For Perfect Mashed Potatoes, Picking The Right-Sized Spud Is Key

pile of different potatoes
pile of different potatoes - Photka/Shutterstock

Smooth, creamy, decadent, or fried, potatoes are one of America's most beloved ingredients to use for side dishes for a reason. They are one of the most versatile starches in the book, giving us all of our favorites from french fries to mashed potatoes.

For big fans of the latter, even the smallest deviation from traditional recipes can make for less-than-perfect mashed potatoes. To get the perfect version of this side dish, picking the right-sized spud is especially key. While you might think other characteristics would be more important in this process, the size of a potato can indicate a whole lot about how it will cook.

Certain-sized potatoes have more starch packed inside them, and this simple ingredient can be the difference between a smooth batch of potatoes versus a dish filled with undesirable clumps. Here's how to pick the right potatoes so you don't have to wonder which dish you'll get.

Read more: 14 Nutritious Snacks To Stock Up On At Costco

Why Potato Size Matters

large yellow potatoes
large yellow potatoes - Titus Group/Shutterstock

When picking potatoes to use for this side dish, it's best to opt for larger potatoes over smaller varieties. The larger options often include familiar species like Russets or Yukon golds. The reason for picking these guys over others is that larger potatoes generally contain much more starch, which is an ideal ingredient for mashed potatoes. Starch breaks down easily and aids in the ease of the mashing process, which also means you'll end up with extra creamy mashed potatoes void of any clumps. Smaller potatoes with little amounts of starch are less likely to break down and more likely to crumble, which makes them more of an ideal choice for soups and salads.

Potato expert Dominik Klier confirmed this potato size theory in an interview with All Recipes. "The more starch, the smoother the mash, so go for the big ones with the higher amount of potato flour," he said.

Because there are so many different varieties of potatoes, it's normal to have more questions. Because of that, we find that it's always best to buy your potatoes from local farmers.

Shopping Local Can Also Help With Potato Selection

people shopping at farmer's market
people shopping at farmer's market - DC Studio/Shutterstock

While the size of a potato is a good indicator of how it might mash, of course, there are many other factors to consider as well. If you really want your mashed potatoes to come out just right, we recommend that you speak to a local farmer before buying them. Make the most of your trip to the farmer's market by seeking out potatoes and discussing different varieties with the farmers.

Local farmers can tell you exactly how local potatoes are grown and how they will taste, so you can be sure you will get your desired textures out of the dish. If you buy your potatoes from a regular grocery store, you won't get to know those fine details, and what you don't know could be the very thing that makes for a less-than-stellar batch of mashed potatoes. Don't take the chance: buy large potatoes from local farmers.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.