Why Do Mashed Potatoes Get Gummy?

If you make mashed potatoes quite often, then it isn’t surprising to run into a gummy mashed potato at some point.

There is actually a reason why the mashed potato turned out gummy — which is exactly what this article seeks to explore (as well as the fixes you can make).

What makes mashed potatoes gluey?

When mashed potatoes turn out gummy or stretchy, it is because they were over mashed. So what does it mean to over mash a mashed potato?

Over mashing a mashed potato means to attempt to remove every darn lump present in it which cause the potatoes to release so much starch molecules that get coated by the liquids of the medium such as milk, broth, cream or whatever you’re using and turn gluey.

How do mashed potatoes get over mashed you might ask?

A mashed potato can be over mashed when you simply over work it with your hands or using a mixer. Another way that mashed potatoes can get overworked is when you toss in the potatoes in the blender or food processor until every darn lump is completely gone.

In fact, you are much more likely to run into a very gummy mashed potato when you blend or process them than when you overwork them by hand or using a mixer.

This is because a blender or a food processor has blades that cut food items into really tiny pieces. The implication of this style of cutting is that the potatoes now release as many starch molecules as possible which ends up mixing with the liquid of the medium and turn the mashed potatoes very gummy.

What is the best tool to use for mashing potatoes?

So if the blender and the food processor are not great tools to use for mashing potatoes, when then is the best tool?


The ricer is hands down the best way to mash potatoes without overworking them.

With the ricer, all you have to do is stuff the potatoes into the holder and then force them through the tiny perforations on the opposite end which does a good job of eliminating lumps and giving the potatoes a smooth and perfect consistency.

The fact that the ricer gives potatoes the perfect consistency straight from a single effort, means that you don’t have to do extra work on the potatoes using a spatula or the hands. So the chances of running into a gummy paste is eliminated.

Mashed potatoes made using a ricer also turn out very creamy and this is due to the fact that the potatoes are finely mashed which allows the starch molecules to coated perfectly with the liquid of the medium like cream or milk and deliver a soft and creamy experience to the taste buds.

The second best method for mashing potatoes is the electric mixer: either hand or stand mixer. This method however, will produce lumps, but in really small quantities.

What can you do about gummy mashed potatoes?

So agreed, you’ve already messed up the potatoes and they’re all gummy now. What then can you do to restore them back to their fluffy and light consistency?

The truth is that there really isn’t much you can do to transform gummy mashed potatoes back to their spreadable consistency. However, there are some techniques that can work to cut out some of the gumminess and present a mashed potato that is at least edible.

And what are these techniques?

The first one is to add flakes of instant mashed potatoes to the gummy mashed potato. This should help add a bit of bulk which will mask out some of the gumminess.

When adding the flakes, ensure to do so 1 tablespoon at a time so you don’t end up with a mashed potato that is super thick.

Now if you don’t have flakes or instant mashed potatoes, you can always fall back to your regular boiled potatoes. Mash them until they’re fluffy (using a ricer would be great) and then add them to the gummy mashed potatoes little by little until you arrive at a consistency that you like.

Make sure to season and adjust milk or cream content after adding flakes or boiled mashed potatoes. Be very careful when adding liquids to the mashed potatoes since their gummy nature means that they can easily become waterlogged. 

Also, season lightly and taste, then season more if you have to, because salty mashed potatoes are a thing! 

One last thing, avoid over working the mashed potatoes otherwise you’ll end up with the same problem you started with – which is a gummy mashed potato.

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