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I was just making some mashed potatoes and slipped when adding milk, adding probably 50% too much.

The mash is now very liquid. Whats the best way of saving it?

I am thinking of either heating gently to dry out a bit or adding some sort of flour to it, or both.

The mash will be used to make fishcakes if that makes a difference and has been seasoned with salt and pepper and butter.

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As a culinary barbarian, I'd just add enough dehydrated instant potato flakes to get the consistency right. You should still end up with plenty of real mashed potato goodness in your fishcakes. Flour, wheat, corn or other is liable to add an off flavor. – Wayfaring Stranger Jan 11 '15 at 16:32
Flour in that application once nearly got someone booted from Masterchef US :) – rackandboneman Nov 27 '15 at 8:50
up vote 21 down vote accepted

I keep a box of instant mashed potato flakes in the house. I use it only for two things: one is a super-quick pantry chowder and the other is to thicken over milked mashed potatoes. While I wouldn't want to eat a bowl of instant mash, a quick shake in this circumstance takes care of the problem and no-one's the wiser.

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They're also great as a thickener for stew. – Joe Nov 27 '10 at 22:05
That's a great idea. Probably the perfect solution to this problem. – Preston Fitzgerald Jun 11 '14 at 20:41

If you're going to try to dry it out, may I suggest spreading it out in a large shallow baking pan and putting it in the oven on low heat. Take it out once in awhile to stir it up a bit...make sure you spread it out again after you stir. A few rounds of this will probably dry it out.

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Cream generally results in a better texture than milk when making mashed potatoes, but assuming you have your reasons for using milk (health concerns, allergies, etc.), there is only one way to literally dry it out, and that is to evaporate the water. Toss it in a pot and simmer it uncovered until it reaches the consistency you want.

Because it's potatoes, you might have to stir it very often or even shake the pot around in order to prevent burning and a nasty mess. This is actually what I always do to potatoes before mashing them (after boiling) to dry them out. I've never attempted it after mashing them, but the potatoes are already cooked, so I doubt that you can do any more damage that way.

If you just want to thicken them then add some savoury ingredients. I really wouldn't recommend flour, potatoes have enough starch already, but I'll often add cheese to my mashed potatoes. Hard cheeses like parmesan are particularly good if your aim is to soak up some of the excess moisture.

I'd also suggest, in the future, that you whisk in your liquid gradually to avoid this exact problem.

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I usually use milk when making mash and it works fine. I cant use cream due to SO allergies (its lactofree milk). I think your idea of using cheese however is a good plan. – NBenatar Nov 27 '10 at 17:52
Personally, I never use either and used to use a small amount of butter and possibly some mustard. – Orbling Nov 27 '10 at 18:43
@NBenatar : a lactose-free alternative is chicken stock; as starch from the potatoes creates much of the 'creaminess', you actually don't need to use any dairy or fat when making mashed potatoes. – Joe Nov 28 '10 at 0:21
@Joe: I don't think I'd call the effect of starch or even gelatin "creaminess". That pretty much always comes from fat (although I suppose it does not have to be dairy fat). The potatoes are thick, but I have tried many different recipes/preparations for mashed potatoes and in my experience, only the ones using actual cream or cheese are creamy. You could probably use liver for a genuinely creamy texture if you're not too disgusted by the idea; generally it doesn't have much taste of its own in small quantities. – Aaronut Nov 28 '10 at 3:16
@NBenatar, cream shouldn't contain any lactose, should it? – Marti Nov 28 '10 at 16:56

Just leave it on low heat for a while with the lid off. A shallow gentle stir now and then will help too

You will probably burn the bottom layer, but that way you only lose a little, not the whole pot. An overnight pot soak remove the burnt stuff without sweat

I think over milking and longer cooking makes a nicer mash. And be careful of over stirring, mash isn't whipped cream, it's just a soft texture

Instead of butter to finish try a spoon of decent mayonnaise (real egg and good oil)

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This is identical to my answer, but with more off-topic commentary and fewer suggestions. – Aaronut Nov 28 '10 at 0:41
@Aaronut What? It's totally different! No adding cream, how to fix AFTER too much milk added etc etc. What off topic commentary? – TFD Nov 28 '10 at 3:52
Yes, I rather figured that the cream was central to this, even though it was nothing more than an aside in my answer. Notwithstanding, your first and second paragraphs basically copy my answer and the third and fourth paragraphs aren't really relevant. Nothing personal, I don't think it's a bad answer, but I also don't think you deserved an upvote for repeating a previous answer and adding some extra stuff that doesn't help answer the question. – Aaronut Nov 28 '10 at 4:17
@Aaronut I didn't repeat anything, I use this as a technique, and you claim never to have tried? The "extra stuff" actually helps answer the question as in over milking is a valid technique, but requires careful stirring and often a sacrificial burn layer. How about trying it sometime before you criticise? – TFD Nov 28 '10 at 6:36

All you gotta do is put some grits in and call it a day. "Mashed potatoes and grits."

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I just had this problem. I dried them over very low heat, open pan and stirred in carefully with fork so as not to stick to the bottom. I added just a tad bit more butter towards the end when I felt I had lost too much moisture.

i had this happen during a dinner party. I simply cooked 2 large potatoes, peeled and mashed them right in !

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Are you saying that you added more potatoes in addition to the first drying step, or that you started with only 2 potatoes? – logophobe Oct 12 '15 at 16:40

I just tossed a bunch of flour in there when I realized my mashed potatoes were turning into potato soup. Worked out just fine in the end.

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Not what I would suggest. As the flour isn't cooked, it a) retains its "flowery" taste and b) cant gelatinize, i.e. develop its binding properties. – Stephie Nov 26 '15 at 22:14

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