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.

  • 7
    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. Jan 11, 2015 at 16:32
  • Flour in that application once nearly got someone booted from Masterchef US :) Nov 27, 2015 at 8:50
  • Instant masa would likely also work, and might not be noticed. They make the stuff pretty bland nowadays. Aug 7, 2019 at 0:17

12 Answers 12


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.

  • 5
    They're also great as a thickener for stew.
    – Joe
    Nov 27, 2010 at 22:05
  • That's a great idea. Probably the perfect solution to this problem.
    – Preston
    Jun 11, 2014 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.


I realise this thread is now years old, but I also recognise there are people (like me) who still discover forums like this years on.

This happened to me today. I tried putting mine back in the oven, however nothing seemed to change consistency wise, so I scrapped that suggestion. I have instead decide to leave my mash, to cool and already it is thickening up. So for anyone who ends up in this predicament in the future, i'd suggest trying that. Seems simple really, but it works! ;-)

  • 2
    Welcome! We do appreciate good answers to "old" questions any time - unlike some forums where a topic is discussed once and then forgotten, SE sites strive to build a knowledge base out of question / answers threads. More info on our tour and help center.
    – Stephie
    Oct 9, 2016 at 15:16

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.

  • 1
    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, 2010 at 17:52
  • Personally, I never use either and used to use a small amount of butter and possibly some mustard.
    – Orbling
    Nov 27, 2010 at 18:43
  • 3
    @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, 2010 at 0:21
  • 1
    @Marti : most hard cheeses are naturally lactose free, as the lactose as broken down by the bacteria as the cheese ages, however, some people have issues with casein or whey, so 'lactose free' stuff will still affect them. (and yes, there's lactose in cream, as well as yoghurt that isn't made with live cultures, American butter, lots of prepared foods, as filler in some pills, etc.)
    – Joe
    Nov 29, 2010 at 0:28
  • 1
    @Aaronut : I said 'properly made rissoto'. It might be finished with some hard grating cheese, but you're not going to get creaminess from that. I've always heard "creamy" to mean "cream-like" and not "must contain fat". Sometimes it refers to color, texture, mouthfeel, etc. ... and if you think it's hard finding non-dairy recipes, try ordering off most "american food" restaurant's menus (almost all appetizers and deserts are out, and likely 75% or more of the entrees) ... if you want dairy free, look to asian cuisine
    – Joe
    Nov 29, 2010 at 4:31

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)

  • This is identical to my answer, but with more off-topic commentary and fewer suggestions.
    – Aaronut
    Nov 28, 2010 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, 2010 at 3:52
  • 1
    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, 2010 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, 2010 at 6:36

Surely there is no better water (liquid) evaporator than a microwave. Or is zapping verboten on this forum?

You are far less likely to scorch anything, but of course you can if you grossly overdo it.

You must place in porcelain or microwave safe plastic. Start with one minute at 800 watts. If you are nervous, open the door and look in after 30 secs.

My Asian friends will cook and reheat rice by no other means if this is available.


Had this issue and I tossed in fine bread crumbs until I got the consistency I wanted. Worked fine, just had to add a little more seasoning.


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

  • Great idea! In fact that's a whole new unexplored genre of cuisine: "X" and grits, the latest thing!
    – Lorel C.
    May 21, 2017 at 18:42

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 !

  • 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, 2015 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.

  • 1
    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, 2015 at 22:14

Also if you did realize that you added a lot of milk but you didnt stir the mixture yet, you can without no problem remove the extra milk back to the milk container, if no then you will have to add something to thicken it such as bread crumbs, or even you can try to some potato or corn or rice starch works but it will slightly change the flavor of your potatoes, also flour also works or whatever you have on hand, and of course you will need to cook it at medium-low heat a few minutes to let it thicken enough.


Spread them in a 9x13 pan, and put in an oven (about 250°F - 350°F) and leave the oven door cracked open a good ways to expel the evaporating moisture. (Otherwise you're just macerating the potatoes) Stir occasionally. It will dry them out. Yes it will heat up your house but it will save the potatoes.

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