High starch potatoes include oblong Russets with thick skins. They are easy to mash and make great baked potatoes. High starch potatoes absorb more liquid, which easily breaks for a fluffy texture.

Yukon Gold potatoes fall in between these two and can be used either way.

Source: The Science of Good Cooking, Cook’s Illustrated


About Karen Blakeslee

The Rapid Response Center was formed in 1995 as a resource for Kansas State University Research & Extension Agents. Resource topics included Food Science, Human Nutrition, Food Service, Textiles, Home Care and other consumer topics. Since that time, the Center has grown to be of valuable assistance to Kansas State University Extension Specialists in those areas.

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