It turns out we've been boiling potatoes wrong this whole time: 'Definitely going to try this'

Apparently there's a right and a wrong way to make mashed potatoes.

A recent social media post has revealed that some of us have been cooking our potatoes 'wrong.' Credit: Instagram/_mrmakeithappen_
A recent social media post has revealed that some of us have been cooking our potatoes 'wrong.' Credit: Instagram/_mrmakeithappen_

Mashed potatoes have long been a warming winter staple, but a recent social media post has stirred up a debate about how they should actually be cooked. According to some, many of us have been cooking the classic side dish wrong their entire life.

The comfort food is arguably one of the simplest things to whip up, with most people first boiling potatoes in salted water before straining them and adding butter, milk, and seasoning before mashing them. But apparently, there’s an even better way to cook up the humble potato that’s just as simple but has way more flavour.

Instead of boiling potatoes in water, several people said they use chicken or beef stock, depending on the type of meat they plan on dishing up to help "enhance the flavour".

Raw potatoes (left) and a bowl of mashed potato (right).
Boiling potatoes in plain water isn't the only way to make mashed potatoes. Photo: Supplied/Getty

“Using chicken stock/broth is a staple for me!” one person revealed, while another said: "I boil mine in a beef broth with garlic before I mash them.”

The cooking hack left plenty of people both confused and delighted with one person saying: “It sounds delicious … definitely going to try this”.


Naturally, the hack sparked a conversation about the best way to boil up potatoes before you mash them and how much the stock actually changes the flavour of the spuds.

Chef and nutritionist Bridget Foliaki-Davis told Yahoo Lifestyle Australia cooking any vegetable in stock has been an age-old technique for centuries.

“Primarily, cooking in stock adds a seasoned flavour. You would not necessarily taste the chicken, like adding chicken salt to hot chips, but the stock would certainly add another flavour dimension,” she said.

Potatoes boiling in a saucepan on a gas stove.
Chef and nutritionist Bridget Foliaki-Davis says stock equals flavour, so cooking in stock will give the mash a tastier, almost umami-like flavour profile. Photo: Getty

While she said, it doesn’t really matter what you boil your potatoes in, adding the stock flavour early on in the process helps to create a "depth of flavour" to the overall dish.

“The stock will not make the potatoes cook faster or better, but you will be adding a good dose of savouriness, which, when combined with butter or cream when mashing, will create a wonderful balance,” Foliaki-Davis said.

“There is nothing wrong with the traditional water method for making mashed potato — just make sure to season generously with mineral salt to help enhance the flavour of the water.”

But if you do decide to cook with stock, Foliaki-Davis has an important tip — definitely don’t throw it away once your potatoes are boiled.

“When draining the potatoes from the stock, strain the liquid through a sieve to remove any lumps and store in the fridge for up to 1 week to cook other vegetables. The stock can also be frozen in small containers for up to 6 months,” Foliaki-Davis said.


While everyone seems to have their own secret recipe, ingredient or method to making the creamiest mash, Foliaki-Davis said there were a few key elements to getting it right.

“I recommend choosing a floury potato as this is the perfect mashing spud. Boil the potatoes whole and unpeeled in heavily salted water or stock until soft but not mushy,” she says.

“Peel with a small knife whilst still hot and then mash with a heavy-duty whisk, adding salted butter cubes — whisking to melt and incorporate the butter as you go. Taste for flavour, adding mineral salt as desired.”

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