Brown Butter Mashed Potatoes
In the heart of Amish country, where traditions and gatherings hold special significance, one dish stands out as a symbol of comfort food and togetherness - Amish mashed potatoes.
Traditional, creamy mashed potatoes grace Amish tables at Amish weddings and holiday dinners, becoming an essential part of these cherished celebrations.
Amish brown butter mashed potatoes are a versatile side dish that's not only a perfect accompaniment to Thanksgiving dinner but also the star of many special occasions. And, of course, the secret to their divine flavor is the famous brown butter topping.
I grew up eating Amish mashed potatoes probably at least once or twice a week, as they were a regular dish in our home. And, of course, they were always topped with brown butter because mashed potatoes just aren't the same without that delicious layer of browned butter on the top.
We always had plenty of potatoes, because every year we grew several rows of them in our huge garden.
Actually, for a few years, we grew enough potatoes to sell. We planted them in our field and had a potato digger that we pulled behind our tractor once they were ready to dig. It was the kids' job to pick them up, and our reward at the end of the day was a bowl of ice cream.
We sold a lot of them and stored the rest in our root cellar to last us till the next season. Therefore, with potatoes being plentiful, they were a regular staple in our home, and a perfect side dish with many meals.
Easy Amish Mashed Potatoes Recipe
If you've never made homemade mashed potatoes before, let me assure you that it's really quite simple. And this won't be the last time you'll make these because they taste so much better than instant flakes you buy at the store.
I tried to get my kids to eat instant potatoes once. I even doctored them up with brown butter, etc. But my kids refused to eat them because they thought they were nasty.
And honestly, I can't blame them. They are used to having the real deal. And packaged mashed potatoes cannot even compare with homemade ones.
Gluten-free Mashed Potatoes
Our oldest daughter has food sensitivities and is currently on a gluten-free and vegetarian diet. So it can be challenging to cook meals that she can enjoy.
Thankfully, these healthy mashed potatoes are a dish that she can eat and loves as well.
What kind of Potatoes Should I Use?
For mashed potatoes, the best varieties to use are starchy potatoes like Russet (Idaho) or Yukon Gold potatoes. These potatoes have a high starch content, which makes for creamy and fluffy mashed potatoes. Starchy potatoes absorb butter and cream well, resulting in a smoother texture.
I personally think that Yukon gold potatoes make the best mashed potatoes ever. But they are more expensive, so I mostly use russet potatoes.
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How to Make Mashed Potatoes
To make this easy mashed potatoes recipe, begin by peeling and rinsing the potatoes.
(Potatoes can be peeled and cut ahead of time. However, they will start to brown unless they are covered in water. So make sure to cover the potatoes in cold water.)
Cut them into slices or one inch cubes, whatever you prefer. I slice mine fairly thin so they cook faster.
Put them into a large kettle and add water to almost cover them. Cover the pot with the lid and bring them to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and cook until fork-tender (approximately 20 minutes). You want them to be very soft to make smooth mashed potatoes.
Amish Mashed Potatoes
Obviously, most of the Amish ladies mash their potatoes with a hand masher. And that's a good option if you want to give your arm a workout.
As an Amish girl growing up, whenever we cooked for a large crowd, we'd have a huge pot of potatoes to mash. We used a hand masher, and it would tire out our arms before we'd get them all nice and creamy. So we took turns mashing.
But I grew up New Order Amish, and we had electricity. So we always used an electric mixer to mash a small pot of potatoes. And I still use an electric mixer to mash mine.
Using a Mixer to Make Fluffy Mashed Potatoes
Some people declare that their potatoes get gummy when using an electric mixer. But I don't think it has anything to do with what you use to mash them.
I've found that it has more to do with how you cook the potatoes. Don't cook the potatoes and then let them sit in the water for a while after they are finished boiling. You want to keep them boiling until you are ready to mash them.
Then drain the water and mash the potatoes at a medium/low speed until there are no more chunks remaining.
After you have the potatoes mashed, to where there are no more chunks, add your butter, salt, and pepper. Continue mixing, slowly adding the milk or cream until your potatoes are the desired creamy consistency. Serve immediately.
