Nothing is more satisfying than a bowl of steamy, creamy, and buttery mashed potatoes with a meal or as a snack, but they can take a long time to make from scratch. If you're short on time, instant mashed potatoes are exactly what you're looking for! There are tons of flavor options, from savory mashed potatoes with bacon bits to ones packed with spices and herbs.
That's why we've created a list of the best 10 instant mashed potatoes. Idahoan's Buttery Homestyle Mashed Potatoes are our favorite. They're made with 100 percent Idaho potatoes for a fluffy texture and come in a microwavable bowl. There are more delicious products on our list, so check them out! And if you need some help to decide the right instant mashed potatoes for you, scroll down to our buying guide reviewed by a chef.
Jim Quast (JQ) is a lifelong professional restaurant and corporate R&D chef that loves everything food-related and the tools both big and small to make those great food memories. He's a super huge BBQ, grill, and kitchen gadget fanatic. JQ has spent the last 30+ years trying to figure out what works to make your kitchen life easier and fun. If you can use it to slice it, dice it, cook it, smoke it or store it, he's been there checking it out. Food = Life! https://www.linkedin.com/in/jim-quast-59769011/
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With all of these options in mind, let's move on to the selection process! Choosing an instant mashed potato dish is not as easy as it might sound, as you'll have to consider the type of potatoes, the flavor of the product, and the ease of preparation. For more details, read on.
First and foremost, we need to think about the types of potatoes. You can only make mashed potatoes with the right variety of spud. It's important that you choose products made with starchy russet potatoes; they soak up butter and milk well to give you a rich, creamy taste.
On top of that, thanks to the high starch content, they don't hold their shape well. This quality helps your mashed potatoes have a fluffy and light consistency.
Many products boast about being made with Idaho potatoes. What's so special about them? When the name "Idaho potato" comes up, many people think of top-notch russet potatoes.
The volcanic, mineral-dense soil in Idaho is ideal for growing potatoes. Potatoes grown in this type of soil are quite low in moisture and fall apart easily. If you are looking for mashed potatoes that are light as air and melt in your mouth, Idaho potatoes are the secret!
Try to avoid products made with waxy varieties like New or Red Bliss potatoes, as they will create a gummy texture. With a medium starch content, Yukon Golds won't mash up well either. But, they have a creamier flavor. For light mashed potatoes with a natural creaminess, look for a product that uses half russets and half Yukon Golds.
The best mashed potatoes are crafted with only a few simple ingredients, including potatoes, butter, and a type of liquid dairy, like milk or cream. While the type of potatoes matters a lot for getting the correct texture, the dairy will give mashed potatoes creaminess and richness.
So, check the package to see which kind of dairy is used in the recipe. Butter is found in the majority of instant mashed potatoes, as it adds creaminess and richness to them.
On the other hand, liquid dairy such as milk, half-and-half, buttermilk, or cream helps make the consistency luscious. It also enhances the richness of mashed potatoes. You'll see that some instant products use nonfat dry milk, buttermilk, cream, or regular milk.
Dairy with a higher fat content such as cream and buttermilk will make the flavor more decadent. But if you want something lighter, go for regular milk instead.
There are also products that are made of only potato flakes without any dairy. Since they have a plain taste, you can freely add the kind of dairy that you like.
Both potato flakes and instant mixes allow you to make steamy, creamy mashed potatoes in a few minutes. But keep in mind that they work in different ways. So, decide which one meets your need better.
Potato flakes are a convenient option and can help you make some tasty mashed potatoes in a pinch. They are essentially dehydrated, cooked potatoes and will turn into mashed potatoes with some hot water or milk. They come without any seasonings, so you can usually add any dairy and spices you like to customize the flavor.
On top of that, potato flakes are versatile and can be used for many recipes. They are great to thicken gravy or sauces, make a fantastic base for potato soup, and be used in place of breadcrumbs to give your meat or seafood a crispy coating. Adding potato flakes to your meatballs or meatloaf will make them moist and tender as well!
Instant mashed potatoes are usually crafted from real potatoes that are manufactured and dehydrated. For a quick meal or snack, mixes provide the most convenience. You just need to add some water to the mix and cook it on the stovetop or in the microwave.
Instant mashed potatoes come in many flavors. If you like the traditional creamy taste of mashed potatoes, go for a classic flavor. Those are usually made with butter, potatoes, and salt only. However, there are also flavored mixes that have different types of herbs, spices, and other ingredients.
Some mashes contain herbs or roasted garlic for an aromatic taste. Some are flavored with sharp cheddar, Parmesan, Monterey pepper jack, or even a mix of different kinds of cheese. The flavor combination of sour cream and chives is tasty as well. For a more savory taste, pick mashed potatoes that are loaded with bacon bits.
