Fluffy mashed potatoes can be found on my table year-round, but I always try to make them extra special for Thanksgiving. Although I thought I had tested every trick and tip for getting the best texture, I recently stumbled upon one I hadn’t seen before: Adding a pinch of baking powder.
According to the 5-star reviewed recipe I found on Food.com, you just need a teaspoon to get the job done. One commenter wrote, “Who knew that a little baking powder would be so great with spuds. Thank you for teaching this ole woman a new trick.” She also described the finished dish as “light, tender, and fluffy,” so I knew I had to give it a try myself.
The recipe calls for pretty standard mashed potato making: Boil potatoes until you can stick a fork through them, drain, and mix with butter and milk. But before seasoning with salt and pepper at this point, the recipe author says to add in the teaspoon of baking powder and mix it in as well. They used a hand mixer for 30 to 45 seconds, but I just used a fork — and could definitely see my spuds fluffing up quite a bit more than if I had stopped at milk and butter alone.
I also ate the small portion I was testing with before remembering to take a picture, but just imagine delightful clouds of soft, creamy potatoes. Or, even better, give it a try yourself! I’m sure you’ll be just as eager to gobble it all up as I was.
But how does baking powder magically create such a lovely fluffy texture? The experts at Arm & Hammer explain that baking powder is a mixture of baking soda and dry acids, like cream of tartar, plus some corn starch. When mixed in with the potatoes, it creates bubbles that give it the airy result.
Unlike baking soda on its own, you don’t have to have added acid like milk or sour cream to get this effect (although it won’t hurt, as the recipe above proved). That’s especially good news for anyone who prefers to not include dairy with their potatoes, but still wants the fluffy texture.
Whether you’re prepping a holiday feast or just a weeknight side dish, I highly recommend adding a pinch of baking powder for some super fluffy mashed potatoes.