The 1-Ingredient Secret to Fixing Runny Mashed Potatoes


With Thanksgiving around the corner, I am already planning out the menu like so many families across the United States. I try to keep traditions alive each year, including Thanksgiving staples on the table.

One of those staples is mashed potatoes. Mashed potatoes are as synonymous to Thanksgiving as hot dogs are to The Fourth of July. It is one of those dishes that may seem like a lot of work, but it’s actually pretty simple. It’s so simple that you often don’t even need measurements. Your trusty eye can do the trick, right? Of course, using your judgement in cooking is essential, but sometimes it can backfire.

One of the ways your mashed potatoes can be ruined is by adding too little or too much liquid. Figuring out how to thin your mashed potatoes is a simple to fix. You just add warm liquid (milk, cream, or broth) a little at a time until you reached your desired consistency. Thickening your potatoes, however, can be tricky. But do not worry. I am here to tell you the one-ingredient that can save the day: potato flakes!

Tricks To Making the Perfect Mashed Potatoes

In order to make the perfect mashed potatoes, you need four components; the correct potato, the correct water temperature, the correct liquid, and the correct amount of mashing.

  • Potatoes: You want to pick a potato that is high in starch (Russet or Yukon Gold). These potatoes are great to mash because of their high amounts of starch, resulting in a fluffy texture.
  • Water: You always want to start your potatoes in cold water. Starting them in hot water will cook the outside of the potato faster than the inside. This can cause an undesired texture.
  • Liquid: Usually, this is where milk and butter comes into play, but for a dairy-free version, you could use broth instead. Just make sure you heat your liquid and add it a little at a time when your potatoes have been boiled and dried. Too much and you’ll end up with a runny mess.
  • Mashing: Make sure to not over-mash your potatoes. A simple hand held potato masher works just fine. Over mashing will result in more starch being released and a goopier texture. But don’t worry, we have a fix if this happens to you.

How To Fix Runny Mashed Potatoes

Whether you added to much liquid or over-mashed your potatoes, if you wind up with a soupy mess of gloop instead of fluffy, whipped spuds, we have a solution for you: Just add instant mashed potatoes (aka potato flakes).

These little flakes are essentially dehydrated potatoes. Once they’re added to your batch of mashed potatoes, the liquid and heat will re-hydrate them and make them fluffy. This will thicken your runny potatoes in no time.

Make sure to add the flakes a little at a time, so you don’t overcorrect and make them too thick. This hack will go unnoticed and save you from a Thanksgiving nightmare. So, when you do your turkey day grocery shopping, make sure to pick up a box of instant mashed potatoes to keep on hand.


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