How to Make Instant Potatoes Taste Better

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Have everyone thinking you spent a long time peeling, boiling, mashing and mixing potatoes, when really didn’t! Learn how to make instant potatoes taste better: rich, creamy and full of flavor.

Did you grow up eating from scratch mashed potatoes or instant? My mom made us real, homemade mashed potatoes 99% of the time. They were amazing! But here’s the weird thing…every now and then I would have a taste of instant potatoes and I thought the flavor and texture were so good. Just because they were different.

So whether you grew up on instant potatoes or real Idaho potatoes, we hope you give these jazzed up instant potatoes a try. They are a great convenience food. You’ll be surprised at how good instant spuds are!

bowl of creamy mashed potatoes with parsley

Why you’ll love this recipe:

  • uses pantry items
  • quick and easy for last minute dinners
  • easy add-ins for great classic flavor
  • goes with just about any main dish

Are instant potatoes as healthy as real potatoes?

The short answer is no. Real whole potatoes are the best option. But if you’re comparing instant potatoes to fried potatoes or fast food potatoes, then they are definitely healthier than that.

table with instant potatoes, rolls and mixed vegetables

What are the best instant potatoes?

We tested three types of instant potatoes:

  • Idahoan Buttery Homestyle Mashed Potatoes: These were our favorite! They had great buttery flavor, a good consistency and were fairly light and fluffy. Some might find them a little salty if they are sensitive to salt.
  • Meijer Store Brand Creamy Buttery Mashed Potatoes: These were very thick. The exact opposite of the Hungry Jack potatoes. Because of that they were heavier. They had the consistency most like our traditional fresh homemade mashed potatoes, and the flavor was comforting. Not quite as buttery as the Idahoan, but still flavorful.
  • Hungry Jack Mashed Potatoes: These had a familiar flavor that was ok. However, they were really runny compared to the other two. Too runny for my tastes. If I were using this brand again, I would add more flakes to make them thicker.
ingredients for instant potatoes

What to Add to Instant Potatoes to Make Them Taste Better

Many packages of instant potatoes call for just adding water. That is what makes them quick and easy, right? However, if taste is most important to you, try these additions based on your preferences:

  • Milk: Milk adds to the richness of the potatoes. Use at least 2% milk, but preferably whole milk.
  • Chicken broth: This adds a richer flavor than if you would just use water.
  • Butter: Butter is always a good idea. Don’t use margarine. Use real 100% butter, either salted or unsalted.
  • Sour Cream: Sour cream and potatoes just go together. So why not mix them in?
  • Cream cheese: My grandma always added cream cheese to her potatoes. It thickens them and makes them super creamy.
  • Seasonings: Salt, pepper, garlic powder and onion powder are our favorites, but add any seasonings you’d like.

Please be aware that every brand of instant potatoes already puts in their own seasonings, so don’t go overboard. Add the ingredients slowly so that you get the perfect flavor that you prefer. Especially if you need less salt.

How to Store Instant Potatoes

Place the leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. When you are ready to reheat them, warming them in the microwave is the best option.

bowl of instant mashed potatoes
bowl of instant mashed potatoes

How to Make Instant Potatoes Taste Better

4.57 from 146 votes
Have everyone thinking you spent a long time peeling, boiling, mashing, and mixing potatoes, when really didn't! Learn how to make instant potatoes taste better: rich, creamy and full of flavor.
Servings 8
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes

Ingredients
 

  • 8 ounces instant mashed potatoes* (We used 2 4-ounce packages)
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • ½ cup melted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • ½ cup cream cheese
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder

Instructions
 

  • In a medium saucepan bring the milk and broth to a gentle boil and stir continuously while the mixture boils for two minutes.
  • Remove the liquids from heat and pour into a large mixing bowl.
  • Add potato flakes and stir well with a whisk to make sure all flakes are moistened. Let sit for five minutes.
  • Use a hand mixer to mix and fluff potatoes on medium speed for one minute.
  • Add remaining ingredients and mix on medium to medium high until all ingredients are well combined. You can have small lumps, but should not have very many.They should be slightly fluffy and smooth.
  • Garnish with parsley, bacon, cheese, gravy…whatever you choose!

