How To Transform Boxed Mashed Potatoes Into a Cheap, Easy Dinner

Mashed Potatoes with Melted Butter


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Mashed Potatoes with Melted Butter

Boxing Out Basics

There are very few foods that represent the magic of comfort food like mashed potatoes. The umami bomb of butter and gravy sinking into starchy, creamy potatoes often plays in a league of its own. But boxed mashed potatoes? Not always.

How can you lift dry, bland potatoes out of their languor? Here’s what Reddit had to say on the matter. Take a look at these ideas for bringing boxed mashed potatoes to the next level.

Potato Pancakes

Griddle Some Potato Pancakes

This is especially perfect if you’re working with leftover instant potatoes. Grab some eggs, butter, and veggies, and live that latke life.

Recipe: Two Kooks in the Kitchen

Homemade Italian Gnocchi.

Make Gnocchi

Talk about a dinner hack. You can whip this whole thing up in about 15 minutes; the longest part is waiting for the water to boil.

Recipe: Allrecipes

irish potato candy
irish potato candy by Glane23 (CC BY-SA)

Try Potato Candy

Have you ever heard of this? I haven’t. One Redditor called potato candy “pure, sugary deliciousness” and I am fully intrigued.

Recipe: The Country Cook

Baked Potato
Iamthatiam / iStock

Give Them the Baked Potato Treatment

By far, the most resounding comments had to do with sprucing up your instant potatoes with classic fixins. People mentioned adding butter, sour cream, cheese, chives, bacon bits, broccoli, fried onions, and more.

Here’s an important piece to note: A few Redditors warned against over-mixing your instant mash. “It turns out really gummy and dough-like,” one says. “Just stir til damp, then leave,” says another. “Then fluff with a fork. Don't beat them or they turn into wallpaper paste.”

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Potato Leek Soup

Thicken Soup With It

Many of the comments said that boxed mashed potatoes should be used as a soup thickener. It almost seems like a bummer to just watch it dissolve into a soup, but it probably does wonders for a basic, cheap soup mix.

Related: Celebrate Spuds With 27 Tasty Ways to Cook Potatoes

Deep Fried Fish
Lefse, Jacobs Lefse Bakeri, Osakis
Jacobs Lefse Bakeri

Make Potato Bread

It’s not hard at all to turn your instant mash into bread, which many Redditors said they do. One even suggested lefse, a Norwegian flatbread that’s often made with potatoes. “In my family we use leftover mashed potatoes, so if I were to make them with your potatoes, I'd mix up the taters and stick them in the fridge overnight, then do the rest of the recipe,” they write.

Recipe: Hungry Jack

pierogies by Piotrus (CC BY-SA)

Stuff Homemade Pierogies

If you’re feeling advanced and have no problem pumping out some dumpling dough, pierogies are a good move. Plus, it’s a great leftover hack, as brought up by user u/TrixR4fun: “Chop up all leftovers, mix into mashed potatoes, and make pierogies. Martha Stewart has an easy recipe for pierogi dough. Freeze them. No wasted leftovers.”

Recipe: Martha Stewart