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How to Make Instant Mashed Potatoes Better

By TBSP Susan
Created March 8, 2017
It's true. You really can liven up instant mashed potatoes and make them taste a whole lot better without spending any extra time. MORE+ LESS-

Here's how to make instant mashed potatoes taste like real mashed potatoes -- easily.

It's true. You really can liven up instant mashed potatoes and make them taste a whole lot better without spending any extra time.

Most brands of instant mashed potatoes require little more than some hot water to reconstitute the dehydrated potato flakes. While instant potatoes are "real," they generally aren't as tasty as fresh, homemade mashed potatoes. Fortunately, you can learn how to make instant mashed potatoes taste like "real" potatoes with these quick and easy tips. 

Replace the Water

Instead of boiling or heating the water called for on the package of instant potatoes, replace half or all of the water with an equal amount of chicken broth. Rest assured, the potatoes will not 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. This works especially well for the just-add-water brands that do not require milk. 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.

Make It Thicker

Perhaps the easiest way to thicken instant potatoes and create the flavor and consistency of “real” mashed potatoes is to actually add more potatoes. 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 pulp and whip it into the instant mixture.

Sprinkling in a little more potato flakes can provide a more potato-y texture, as well. In addition, a healthy dollop of mayonnaise, sour cream, cream cheese or plain yogurt will thicken the potatoes while providing a rich, tangy flavor. If you decide to add any of these, start with a little less water than called for on the box.

Stir in Some Flavor

Adding some flavors might not make instant mashed potatoes taste more like their real versions, but it will make them yummier. Think about the spices, seasonings and other goodies you enjoy in your homemade 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 them with lots of butter, sprinkle with salt and pepper and drench them with gravy.

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 the seasoning mix that comes with ramen noodles.

Recipes Using Instant Mashed Potatoes

So, you're an instant mashed potato expert now -- and you need some more potato recipes to use with those yummy spuds. We've got just the ones!


Who knows? You may come up with the next mashed potato trend. If you do, share it with us!