Potato mashers are often overlooked as kitchen utensils, but make no mistake…these tools are handy and important if you find yourself cooking with potatoes or other root vegetables often. When it comes to whipping up homemade mashed potatoes or applesauce, potato mashers simply can’t be topped. Potato mashers come in a couple of different styles and can be found made from a few different types of materials.
Stainless Steel potato mashers are our favorite to utilize here at kitchen season. The stainless steel properties of these products make them extremely durable and effective when mashing up food. Stainless steel is also heat resistant and generally dishwasher safe, making them our favorite models in part because of the extreme ease of cleaning.
Plastic Potato mashers are generally the most comfortable to use, but tend to be more prone to bending or ruin. The plastic is less durable than metal, and can sometimes get warped when run through a dishwasher. These models generally fall on the cheaper end of the spectrum, but you get what you pay for, and oftentimes they can tend to wear down over time.
These tools are often handheld, with a long handle that connects to a broad, often flat head (or the mashing part), that allows you to push down and use applied pressure to bust apart and “mash” up the fruit or vegetable of your choice. In order to get maximum production from a potato masher, make sure that the potatoes are boiled or heated up prior to getting to work. The heat helps to soften starchy food products, an important factor that makes the crushing/mashing process less labor intensive.
The head of a standard potato masher is often ridged or wired, allowing for the ability to crush up the desired food item beneath it for maximum effectiveness when mashing. Found commonly in a “wave” shape, these types of potato mashers are ideal for light duty work. They can handle a few potatoes with ease, but generally don’t perform as well with larger amounts of food. The ridges on the head help to split open the food being mashed, an underrated but effective method when prepping the food during the cooking process.
Potato mashers usually come with long handle that provides extra force for crushing, and the user is able to harness their own strength when pushing down on a potato or other fruit/veggie. The longer the handle, the more power and stability you’ll have when crushing potatoes and other foods. The rule of thumb is that the handles should be or exceed 4 inches long.
The head of a standard potato masher are usually made from a stainless steel or hardened plastic, and it’s important that they utilize tough yet flexible materials considering the force that is being utilize to crush up food. Simply place the potato or other food item on a hard surface, and force the potato masher down to crush the food up from a solid texture to a softer one, that’s easier to cook through, boil, or fry.
Using a potato masher is a manual process; it’s important to understand that the strength that you put in effects the quality of the mash that you’ll get out. The handles are often grooved or ridged to ensure that your hands don’t slip much during use. We love mashers with plastic handles. These tend to be the most comfortable to grip when prepping food, as metallic handles sometimes have a nasty habit of being uncomfortable or rough on the hands.
Potato mashers usually retail for between $15 and $30, although cheaper or more expensive models can be commonly found on the marketplace. Stainless steel models will generally be priced higher, while plastic models can be found on the cheaper end of the spectrum. In terms of performance, we prefer models with metallic heads, but enjoy using softer plastic for the handles as they limit any uncomfortable stress that can be experienced from repeated usage.
Types to Consider
Standard potato mashers are generally a bit awkward in terms of sizing. They’re long with broad heads, so storing them in your standard utensil drawer might not be the perfect fit. We recommend keeping a potato masher in a jar or container that houses spoons, basting brushes, or other utensils that are too long for drawers. These tools are generally extremely light, but strong enough to handle the repeated pressure applied when pressing down often with force. Standard potato mashers are most commonly found in 2 distinct models, wave shaped and perforated.
While it may seem silly to focus on the brand when considering which potato masher to get, that couldn’t be further from the truth. While most people might casually grab one in any kitchen store, or order whatever model pops up on Amazon, not all models and brands are created equal. These products have been a staple in the kitchen for generations, and certain companies have refined the potato masher to perfection. If you’re looking for a quality potato masher that is effective, durable, and comfortable, consider checking out some of our favorite brands.
Read More: Notable Brands of Potato Mashers
Care and Maintenance
Potato Mashers are generally easy to clean and maintain. Most models are suitable to clean in the dishwasher, and it’s important to wash after each use since these products are designed to intimately mash and break up food.
Read More: How To Care and Maintain A Potato Masher