MasterChef’s Marcus Wareing reveals the mashed potato cooking mistake we all make

mashed potato
(Image credit: Karwai Tang)

Cooking is such an important part of everyday life, but celebrity chef Marcus Wareing has revealed the most common mistake we make when cooking mashed potato.

Mashed potato is a British staple, and is most commonly served as a side dish alongside meat, vegetables and plenty of gravy. It’s also a perfect accompaniment to a pie for a cosy winter warmer.

But Marcus Wareing, who runs eponymous Michelin-star restaurant Marcus, has shared the perfect mashed potato method in his new book Marcus Everyday.

The MasterChef host also spoke about the common mistakes people make when tackling the delicious side dish, and how we can fix them.

mashed potato

Credit: Getty Images

Marcus’ professional advice comes in threes, “Cut evenly, cook evenly, and don’t rush”. First off, it’s important to peel the potatoes cleanly before washing them and making sure they’re cut into even pieces. And here's where the one of the common mistake usually happens - if they’re different sizes, the smaller pieces of potato will overcook and absorb water, resulting in a bland tasting mash.

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Next, you should cook the potatoes in salted water on a slow boil. If you boil them too fast, the outside will be overcooked before the middle is cooked through.

As a result of this, your mash would end up with a different consistency and would be unpleasant.

Once cooked, drain and leave the potatoes for a good five minutes to rest. Shake them around, and put them back in the pan, off the heat. Once rested, you can mash them to your taste adding butter, cheese or herbs.

An excerpt from Marcus’ book reads, 'First, peel the potatoes cleanly, then wash them and cut them all into evenly sized pieces, otherwise the smaller potato pieces will overcook, and before they break they will absorb water, which will make your mash watery and tasteless.

mashed potato

Credit: Getty Images

“Boil them in salted water at a slow boil – a fast boil will overcook the outside before the middle of the potato chunks are cooked through; you don’t want lumps of overcooked potato in your mash.

“Once the potatoes are cooked all the way through, but not quite falling apart, drain and leave them for a good five minutes, then shake them around and put them back in the pan, off the heat.

“The potatoes should then be hot enough to take the butter on board. Mash to your liking – a potato ricer really does help.”

Lucy Buglass
Digital Writer

Lucy Buglass is a Digital Writer for What's on TV,, and Woman&Home. After finishing her degree in Film Studies at Oxford Brookes University she moved to London to begin her career. She's passionate about entertainment and spends most of her free time watching Netflix series, BBC dramas, or going to the cinema to catch the latest film releases.