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How To Thicken Mashed Potatoes

No one wants watery mashed potatoes, so what do you do to thicken mashed potatoes if you have added too much milk, cream, or broth? This can be an easy fix.

I am going to cover a few easy ways that you can thicken mashed potatoes.

Depending on what you have on hand you can use flour or cornstarch as a thickening agent, use heat to dehydrate them or you could strain them.

Never feel defeated again if you end up with soggy mashed potatoes because these are a few of the best, quick and easy solutions to thicken mashed potatoes!

Bowl of mashed potatoes with a fork full with mashed potatoes.

How to thicken mashed potatoes that are soupy or soggy can be easy.

You can add a thickening agent such as flour or cornstarch and stir it in using only a tablespoon at a time or you can heat them in the microwave or oven to get the moisture out.

For really watery mashed potatoes you can strain them through a cheesecloth to get rid of the extra water which will help thicken as well.

Thickening mashed potatoes options

Making mashed potatoes and they look more like soup than rich and creamy mashed potatoes? I have a few foolproof methods to thicken your mashed potatoes so that they aren’t ruined

Depending on what you have available with help to determine which method suits you best. Thickening agents are great but if you don’t have them on hand that’s ok!

If this recipe is for Thanksgiving you might also need the steps on how to thicken gravy without flour.

You can use the microwave or oven to release some of the moisture. It may take longer but you can achieve the same goal.

Also, check out How long do mashed potatoes last.

Add a thickening agent

White bowl with mashed potatoes on a white linen napkin with a whole russet potato sitting next to it.

Flour, cornstarch, or powdered milk are the most common thickening agents in people’s pantries. These are all great for quick results when thickening mashed potatoes.

Start by mixing in one tablespoon at a time until you have reached your desired consistency.

Cornstarch is the best of the three options as it has twice the thickening power. However, they will all get the job done.

Be sure to bring the mashed potatoes up to high heat to ensure that you aren’t eating raw cornstarch. It has to be cooked to be eaten.

Use heat

The microwave, stove, or oven can help you to thicken your mashed potatoes as the moisture will evaporate with the heat.

Bowl of mashed potatoes with a sprig of parsley sitting on a cutting board with 2 forks next to it crisscrossed.


In a microwave save bowl you want to place your soggy mashed potatoes uncovered in the center on high for 2 minutes.

Stir, and continue to heat them for 2 minutes at a time until you have reached your desired thickness.

It is important to stir or fluff your potatoes every two minutes to allow the moisture to release and evaporate.

Do not over mix them or they can become gummy.

Mashed Potatoes in a pot with a wooden masher.


Place your watery mashed potatoes into a large pot on the stove on medium-high heat.

Continue to stir the mashed potatoes every few minutes so that they don’t stick to the bottom and burn.

Use a fork when stirring the mashed potatoes and don’t over stir them as the consistency will become sticky.

Also, be sure to keep the top uncovered so that the moisture can dissolve and therefore thicken the mashed potatoes.

Baking dish with baked mashed potatoes and a serving spoon.


Much like the microwave and the stovetop the heat from the oven will help the moisture evaporate and dissolve.

In an oven-safe dish, place your runny mashed potatoes into the oven at 300°F uncovered for 10-15 minutes or until your mashed potatoes are thickened to your desire.

You won’t have to stir the mashed potatoes as the heat is consistent around the dish and will push the moisture to the top and evaporate.

Bowl of Mashed potatoes with a spoon in it with cheesecloth and whole potatoes around.

Strain excess liquid

Using a cheesecloth is the best way to strain all of the excess water if your mashed potatoes are runny.

Stretch cheesecloth over your strainer pour the watery mashed potatoes over the cheesecloth and allow for them to strain.

Then pull all of the sides up together, twist the top and gently squeeze the liquid out.

Once you have as much liquid out as you can, open the cheesecloth and lay it in your strainer for about an hour to let the remaining excess moisture drip out.

Once the mashed potatoes have sat and the liquid has been removed, place them back into a pot and reheat them.

This will also remove a little more moisture to ensure that you have thickened mashed potatoes.

I also have a post on how to reheat mashed potatoes if you truly are a mashed potato fan.

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