What is baked mashed potatoes?

Mashed potatoes before baking.

Baked mashed potatoes are a savory dish that involves cooking the potatoes twice, often by boiling and baking or double baking. This simple dish is easy enough for beginners and can be imagined with dozens of variations and additions. Choosing the right ingredients and the right serving style can help make baked mashed potatoes a signature dish for family dinners or holiday events.

Potatoes used to make baked mashed potatoes are cooked twice.

The first step in making baked mashed potatoes is choosing the right potato for the job. Traditional white potatoes, like russets, are a popular choice, but can be starchy if overmixed. If you plan to serve in a casserole, thin-skinned varieties like red potatoes or Yukon Gold can be a great choice. Baked mashed potatoes can also be delicious with exotic varieties, such as purple potatoes, yams, or maroon sweet potatoes.

When draining the potatoes, they can be mashed with a potato masher.

Most baked mashed potato recipes call for boiling the potatoes first. Potatoes can be peeled or skinned for a more earthy texture, and are often boiled for around 20 minutes. Adding garlic, salt, and pepper to the water can help kickstart the flavor process. The boiling process can be speeded up by cutting the potatoes into quarters or halves. If the potatoes are to be served in their skin rather than as a casserole, they can be baked in the oven for about an hour.

Boiled potatoes should then be drained, while baked potatoes are cut open and have the inner pulp in a bowl. To mash the potatoes, use a large fork or potato masher, and mash to the desired consistency. At this point, herbs, butter, and milk are added to create a silky consistency. Cheeses, such as Parmesan, cheddar, or mozzarella, can also be added to the mix. Grinding and mixing should be done carefully, as overmixed concoctions will have a glue-like consistency.

Once the ideal mixture is achieved, the mashed potatoes can be placed in a baking dish or put back into the cooked skin. At this stage, the baked mashed potatoes can be refrigerated for up to a day, allowing cooks to prepare this dish ahead of time and finish baking just before serving. Closer to serving time, a layer of breadcrumbs, butter, and cheese can be sprinkled on the dish before baking to create a crispy, golden top. Mashed potatoes can be baked in the oven until the dish is heated through and the topping is golden brown. If the dish has not been refrigerated in the meantime, the still hot mashed potatoes can be browned in a few minutes under a low broiler.

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