mashed potatoes processed through a ricer for the preparation of gnocchi with peeled potatoes and the masher at the backgroundPotato ricers are essential kitchen tools for home and professional chefs alike.  They are most commonly used for making gnocchi, a dumpling-like pasta often made from potatoes. They’re a relatively affordable cooking tool that gives you a beautifully even puree from pretty much any cooked vegetable. Wondering what they are and how they work? Read on to find out.

What Is A Potato Ricer?

A potato ricer is a great kitchen tool to have if you make a lot of pureed food, or if you just want the best texture for any puree you make. The ricer is typically structured similar to a garlic press, with two long handles attached to each other and a basket at the center. The basket is attached to one of the handles and has small holes at the bottom, similar to a sieve.

There is also a flat surface that fits perfectly into the basket attached to the other handle. It’s a relatively small tool, and performs a handheld operation.

What Can It Be Used For?

Potato ricers are a valued kitchen tool for creating velvety smooth purees, with little to no debris. It creates a perfectly even mixture with no stray seeds or skin left over. This means it’s perfect to use for any dish that requires a nice, smooth puree (think: tomato sauce, mashed potatoes –  traditional or sweet, creamed soups, baby food, and more!)

There are plenty of devices out there that also give you a nicely pureed texture, like food processors, food mills, and blenders, but the potato ricer is definitely the smallest and most portable of all these, which gives it a unique edge. This makes it much easier to store than other devices, and if you have limited kitchen space, this is very valuable.

How to Use a Potato Ricer

To operate, place a bowl underneath the device and put the food you’d like to puree into the basket. Usually, the food (especially vegetables) should be tender, which means you need to cook them a bit beforehand. Use the handles to push the food down through the sieve at the bottom of the basket and into the bowl. The final product is a grain like riced texture (hence the name), which is even and fluffy every time. When mixed a bit more, you get the perfect puree.

Here is a great video that shows a potato ricer being used to make super fluffy mashed potatoes:

Pros and Cons

Pros

There are so many advantages to using this tool. It creates the best, creamiest, richest texture for purees, because none of the integrity of the vegetable is lost in the process. You get all the great fiber and nutrients out of the food, and none of the undesirable seeds or skin that you may have to deal with from other devices like blenders or food processors.

Also, potato ricers are fairly affordable, and they’re also manual devices, so they don’t use any extra electricity, saving some energy and some money with every use. They’re also very straightforward to use.

Cons

The main drawback to using a potato ricer is that it’s all manual labor. If you have any sort of hand or wrist issues, they may be difficult for you to operate. They also require a few extra steps to get to that beautiful puree, including pre-cooking and post mixing, so if you’d rather have an all-in-one, quick and easy tool, this might not be for you.

bowl of gnocchi ragu
A gnocchi ragu with cheese. Potato ricers are commonly used to process the potatoes for the pasta.

Features to Look For

Stainless Steel Body

Stainless steel construction is known across the kitchen appliance world to be extremely durable, and aesthetically pleasing. Any kitchen tool you buy should be a good investment, and if that means spending a few extra bucks for stainless steel over plastic, it’ll be worth it because you’ll get years more out of it than the cheaper tool.

Soft Coated Handles

While this device can be hard to use for someone with hand or wrist issues, it would help anyone using one of these devices to find one with soft coating on the handles. This just makes it more comfortable to use, which in turn makes you more likely to use it! Look for silicone or a similar material for the coating over the stainless steel body.

Summary and Sources

Potato ricers are awesome hand-held kitchen tools for a wide variety of dishes. They have a simple construction, straightforward operation, and give you a perfectly even puree every time. With the right features, they’re a great investment for any kitchen, from a pro chef to a home cook. For anyone with a need for softened food, they should definitely be part of your kitchen gear collection.

Have you ever used a potato ricer before? Share your experiences and recipes below. Hey! If you found this article helpful, please share on your favorite social media.