How to cook the perfect mashed potato

Food editor Gregor McMaster shows you how to prepare classic mash for bangers, cottage pie, fish cakes and more...

How to cook the perfect mashed potato

Perfectly smooth and buttery, there's no comfort food quite like the humble mashed potato. And yet, despite its simplicity, perfectly fluffy mash is hard to come by.

But have no fear - food editor Gregor McMaster is on hand to show us how to prepare classic mash for bangers, cottage pie, fish cakes and more.

Gregor says, 'The secret is to leave the potatoes to steam dry after cooking, so there's less moisture to make the mixture stick together.'

Scroll on for Gregor's ultimate step-by-step guide, plus some tempting recipes and dinner ideas to practise your potato mashing skills...

How to make perfect mash every time

1 To serve four to six, wash and peel 1kg Maris Piper or King Edward potatoes, then cut into even-sized chunks.

2 Put in a pan of cold water, bring to the boil and simmer for 12-15 mins until soft, testing with a fork.

3 Drain the potatoes, then set aside to steam dry in the colander for 5 mins.

4 Return the potatoes to the pan and mash thoroughly until smooth.

5 Stir through 75ml warm milk and 50g unsalted butter, then season with freshly ground black pepper.

6 If you'd like a herby mash, add 2tbsp chopped fresh herbs, such as chives or parsley, and stir to combine.

Now you've cracked it, try these recipes...

Sausage and mash

What's more British than bangers and mash to warm you on a wintery night? This really is the ultimate comfort food, and with your new mash potato expertise – why not try them out on this winter warmer?


Fish pie

You can't have fish pie with a creamy mash topping. We love this no-fuss, traditional recipe, complete with soft, flaky fish and peas for a burst of freshness.

Shepherd's pie

Shepherd's pie is an all-time classic - but did you know you can make it in the slow-cooker to cut out the oven steps? This cheesy-topped version is super simple and totally delicious. A brilliant way to use up leftover mash, simply combine the filling ingredients in the slow-cooker, top with mash and cheese and leave it to cook all day long for a truly comforting dinner come the evening.

Swedish meatballs

Mash is needed to soak up all that gorgeous gravy in this tasty family dinner. In Scandinavia, it's traditional for families to dine on well-seasoned pork meatballs cooked in their own juices and served with lingonberry sauce. Can't find any lingonberry? Cranberry sauce does the exact same job!

Thai fish cakes

Fluffy mash is necessary for holding a fish cake together. We love this Thai-inspired recipe flavoured with Thai curry paste and spritzed with lime. Give them a go for a fuss-free dinner!

Cheesy colcannon croquettes

Leftover mash? Have no fear - use it to make these cheesy, crispy, golden croquettes filled with cheddar, greens and a little mustard for a kick. Just as good as the mash itself (if not better), it's worth making extra just to make these!

Suddenly feel like mash for dinner? Make sure to stock up on everything you need online or pop into your local store.