I have a new tool. At Walmart they didn't seem to have the kind of potato masher I'm used to, so I bought this thing.

potato smasher and empty can of split pea soup

(The can of soup is there for size reference.§) From a young age I'm used to the tool with a long stiff steel wire extending out of the handle about 3", zig-zagging on itself several times in a flat plane, then returning back to the handle. Since that thing mashed, and this thing smashes, I call it a potato smasher.

I had not yet cleaned up, so you can see some mashed potato in a few of the holes. Therein lies my problem. As I smashed the boiled potatos, potato would extrude through all the holes. It was easy to remove potato from top and bottom for multiple mashes -- just wipe it off with a fork. But with 24 little holes, I did not know how to efficiently remove the contents of the holes and return it to the smashing bowl when done. Is there an easy way to remove potato from all the holes without waste?

In the end, after I was done smashing, I cheated. Using my mouth, I just sucked out as much potato as I could. It was good! Even with my big mouth, I could not get it all, though.

§ I lied, sort of. The can is also there because that was our gravy. We lacked normal gravy ingredients, so I got some help from Necessity's kid. Using heated split pea soup as gravy ended up tasting great. More vegetables, plus the ham in the soup provided a bit of meat. (I'm not pushing the Progresso brand; it is just what we happened to have.)

  • That's not a very good design of a potato masher IMO, the holes are small and it will take a lot of effort to push it down.
    – GdD
    Commented Jan 30, 2017 at 8:45
  • 2
    FWIW I would recommend a potato ricer; they produce much lighter, fluffier mash as already mashed potatoes aren't "remashed" as you try and clear up the last lumps. Commented Jan 30, 2017 at 9:46
  • @GdD it worked okay. If the potatoes had been less cooked and harder, I'm sure it would have been a difficult process, though. They were not over-soft either; a fork could penetrate them without "crunch" but not anywhere near mushy.
    – RichF
    Commented Jan 30, 2017 at 13:30
  • @BoristheSpider I've seen those on cooking shows. I'll take your recommendation under advisement.
    – RichF
    Commented Jan 30, 2017 at 13:33
  • Riced potato and mashed potato are two totally different methods, it's a bit like calling a sauted potato a roast potato. Commented Feb 1, 2017 at 6:05

2 Answers 2


There is no need to remove potato from the holes on each stroke, which appears to be what you are describing doing. Just pick it up and smash it down on some un-smashed potatoes until there are no more of those. The potato already smashed through the holes will eventually fall back into the pot during this process.

Then, when done smashing, turn the tool sideways, knock it on the rim of the pot to dislodge most of the potato on it, and use a rubber spatula to scrape off what's left.

Or expand your shopping beyond wal-mart - I'd bet $20 I can find a wire-type masher at a thrift store nearby, probably for $1 or $2 at most, and certainly by using the same technology you use to post your question you can have one shipped to your house for a bit more money, if this type offends you. You can also mash them with a hand or stand mixer. Or, indeed, a fork.

  • 3
    Duh, for some reason it didn't occur to me to bang the tool on the side of the bowl. (Maybe subconsciously I just wanted to eat some potato then and there.) I was stuck on the idea of sticking a fork or something else in all the holes. Anyway, I'm not at all unhappy with the tool. It was just different from that which I was familiar. I knew that newly extruded material was constantly replacing what had been in the holes. My only issue was the final clearing (and, of course, with clear writing).
    – RichF
    Commented Jan 29, 2017 at 23:34

Made mashed potatoes last night, boiling until tender with chopped parsnip in the pot. I have that same masher, and used it to achieve a semi-whipped version of mashed potatoes, first adding butter and a bit of milk, mashing straight down, and once all is mashed, using the tool to swirl around and around in the pan. This mashing and the swirling technique (accompanied by many sharp "smacks" on the edge of the pan to "clear" the tool), achieves the perfect mixture for me. It is a great tool for mashing cannellini beans in a skillet with a bit of evoo, garlic, herbs of choice, salt, pepper and lemon juice for a delicious spread. I once had the old wire-type masher and don't miss it. I do think smacking this tool sideways on the rim of the pan clears the holes rather well. And of course rinsing immediately and soaking the masher end of the tool in a bowl of water to make cleaning easier.

  • Carol, this is a perfect way to get great results, only one comment though, if you rinse your masher in water, then carry on using it, make sure to wipe it dry, you won't want to add any extra water into your potatoes. Commented Feb 1, 2017 at 6:08

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