Of all the different variations of Mashed Potatoes, this recipe is my all time favorite. They are an upscale take on a classic side dish. The addition of aged white cheddar and fresh rosemary add a comforting depth of flavor. These mashed potatoes pair wonderfully with red meats, poultry, and most traditional holiday flavor profiles.
In this article I will highlight the basics for making really good mashed potatoes using two different techniques. They each have their pros and cons, but done correctly will yield great results. The white cheddar and rosemary mashed potatoes recipe works with both methods.
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Food Mill or Ricer Method for Mashed Potatoes
Using a food mill or ricer will result in ultra smooth and luxurious mashed potatoes. Yes, This method is more time consuming, but the end results are exquisite. Both of these kitchen tools will in essence grate the potato by using force to press them through very fine openings. Then you would simply fold in warm cream and butter, being careful not to overwork the mixture.
Mashed potatoes that have been stirred to much will develop a gluey consistency. This method for mashed potatoes avoids that completely and makes velvety ones worthy of any fine dining restaurant.
Wearing gloves makes this method much more enjoyable. I would even recommend wearing a thin cotton glove covered by a nitrile glove to protect your hands from the heat.
Process | Food Mill or Ricer
- Peel and Cut Potatoes into approximately 1 inch or larger cubes.
- Place in large pot and cover with water. Simmer for 20-30 Minutes.
- Strain water using a colander and let potatoes sit for a few minutes for excess water to drain. Meanwhile place cream, rosemary, pepper, butter, and half the salt in a large pot and melt together over low heat.
- Reserve a portion of the cream prior to adding potatoes. This will allow you to adjust for consistency.
- Add potatoes to the ricer or food mill and extrude into the cream mixture. Intermittently fold potatoes and cream together using a spatula.
- Once half of the potatoes are added, begin adding portions of the shredded cheddar along with the remaining potatoes.
- Once all potatoes are added, check the consistency. If needed, add the portion of cream that you reserved earlier and any additional if necessary.
- With your consistency where you want it, taste for seasoning. Add additional salt, pepper, or rosemary if needed. Then stir to incorporate.
The Food Mill or Ricer Method is great for small batches or when you do not have to juggle other meal components simultaneously. If you are planning on piping mashed potatoes or having a sophisticated plating, you would use this technique. This method would be less realistic if you were a one person show for thanksgiving dinner or putting on a large catering.
Stand Mixer Method for Mashed Potatoes
The Stand Mixer Method for making mashed potatoes is less labor intensive and great for making large volumes. Your texture will be a little more homestyle, meaning some lumps, which sometimes is preferable. But, if you try to achieve the velvety consistency using a stand mixer, you will end up overworking the mashed potatoes. Resulting in the gluey texture we want to avoid.
Process | Stand Mixer
- Peel and Cut Potatoes into approximately 1 inch or larger cubes.
- Place in large pot and cover with water. Simmer for 20-30 Minutes.
- Strain water using a colander and let potatoes sit for a few minutes for excess water to drain.
- Meanwhile place cream, rosemary, pepper, butter, and half the salt in a sauce pan and melt together over low heat. Reserve a portion of the cream prior to adding to the stand mixer if you need adjust for consistency.
- In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, add the potatoes, cream mixture, and shredded cheese.
- Start mixer on low until the cream seems absorbed by the potatoes. If necessary add the reserved cream. Briefly mix to incorporate. If too thick, add additional cream.
- With your consistency where you want it, taste for seasoning. If needed add additional salt, pepper, or rosemary. Then mix to incorporate.
I typically use this method when I have a lot of people to feed and not many hands to help. Or when the plating presentation does not need to live up to white linen standards. It works great for buffets and family dinners. The flavor is in no way compromised, they are just a little more rustic.
Helpful tips when making this recipe.
Cooking the Potatoes
Cutting the potatoes into smaller pieces will reduce cooking time and help prevent lumps. Just make sure that whatever size you cut them you are consistent with.
Simmering the potatoes in water is the best method to cook them all evenly at the same time. I have witnessed several cooks unsuccessfully utilizing steamers when making mashed potatoes recipes. A common problem is if the steamer is overloaded, the potatoes on the inside can be insulated by those surrounding them. This can result in undercooked potatoes as the exterior ones are typically the ones checked for doneness.
Do not dice your potatoes smaller than 1 inch. The smaller you cut your potatoes, the better the chance there is for them to get waterlogged and mealy.
