It's an undisputed fact (at least in my home) that mashed potatoes are hands-down one of the most delicious foods out there. There's no wrong time to cook up the beloved dish, but this warm comfort food is particularly appealing during the winter months. There's just one problem—mashed potatoes are one of those foods that taste like pure heaven on night one, but every time I attempt to reheat my leftovers, they're a major disappointment.
Determined to make sure I don't miss out on any mashed potato deliciousness, I sought the expertise of two chefs, who were happy to provide me with the ins and outs of how to reheat mashed potatoes to perfection.
Why is reheating mashed potatoes so tricky?
Stephen Parker, Executive Chef at Lot15 in New York City, explained why reheating mashed potatoes is such a challenge: It comes down to the ingredients. "As the butter and cream hardens, it becomes more difficult to get the ingredients back to their normal state," he says. And Ashlee Aubin, Executive Chef at Fisk & Co. in Chicago, notes that between the starch from the potatoes and the fat from the butter, "mashed potatoes turn into a solid disk when they cool."
Now that we know it's not our fault that previous reheating efforts have failed, it's time to get down to business. As it turns out, there are several ways to successfully reheat mashed potatoes.
What's the best way to reheat mashed potatoes?
"The easiest way to reheat mashed potatoes well is to cover and bake at 350 degrees [Fahrenheit] for about a half-hour," says Aubin.
If you're feeling a little more ambitious, she also shared a completely different—but equally delicious—method. Slice the cold mashers into one-inch slabs and fry them in a little butter. "It creates a little brown crust as the inside gets warm and melty," she says.
Parker's method of choice, meanwhile, is different from Aubin's, so we've got plenty of options. "The best way to properly reheat mashed potatoes is by warming them in a pan over low heat and adding cream and a knob of butter while stirring it with a spoon to ensure that the potatoes are creamy and smooth," he says.
What should you avoid while reheating mashed potatoes?
With three solid options from experts, the natural next step is to try each method and decide on our personal preference. But before we get to work, Aubin and Parker shared their definite "don'ts" when it comes to reheating mashed potatoes. and there are several things we definitely want to avoid.
"Over-mixing is the enemy of mashed potatoes," Aubin says. Don't "pummel" them as they warm up, she advises. Instead, be patient and use gentle heat.
Parker's ultimate no-no is using a microwave to reheat. "And never try to heat the mashed potatoes without adding additional cream," he says.
So there you have it—now go forth and enjoy your mashed potatoes on night one and for the rest of the week!