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How to Make Instant Mashed Potatoes Better

Updated September 10, 2019
Mashed potatoes with green onions and butter
Instant mashed potatoes are tasty in a cinch, but here at Tablespoon we can never leave good enough alone. Here’s how we take our instant mashed potatoes to the next level. MORE+ LESS-

Forget all about peeling, cubing and boiling a bushel of potatoes the next time you want to enjoy this classic side. You can turn a package of plain, instant mashed potatoes into a one-of-a-kind dish with the addition of a few extras. Instant potatoes are made from real potatoes that have been dehydrated, so by adding ingredients you’d normally throw in with homemade mashed potatoes, you’ll be well on your way to practically homemade potatoes in a fraction of the time.

Swap Out the Water

Butter, Progresso Chicken Broth, Betty Crocker Creamy Instant Potatoes

Instant potatoes usually call for hot water to reconstitute the dehydrated flakes. Instantly add flavor by replacing half or all of the water with an equal amount of chicken broth. Rest assured—your potatoes won’t end up tasting like chicken! In fact, when you mix the potato flakes with the warm broth, the result is a creamier, more buttery-tasting bowl of spuds.

You can also swap milk or half-and-half for the water required. Alternatively, you can dilute evaporated milk with water—one part milk to one part water—and use the milk in place of the water required.

Thick is In

One of the easiest ways to thicken instant potatoes actually add more potatoes. We know, this sounds counter-productive to saving time, but hear us out. If you have a can of diced potatoes in the back of your cupboard, drain them and toss them into the mix. If you have a leftover baked potato or two in the fridge, scoop out the insides and whip it into the instant mixture.

There are other ways to thicken your dish instead of adding more starches. A healthy dollop of mayonnaise, sour cream, cream cheese or plain Greek yogurt will stiffen the potatoes while adding rich, tangy flavor. If you add one of these dairy products to your mashed potatoes, you’ll need to start with a little less water or milk as the start.

Savory and Flavory

Chopped bacon, green onions, garlic, shredded cheese

Throw open that spice cabinet, because flavor is a friend to instant potatoes. Think about the spices, seasonings and other additions you’d normally add to homemade mashed spuds. Minced garlic or garlic powder enhances potatoes, especially when followed by a healthy sprinkling of shredded cheese. Bottled ranch dressing or dry ranch dressing mix offers a zesty kick. Other favorites are dill, chives and crumbled bacon. If all else fails, top your taters with lots of butter, a sprinkle with salt and pepper and drench them with gravy.

The average person eats about 73 pounds of potatoes each year. That’s a lot of potatoes, people! You can afford to add a little variety in your potato-consuming life. Instant potatoes have such a mild flavor it’s really a blank slate for you to come up with any flavor combination you wish. Get creative and try a seasoning mixture, such as taco seasoning, pizza spices or even the seasoning mix that comes with ramen noodles. Throw in other veggies, like baked and mashed parsnips, roasted butternut squash or even canned pumpkin. Go crazy!



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