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Cooking Tips

15-Minute Mashed Potatoes

No big pots of water and just 15 minutes of simmering. The key to the fastest, easiest mashed potatoes is all in how you cut the spuds.
By Published Dec. 6, 2022

PSA: I’ve rewritten the mashed potato rules. From here on out, making them will be so much faster and easier. 

This all came about when I started to question some of the de facto steps I’ve been following for years. Namely: Cutting the spuds into chunks and starting them in cold water. 

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The tricky thing with cooking thick potato pieces is that by the time they’re tender at the core, the outside layer has turned to mush and sloughed off starch that makes the mash gluey. The cold-water start is supposed to mitigate this, but in exchange you have to cook the potatoes as gently as possible so that the exterior doesn’t get blown out while you wait for the interior to cook through. Besides, it’s a bit of a slog: Bringing a big pot of water and chunked potatoes to a boil, and then simmering them, takes the better part of an hour.

Here’s the news: Slice the potatoes thin! Add them to boiling water! Use a smaller pot! These changes will drastically simplify and speed the process. Here’s a breakdown of how it works.

How to Make 15-Minute Mashed Potatoes 

Use Sliced Potatoes

Thicker pieces invariably overcook at the surface and release loads of sticky gel while you wait for their insides to soften, leading to a gluey mash. Thin-sliced potatoes are virtually all surface area so there’s almost no disparity between the interior and exterior, and the cook time is minimal.

Use Less Water, Smaller Pot

Chunky potatoes take up a lot of space in a pot; sliced ones fit snugly in a smaller pot that holds less water. The upshot: Less time spent waiting for water to boil and cooking the potatoes.  

Start in Boiling Water

Starting chunked potatoes in cold water is an attempt to minimize how much their exteriors overcook by the time their centers soften. It’s much easier to start with thin-sliced potatoes and add them to boiling water; they’ll cook quickly and evenly from edge to edge.

Fastest, Easiest Mashed Potatoes

Forget big pots of water, long simmer times, and gummy mash. Rigorous testing and our best potato science revealed a smarter, faster, more flexible path.
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JC
JOHN C.
16 days

Absolutely the best chicken ever, even the breast meat was moist! It's the only way I'll cook a whole chicken again. Simple, easy, quick, no mess - perfect every time. I've used both stainless steel and cast iron pans. great and easy technique for “roasted” chicken. I will say there were no pan juices, just fat in the skillet. Will add to the recipe rotation. Good for family and company dinners too. I've done this using a rimmed sheet pan instead of a skillet and put veggies and potatoes around the chicken for a one-pan meal. Broccoli gets nicely browned and yummy!

Absolutely the best chicken ever, even the breast meat was moist! It's the only way I'll cook a whole chicken again. Simple, easy, quick, no mess - perfect every time. I've used both stainless steel and cast iron pans. great and easy technique for “roasted” chicken. I will say there were no pan juices, just fat in the skillet. Will add to the recipe rotation. Good for family and company dinners too.

MD
MILES D.
JOHN C.
9 days

Amazed this recipe works out as well as it does. Would not have thought that the amount of time under the broiler would have produced a very juicy and favorable chicken with a very crispy crust. Used my 12" Lodge Cast Iron skillet (which can withstand 1000 degree temps to respond to those who wondered if it would work) and it turned out great. A "make again" as my family rates things. This is a great recipe, and I will definitely make it again. My butcher gladly butterflied the chicken for me, therefore I found it to be a fast and easy prep. I used my cast iron skillet- marvellous!

CM
CHARLES M.
11 days

John, wasn't it just amazing chicken? So much better than your typical oven baked chicken and on par if not better than gas or even charcoal grilled. It gets that smokey charcoal tasted and overnight koshering definitely helps, something I do when time permits. First-time I've pierced a whole chicken minus the times I make jerk chicken on the grill. Yup, the cast iron was not an issue.