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Is there a best instant mashed potatoes?

I'm going to make a meatloaf layer cake for a birthday party. I don't make this often but every time, no matter how careful I am w/ the mashed potatoes, there are some lumps and it gets caught in the pastry bag tip. It's a pain because you have to take it apart, hot potatoes in the bag, and remove it, continue. It's messy and time consuming. Recipes I see online use instant. It seems like it would be much easier. I vaguely remember having samples at Costco that weren't bad at some point but can't remember the brand. I thought it was just potatoes, salt. Is there a good one? If not, I'll go back to making my own. Thanks!

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  1. I picked up a pack of Excel recently at GFS and was surprised at how good a product it was. Comes in "pearl" form (little beads of dehydrated potato. Pretty darn good.

    5 Replies
    1. re: ferret

      Excel is the best I have found too. In addition, Idahoan in general is very dependable.

      1. re: coll

        I've found that Idahoan artificial flavors have a metallic, chemical taste.

        1. re: mucho gordo

          Dunno. I use the plain, for thickening as much as for hubby's perverted tastes. Doesn't have an Irish bone in his body, sad to say.

          1. re: mucho gordo

            Some of the Idahoan potatoes are just nasty... but the baby reds, Yukon golds and garlic potatoes are good - or at least they were a few years ago. Since we had to cut carbs I don't buy them any more...

        2. re: ferret

          Thanks! I've never heard of it. I'll keep an eye out at the store. I wonder if I can get it at a conventional grocery store.

        3. There is currently a related thread on Home Cooking that compares brands of the pre-made refrigerated mashed potatoes, if that's helpful to you.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Querencia

            Yeah, only I'm far too cheap to spend what it would cost to frost a cake.:-) I was at the store today, was waiting for the butcher and looked at that section. I'm amazed at how large it is, the varieties, plus the other foods there (mac and cheese, pulled pork, barbecues, etc.) that I've never noticed before.

          2. Do you use a potato ricer to make your mashed potatoes? I do and have never had a lump.

            1 Reply
            1. re: JMF

              I thought about that but I normally like lumpy potatoes and I very rarely ever make this meatloaf cake. I'm doing it this time as a joke.

            2. They're all similar. Just stay away from the flavored ones (even the "butter" flavored. Nasty.)

              I always used to keep some Pillsbury Instant Mashed Potatoes in the cupboard for emergencies
              (or for 'adjusting' my freshly made mash if I accidentally overdid the milk...shhhhh!); they were granules rather than the common flakes and even stood up pretty well to fresh mash on their own in emergencies if butter and cream were used.
              I wish they were still available...when Gold Medal bought out Pillsbury, a lot of products disappeared. The instant potatoes were one of them.

              1. Thanks, everyone. I couldn't find Excel mashed potatoes and as I looked at the shelf full of instant, I couldn't bring myself to buy any. I don't want to go through all that trouble only to have it not taste good. It occurred to me that all I had to do was buy a bigger scroll tip. Duh.