Mashed potatoes are a treat that everyone loves. But sometimes, you want something a little bit different. There are many alternatives to regular mashed potatoes that can make your meals a little bit more exciting.
One of the alternatives that you might want to try is mashed sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes are a healthier choice since they're low in calories and carbohydrates. Plus, they're nutrient-dense and a great source of vitamins and minerals such as manganese, vitamins A, C, B1, and B2.
You can also consider mashed cauliflower. It's high in fiber and can help you feel fuller for a long time. But if you don't like cauliflower, go for a product that combines both potato and cauliflower. The potato flavor is actually quite strong and can help cover up the flavor of the cauliflower!
When choosing instant mashed potatoes, you should pay attention to the preparation method and time. Most instant products can be made in the microwave or on the stove. Microwave instructions usually say you need to combine all the ingredients in a microwaveable bowl and microwave on high for about three to seven minutes.
If you decide to cook the instant mashed potatoes on the stove, you need to heat up milk or water to a boil and then add the instant mashed potatoes until everything is combined. It's quick to make the mashed potatoes on the stovetop, since the longest part is waiting for the liquid to boil.
Some products only require you to mix in boiling water, while some others are ready-made and just need to be heated up in the microwave. So, again, check the preparation instructions of the products and make sure they are convenient to prepare for you.
Instant mashed potatoes can come in the form of boxes, bags, bulk canisters, andsingle-serving packages. Boxes, bags, and bulk canisters contain a lot of servings and are relatively inexpensive. However, once opened, you need to store the remaining product carefully, preferably in an airtight container, to keep out moisture or contaminants.
Single-serving packages are easy to carry and prepare. There are even ready-to-eat mashed potatoes that don't require cooking or adding water at all. They are the most convenient type but also more expensive than other options.
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Buttery Homestyle Mashed Potatoes
Best Microwavable Single-Serving Packs
Bob's Red Mill
Potato Flakes Instant Mashed Potatoes
Best Versatile Potato Flakes
Best Easy-to-Prepare Box Potatoes
Flavored Mashed Potatoes Assortment
Best Variety of Flavors to Explore
Edward & Sons
Potato Gems Complete Mashed Potatoes
Best Certified Gluten-Free and Organic Mashed Potatoes
Basic American Foods
Excel Mashed Potatoes
Best Buttery Mashed Potatoes That Work in a Pinch
Instant Mashed Potatoes
Best for Incorporating Roasted Garlic for a Rich Taste and Smoky Fragrance
Best for Containing Real Cream and Butter
Original Mashed Potatoes
Best for the Addition of Sour Cream and Chives for a Delicious Twist on the Classic
Sweet Potato Mashed Potatoes
Best Mashed Sweet Potatoes With a Touch of Sweetness
These mashed potatoes are made from 100 percent real Idaho potatoes, which are known for their fluffy texture. They have a simple buttery flavor, so you add extra ingredients like bacon bits or shredded cheese to make them more flavorful. Moreover, the microwavable single-serving container is great for portion control and convenient to pack for lunch.
A couple of buyers found the mashed potatoes a bit too dry. Yet, the majority complimented that these instant mashed potatoes had a rich, buttery flavor. The ease of preparation was another reason that made people happy. They mentioned that the mashed potatoes were quick to make and very filling.
These potato flakes are versatile and can be used for many different recipes. Besides using them to make mashed potatoes, you can also use them as a thickening agent for sauces or gravy. They're a great gluten-free alternative to regular breadcrumbs and can help you make a crispy coating for meat and seafood as well.
Although some people complained about these potato flakes' bland taste, the majority were happy with their versatility. They used them for making soup, coating meat, baking bread, and whipping up mashed potatoes. Since the product only contains dehydrated potatoes, reviewers were able to add their own choice of seasonings.
These mashed potatoes from Hungry Jack are made from Idaho potatoes for a fluffy texture. They are also effortless to make. Just add water, milk, and butter, cook for a few minutes as instructed, and your mashed potatoes are done. These mashed potatoes can be made using either a stovetop or a microwave.
Since the packaging isn't resealable, make sure you transfer the content to an airtight container to preserve the quality. Yet, many buyers complimented the texture and further mentioned that the mashed potatoes had a great taste similar to the ones made from scratch. They added that the mashed potatoes were easy to make.
This variety pack of mashed potatoes includes ten different flavors, such as applewood smoked bacon, roasted garlic and parmesan, and sour cream and chives, to tickle any taste buds. Plus, they're crafted with real Idaho potatoes to bring you a fluffy texture.
Most buyers loved the assortment of flavors and further mentioned that each one of them was delicious. They also liked that the mashed potatoes were easy and quick to prepare. Reviewers found this product versatile as well and said it could be used for anything, including soups, stews, potato pancakes, and shepherd's pie.
