The Best Instant Mashed Potato Recipe (2024)

Use this instant mashed potato recipe to make any bag or box of instant mashed potatoes taste just like the real thing.

Jill Nystul·December 21, 2023

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Instant mashed potatoes are quick and easy to make, but they aren’t always the most flavorful when prepared according to the directions on the package. Luckily, I’ve a got a great instant mashed potato recipe that has the same delicious taste and texture of “real” mashed potatoes!

Instant potatoes take a fraction of the time to make compared to standard potatoes, so they’re great as a side dish for weeknight dinners. (We eat potatoes at home frequently because they’re gluten free, so I usually pick upa big box of instant mashed potatoes whenever I go to Costco!)

Some people considerhomemade mashed potatoes to be mandatory for special occasions likeThanksgiving. But if you can make instant mashed potatoes that taste just as good (and trust me, they do!), I say why not save yourself the time and effort you’d spend peeling, dicing, and boiling and just useinstant potatoes instead?

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What Are Instant Potatoes?

Before we get to the recipe, let’s talk about why instant potatoes get a bad rap. There are two main types of instant potatoes: potato flakes and potato pearls. Potato flakes are made from cooked mashed potatoes that were dried on a drum before being scraped off. So there’s really nothing “fake” about instant potato flakes — just add the water back in and you’ve got mashed potatoes!

The key to making instant mashed potatoes taste more homemade is enhancing those Idahoan spuds (or whatever kind of instant potatoes you’re using) with a few strategic additions. Just follow the recipe below to make instant potatoes that are loaded with a comforting, homemade flavor, but quicker and easier to prepare.

I would happily serve these at Thanksgiving dinner — it’s the best instant potato recipe around!

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How To Make The Best Instant Mashed Potatoes (Recipe)

Adapted from


  • 1 cup chicken broth or stock (or veggie broth or stock)
  • 2 Tbsp salted butter (or margarine)
  • 1/4 tsp salt (more if using unsalted butter)
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 2/3 cup instant potato flakes
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Put the chicken broth, butter, and salt into a small saucepan and bring it to a boil. When it starts to boil, remove the saucepan from heat.

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Add the sour cream and potato flakes and stir thoroughly with a fork to ensure there aren’t any pockets of dry potato flakes. Allow the potatoes to sit for a minute or two until all the liquid has absorbed.

Season with salt and pepper to taste, and add a dollop of butter on top, if desired.

Makes 2 servings, but you can easily double or triple the recipe!

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Tips, Variations & Suggestions

  • Using a small box or bag of instant potatoes? Feel free to prepare them using the directions on the package — just use chicken stock in place of the liquid and add sour cream (1/4 cup of sour cream per 2/3 cup of instant potatoes).
  • If adding spices and seasonings like garlic powder, onion powder, or minced chives while preparing the potatoes, add them sparingly — you can always add more, but you can’t add less! You could even add a bit of cream cheese with the sour cream to thicken your mashed potatoes.
  • To make your mashed potatoes vegan, use veggie broth, vegan butter, and vegan sour cream.
  • These savory mashed potatoes are perfect to pile on top of mini meatloaf “cupcakes”.
  • If you end up with leftover mashed potatoes, you can easily turn them into potato soup by thinning them out with broth, milk, or both. Heat the soup in your microwave or on your stovetop for a quick and easy lunch!
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Toppings To Take Your Potatoes Over The Top

You now know how to make instant mashed potatoes better, but we’re not done just yet! You can make instant potatoes taste great after the fact by piling on a few tasty toppings! Here are some ideas that will elevate and upgrade your instant mashed potatoes:

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  • Green onions, thinly sliced
  • Roasted garlic
  • Crumbled bacon
  • Blue cheese
  • Shredded cheddar cheese
  • Gravy (of course!)
  • Fresh parsley, chopped
  • Crispy onions
  • Extra dollop of sour cream

What’s your stance on instant mashed potatoes?

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The Best Instant Mashed Potatoes (Recipe)

Jill Nystul

Why put all that time and effort into making homemade mashed potatoes, when you can make instant mashed potatoes that taste just as good? A must-try recipe!

4.17 from 589 votes

Print Recipe Pin Recipe

Prep Time 5 minutes mins

Cook Time 5 minutes mins

Total Time 10 minutes mins

Course Side Dish

Cuisine American

Servings 2

Calories 235 kcal


  • 1 cup chicken broth or stock, or veggie broth or stock
  • 2 tbsp salted butter
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 2/3 cup potato flakes


  • Add broth, butter, and salt to a small pot, bring to a boil, then remove from heat.

  • Add sour cream and potato flakes, stir with a fork, thenlet them sit until all the liquid gets absorbed.


Calories: 235kcalCarbohydrates: 18gProtein: 3gFat: 17gSaturated Fat: 10gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0.5gCholesterol: 49mgSodium: 846mgPotassium: 280mgFiber: 1gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 534IUVitamin C: 16mgCalcium: 43mgIron: 0.3mg

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The Best Instant Mashed Potato Recipe (2024)
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