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Feb 5, 2011 06:43 PM

Best Instant Mashed Potatoes?

I needed instant mashed potatoes and used "Potato Buds", which I thought I'd used (and liked) in the past, but didn't like them at all. Have they changed their formulation, is there a better brand?

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    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

      Oh 'Lordy be' I had no idea. Well, the 'proof is in the pudding', as it were they are indeed horrible!

      Barbara's used to be good, has anyone tried them recently?

      1. re: Funwithfood

        actually, the proof of the pudding is in the *tasting* but that's a discussion for another thread :)

        sadly, Barbara's were discontinued a couple of years ago. that was my go-to brand for gluten-free coating/breading. grrr.

        if you want them for making actual mashed potatoes, maybe you should look into some of the newer frozen brands...?

    2. The original comment has been removed
      1. The only way I would even consider using instant mashed potatoes is for some kind of coating--I understand it goes well on salmon. But otherwise, why would you ever need to make instant mashed potatoes?

        13 Replies
        1. re: escondido123

          Escondido---I use instant mashed potato to thicken a milk-based soup. a) With dietary restrictions, it is possible to make seafood chowders using skim or 1% milk and then thickening to taste with a little instant mashed potato. b) An emergency corn chowder can be made with a can of cream-style corn, a can or more of milk, odds and ends of leftover fried onions, bacon, ham, or sausage, and a bit of thickening as above. However I do recall also using IMP many years ago when I had a young child who insisted on mashed potatoes at every meal.

          1. re: Querencia

            However I do recall also using IMP many years ago when I had a young child who insisted on mashed potatoes at every meal.
            when i was little, Mom would occasionally make them for me when i was sick. she was never into cooking, and it was comfort food and one of the only things i would eat when i wasn't well. add to that the fact that my sister was a handful and a half - particularly when i was getting any attention - and those instant potatoes were a godsend for Mom! of course, once i got a taste of the BEST lumpy, homemade mashed potatoes at a friend's house, the boxed stuff didn't do it for me anymore.

            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

              My grandmother is from the era of convenience foods and almost always made instant. The grandkids could make birthday requests for meals, and my cousin always asked for "lumpy" mashed potatoes with hers. We assumed this was a sneaky way of ensuring homemade mashed.

              1. re: LisaPA

                We assumed this was a sneaky way of ensuring homemade mashed.
                clever in theory...but i had a college roommate who actually managed to make the instant ones lumpy. ick!

            2. re: Querencia

              You can do the same thing by grating a real potato into the soup. I find the flavor of instant mashed potatoes so institutional I just don't think it adds anything to a dish.

              1. re: Querencia

                I thicken potato based soups the same way.

              2. re: escondido123

                Obviously anyone CAN make mashed potatoes. But a good brand can taste extremely close to the real thing, so why wouldn't someone use them?

                1. re: Funwithfood

                  Because they aren't the real thing, they may be close but they don't have the same taste as the real thing, and they will always have that super smooth texture that tells you they aren't the real thing. I would rather skip mashed potatoes than eat instant, but if none of those things bother one enough, then go for the instant. Or, if it's like my feeling for Kraft Dinner and the taste, no matter how artificial, reminds you of good childhood moments, then go for it of course.

                  1. re: escondido123


                    When hubby and I were dating, I made fried chicken and mashed potatoes from scratch - some of his favorites.

                    He complimented me on the mashed potatoes and asked what brand they were -- and didn't believe when I told him that I'd made them, as he thought they were far too smooth and fluffy to be homemade. I went into the kitchen and came back with a handful of potato peel and dropped them on his now-empty plate...he finally believed me.

                    So there's a case of super smooth mashed potatoes that ARE the real thing.

                    And when I'm short on time, energy, or give-a-damn, the Idahoan Homestyle are a more than acceptable substitute...they really DO taste like the real thing, and this is coming from somebody who makes *everything* from scratch.

                    1. re: escondido123

                      There are dishes where i prefer the smoothness, not to mention the quickness. Sometimes I add fresh herbs to the boiling liquid, very tasty. The ones I had the other night tasted like wallpaper paste, disgusting.

                    2. re: Funwithfood

                      They are a godsend to people who do their grocery shopping on foot, have conditions that limit physical strength, have limited pantry space, and in wintry weather when you'd rather limit the number of bulky or heavy bags you are carrying through ice/snow from your car. My mother did not drive, and instant mashed made her life easier.

                      1. re: greygarious

                        And that is a perfectly fine reason to use instant mashed potatoes. I'm sure my day will come and I'll be buying instant....sigh.

                        1. re: greygarious

                          I had the Idahoan ones at a relative's house recently and was amazed at how good they actually were. I'd certainly use them on top of shepherd's pie myself. Must get a box!
                          They're also very good in bread.

                    3. Idahoan's Homestyle -- and it HAS to be the brown package that says Homestyle -- are the best ones I've found -- nobody minds them, and most people actually think they're homemade (I've done an evil switcheroo just to see). They have milk and butter already mixed in with the flakes, so you add just hot water. Not sure what's different, but there isn't that horribly dried taste that the rest of the brands (even Idahoan's) have. It's just about the only food (other than Reese cups) that I stuff in my suitcase when I visit the States.

                      The rest of the market is nasty...I'd rather never eat mashed potatoes again if I couldn't make my own.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: sunshine842

                        GoodHousekeeping agrees with you.

                        "Winner: Our tasters would serve these "silky smooth" Idahoan Original Mashed Potatoes ($5.29 for 34 servings) to a crowd with pleasure, thanks to their "fresh potato taste" — especially impressive because it's a dehydrated variety.

                      2. Personally, I lean towards Idahoan's when I'm too lazy to peel and boil.
                        However, it seems that no matter what the brand, some of the "flavored" varieties have a lot of salt - I've learned to first check the label and adjust accordingly when I do these when I need a quick potato pancake fix.............