Potatoes are the ultimate comfort food, starring in favorite recipes such as creamy mashed potatoes, saucy scalloped potatoes, fluffy baked potatoes, and more. Start by picking a potato that is right for the recipe. There are three categories of potatoes: waxy (such as round white potatoes), high-starch (such as russet potatoes), and medium-starch (such as Yukon gold potatoes). Learn all about cooking potatoes with these tips.
For the best scalloped potatoes, select a waxy or medium-starch variety such as Yukon gold, red, yellow, or white potatoes. Slices of these potato varieties tend to hold their shape better during baking than higher-starch potatoes. Because these potatoes have thin peels (unlike russets), you can leave the peels on the potatoes for extra color and texture. Here are some other tips for making homemade scalloped potatoes:
The thickness of your potato slices is key; typically 1/8 inch is recommended. Because you'll want the thickness of all the slices to be consistent for even baking (to avoid over- or underbaked areas), your best bet is to use a mandoline. If you don't have access to a mandoline, use a sharp chef's knife to cut thin, even slices.
To ensure the white sauce for your scalloped potatoes is smooth and rich, always thicken it with a roux. A roux is a mixture of equal parts melted butter (or any fat) and flour that is whisked into the milk. The roux doesn't leave lumps in the sauce like a thickening mixture of flour and water, because the butter coats the starch molecules of the flour and prevents them from clumping. In addition, the butter adds a rich flavor to the sauce.
Get our classic Scalloped Potatoes Recipe.
Mashed potatoes are a delicious side for almost any kind of main dish. Start by selecting potatoes that are either high-starch or medium-starch varieties. Russets (high-starch) will give you light, fluffy mashed potatoes, while medium-starch varieties such as Yukon gold and red potatoes will give you a creamier texture. Follow these essential steps for amazing mashed potatoes:
Handheld Potato Masher
Mash potatoes with a potato masher or electric mixer, or press through a ricer.
A potato ricer will create the fluffiest mashed potatoes. To use this method, you will need to peel all of your pototoes before boiling.
If using an electric mixer to mash potatoes, only beat until potatoes are light and fluffy. Beating too long will break the starch molecules, giving the potatoes an undesireable gluey texture.
Popularized as the perfect side for a juicy steak, baked potatoes are among the easiest potato recipes to make. Always use high-starch potatoes, such as the russet. Here's the best no-hassle way to make baked potatoes for dinner:
-Who doesn't love a bubbling casserole of creamy scallop potatoes? But that magical moment can end quickly if there's any trace of crunch. So, how do you guarantee creamy, not crunchy, scallop spuds? It's all about the slicing. And for the absolute best results, use a mandolin. Look, there's no magic here, just commonsense. With a mandolin, all the slices are the same thickness and cook at the same rate, so there won't be any thicker underdone cuts. You can tell when the scallop potatoes are done when a knife can easily pierce through all the layers. There you go. Now you've got the secret to tender, flavorful, melts in your mouth scallop potatoes. It's all in that magical mandolin.
-Hi. I'm Sue with the Better Homes and Gardens Test Kitchen. Over the years we've made our share of mash potatoes in the test kitchen and no matter how you like them, silky smooth or a little chunky and rustic, we've got some secrets to share for perfect mash potatoes every time. First, using 2 types of potatoes, russet and red-skin give the final dish wonderful texture and flavor. And if you like, leave the skins on the red potatoes for a rustic look. Now here's a great tip. After draining the cooked potatoes dry them out a bit to evaporate excess moisture, just return them to the pot, put it over a medium heat and stir constantly for a few minutes. This will help the potatoes absorb more butter and milk as you mash them. Now when it comes to mashing, there are few ways you can do it. And old fashion handheld potato masher will give you chunky textured mash potatoes. In the test kitchen, we love to use a riser because it gives you light, fluffy, super smooth mashed potatoes. Just make sure you peel all of your potatoes if you plan to use one. And an electric hand mixer will give you a creamy potatoes with some small chunks here and there. Now you know the secrets to making mash potatoes just the way you like them from the Better Homes and Gardens Test Kitchen.