How to Thicken Mashed Potatoes: 4 Quick & Easy Solutions

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Last Updated on December 17, 2023

close up of mashed potatoes in a bowl with melted button on top

4 Foolproof Ways to Thicken Mashed Potatoes: Tips and Tricks for Perfectly Creamy Mash

Mashed potatoes are a classic comfort food and a favorite side dish for many occasions. Their creamy, fluffy texture pairs perfectly with a variety of main courses, making them a staple on dinner tables around the world. However, preparing the perfect mash can be tricky, especially when it comes to avoiding runny mashed potatoes caused by overcooking, adding too much liquid, or using the wrong type of potatoes.

But fear not! This article is here to help you rescue your mash from becoming a watery mess. We will provide you with tips and tricks on how to thicken mashed potatoes and whip up the creamy delight that everyone craves. From adding more potatoes or using thickeners to reducing the liquid or incorporating cheese and cream, we’ve got you covered with foolproof methods to save your runny mashed potatoes.

Stay tuned as we delve into these various techniques, giving you the power to transform your mash from a soupy disaster to a thick, scrumptious side dish that will have your guests begging for seconds. Get ready to be crowned the mashed potato master!

Method 1: Add More Potatoes

Boiled, whole, and peeled potatoes in a white pan.

One of the simplest and most natural ways to thicken mashed potatoes is to add more cooked potatoes. This method not only thickens the mash but also maintains the potato flavor.

Using More Potatoes

To add more potatoes to your mash, follow these steps:

  1. Peel and chop some extra potatoes.
  2. Boil the chopped potatoes until they are tender.
  3. Drain the boiled potatoes well.
  4. Mash the cooked potatoes with a fork or a potato masher.
  5. Add the mashed potatoes to the thin mashed potatoes and stir well to combine.

Tips and Precautions for Using More Potatoes

Here are some tips and precautions when adding more potatoes to thicken your mashed potatoes:

  • Use the same type of potatoes: Choose the same type of potatoes as the ones in the original batch, preferably starchy ones like Russet or Yukon Gold.
  • Drain and dry the extra potatoes: Make sure the extra potatoes are well drained and dry before mashing them, otherwise, they will add more moisture to the mixture.
  • Adjust seasoning and butter: After adding the extra potatoes, you may need to adjust the seasoning and butter content, as the addition may dilute the flavor of the original batch.

By following these steps and considering the tips and precautions, you can achieve thicker and more flavorful mashed potatoes without altering their natural taste.

Method 2: Use Thickeners

Wooden spoon resting on a wood cutting board with a dusting of white flour.

Common Thickeners

Using thickeners is an effective way to thicken mashed potatoes without altering their taste or texture too much. Some of the common thickeners that can be used include:

These agents are readily available and suitable for various dietary preferences or restrictions, such as gluten-free or vegan options.

How to Use Thickeners

To use a thickening agent, first, dissolve a small amount of the chosen thickener in some cold water or milk. Then, stir it into the hot mashed potatoes over low heat until thickened. Alternatively, you can sprinkle some of the dry thickener over the mashed potatoes and mix well.

Tips and Precautions for Using Thickeners

When using thickeners to enhance your mashed potatoes, keep these tips and precautions in mind:

  • Start Small: Use a small amount of thickener at a time and add more if needed. Too much can make the mashed potatoes gummy or pasty.
  • Dietary Preferences: Choose a thickener that is suitable for your dietary preferences or restrictions.
  • Monitor Temperature: Be careful not to overcook the mashed potatoes after adding the thickener. Some thickeners can lose their effectiveness or change their texture when heated for too long.

With the help of these thickeners, you can achieve the perfect consistency for your mashed potatoes!

Method 3: Reduce the Liquid

Reducing liquid is a simple and effective way to thicken up your mashed potatoes by evaporating some of the excess moisture. Let’s dive into the procedure and some helpful tips and precautions.

Reducing Liquid Procedure

To reduce the liquid in your runny mashed potatoes, transfer them to a large skillet or saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook the mixture while stirring occasionally, ensuring that you’re evaporating some of the excess moisture. Keep cooking until your mashed potatoes have thickened to your desired consistency.

Tips and Precautions for Reducing Liquid

Here are some helpful tips and precautions to keep in mind when using this method to thicken your mashed potatoes:

  • Use a wide skillet or saucepan to increase the surface area and speed up the evaporation process.
  • Keep an eye on the heat and stir frequently to prevent the mashed potatoes from burning or sticking to the bottom of the pan.
  • If your mashed potatoes become too dry or crumbly after reducing the liquid, add some butter, cream, or milk to bring back their creamy texture.

Remember, it’s all about finding the right balance between moisture and thickness. Enjoy your perfectly thickened mashed potatoes!

Method 4: Add Cheese or Cream

Close-up texture of creamy cream cheese.

Cheese or Cream Options

Adding cheese or cream is another delicious way to thicken mashed potatoes, enhancing their flavor and richness. You can choose from various options, such as cheddar, parmesan, cream cheese, sour cream, heavy cream, or half-and-half. Each option imparts a unique taste and texture to your mashed potatoes.

How to Use Cheese or Cream

To incorporate cheese or cream in your mashed potatoes, follow these steps:

  1. Add some of your chosen cheese or cream to the hot mashed potatoes
  2. Stir well until melted and incorporated


  1. Heat some of the cheese or cream in a small saucepan over low heat until warm and smooth
  2. Pour it over the mashed potatoes
  3. Mix well

By following these simple steps, you’ll have thicker, creamier, and more flavorful mashed potatoes.

Tips and Precautions for Using Cheese or Cream

When using cheese or cream to thicken mashed potatoes, keep the following tips and precautions in mind:

  • Use full-fat cheese or cream for the best results, as low-fat or fat-free options may not thicken the mashed potatoes as well or may curdle when heated.
  • Choose a cheese or cream that complements the flavor of the mashed potatoes and the main dish, such as cheddar for a classic American style, parmesan for an Italian twist, or sour cream for a tangy touch.
  • Be careful not to overheat the cheese or cream, as they can separate or scorch if boiled or microwaved.

By following these tips and precautions, you can successfully thicken your mashed potatoes while also enriching their flavor and creaminess. Enjoy your delicious, improved mashed potatoes!



We’ve explored three foolproof ways to thicken your mashed potatoes and elevate their creaminess and fluffiness. These methods include adding a thickening agent like flour, cornstarch, or powdered milk, using heat to evaporate excess moisture, and incorporating instant dehydrated potatoes. Each of these techniques is effective in achieving your desired consistency in mashed potatoes.


Give these techniques a try and find the one that best suits your tastes and preferences. Don’t be shy to experiment with different thickening agents or combining methods for a customized approach. And when you’ve found your perfect way to thicken mashed potatoes, share your experience and suggestions with others. Spread your newfound knowledge by encouraging others to try these tips, and let’s make the world a better place one fluffy, delicious mashed potato dish at a time!

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