The Secret To Fluffy Mashed Potatoes, And Other Pro Tips From Chef Chuck Hughes

Celebrity chef Chuck Hughes answers your most frequently-asked questions about potatoes — mashed, baked, and everything in between.

In partnership with LG 

In Chatelaine’s new series Cooking Qs With Chuck Hughes, the celebrity chef and restauranteur answers your most-asked questions about favourite go-to meals. 

This episode: They’re one of the most versatile veggies that pair well with just about anything. Chuck Hughes serves up his top techniques for cooking mashed, sweet, baked and hasselback potatoes.

Fluffy mashed potatoes

The key to light, fluffy mashed potatoes is dry roasting your spuds and using a potato ricer, says Hughes. Boiling them adds unnecessary water content, which can result in heavier, gluey mashed potatoes, so keep the skin on and roast them in the oven. Once they’re cooked, remove the skin and pass them through a ricer: This incorporates more air for a smoother, fluffier texture. Next, transfer them to a pan and mix in butter, milk (Hughes recommends milk over cream to keep the potatoes nice and light) and your preferred add-ins, like roasted garlic, caramelized onion or cheese. Mix everything together with a rubber spatula and be careful not to overwork them.

Crispy roast potatoes

The secret to perfectly crisp roast potatoes? Add a sheet tray, or foil, on top of the pan for the first 10-15 minutes while the potatoes roast in the oven. This enclosure creates a steam effect that will cook them fully, so when you remove the top tray they can crisp up quickly, without overcooking. Hughes swears by olive oil, salt, pepper and Montreal steak spice to season, and he prefers to cut his roast potatoes into thick wedges.

Hasselback potatoes

Hasselback potatoes are a seriously impressive side dish. To make them, place the potato between two wooden spoons or chopsticks to stop your knife from cutting all the way through and make thin, even slices across the width of the potato, about 1/4 to 1/8 inch apart, keeping the potato joined at the bottom. Next, wedge one pat of butter (Hughes likes to use garlic and chive butter) between each slice, then bake in the oven at 450F for 45 minutes. After half an hour, Hughes recommends basting the potato with all the melted butter in the pan before it finishes cooking.