Mashed potatoes are an important part of any respectable Thanksgiving dinner. And while making them from scratch isn't that hard, it's still time consuming. What if you've waited until the last minute, and suddenly Auntie Gertrude is ringing your doorbell while your dogs play tag in the living room? What will you do now — let Fido chew on the potato peels as you frantically work to produce an authentic, homemade dish?
No, that is not what you will do. Instead, you're going to take that apron out and, like the old saying goes, you're going to work smarter, not harder by pulling out your emergency potatoes. That's right, we're talking about boxed potatoes, also known as instant potatoes. In case you were wondering, instant mashed potatoes are made from real spuds — they’ve just been cooked, mashed, and dehydrated to make your life easier. Here are four of our favorite boxed brands.
Best for a Large Group: Idahoan Original Mashed Potatoes
You can't go wrong with Idaho potatoes, especially when it comes to Idahoan Mashed Potatoes. This small box of Idahoan Real Premium Mashed Potatoes is the perfect way to serve a crowd (65 servings, to be exact) on a budget. And thanks to its “fresh potato taste,” your guests will never suspect a thing! Don’t believe us? Amazon user Lynn. M says: “These are as close to fresh mashed in taste that you can get in an instant. You can make as much or as little as you like.”
Where to Buy It: $19.31, Amazon
Best for an Old-School, Traditional Feast: Betty Crocker’s Country-Style Mashed Potatoes
If you’re looking for a traditional taste, then Betty Crocker is the only way to go. Betty Crocker’s Country-Style Yukon Gold Mashed Potatoes uses a combination of starchy Russet spuds and creamy, smooth Yukon golds for an authentic, made-from-scratch texture. These potatoes are so good, Amazon user Casey Stewart says she gives them, “Five stars for flavor.”
Where to Buy It: $10.36, Amazon
Best for Dairy-Free Guests: Edward & Sons Organic Mashed Potatoes
Edward & Sons Organic Mashed Potatoes are the perfect side dish to serve if you have dairy-free or vegan guests over for dinner. They’re not only gluten-free, Kosher-certified, and USDA organic, but they’re quick, easy, and delicious. In fact, Amazon user J. Lee says: “I was impressed by the glorious potato/onion enhanced flavor compared to the other brands of instant potato I was used to getting. I gobbled down two servings without batting an eye.”
Where to Buy It: $18.47, Amazon
Best for an Intimate Dinner for Two: Idahoan Fully Loaded Mashed Potatoes
If you’re trying to sneak a fast one past your hubby, we’d recommend going with Idahoan Fully Loaded Peppered Bacon and Cheddar Mashed Potatoes. Cheesy cheddar mixes with bacon in a “flavor-filled union of awesomeness” in these instant spuds — which we’re guessing is exactly what he’d like. “This is a very tasty product,” writes Amazon user J.Tant. “And nothing says comfort food in the backcountry like mashed potatoes… even instant.”
Where to Buy It: $44.99 for a pack of 12, Amazon