Video

Notes

*We prefer the Idahoan buttery homestyle brand of instant potatoes. Go by ounces rather than cups to measure the potato flakes.
In the video I say you need a tablespoon of onion powder, but it is a teaspoon. Follow the written recipe. 
 
The calories shown are based on the recipe serving 8, with 1 serving being ⅛ of the recipe. Since different brands of ingredients have different nutritional information, the calories shown are just an estimate. **We are not dietitians and recommend you seek a nutritionist for exact nutritional information.**

Nutrition

Calories: 324kcal | Carbohydrates: 28g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 13g | Cholesterol: 60mg | Sodium: 866mg | Potassium: 497mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 733IU | Vitamin C: 27mg | Calcium: 118mg | Iron: 1mg
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Calories 324
Keyword comfort food, old fashioned recipe, potato recipe
gravy pouring over mashed potatoes

Other Mashed Potato Recipes

Love potatoes? We do, too! Try one of our mashed potato recipes:

About Julie Clark

I'm Julie Clark, CEO and recipe developer of Tastes of Lizzy T. With my B.A. in Education and over 30 years of cooking and baking, I want to teach YOU the best of our family recipes.

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Colleen Ramsey
2 years ago

5 stars
I have never used chicken broth for these instant potatoes but I am definitely going to try it with the broth the next time I make this recipe.
My family loves these so much that I make them for Thanksgiving and sometimes for Christmas.
I usually mix these by hand but I am going to try the hand mixer instead.
Thank you for posting this recipe!

Lowell
2 years ago

I have never liked instant mashed potatoes. After reading what you add make them seem much better. Maybe some day I will try it.

Liz
1 year ago

5 stars
So happy I found this recipe! Got caught in a pinch and homemade mashed potatoes failed. Thankfully I had a box of instant mashed and this recipe just helped elevate it. We got plenty of compliments and will definitely use for the next get together.

Mom of three
1 year ago

5 stars
Thank you Great recipe, hubby and I really enjoyed it the power garlic and onion’s were a nice combination to this recipe:)

RALPH DUNNIEHIGH
1 year ago

5 stars
Best tasting mashed potatoes EVER!!! And I don’t even like mashed potatoes… But I made it for my kids in under 10 minutes…just so happened to have all of the ingredients… Just one thing. My potatoes came out very firm… Any suggestions? Thanks!!!

Nick
1 year ago

Is it 2 cups or 8 dry ounces of potato flakes? My potato flakes is like 3.5 cups in 8 dry oz measure?

Jessie
1 year ago

5 stars
These were good but they should be called mush potatoes be cause there’s way too much liquid for the amount of potatoes in the recipe. I’ve made them several times with different brands of instant potatoes and they always come out the consistency of a thick soup. That said the recipe is tasty and my family loves them.

Makia malynn
1 year ago

Thanks alot Im trying to learn how to cook im only twelve and have a while to go I do know how to peel potatoes but I’m trying to start with the basic steps first you really helped and I will use this recipe for my many years to come Thank you so much!!!

Last edited 1 year ago by Makia malynn
Pamela
9 months ago

5 stars
Hi, I made your mashed potato recipe, delicious!! Thank you!!

Asia Schmidt
9 months ago

5 stars
Amazing! Tastes like something that would be served in a fancy restaurant!

Maritza Lopez-McCoy
6 months ago

3 stars
Taste was great and I had high hopes, I followed the recipe carefully and to the T….unfortunately ended up with soup instead ☹️

So I tried fixing it by adding more flakes and let it sit for 5 more mins….no bueno!

Kasi
5 months ago

5 stars
I love this recipe! It came out amazing! The only problem is, I’m such a cluttered that it takes me forever to grind the pepper for it 😅

Brittany
3 months ago

4 stars
Good but I feel it had way to much garlic or maybe onion powder. And I normally love those two spices. Just a little too much. I will be making again with a little less of those. Thanks! 😊