Never peel a potato again. Use a Potato Ricer.

This is a bit of a misleading title, I’ll admit. You’ll probably need to peel a potato again at some point in your life. I’m not sure where or when but it’ll happen. You WON’T need to do it for a pot of mashed potatoes though. ‘Cause I’m going to show you how to use a potato ricer.

So stop doing it.

I’ve mentioned the potato ricer before and how it’s one of the kitchen tools you should have, but I didn’t really explain why.

What’s the point?

  1. Other than pressing them through a fine mesh screen, a potato ricer is the best way to get ultra smooth potatoes. It’s simply more effective than mashing them.
  1. It’s also faster because using a potato ricer means you don’t have to peel your potatoes. You just boil them with the skin on and then squish them through the ricer.

For smooth mashed potatoes a potato ricer is the only way to go.

At this point you may have noticed there’s not a lot of funny in this potato post.

That is because I’m very serious about my potatoes. Deadly serious. They’re no joking matter and I intend to use this post to treat them with the reverence they deserve.

But first a potato joke.

Q: Why shouldn’t you give a zombie mashed potatoes.

A: Because they’re already a little grave-y

My mother used a potato ricer when I was growing up and I thought it made the worst potatoes in the world. Like, they were awful.

Turns out, she wasn’t using it properly. This was before you could use the Internet to look up everything from how to rice a potato to how to perform brain surgery on your lunch hour with a stapler.

So she just took the ricer, held it over our plates and squished out some potatoes onto it.

That part she got right. What she got wrong was you’re supposed to rice the potatoes back into the pot, add your milk and butter and give ’em a stir.

How does it work?

  • A potato ricer pushes the cooked potato through a series of fine holes in a metal disk. The soft potato goes right through the small holes, while the tough skin stays behind and can then easily be picked up out of the ricer and composted.
  • You rice the potatoes into a pot and then add your cream, milk, butter, sour cream or whatever else you like to fancify your mashed potatoes with.

Wanna see the magic of a potato ricer? Here we go …

Let’s all just pretend these photos are a lot nicer than they are.

You need a pot with water for boiling the potatoes, a few potatoes and your potato ricer. It’s the star of the show.

What you do NOT need is this. A ragged old potato peeler. You don’t need a shiny new one either. You don’t need ANY potato peeler.

I realize it’s a disaster and I’ve since replaced this junkyard dog of a peeler, but I replaced it with the exact same one. I’ve gone through a lot of different ones and for me it’s the best potato peeler.

Cut your potatoes into equal sized chunks and drop them in cold, salted water. Started them in cold water will make sure they cook more evenly. Equal sized chunks ensures all the pieces cook in the same amount of time. Generally I use baking potatoes for mashed potatoes. Sometimes known as Idaho potatoes. They’re not too starchy, not too dry … they’re potato perfect.

Once your potatoes are cooked drain them over the sink. Don’t be bothered to dirty a strainer or pot lid, just pour out the majority of the water while holding the potatoes in with a spoon.

Once drained, using a spoon, drop the potato chunks into your potato ricer.

Pull the handle of the potato ricer down and squeeze those babies out.

The ricer I’m using here is plastic with a flat bottom, which I was a bit nervous about but this ricer lasted me years and years before it finally broke in half during a particularly exhaustive Thanksgiving dinner workout.

I replaced it with a more expensive stainless steel version with a different shape. Which I hated. It doesn’t squish out enough of the potatoes leaving some of them inside the ricer. Because the metal ricer was bigger it was also harder for me to wrap my short fingered, square hands around the handles to get enough leverage to squeeze it properly..

The metal one got gifted to someone else and I bought another inexpensive plastic Fox Run potato ricer ended up back in my kitchen.

After you’ve squeezed the potatoes take a look inside the ricer. There they are. The peels. It’s a potato miracle.

Add a whack of butter and some milk or cream and stir with a wooden spoon or a whisk. Enjoy.

My next ricer will be the same style as this one but in metal.

That’s it. Easy, no peel mashed potatoes that are smooth and delicious. JUST in time for potato pancake season.

Every season is potato pancake season.

Never peel a potato again. Use a Potato Ricer.