These mashed potatoes from Edward & Sons are made from only organic ingredients and are free from artificial additives. They include roasted garlic for a roasted flavor. It's easy to prepare and takes only three and a half minutes in the microwave. You can also cook the mashed potatoes on the stovetop or simply mix in boiling water and butter spread.
One major complaint about these mashed potatoes for a few buyers was the paste-like and gluey texture. Some buyers suggested only mixing lightly instead of vigorously to keep the texture fluffy. Nevertheless, most complimented the delicious flavor with a subtle hint of roasted garlic. They shared that preparation and cooking were beyond easy as well.
With these instant mashed potatoes, you'll be able to cook up some fluffy, buttery mashed potatoes in mere minutes without all the cumbersome peeling, cutting, or boiling. In fact, you just need to add hot water! It comes in a 28-ounce bag that isn't resealable, so make sure to store the remaining product properly to preserve its quality.
For many reviewers, this product was a staple in their pantries as it provided an easy shortcut for making delicious mashed potatoes. Plus, they noted that they had a fluffy texture and tasted so similar to homemade mashed potatoes that hardly anyone noticed a difference. Many suggested adding milk and butter for some extra indulgence.
These mashed potatoes are rich, creamy, and fluffy as they contain butter and buttermilk. The roasted garlic further lends a sweet, smoky fragrance and rich, buttery flavor to the classic mashed potatoes. They go well with a variety of food such as roast beef, pork chops, and veggies and can be incorporated in recipes such as casserole and shepherd's pie.
The taste is a bit salty for some buyers. On the other hand, most praised the creamy, smooth, and fluffy texture. They also loved that the mashed potatoes were easy and quick to make. It's suggested that you add extra ingredients like parsley, cheese, or spam to improve the flavor.
Hungry Jack's Country Buttered Mashed Potatoes are made with Idaho potatoes, cream, butter, canola oil, and coconut oil for a rich and creamy flavor. The mashed potatoes are free from artificial additives and certified gluten-free. They're also easy to make as you only need to add water and heat the whole thing in the oven or in the microwave.
According to some buyers, these mashed potatoes were overwhelmingly salty. Nonetheless, most buyers loved their buttery and creamy flavor. They said the mashed potatoes were easy to make as well. Buyers added cheese and bacon to amp up the flavor.
Bob Evans' mashed potatoes are made with sour cream and chives for a tangy twist on the classic recipe. It also contains a blend of milk, butter, and oils for a rich and creamy taste. Plus, these mashed potatoes can be made in the microwave as well as on the stove. You don't even need to add water!
A few buyers commented that the mashed potatoes were too salty. Yet, most reviewers were satisfied with their flavor, and many even thought it was as good as homemade ones. People also liked the fluffy, creamy consistency.
These mashed sweet potatoes make for a sweet, yummy side dish perfect for the holidays and fall. They are made with russet and sweet potatoes and sweetened with a combination of brown sugar, sugar, and corn syrup for a decadent flavor. To give mashed potatoes more texture, try topping it with some pecans. A touch of cinnamon can deepen the flavor as well.
A few reviewers disliked the consistency. Even so, the majority of reviewers were a fan of this sweet potato dish, commenting that it's delicious and had just the right amount of sweetness. Some used the product to make sweet potato casserole. Many loved that it's easy to make as well.
Instant mashed potatoes save us a lot of time and effort. But, will an instant product taste similar to a homemade dish? Well, maybe not. However, there are many hacks that you can take advantage of to elevate the taste of your instant mashed potatoes.
First off, modify the required ingredients a little. For instance, if you're using potato flakes, don't just add water. You might want to use a mixture of butter, cream (heavy cream or sour cream), and broth (chicken, beef, or vegetable) for a more indulgent taste. For mixes, a bit more butter and cream can further enrich the flavor.
Try playing around with add-ins, too. Some foolproof combinations are chives and sour cream, butter and herbs, roasted garlic and Parmesan, or shredded cheddar cheese. Some bacon bits and ham can also enhance the savory flavor of mashed potatoes. Feel free to explore!
You can also always adjust the texture of the potatoes by adding a little bit of liquid dairy. So, don't feel frustrated just yet if your instant mashed potatoes don't have a smooth texture. Experiment a little bit!
If you're in the mood of making some homemade mashed potatoes, you might need these handy kitchen utensils!
Haven't found a good pick? Take a look at Amazon's best-selling mashed potatoes!
No. 1：Idahoan｜Buttery Homestyle Mashed Potatoes
No. 2：Bob's Red Mill ｜Potato Flakes Instant Mashed Potatoes
No. 3：Hungry Jack ｜Mashed Potatoes
No. 4：Idahoan｜Flavored Mashed Potatoes Assortment
No. 5：Edward & Sons ｜Potato Gems Complete Mashed Potatoes
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