Whether it is the smooth texture or the heartiness, there is definitely something comforting about mashed potatoes. Many of us have used instant mashed potatoes to save time, but you might think twice when you discover what is actually lurking in the box.
Idahoan Mashed Potato Mix
Here’s what we found when we compared mashed potatoes made out of a box to our homemade version:
|1/2 cup||1/2 cup|
|110 kcal||143 kcal|
|2 g||3.2 g|
|2.5 g||3.3 g|
|0.5 g||0 g|
|20 g||25.8 g|
|1 g||2.6 g|
|450 mg||36 mg|
|Total: 5 minutes||Preparation: 5 minutes|
Cooking: 20 minutes
Mixing: 5 minutes
Total: 30 minutes
Price per serving:
|Potatoes, hydrogenated oils, maltodextrin, corn syrup solids, skim milk powder, salt, sugar, whey powder, sodium caseinate, butter powder, mono and diglycerides, calcium steroyl lactylate, natural and artificial flavors, spice, sodium acid pyrophosphate, sodium bisulfite, dipotassium phosphate, lecithin, artificial color, citric acid.||Potatoes, milk, butter.|
How Did the Two Stack Up?
The homemade version is noticeably lumpier, but the chunks of potatoes also feel more real in the mouth. The instant version appeared more yellowish in color, and although it has a smoother, creamier mouth feel, the taste was rather fake. Our team agreed that it reminded us of the fake butter flavoring that you find in microwave popcorn – thanks to the “natural and artificial flavors.”
On the nutrition front, our homemade version has more fiber, less sodium, and fewer additives. The long list of chemical-sounding additives found in the instant mashed potato mix, including hydrogenated oils as the second ingredient, definitely cannot be good for you. Not so comforting anymore, is it? Making homemade mashed potatoes does take longer, but most of the time is spent waiting for the potatoes to cook. The prep work (peeling potatoes and mashing them afterwards) does not take much cooking skill at all.
The Bottom Line
Not only do you get better tasting, more nourishing mashed potatoes by making them from scratch, they are also less expensive than the instant version. All the more reason to make your own mashed potatoes!
Our Mashed Potatoes Recipe
Modified from recipe, courtesy of Epicurious
Yield: 4 cups
- 6 medium russet potatoes
- 1/2-3/4 cup hot milk
- 2 tablespoons butter
- Freshly ground pepper
- Peel the potatoes and cut them into quarters.
- Put them in a pan and just cover them with cold water. Bring them to a boil and boil gently for 15-20 minutes or until tender when pierced with a fork. Drain very well and return to very low heat.
- Add 1/2 cup hot milk and the butter and start mashing with a potato masher or a fork (or put them through a potato ricer), smoothing out all the lumps.
- When you have worked the potatoes free of the lumps, transfer to a warm bowl and whip with a fork or whisk until light and fluffy, adding the remaining milk, if necessary, and salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately, or keep hot, uncovered, in a double boiler.
Owennie is a registered dietitian with a soft spot for chocolate and coffee. She is a believer in balance and moderation, and is committed to keeping healthy eating enjoyable and fun. Owennie received her dietetics training in Vancouver, and is a member of Dietitians of Canada and the College of Dietitians of British Columbia. She has experience in a wide variety of settings, such as clinical nutrition, long-term care and outpatient counseling. Owennie has also worked for a community nutrition hotline and participated regularly as a guest radio host, where she enjoyed sharing her passion and knowledge about food and nutrition with people.