The Shameful Secret Ingredient to the Best Mashed Potatoes

Just don’t tell anyone at the table about it and you’ll be totally fine

I first used this very shameful, very delicious ingredient in my mashed potatoes last Thanksgiving, and I have since vowed never to make mashed potatoes without it. I haven’t told anyone but my girlfriend and my cats about it—on account of all the shame—but I am now ready to tell the world. You deserve to know. You deserve the best, creamiest, most flavorful mashed potatoes.

But now, for more build up. Last year I decided to dump MSG in my stuffing, because there’s a bunch of MSG in Stovetop brand stuffing, which is the best stuffing of all time, and I wanted to recreate it from scratch using Lodge Bread Co. bread (it was fantastic). I told everyone at the table about the MSG just in case anyone had (erroneously held) objections. They didn’t, but I could still tell they were judging me. The MSG admission was a smokescreen. It was a straw man to draw attention away from the real crime.

I add mayonnaise to my mashed potatoes. Like, a lot of mayonnaise. I mean, just heaping, jiggling, white amorphous blobs, right into the pot.

Let me clear this up: I have no personal shame about this. I love mayonnaise and I think it should get more credit as the versatile ingredient that it is. But people are so passionately anti-mayonnaise that I have to tip-toe around it, as if loving oil emulsified into egg yolk makes me some sort of weird, gluttonous deviant. Like it’s some sort of gateway drug: first you enjoy mayo, and then you go straight to sucking Crisco out of the tub with one of those extra-wide boba straws.

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Put your prejudice aside and really think about mayonnaise, and how it would fold so perfectly and naturally into potatoes. The infinitely smooth, creamy, custardy texture of mayonnaise is basically the texture that all your mashed potatoes should be shooting for, and you get a natural shot of salt and just enough acid to brighten everything up. The flavor of mayonnaise is also less distracting than sour cream. And don’t even get me started on heathens adding Greek yogurt to their mashed taters.

There’s no correct ratio either. Just make your typical mashed potatoes—peel and boil in heavily salted water, run through a potato ricer, whisk in a good amount of butter and milk—and throw in a blob of mayo, stir, taste, and keep adding mayo until you get to the mayo breaking point. It’s going to be farther down the road than you think.