Martha Stewart’s 1-Ingredient Upgrade for the Creamiest Mashed Potatoes

If you’re whipping up a batch of mashed potatoes, take note of this easy one-ingredient upgrade I learned from Martha Stewart. The tip actually comes from her mom, Martha Kostyra, via a recipe she calls Big Martha’s Mashed Potatoes, and it’s the best way to get your mashed spuds ultra creamy and delicious: add cream cheese.

Instead of ricing her potatoes, Mrs. Kostyra calls for adding a bar of softened cream cheese to boiled potatoes. Then she beats them together in a stand mixer set with a paddle attachment, along with butter, whole milk, and heavy cream. The cream cheese gives you the richest, creamiest, and most delicious mashed potatoes you’ll ever have.

Simply Recipes / Getty Images

Why Cream Cheese Work in Mashed Potatoes

Unlike shredded cheese, the texture of cream cheese is smooth, which makes it easy to incorporate into mashed potatoes, especially when it’s at room temperature, ensuring even distribution without interfering with those fluffy spuds.

Cream cheese also provides a delicious acidity, but is mild enough that it doesn’t interfere with the earthy, sweet flavor of the potatoes. It is a rich and creamy ingredient that gives the mashed potatoes a luxurious texture.

My Tips for Making Mrs. Kostyra’s Mashed Potatoes

Before you add cream cheese to your next batch of mashed potatoes, here are two tips:

  1. How much cream cheese to use: You’ll need an eight-ounce bar of cream cheese for four pounds of potatoes. If your recipe calls for butter and milk or heavy cream, you’ll keep those in to help loosen up the mashed potatoes.
  2. Use full-fat cream cheese: If you’re looking for a creamy texture and luxurious flavor, stick with full-fat cream cheese. Save the low-fat versions for other applications. 
  3. Soften the cream cheese to room temperature: Adding cold cream cheese to the warm potatoes is not a good idea. The cream cheese will be difficult to beat, and by the time you get it smooth, the potatoes will be gummy. Make sure the cream cheese is at room temperature. It’ll make your life much easier!

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Cee Gei
Author: Cee Gei

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