  1. Treva says:

    I was cursing the job of peeling potatoes just last night! I am ordering a ricer right now. And I found it for $14.99 on Free shipping in Canada with a minimum $25 order (and I’m sure I can find something else fun to order). Cheers!

  2. Anita says:

    You and the other readers have so many great tips. No peels? Spinach? Guacamole? Applesauce? Who knew? I have a gift card from Williams-Sonoma burning a hole in my pocket… Hello Ricer, here I come!

  3. Lisa says:

    Am I in the minority here to say I like lumpy mashed potatoes?

    Funny story – when my mom used to make mashed potatoes out of those boxed flakes back in the 1970s, she had to boil and mash a couple real potatoes up with a fork and stir them in to trick us!

    • Sera says:

      You are not alone. I too love lumpy mashed potatoes. And I even like some bits of skin for texture. And plenty of garlic. TONS of garlic. But I may still have to get a ricer because that looks way easier.
      Thanks Karen!

    • Vikki says:

      I confess!! I like a few small lumps in my mashed potatoes too. It’s like a last, unexpected gift from the sacrificed potato. Yum!

  4. Jrn says:

    Does anyone else here add roasted garlic to their mashed potatoes as they stir in the other ingredients? If so, would you share the amount you use for x number or pounds of potatoes? My son had some garlic mashed potatoes and loved them but I’d like to start with some general guideline before I (possibly) tweak it.

    • Alice says:

      Not roasted garlic — that would involve too much planning ahead — but sometimes I boil one or two cloves of garlic with the potatoes. Make sure they get mashed in. They’re not too strong once they’re cooked like that.

  5. RuthyJ says:

    This is one of those things I didn’t kknow I needed, but suddenly life seems incomplete without it.

    I may not be able to find the prostitute potatoes, but I WILL obtain a potato ricer, I declare it… even if mine has to get here by a roundabout route from the US of A.

  6. Nancy Carter says:

    So, the other tater says, If that’s Idaho, who’s the mean tater with her, oh that mean is her boss of bosses, his name is Dictator.

  7. Ann says:

    Please do make sure you never cook the skin of a potato that is still a bit green. There is a chemical present that is actually a toxin, solanine. In large quantities, probably more than you could ever eat, it could make someone sick. But they also found than even in small amounts, if you were pregnant, it increases the risk of neural tube defects such as spina bifida. In the British Isles, they actually tell women of child bearing age to be extra careful about potatoes and when they started doing this, the rate of neural tube defects fell steadily for more than a decade.

    I know I am always a bit of dark cloud!! But it is a simple caution I thought might be news to someone somewhere.

    I love potatoes and I have long thought I wanted a potato ricer like this. I had a food mill which serves the same purpose but was always hard to dig out and even harder to take apart and clean. Finally it rusted more than I was willing to deal with and I tossed it out. Now I have the perfect excuse to buy one of these. And I will next time I am planning on making mashed potatoes. Which is not all that often cause we love them baked so much more.

    • Anonymous says:

      “I know I am always a bit of dark cloud!! But it is a simple caution I thought might be news to someone somewhere. ”

      It is useful news. Thank you for sharing!

  8. Carol says:

    I have my late Mother-in-Law’s potato ricer and it is one of my favorite kitchen tools. You forgot to mention the best part – you make PERFECT mashed potatoes with no butter, no milk. With no extra calories, you can eat MORE potatoes :)

  9. Debbie Neal says:

    We have an old metal one that was my mothers! It can also be used to separately rice boiled eggs for serving caviar, etc.

  10. Angie says:

    Not only that, but you’ll never have to hand squeeze the water out of cooked spinach again (for recipes where you need squeezed out spinach like in pasta noodles and spinach dips, etc). The ricer works perfectly for this otherwise horrid task. Also the ricer is great for making guacamole.

    • Debbie says:

      Thank you for these additional tips! We have ALWAYS used a ricer for mashed potatoes – something learned from my Italian immigrant grandmother born in 1895 (can’t figure out how she learned this – “old world” secret? – she called them “smashed potatoes” in broken English.) Never thought to use it for guacamole – great idea.

    • Laura Bee says:

      Ooooh – I hate squeezing spinach!