Once your potatoes are fully cooked, strain them and let them sit for a couple of minutes to drain excess water before mashing.
For an even more decadent mashed potato, place them in a warm oven for five minutes spread out on a sheet tray. The dry heat will draw all the excess water from the potatoes. If you do this, just increase the Heavy Cream in the mashed potatoes recipe slightly.
Working with the White Cheddar
A quality aged white cheddar cheese is called for in this mashed potatoes recipe. The process of aging draws moisture out of the cheese. In short, this causes it to melt less easily. So you will want to handle it a certain way.
Make sure to buy a quality aged white cheddar in block form. You will want to shred it on the medium or fine side of a box grater. This will help it melt quicker and blend evenly with the potatoes.
If using Ricer/Food Mill Method, you will want to add the cheese in batches as the potatoes get worked into the cream. If you were to place it all in at once, a large glob would likely form.
The Stand Mixer method is more forgiving and you can add it all at once.
Cooling any Left Overs
Mashed potatoes recipes rarely call for them to be made ahead of time and served the next day. First they are a pain to reheat in large batches and they are difficult to cool down. But also worth noting, simple starches like cooked potatoes are irresistible to bacteria.
So, if you do any leftovers that you want to save or for some reason need to make these ahead of time. Here are a few tips to rapid cooling mashed potatoes.
Increasing the surface area helps. Spread the mashed potatoes out on sheet pan or baking dish. Then creating trenches with your spatula. Place in a refrigerator till cool. Then transfer to an air tight container and refrigerate.
Or, you can place them into a freezer bag. Then place the bag in ice water, this will shock them cool. Just make sure to keep your seals open and above water. Once below forty degrees, remove from ice bath, dry the bags and refrigerate.
The thing you want to avoid is placing large amount of hot mashed potatoes in a sealed container and then placed in the refrigerator. This will not cool fast enough.
To be safe, after three days any leftovers should be discarded.
Equipment Needed to Make This Recipe
In order to make this White Cheddar and Rosemary Mashed Potatoes Recipe you will need the following tools. These are items I personally use and recommend. Any purchases made through the Amazon Affiliate links earn a small commission that support this website.
Depending on the Method you use:
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White Cheddar & Rosemary Mashed Potatoes Recipe
- 3 pounds Potatoes
- 1½ Cups Heavy Cream
- ¼ Cup Butter
- ½ pound White Cheddar Grated Fine
- 1 tablespoon Kosher Salt
- 1 teaspoon Black Pepper
- ½ teaspoon Rosemary Fresh, Chopped Fine
Preparing the Ingredients
- Peel and large dice the potatoes. Place in a large pot and cover with water.3 pounds Potatoes
- Bring Potatoes to a simmer and cook until soft. Approximately 20-30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, finely grate white cheddar cheese using a box grater.½ pound White Cheddar
- Wash and chop fresh rosemary as fine as you can..½ teaspoon Rosemary
- Place butter, cream, salt, pepper, and rosemary in a small sauce pan over low heat to melt together. You do not want to bring this to a boil. Note: if using the Ricer or Food Mill Method, place these ingredients into a larger pot that holds at least 5 quarts in volume.1½ Cups Heavy Cream, ¼ Cup Butter, 1 tablespoon Kosher Salt, 1 teaspoon Black Pepper, ½ teaspoon Rosemary
- When the potatoes are fully cooked, strain using a colander. Allow the potatoes to rest for a few minutes drain any water.
Mashing the Potatoes | Mixer Method
- Place the potatoes and cream mixture in a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Beat on a low setting until the cream seems absorbed into the potatoes.
- Turn off mixer and add the grated white cheddar cheese. Turn the mixer back on low and gradually increase speed. As soon as a smooth mixture is achieved, turn off mixer.
- Taste for seasoning. Add additional salt and pepper if necessary and briefly mix to disperse.
Mashing the Potatoes | Ricer or Food Mill Method
- Remove your pot holding the melted butter, cream, and seasonings from the heat. Bring over to your work station.
- Using either the food mill or ricer, start to pass your cooked potatoes into the cream. Occasionally during this process, fold the potatoes and cream together with a spatula.
- Once half the potatoes are added, gradually start adding the grated white cheddar cheese.
- Continue this process until all the potatoes are processed. Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary. Also add additional cream if needed.
Common Questions About Mashed Potatoes
Do I have to peel the potatoes for this mashed potatoes recipe?
