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The secrets to creamy mashed potatoes and lump-free gravy

by Alessandra Bulow / / Source: TODAY

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Make this the year of creamy (not gluey!) mashed potatoes and lump-free gravy with Brandi Milloy and Sunny Anderson's top Thanksgiving cooking tips.

Brandi Milloy’s Tips to Making Creamy (not gluey) Mashed Potatoes

1. Choose the right potato

You want one that’s high in starch, like a tough-skinned russet, or one that’s waxy, like a thin-skinned yellow potato. You can also use a combination of the two. I love using Yukon gold potatoes, which have a buttery flavor and creamy consistency.

2. Boil your potatoes perfectly

Just like pasta, you want to boil your potatoes in salted water. Boil them until they’re soft, but not dissolving and falling apart.

3. Always mash potatoes when they are hot

Yes, you can dry or steam off your potatoes before mashing, but this is key.

4. The temperature of your add-ins matter

Add room temperature butter and cream (or cream cheese is my secret add-in) to help potatoes absorb the dairy much more easily. You must use a combination of butter and milk/cream/cream cheese.

5. Never ever (EVER!) using a food processor or blender.

This will over mash the potatoes and make them gummy and gluey.

6. Don't over work the potatoes.

Mash them by hand or use a hand mixer.

If your potatoes still turn out gluey, spread them onto a baking sheet and top with butter, cheese and bacon!

Recipe to try: Carson's Mom's Cloud Nine Potatoes

Sunny Anderson and Brandy Milloy whip up a delicious Thanksgiving dinner on TODAY
TODAY Show: Sunny Anderson and Brandy Milloy whip up a delicious Thanksgiving dinner on TODAY. -- November 26, 2015Patty Lee / TODAY

Sunny Anderson’s Tips for Making Lump-Free Gravy

The secret to lump-free gravy is combining the pan juices with a roux that's made with a 1:1 ratio of flour to fat (butter). The cause of most lumpy gravy is that the flour is not evenly distributed in the liquid. Combining the flour with a fat, like butter, coats the flour and gives it time to do its job, which is to slowly incorporate into the pan juices to make the gravy thick and smooth instead of huddling into a clump. One tablespoon of flour and equal parts fat can thicken about 1-1/2 to 2 cups of gravy, depending on how thick or thin you like it.

Step 1: Deglaze the pan

Deglaze the pan drippings with chicken broth and/or wine and reduce over medium flame. Pour the reduced pan juices into a measuring cup with a spout.

Step 2: Make a roux

The key is to start off by using equal parts fat (like butter) and flour. In a medium saucepan, using a whisk or wooden spoon, vigorously whisk/stir the flour into melted butter until fully incorporated. Treat cooking with flour the way you treat cooking with wine: you have to give it a second to cook off the things you don't want. For the flour it's the flavor of flour. Cook the roux until the flour scent and flavor is gone.

Step 3: Combine the deglazed pan juices and the roux

Slowly begin adding the deglazed pan juices to the roux for the gravy, still whisking vigorously until fully incorporated.

Recipe to try: Curtis Stone's Cajun Roasted Turkey with Gravy

Bonus: Brandi Milloy’s Best Ever Quick Cranberry Sauce Ideas

Skip the can and try one of these fast recipes instead.

Cranberry Sauce #1: In a medium saucepan, add equal parts frozen cranberries and 1 jar of red currant jelly. Cook over high heat until boiling, then lower to a simmer. Simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until melted. Break up the cranberries with a fork.

Cranberry Sauce #2: In a medium saucepan, add 1 bag (12 ounces) fresh cranberries, 1 cup orange juice and 1 cup of sugar. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves. Once the sugar and turn off heat once cranberries start to pop. Stir in cinnamon or orange zest.

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