Applesauce?! 10 Creative and Delicious Ways To Spruce Up Instant Mashed Potatoes

How to elevate instant mashed potatoes according to Reddit

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mashed potatoes with butter on top
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Frugal But Delicious

We've all been there — short on time and cash, looking for a quick meal to make, but still craving something comforting, filling, and delicious. If you immediately thought of mashed potatoes as your go-to comfort meal, then you've come to the right place. But when it comes to spuds, why settle for bland when you can elevate them to gourmet-level goodness? 

From adding whipped butter and gravy to folding in corn, cheese, and chopped chicken nuggets, here are 10 hacks that Redditors swear by to bring instant mashed potatoes to new heights. 

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1. KFC Would Be Jealous

Boy does this one sound delicious. While some may think KFC's way of making its famous gravy is less than appetizing (hint: chicken bits are pushed through a sieve and then microwaved), there's no denying the chain knows how to make some bomb mashed potatoes. Stir in chopped up chicken nuggets, cheese, and veggies and you've got yourself a winning combo that's both filling and (somewhat) nutritious. 

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2. Spruced Up Baked Potato

So, basically anything you'd add to a baked potato should also go on mashed potatoes? Noted, *runs to kitchen.* Also, when it comes to butter, not all brands are created equal. For the creamiest and most luscious mashed potatoes ever, my mom swears by Kerrygold Pure Irish Butter. (I swear this wasn't even sponsored; it's just that good). 

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3. Nutritional Yeast for the Win

While I've never tried this hack myself, users seemed to agree that adding nutritional yeast to your instant mashed potatoes can help impart a "sort of nutty/cheesy/savory" flavor. Nutritional yeast can also help give dishes a deeper umami taste to vegan cheese dishes, Redditors say. For a creamy kick, consider adding a dollop of ranch dressing, says one user. Why, don't mind if we do. 

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4. Sprinkle Some Everything But the Bagel Seasoning

There's a reason why Trader Joe's "Everything but the Bagel Seasoning" has developed a cult following of epic proportions (I mean seriously — I don't think I know of a single person who doesn't love this condiment). Featuring tones of savory, nutty, and zesty, this seasoning blend is a must-have in my pantry to elevate just about any dish. 

Related: 11 Easy DIY Seasoning Blends You Can Make at Home

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5. Add Some Heat

While this hack is not for the faint of mouth, it works well for those who enjoy a bit of oomph in their food. You can always adjust the heat level by removing the seeds from the jalapeños, or leaving them in if you prefer it extra hot. Fold in some bacon bits and cheese for extra decadence. 

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6. Go the Vegetarian Route

This one requires zero cooking; plus it sounds pretty healthy and delicious. And the beauty of vegetables is that you can include whichever ones you like and nobody can say you're doing it wrong. Fan of corn? Add some diced corn for a bit of sweetness. Or toss in some broccoli florets for a dose of vitamins and iron. 

For extra flavor, Redditors suggest seasoning with a bit of MSG from a ramen spice pack. For all the "MSG is bad for you," naysayers, that myth has been debunked. Check out our explainer for more information. 

Related: 20 Dirt-Cheap Vegetarian Meals

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7. Add Flour and Egg

While I never would have thought to add apple sauce to mashed potatoes, this idea sounds pretty legit. I mean, combining savory and sweet elements is a real thing — at least according to Gordon Ramsey on "Masterchef." Also, I'll be giving "Duchess Potatoes" a try right away. Who knew all you needed was eggs to bring mashed potatoes to a whole new level? 

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8. Worcestershire Is Your Bff

Okay, let's be real for a second. Nobody knows how to spell "Worcestershire." I have to Google it every time and I Still.Can't.Remember. But according to this user, incorporating Worcestershire sauce to mashed potatoes (and other dishes) can instantly make them taste better because the sauce helps with depth and flavor. Yum! 

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9. No Bland Potatoes Here

I love the "Better Than Bouillon" seasonings. The "Sofrito" one has helped me save so much time when making rice and beans. According to this user, swapping water with a flavored stock, or with the "Better Than Bouillon" Sautéed Onion flavor can help infuse your mashed potatoes with a deeper umami flavor. The Redditor also suggests topping them off with seasoned croutons for a touch a decadence. Yes, and yes. 

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10. Luck of the Irish

For a delicious twist on Irish colcannon, consider adding cabbage, leaks, and chives cooked in a buttery and creamy sauce to your mashed potatoes. While you're at it, check out our roundup of other classic and comforting Irish favorites.