Every cook must know how to make mashed potatoes. There are some critical steps: Start with a starchy potato like Yukon gold or russet, not a waxy potato like red skin. Leave the potato pieces large, at least 2 inches (5 cm), so they don’t get waterlogged and become mealy. Start in cold water so the starches cook slowly and become creamy. The finer the mash, the fluffier the texture. We love mashers and ricers with small holes to get the potatoes super fine. This will guarantee amazing mashed potatoes.
1Cut the butter into 3 pieces and let soften slightly.
2Place the peeled potato chunks into a large saucepan; add cold water to cover by 1 inch (2.5 cm) and add 1 tablespoon (18 g) of the salt. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the potatoes break apart when a paring knife is inserted, 15 to 18 minutes. Drain the potatoes well, return to the saucepan and place back on the burner over low heat.
3Warm the half-and-half in a microwave-safe container for about 45 seconds, until steaming. Using a potato masher, mash the potatoes until a few small lumps remain. Add the warm half-and-half to the potatoes; using a rubber spatula, fold well. Then add one piece of butter at a time, folding it in gently to emulsify the butter into the potatoes. Season with a two-finger pinch of salt, or to taste. Serve immediately.
6 tbsp (84 g) unsalted butter
2 lb (910 g) Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 2'' (5-cm) pieces