Smashed Potatoes

From America's Test Kitchen Season 6: Meat and Potatoes

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Why this recipe works:

For our smashed potato recipe, we were after chunks of potato bound by a rich, creamy puree. Red Bliss potatoes were the best choice for smashing since their compact structure held up well under pressure. Wanting a tangy yet creamy substance that would bind the potatoes in terms of both flavor… read more

For our smashed potato recipe, we were after chunks of potato bound by a rich, creamy puree. Red Bliss potatoes were the best choice for smashing since their compact structure held up well under pressure. Wanting a tangy yet creamy substance that would bind the potatoes in terms of both flavor and texture, we combined 1/2 cup of cream cheese with 4 tablespoons of melted butter and some reserved potato cooking water; we added the mixture to the quickly drying smash, bringing it to a unified and creamy consistency.

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Smashed Potatoes

When there's no gravy and the potatoes have to stand on their own, lots of home cooks "smash" them. But good smashed potatoes are hard to find.

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Serves 4 to 6

White potatoes can be used instead of Red Bliss, but their skins lack the rosy color of Red Bliss skins. Try to get potatoes of equal size; if that's not possible, test the larger potatoes for doneness. If only larger potatoes are available, increase the cooking time by about 10 minutes. Check for doneness with a paring knife.

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds Red Bliss potatoes (about 2 inches in diameter), unpeeled and scrubbed
  • Table salt
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and warm
  • 1/2 cup cream cheese (4 ounces), at room temperature
  • Ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives (optional)

Instructions

  1. 1. Place potatoes in large saucepan and cover with 1 inch cold water; add 1 teaspoon salt and bay leaf. Bring to boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer gently until paring knife can be inserted into potatoes with no resistance, 35 to 45 minutes. Reserve 1/2 cup cooking water, then drain potatoes. Return potatoes to pot, discard bay, and allow potatoes to stand in pot, uncovered, until surfaces are dry, about 5 minutes.

    2. While potatoes dry, whisk melted butter and softened cream cheese in medium bowl until smooth and fully incorporated. Add 1/4 cup of reserved cooking water, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, chives (if using), and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Using rubber spatula or back of wooden spoon, smash potatoes just enough to break skins. Fold in butter/cream cheese mixture until most of liquid has been absorbed and chunks of potatoes remain. Add more cooking water 1 tablespoon at a time as needed, until potatoes are slightly looser than desired (potatoes will thicken slightly with standing). Adjust seasonings with salt and pepper; serve immediately.

    TO MAKE AHEAD: The potatoes are best made just before serving, though see the related Quick Tip for a suggestion on how to hold mashed potatoes.

    TO DOUBLE: The Smashed Potatoes recipe and variation can easily be doubled to serve 8 to 12. To accommodate the increased volume, you will need to cook the potatoes in a Dutch oven or stockpot instead of the specified saucepan. Depending on pot size, the cooking time will increase by 5 to 10 minutes.

Technique

Making Smashed Potatoes

1. For the best flavor and texture, boil whole, skin on potatoes. Leave a measuring cup nearby as a reminder to reserve some cooking liquid.

2. While the potatoes are drying, whisk together the cream cheese and butter.

3. When smashing the potatoes, use a spatula or large wooden spoon; both work better than a potato masher or a fork. Smash just until the skins are broken.

4. Fold the cream cheese mixture into the potatoes gently, adding more reserved cooking liquid if the potatoes look dry.

Detail sfs smashed potatoes 139
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