The best instant mashed potatoes should be creamy, hearty, and well seasoned. Most importantly, instant potatoes should taste good enough to convince you to never boil and mash your own potatoes again.
Making mashed potatoes can be a real production. You have to boil and peel some industrial-sized bag of spuds, give yourself tennis elbow mashing them all, and then add enough butter, cream, and salt to murder your entire family—and, honestly, 90% of the time they’re still kind of bland and lumpy. But, wow, can you even imagine the reaction if a bowl of them didn’t land on the table for Easter, Thanksgiving, or Christmas dinner? Mashed potato mutiny.
A lot of home cooks don’t want to hear this, but instant mashed potatoes are good. They’re smooth. They’re creamy—especially if you add plenty of milk and butter. And they’re extremely easy to make. Many of the instant potatoes on this list—like Idahoan mashed potatoes—only call for boiling water.
Over the course of two separate taste tests, we dug our forks into more than 20 bowls of instant mashed potatoes and came up with this list of the absolute best. Don’t let a judgey in-law keep you from spending your potato-making time in better ways. Just make the best instant mashed potatoes.
- Idahoan Baby Reds
Lots of instant mashed potato flakes require water, butter, and milk to become food anyone would want to eat. Not Idahoan mashed potatoes. These magical packets of dehydrated potato flakes are good to go (and genuinely tasty) with just boiling water. We love that Idahoan Baby Reds have real potato skins in the mix. I think a lot of people could be fooled into thinking these were really mashed baby red potatoes, and that’s what makes them some of the best instant mashed potatoes money can buy. —Gwynedd Stuart
Credit: Liv Averett / Target
- Idahoan Chicken Broth
These sound boring, but they’re actually really interesting! Of all the instant mashed potatoes we tasted, these are the savoriest. These would be good with pretty much any meal, as long as you’re not serving vegetarians. Add some extra water to these, and they’d make a quick, easy, and tasty potato soup. They’re versatile, and that’s what makes them some of the best instant mashed potatoes out there. Who knew chicken broth was what instant mashed potatoes needed? —Jordan Myrick
Credit: Liv Averett / Instacart
- Idahoan Monterey Pepper Jack
These are the best instant mashed potatoes if you love cheese. Not only are these the creamy, cheesy, rich mashed potatoes of your dreams, they also have a wonderful kick from the pepper in the pepperjack. I don’t know what I was expecting from these instant potatoes, but I certainly didn’t think they’d be this delicious. Obviously they’d be great on their own or as a bed for some fried chicken, but I also want to make a taco-inspired cottage pie and top it with these lightly spiced mashed potatoes. Idahoan mashed potatoes are reliably delicious, but these are the best. —Jordan Myrick
Credit: Liv Averett / Instacart
- Betty Crocker Creamy Butter
When it comes to convenience foods, Betty Crocker truly does it all—cake mixes, brownie mixes, Suddenly Salad, which I wholeheartedly love and recommend—but she doesn’t get nearly enough credit for her potato products. These instant mashed potatoes are smooth, flavorful, and incredibly creamy. . They’re also packed with flavor and don’t need additional seasoning to land on the dinner table (although we’d never discourage you from dousing your instant potatoes in gravy). These are the best instant mashed potatoes —Gwynedd Stuart
Credit: Liv Averett / Walmart
Best for Cooking
Best of the Best
Other Products We Tried:
Idahoan Cheddar & Sour Cream, Idahoan Vermont White Cheddar, Idahoan Wisconsin Cheddar, Idahoan Smoky Cheese & Bacon, Idahoan Four Cheese, Idahoan Applewood Smoked Bacon, Idahoan Loaded, Chef’s Cupboard Roasted Garlic, Chef’s Cupboard Four Cheese, Idahoan Hidden Valley Ranch, Signature Select Mashed Potatoes, Sprouts Organic Mashed Potatoes Garlic, Great Value Mashed Instant Potatoes, Hungry Jack Mashed Potatoes, Kroger Instant Mashed Potatoes, First Street Instant Mashed Potatoes, 365 Instant Mashed Potatoes