If your mashed potatoes will need to sit for a few minutes before serving, warm the milk before adding and make them a bit thinner than normal. Warm milk helps them to retain their heat, and mashed potatoes thicken as they cool.
Brown Butter for Pennsylvania Dutch Mashed Potatoes
One of the most important ingredients to perfect Amish mashed potatoes is the brown butter on the top.
If you've never tried brown butter before, you've been missing out. Because it adds so much amazing flavor to so many dishes. (Add brown butter to your cooked vegetables instead of regular butter, and you will never go back :).)
It's very easy to make brown butter. And it's definitely the ingredient that takes mashed potatoes from delicious to divine!
Melt salted butter (unsalted does not work) over medium heat and continue cooking it until it turns foamy with a light caramel color and brown flecks at the bottom. (A wonderful, nutty aroma will start to fill your kitchen.)
You'll need to keep your eye on it because it can quickly go from nicely browned to burnt. It's no big deal if it gets a little dark, but if it's smoking, it's probably gone a little far.
Now pour your browned butter over the top of the creamy mashed potatoes, and enjoy!
Some people love garlic, cream cheese, sour cream, and all kinds of things in their mashed potatoes. I still prefer the simple Amish mashed potatoes that I grew up with. We always added butter, milk, salt, and pepper and that's it.
I like to add a bit of parsley (mostly for looks). And I don't mind a bit of garlic powder, but not very much. I don't want garlic to overpower the flavor of simple mashed potatoes. But just a hint is fine.
And I don't like sour cream overpowering the flavor either. However, if you need to make mashed potatoes ahead of time, to take to a potluck gathering, etc., you will need to add a bit of sour cream and cream cheese.
Mashed potatoes get stiff after sitting for a while, and they lose their delightfully fluffy texture. Adding some sour cream and cream cheese will help to keep the potatoes fluffy.
More Amish Potato Recipes
If you have lots of leftover mashed potatoes, use them to make this delicious PA Dutch Potato Filling
This simple recipe for traditional, fluffy mashed potatoes makes a very easy side dish with so many different meals. It's the easiest and best Amish brown butter mashed potatoes recipe ever!
If you try this recipe, I'd love to hear from you in the comments below. Thank you!
Traditional, Creamy Amish Mashed Potatoes Recipe
- 3 lb. russet or gold potatoes approx. 9 -10 potatoes
- 7 - 8 tbsp. salted butter, divided
- 3/4 to 1 c. whole milk can use whatever milk you have on hand, but if you like your potatoes more creamy try substituting some heavy cream for the milk
- 1 1/4 tsp. salt or more to suit your taste
- 1/2 tsp. black pepper
- 1/2 - 1 tsp. parsley flakes, optional
- Peel and rinse your potatoes.
- Cut potatoes into slices or chunks and place them in a large cooking pot. Almost cover with water, and place the lid on.3 lb. russet or gold potatoes
- Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce temperature to medium and cook for about 20 minutes, or until fork tender. You'll want them nice and soft so they are easier to mash without leaving lumps.
- Meanwhile, as you're waiting for your potatoes to cook, you can prepare the brown butter. Place 3 Tbs. salted butter into a saucepan or small skillet. Melt over medium/low heat, and continue cooking until it smells nutty and looks slightly browned. It may continue browning a bit more after removing it from the heat, so keep your eye on it. You don't want it burned.7 - 8 tbsp. salted butter, divided
- Drain the water from the potatoes. Mash with a hand masher or electric mixer until no more chunks remain.
- Add the remaining 4 - 5 Tbs. butter, salt, pepper, and parsley flakes. Mix.1 1/4 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. black pepper, 1/2 - 1 tsp. parsley flakes, optional
- Slowly add milk (a little at a time), continuing to mix, and scraping the sides and bottom to make sure it's all incorporated. You may not need all the milk, just add till it's the right consistency for you. And you can substitute some heavy cream for milk if you like it more creamy.3/4 to 1 c. whole milk
- Mix until the potatoes are nice and creamy, and serve topped with brown butter.
- Refrigerate and reheat any leftovers, if they're too thick add a bit more milk.