What is a potato ricer?

Here is a kitchen device whose name may belie its purpose. A potato ricer doesn’t really have anything to do with rice, but at least the “potato” in its name is correct.

A potato ricer consists mainly of a cylinder with holes in the bottom and two handles. They are made out of plastic, metal or both, and can be found online, at a well-stocked general merchandise store, or at stores like Sur La Table or Williams-Sonoma that specialize in kitchen goodies. Potato ricers are most often used when making mashed potatoes. The way it works is super simple: Put cooked potatoes in the cylinder and squeeze. By forcing the potatoes through the small holes, you get a nice, creamy consistency that can be the basis for dynamite homemade mashed potatoes. In this respect, a potato ricer is like the world’s largest garlic press, as it works in the same manner.

But potato ricers can do more than just process spuds for mashed applications. If you happen to make shredded hash browns with any frequency, a potato is an invaluable tool to have.

For this application, you put raw, shredded potatoes into the canister and press to extract the liquid, which is the enemy to crispy, perfectly browned hash browns. When doing this, the object isn’t to push the potatoes through the holes, as with mashed, but rather wringing out as much liquid as possible.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering, don’t attempt to put a raw potato in one of these things and try to make it come out the other side. You’ll probably end up with a bent or busted ricer. Yes, I know from experience.


  1. Erin said,

    September 20, 2013 @ 9:45 am

    I know this may seem like a silly question, but… Could a potato ricer be used as a garlic press for large amounts of garlic?

    I am looking for a garlic press that can hold more than 1-2 cloves of garlic at a time.

  2. Matt Degen said,

    September 22, 2013 @ 4:13 pm

    That’s a great question, Erin. To be honest I hadn’t even thought of that, but i’m going to try it out and will get back to you!

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