We've made umpteen batches of mashed potatoes in our day but it wasn't until we discovered a certain tool that took our taters to a whole new fluffy level. That tool is the food grinder attachment of our KitchenAid standing mixer. A ricer would yield the same results, but the food grinder is quick, easy and efficient, especially if you're making mounds of mashed potatoes, and you can pop the whole thing in the dishwasher.
Another tip for perfect, fluffy potatoes is to not over mix. As with bread making, potatoes can quickly become too "gluey" if overworked. To avoid this we put the butter through the food grinder along with the hot potatoes, then gently fold in the milk at the end until creamy. The result are perfect and easy mashed potatoes that are as light as clouds!
Perfect Mashed Potatoes
3 pounds baking potatoes, peeled and quartered (or in eighths, depending on size of potatoes)
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened (we prefer Irish butter)
3/4 - 1 cup whole milk
Salt to taste
Freshly-ground black pepper to taste
Optional: garnish with freshly snipped chives or chopped parsley and a pat or two of butter
Place peeled potatoes in a medium pot and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Add a generous pinch of salt and continue to simmer until potatoes are fork tender, about 20 minutes.
When potatoes are done, drain and return potatoes to pot to dry slightly. Run still warm or hot potatoes along with butter through food grinder (or potato ricer) into a large bowl.
Heat milk in saucepan. Add hot milk to potatoes and mix gently until smooth, taking care to not over mix.