Why You Should Be Using Yukon Gold For Mashed Potatoes

Mashed potatoes are about as American as apple pie, and even more likely than pie to be on the menu for Thanksgiving dinner — as they're are the second-most common thing on holiday menus across the country, just behind the turkey itself in frequency, per Statista.  After all, not only are potatoes are native to the Americas, but they're also inexpensive, easy to find, and extremely tasty to boot — especially when you add salt and butter to their creamy goodness. 

Mashed potatoes might seem like a no-brainer: You take some potatoes, peel and boil them, and then mash them. What's the big deal? But anyone who's made them knows better. Oftentimes they can end up too loose, too chunky, too gluey, or just plain bland. While mashed potatoes certainly don't need to be fussed over, there are a few things to consider as you prepare your spuds for their big day in the spotlight next to Tom Turkey.  

While many recipes don't specify what types of potatoes to use, not all varieties are ideal for mashed potatoes. Red potatoes have a high water content, which makes them a challenge for the traditionally creamy dish. Russets' high starch content means they're great for baking or frying, and as long as you don't overwhip them into a gummy glob, they produce lovely, light mashed potatoes (via Serious Eats). If you want the thickest, creamiest mashed potatoes around, though, you're best off using a potato with a medium starch content, like a Yukon Gold. 

The Yukon Gold standard in mashed potatoes

What makes Yukon Golds so perfect for mashed potatoes? First off, it's their flavor. Russets are very neutral, even bland. But Yukon Golds have a bit more going on. As personal chef Dionna Mash Garcia put it for HuffPost, "They're just a little more buttery, naturally, in flavor. Then, when you add butter to the dish, it just enhances that flavor even more." In addition to Yukon Golds' taste, they have a winning texture: Their medium starch levels mean you can mash them until they are creamy without their texture being compromised.

Yukon Golds' buttery quality and waxy consistency make them a natural choice for creamy mashed potatoes, but Mash Garcia makes them even better by baking instead of boiling her spuds. Cooking without added moisture keeps the potatoes from getting too watery and leaving you with a soggy, runny side dish. After they've baked and cooled a bit, the skin will slide right off, and you can take it from there. Mash Garcia isn't the only one who likes her mashed potatoes Gold: Ina Garten also recommends them for her classic mashed potatoes, which incorporate buttermilk for an extra creamy and slightly tangy edge. 

It's no wonder mashed potatoes are a favorite on Thanksgiving tables. And if more people start making them with Yukon golds, they might even take over the number #1 spot.