How to Thicken Mashed Potatoes (7 Simple Ways)

How to Thicken Mashed Potatoes (7 Simple Ways)

Here are some quick and easy ways to thicken your mashed potatoes. Even if they were slightly runny in the beginning, they will become thicker over time.

When it comes to sides, there’s nothing like some good old mashed potatoes. They’re super simple to make but also super delicious and an excellent pair for many main dishes.

Read More: how to fix runny mashed potatoes

Mashed Potatoes with Butter

However, not all mashed potato recipes are the same. I love mine to be rich, smooth, buttery, and most importantly, thick!

No one likes soupy, soggy mashed potatoes. But if you’ve made them a little too runny for your taste, don’t worry! You don’t have to throw them out just yet.

You can thicken mashed potatoes with a thickening agent such as cornstarch, flour or powdered milk. Add one tablespoon at a time until you reach your desired consistency.

You can also add heat, more potatoes, or even strain the mashed potatoes in order to reach your desired consistency.

Here are 7 different ways to save your mashed potatoes and make them the best and thickest you’ve ever had.

How to Thicken Runny Mashed Potatoes

1. Add a Thickening Agent

If you have flour, cornstarch, or powdered milk on hand, you can thicken up your mashed potatoes in a jiffy!

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In fact, cornstarch has 2x more thickening power than flour, so that’s usually my go-to. However, either one will work.

You can add one tablespoon at a while until you achieve the desired consistency. Be sure to mix well before adding another tablespoon.

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Important Note when using cornstarch: Don’t overstir! Let the mashed potatoes cool down once they are thickened. Any further agitation can cause the cornstarch to thin.

Make sure to warm your mashed potatoes until they are fully dissolved in the mixture.

2. Heat on a Stovetop

One way to thicken mashed potatoes is to add more heat. In a large pot, heat the runny potatoes over low to medium heat. Stir occasionally to prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pot.

When heating on the stovetop, follow these steps.

  • Use a fork to stir mashed potatoes that are too runny. This helps to avoid too much stirring and will allow excess liquid or moisture to evaporate more quickly.
  • Be careful not to stir too much! Overworking potatoes can cause them to become too sticky, or gluey.
  • Don’t cover the pan! You might think that more heat will thicken the potatoes faster but we actually want excess moisture to have room to escape so keep the pot uncovered.

3. Heat in an Oven

Another way to thicken mashed potatoes is by baking it in an oven as adding heat allows the excess liquid to dissolve or evaporate.

Follow these steps to save your potatoes.

  • Preheat your oven to 300F.
  • After the oven has been preheated, place the mashed potatoes on a plate or in a bowl.
  • Bake the potatoes for about 15 minutes or until any excess moisture is gone.
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4. Heat in a Microwave

Here’s a quick and easy tip. To make thicker mashed potatoes, heat them in the microwave for just a few seconds.

Here’s how to do it.

  • Put your mashed potatoes into an uncovered bowl. Microwave on high for 1 minutes. Your container should be microwave-safe!
  • After a minute, take out the bowl to lightly stir and check if there is less moisture.
  • Keep going until the potatoes reach the desired consistency.

Keep in mind that although this might be the quickest way to thicken the potatoes, you can only use this method for smaller amounts.

5. Strain

Another way to reduce the moisture in runny mashed potatoes is by straining. You will need a cheesecloth, and a strainer.

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When straining, follow these steps.

  • Use a cheesecloth to place your soupy potatoes.
  • Tie the ends of the cheesecloth together tightly to remove moisture and form a ball of potato.
  • Place the cheesecloth over a strainer and leave for up to an hour.
  • Serve your strained, thick potatoes!

After straining the potatoes, it’s also a good idea to take the extra step of reheating them on a stovetop, oven, or microwave. This will ensure that the potatoes are dry and can be served warm.

Make sure to save the drained liquid. You can use it to make gravy or soup… Nothing goes to waste!

Bundle of Potatoes

6. Add More Potatoes

If you have extra potatoes, adding them to runny mashed potatoes will definitely thicken the consistency and might even make it taste better.

Here’s the best way to add potatoes.

  • Chop or shred the potatoes.
  • Cook the shredded potatoes in a pan to soften them.
  • Once softened, set aside to cool before draining with a cheesecloth and strainer.
  • With a fork, mash your potatoes.
  • Add this to the runny mashed potatoes.

Depending on how much potato you added, you may need to reheat. Even if you only added a small amount of potato, heat it again to warm your thick potatoes.


7. Add Parmesan or Hard Cheeses

If you want to improve not only the texture of your mashed potatoes but the taste as well, adding flavorful thickening agents like cheese will definitely do the trick.

Parmesan is a great thickening agent. It is versatile and goes well with many other dishes, such as mashed potatoes. Pecorino is also a great option if you’re looking for an even stronger, more savory flavor.

With any cheese you add, make sure they are finely grated if you want the texture to be thick but also smooth.

How to Avoid Runny Mashed Potatoes

Taking all these extra steps to fix runny mashed potatoes can be quite time-consuming, especially when you’re hungry!

For perfectly fluffy potatoes, these are the steps to follow next time you make it.

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  • Make sure you use the right potatoes Use Yukon gold and Russet potatoes for the best texture.
  • Use cold water. Use cold water to cook your potatoes instead of boiling them. This will help them to cook more evenly.
  • Before you add other ingredients, drain the potatoes! After boiling your potatoes, make sure to drain them thoroughly before adding other ingredients, especially liquid.
  • Don’t underwork or overwork you potatoes! Not stirring enough will cause mashed potatoes to be too liquidy and stirring too much will make them stiff and starchy. So be gentle with your potatoes to keep them thick and fluffy.
How To Thicken Mashed Potatoes

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