Floury, fluffy potato varieties such as Maris Piper or King Edward make particularly excellent mash, as do Desiree spuds, which have a velvety finish. Although you can mash most potatoes, waxy types make it harder to achieve a good result and salad or new potatoes are often too dense for the job.


Discard any potatoes with green patches and dig out any sprouting eyes with the sharp end of a potato peeler. If you’re not following a recipe, allow two to three medium-sized potatoes per person.

Skin on, or off? It’s your choice. If you’re cooking a meal to impress then peel your spuds for an even texture and colour. Or take the lazy option: leave the skins on and congratulate yourself on getting more nutrients.


1. Chop the potatoes into equal-sized chunks and place them in a saucepan with sufficient cold, salted water to cover them Put the lid on and bring them to the boil, then turn down the heat and simmer for about 15-20 minutes until the potatoes are soft through to their centres. Test this with a blunt knife.

2. Drain well, return them to the pan with a generous knob of butter and a splash of milk. Mash until smooth with a potato masher or fork, adding more butter and milk if necessary. Season generously with salt and pepper and serve.

3. If you are feeling adventurous, add herbs, garlic, cheese, grainy mustard or horseradish to your mash.

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