A potato masher, bean masher, pea masher or crusher is a food preparation utensil used to crush soft food for such dishes as mashed potatoes, apple sauce, or refried beans. Potatoes mashed using a potato masher tend to be fluffier and lighter in texture compared to other methods of mashing, because use of the device reduces cell damage to the potato, releasing less starch.
Although potato mashers are most commonly used to mash potatoes, they are also used for mashing a variety of foods.They are most used in home kitchens, but may also be used in commercial kitchens. Commercial mashers are often of larger design (up to 32 inches in base width). Other common uses include mashing pumpkins and rutabagas for soup, making hummus, guacamole, chili, baking mix, egg salad, or even purées (depending on the fineness of the ridges).