Quicker, Easier, Tastier Mashed Taters
It's said that "a watched pot never boils," and that's especially true when the pot is filled with potatoes and it's almost time for dinner. Making mashed potatoes in an Instant Pot multicooker instead takes a lot less of your time and attention, and your potatoes will retain more of their flavor and texture.
The recipe from the Instant Pot's own booklet works well, but it uses whole potatoes and a longer cooking time. This one calls for quartered potatoes, and will put dinner on the table in even more of a hurry.
Total Time: 20 minutes | Prep Time: 5 minutes | Serves: 4
- 4 large russet potatoes
- 1 cup cold water
- 1/3 cup half-and-half, or more if desired
- 4 to 6 tablespoons butter
- Kosher salt and fresh-ground pepper, to taste
- Wash the potatoes and peel them, or simply remove any blemishes with a paring knife and leave the skins on.
- Pour the cold water into the Instant Pot, and then drop in a vegetable-steamer basket. Arrange the potatoes evenly in the basket, and then close and lock the lid.
- Set the Instant Pot for high pressure, and 8 minutes' cooking time. When it beeps to signal that it's done, turn the steam release handle to "Venting" to release the steam quickly. Once the steam has dissipated, unlock and remove the lid.
- With a slotted spoon or tongs, transfer the potatoes from the Instant Pot to a mixing bowl. Mash the potatoes coarsely with a hand masher, and add half of the cream and butter. Mash again until those are mostly incorporated, and add the remainder. Taste, and season the potatoes with salt and pepper. If you like your potatoes extra-creamy and smooth, add an extra tablespoon or two of half-and-half at a time until they reach the consistency you prefer.
- Taste once more, and season with more salt and pepper if necessary – cream mutes the flavors, so it won't taste the same if you've added more cream – and serve hot.
TL;DR (Too Long; Didn't Read)
- This recipe provides one potato per person, but you can add an extra potato or two if necessary without altering the cooking time.
- Cooking whole potatoes rather than quartered potatoes adds 10 minutes to your cooking time, but the finished potatoes have a lighter, drier texture that will soak up more cream, butter or gravy. If you have the time, it's a good option.
- If you have time and don't mind dirtying another dish, heat the cream and butter together in a microwaveable bowl or measuring cup. The hot cream mixture will absorb more easily, and won't cool the mashed potatoes as much.
Fred Decker is a trained chef and certified food-safety trainer. Decker wrote for the Saint John, New Brunswick Telegraph-Journal, and has been published in Canada's Hospitality and Foodservice magazine. He's held positions selling computers, insurance and mutual funds, and was educated at Memorial University of Newfoundland and the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology.