Recipe Essentials: Mashes

Fall is in full swing and Thanksgiving is around the corner. Potatoes, parsnips, squash, carrots, turnips are all in season; now’s the time to practice your mashes!

Alton Brown - Chipotle Smashed Sweet Potatoes.

Photo by: Adrian Mueller ©2012, Adrian Mueller / AMueller.com, Cooking Channel, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Adrian Mueller, 2012, Adrian Mueller / AMueller.com, Cooking Channel, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Fall is in full swing and Thanksgiving is around the corner. Fun mash ingredients like potatoes, parsnips, acorn squash, carrots, turnips are all in season. Now’s the time to practice your mashes!

Mash Basics

A mash is usually made from vegetables, a touch of liquid like milk or butter, and seasonings. Once you get the hang of it, you can mix and match your favorite veggies and flavors.

The first step is to choose the veggie or veggies to mash. Once you do so, wash, peel, and trim them. Cut into uniform sized pieces so they’re evenly cooked. Be sure the pieces aren’t too small, or they end up absorbing too much water resulting in a runny mash.

Once the ingredients are prepped, here are your basic steps:

  1. Cook: Add vegetable(s) to a large pot and cover with cool liquid by a few inches. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer and cook until done (cooking time will vary by vegetable). Remove from stove and drain through a colander; let cool slightly.
  2. Mash: Transfer cooked veggies to a large bowl or the bowl of an electric mixer. Mash with a potato masher by hand or use the whip attachment until mixture is smooth and free of lumps. Be sure they’re smooth before adding liquids or they’ll remain lumpy.
  3. Add flavor: Add butter, milk, and seasoning to the mixture. Mix to combine to flavor is evenly distributed.
The Veggies

Though sweet and white potatoes are the most popular, mashes can be made out of other root vegetables, like parsnips, carrots or celery root. You can combine different veggies like parsnips and turnips, sweet potatoes and carrots, or even a few different varieties of potatoes.

The Flavor

To keep the moisture in, add a touch of milk, nonfat Greek yogurt, oil or unsalted butter. Be sure to add it after the mixture is smooth and free of lumps.

The next step is adding the seasonings. You can go sweet or savory. Here are few delicious combinations:

  • Add honey and brown sugar to mashed sweet potatoes.
  • Add reduced fat sour cream and chives to mashed Yukon gold potatoes.
  • Add curry powder, reduced fat Greek yogurt and mango chutney to mashed sweet potatoes.
  • Add garlic, low fat buttermilk and chives to mashed russet potatoes and celery root.
  • Add olive oil and ground mace to a combo of mashed sweet and russet potatoes.
Recipes to try:

Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN, is a registered dietitian and consultant who specializes in food safety and culinary nutrition. See Toby's full bio »

Keep Reading

Next Up

Healthy Recipe Essentials: Pizza

This budget-friendly dish can make a perfectly balanced meal. Once you’re in the pizza making groove, it becomes a culinary adventure to try new flavor combinations. Here are the basic steps to get started.

Healthy Recipe Essentials: Soups

We gave you tips on healthy stir fries, this time we’re tackling soups. Soups are inexpensive and versatile. There are so many variations to play with depending on the veggies, legumes, grains, herbs and meats you add. We’ll walk through the basics to get you started and give you fun and exciting ideas to play with in the kitchen.

Healthy Recipe Essentials: Stir-Fry

Stir-Fry’s are a quick and easy weeknight dinner. They make a well-balanced meal with a bit of protein, tons of veggies and healthy carbs from rice. We’ll run you through the basic steps to get you started along with a few ideas to liven things.

Healthy Recipe Essentials: Fruit Crisp

If you’re a fruit crisp virgin, try baking this dessert classic using fresh seasonal fruit. Here are step-by-step instructions on how to get started and some fun combinations to try.

Healthy Recipe Essentials: En Papillote

En pappillote is considered a healthy cooking method as it uses heat (not fat) to cook food, keeping calories in check. Here are simple steps to get you started.

Healthy Recipe Essentials: Frittata

Make an extra special egg dish for breakfast or brunch that kids and adults will love. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll have a ball experimenting with all kinds of flavor combinations. First, let’s walk through the basics.

50 Mashed Potato Recipes

Get inspired with 50 delicious mashed potato recipes from Food Network Magazine.

The 6 Essential Chicken Recipes of Summer

Get must-have summer recipes for grilled chicken, fried chicken, chicken burgers and more at Food Network. 

How to Make the Perfect Mashed Potatoes, Plus Mashed Potato Recipes

Food Network has tips, suggestions and easy recipes to make your Thanksgiving mashed potatoes better than ever.

Food Network Apps

In the Kitchen

Get over 70,000 FN recipes on all your mobile devices.

Facebook Messenger

Ask our bot for recipes, meal ideas and daily food trivia.

Amazon Echo

Just say "Alexa, enable Food Network skill" to get started.