  11. Tina says:

    This is exactly how I make my mashed potatoes. It is so easy. For some reason, no one else in my family will use one … weird..

  12. ev says:

    Have had a good ricer for years but didn’t use it. I will try it out your way soon! Thanks Karen!

  13. My MIL taught me this and I haven’t peeled a potato in 13 years. Remarkably feeing!!

  14. Elizabeth says:

    Everything (if it is available to Canadians) is always more expensive *sigh*

    • Andrea says:

      So true! Buy one on ebay… $12 (free shipping). ebay is the way to go for Canadians as everything is so overpriced here.

  15. Zoe says:

    As an Irish person I was getting very worried by the title of this post before I read it and that some misfortune was being done to potatoes but I should have known better – you respect the potato.
    And I really want this gadget!

  16. arlene says:

    O.M.G. I own a potato ricer and had no idea that I did!!! I picked up the antique beauty at a thrift shop years ago – and it nicely decorates our screened porch along with some other cool finds… I thought it was for mushing tomatoes NOT potatoes :/ — BTW I keep my vegetable elastics around my liquid dish soap bottle — not my potato peeler or should I say vegetable peeler. Nice to see another option!

  17. Maddy says:

    Ok, I thought nothing could top my benchtop dishwasher in the scale of things that have actually, truly, changed my life and make it at least 20% better. But this might be on par. I freaking hate peeling spuds. Im a lefty and for some reason I peel skin more than potato flesh. Gross.

    Anyway thanks for possibly increasing my life’s awesomeness.

  18. Jen says:

    I’m on a diet and have given up one of my loves…the potato.

    This post was a combination knife in my gut heart and food porn.

  19. Kim says:

    I live in Germany and here they also use it to make spaghetti ice cream. You run a couple scoops of vanilla ice cream through the ricer, pour over some strawberry sauce to look like gravy, and sprinkle on some shaved white chocolate to look like parmesan cheese. Yum! (Google spaghetti eis images…)

  20. Nan Tee says:

    Wow, a kitchen tool I can actually use! Thank you, Karen.
    Now if only I can go back to sleep…grumble…there seems to be a paul-bird outside my window! That is short-hand for mockingbird, similar to one my Uncle Paul tried shooting in the middle of the night when his family visited mine, many moons ago. He missed, too. Thence, the paul-bird was christened!

  21. Karin says:

    Karen, what i see in your pictures is a
    Spätzle maker, wich is very common in southern germany!
    You mix flour and whole eggs, one egg for 100 gramm flour, some salt, and Mix it very good. It should be a sticky but pasty dough.
    Bring salted Water to a boil, press an amount of dough ( the filling should be not more than 3/4 )
    slowly into The boiling water.
    Wait until the Spätzle turn up again, put them out of water with a sieve ,Drain them with hot water, keep warm and continue until all dough is done.
    We eat Spätzle with lentils or a good piece of meat , vegetables and sauce on sunday !
    Try Spätzle!
    You will love it!


    • Karen says:

      Hi Karin – We have Spatzle here too. Of course, it’s normally found in German restaurants but I eat it a couple of times a year! Usually with schnitzel and red cabbage. ~ karen

  22. Kim says:

    I never peel my potatoes for mashed potatoes. The peel and the flesh next to the peel is the most nutritious part and, in my mind anyway, offsets the milk and the big whack of butter. They are barely noticeable when mashed up (especially when disguised with milk and whacks of butter). The finished product doesn’t look quite as nice but I wouldn’t even peel for the Queen. Well, maybe for the Queen…maybe.

  23. Tracie says:

    My mother bought me a potato ricer and then told me she didn’t like to use one as they made her potatoes too mushy….My mother, a study in contradictions….I carry the scars to this day. Joking!(not really). Anyway, I love my ricer! I don’t care what you say mama….”they’re breasts mama, breasts….” ;)

  24. Sara says:

    Nice! Thanks for sharing! My sister uses a potato ricer to remove apple peels from cooked apples to make apple butter. She’s been telling me I should get one, but this demonstration from you has sealed the deal. I will get one.

  25. Diane says:

    I have been mixing Idaho potato, sweet potato and celery root in equal amounts for my mash. I want this ricer, it looks like it could handle all three of those babies.

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