Whether you peel your potatoes or not depends on the desired outcome and type of potatoes you are using. If you are using a ricer or food mill and after smoother mashed potatoes, then peel for sure. But, if you are looking for a homestyle potato with lumps, then you can decide whether to peel or not. With a few exceptions.
If using Russet Potatoes, you should always peel them.
If using Yukon Golds or another thin-skinned, waxy variety of potato, then you can choose to peel or not. Make sure you quarter your potatoes then, as larger peel sections can be off putting. Or partially peel your potatoes. This way you control the ration of peel to potato.
Can I substitute milk for cream?
If you substitute milk for cream in this mashed potatoes recipe you will not get the same delicious results. If you are looking for a lower fat option, I would suggest using Half and Half before resorting to milk.
How should I reheat mashed potatoes?
For small batches or individual portions, a microwave typically works best. Large batches are more difficult to heat evenly. The stove top is difficult as you need to constantly supervise and stir them. The oven can dehydrate them. And a double boiler or croc pot will take a long time. The following is not an option for most home kitchens. But, the very best option I have used is having them in a sealed plastic bag and then simmering in water or a steamer, basically a sous vide system.
You are better off holding mashed potatoes warm for a few hours than you are trying to reheat them. The best method for keeping them warm is to place them in a roasting pan or baking dish, use plastic wrap to seal them, and then place a lid or aluminum foil over the plastic wrap. Place this in a 160-175 F oven or in the warming drawer. They should hold safely for up to 4 hours, but I suggest 2 at the most for quality reasons.
Can I use a hand held masher for this mashed potatoes recipe?
Yes, you certainly can. You would want to mirror the steps of the food mill method. But, personally I do not like the hand mashers. They give you similar results of the of stand mixer method, but are much more work. If I am going to put that kind effort into a preparing a mashed potatoes recipe, I want the velvety smooth variety a food mill or ricer achieves.
Should I salt the water for mashed potatoes?
It is really personal preference. Some people swear by adding salt to the water when making mashed potatoes. Other do not find it necessary. Either way works.
When I developed this mashed potatoes recipe I did not include it. I wanted to be able to state an amount of salt for the recipe that would be more precise. If you do add salt to the water, you will want to reduce the amount stated in the recipe. As in any recipe, tasting and adding salt as needed is typically a best practice.
Can I substitute dried rosemary for fresh?
Fresh rosemary is going to be your best option, but you certainly could use dried. I would reduce the amount slightly and make sure to steep it in the warm butter and cream.
Can I use a hand mixer to make this mashed potatoes recipe?
Yes, but you will want to be careful not to over mix them. When you over mix mashed potatoes they have the ability to get a glue like texture. Your end result will be a more homestyle texture that has some lumps in them.
Choose Ingredients for this Rosemary and White Cheddar Mashed Potatoes Recipe
For mashed potatoes there are a variety of potatoes that will work, but I prefer russet potatoes. Russet potatoes will provide you with a good flavor, texture, color, and they are usually the least expensive option.
If you were going to veer into the the waxy potato varieties, I would recommend using Yukon Golds. They too will give you a creamy texture and great flavor. Yukon golds work well in either the method as well. If you had a desire to include some potatoes skin in you mashed potatoes, these would be the choice.
As mentioned above, make sure to buy a quality aged white cheddar in block from. Typically these will come in six to eight ounce packages. Brands I would look for are Dublinger, Unexpected Cheddar at Traders Joe’s, or any Aged/Sharp/ White Cheddar will do. If you buy a seven ounce block, don’t fret, the one ounce is not going to make or break your results. Although, if you were to scale the mashed potatoes recipe to a larger quantity, try your best to stay accurate.
Heavy Cream is suggested for this mashed potatoes recipe. It will definitely give you the most decadent mashed potatoes. If you wanted to substitute half and half for either health or cost reasons, you will still get great results. I don’t find that milk gives enough body to mashed potatoes, they just seem more watery and mealy when it is used.
If you are concerned about fat content, a better option than milk would be to use this cauliflower soup recipe. Use it in the same ratio you would use cream and you will get the creamy texture with out the cream.
Classically many chefs will suggest using white pepper in their mashed potatoes recipe. They do this because they do not want to have the impure color of using a black pepper. But I find that flavor suffers using white pepper. I recommend using black pepper, the flavor is less sharp than white. Flavor should always be the determining factor in my opinion. Plus this mashed potatoes recipe has rosemary in it, so there will already be some flecks of color. But If you can’t break classic tradition, use half the amount of white pepper and remember to taste prior to adding any more.