This Smart Hack Will Upgrade Your Mashed Potatoes Game

Mashed potatoes are one of life's simplest pleasures, and they never get old. They can take on any flavor you add to them, and they're a perfect accompaniment to practically any food. Essentially, there's a reason they're a Thanksgiving favorite each year. In fact, they're so popular that people have begun making healthier versions of them so that they can eat them more.

Making mashed potatoes is a streamlined process, but that doesn't mean people don't commit big sins when preparing them. According to Taste of Home, mashed potatoes simply require you to wash and peel your potatoes, chop them into smaller pieces so they cook faster, and then boil them. Once they're fully cooked — you can check by pricking them with a fork to see if they're tender — you mash them with butter, milk, and seasonings of your choice until they're creamy and to your preferred consistency.

Of course, you can make them completely your own. Some folks leave some skin on their potatoes to add texture to the end result, and you can switch up the seasonings you add, too. Garlicky mashed potatoes are a perfect variation, and green onions add a welcome flavor change, too. Still, one mashed potato hack stands above the rest.

Using meat or vegetable stock can elevate mashed potatoes

To make the best mashed potatoes possible, you need one secret ingredient, and it's not one you add to the potatoes when mashing them. Instead, it's the liquid in which you boil them. According to Insider, it's best to boil potatoes in stock or broth, as this will inherently fill your potatoes with flavor before you even add seasoning. This small change can elevate the overall flavor palette of your mashed potatoes to an entirely new level, and it makes perfect sense. Boiling potatoes in plain water adds zero flavor to them, and even salted water can only add so much flavor, whereas a stock or broth is flavor-packed.

While seasoned cooks have been utilizing this hack for ages, it became particularly popular and trendy in early 2021 when a TikTok user posted a video discussing her use of stock for mashed potatoes. "I know that you can boil your potatoes in water," the TikToker, Jourdyn "Jeaux" Parks, told Buzzfeed. "In fact, it's probably the most common way. I just can't — for the life of me — figure out why you'd choose to when stock and broth are options."

Stocks are created by simmering (for long periods of time) vegetables, bones, meat, and other aromatics in water (via The Culinary Pro). As it simmers, the water absorbs the flavor of everything in the pot, creating a flavor-rich liquid that's used as the basis for many soups, stews, and other foods. Using stock for mashed potatoes then is a genius hack that can heighten everyone's favorite potato dish far more than simply adding one extra spice or other ingredient.