Combine Canned And Instant Potatoes To Mimic A Homemade Mash

There aren't many dishes more comforting than a bowl of hot, buttery mashed potatoes. But sometimes, after a long day, the last thing you want to do is peel, chop, boil, and mash spuds to make the much-loved side dish. Instant mash is a great quick fix, of course, though sometimes it just doesn't quite hit the spot. And that's usually because it's just a bit too smooth, and not rustic-looking enough, lacking the nostalgic texture of homemade mashed potatoes.

Thankfully, there's another pantry staple that can come to the rescue, while still meaning you don't need to put in a lot of extra effort. Adding canned potatoes to the instant mash swiftly helps to take the dish to the next level, without the need for any extra peeling or chopping.

As another shelf-stable ingredient, which means there's no need to go out shopping for additional fresh produce, canned potatoes can be quickly added in with hot milk for a great addition to the instant mix. It's an easy hack, and one that still means you'll have dinner on the table in no time. But what the soft canned potatoes really bring to the instant mix is a hearty texture, perfect for those who want a little lumpiness.

Stir in canned potatoes for extra body and texture

Just as you'd choose the best potatoes for thick vs fluffy mashed potatoes, combining two types of longer-life tubers adds more of a complex homemade texture to the dish. Made from ready-cooked and mashed Russet potatoes that have been dehydrated, instant potatoes bring a silky smooth consistency. But adding in a can of whole baby potatoes brings a fresher feel, as well as more body.

If the act of basically making two lots of mash, one from an instant packet of instant flakes as well as one from a can of potatoes, seems like a lot more hassle for something that's supposed to be a fast fix, fear not. The two types are both incredibly simple to prep, and the end result is well worth the extra step. 

Just prepare the instant mashed potatoes according to the packet instructions, and drain and rinse the canned potatoes so they're not overly salty. Then add the drained potatoes to a pan with a quarter-cup of milk, bring it to boil, and let the milky mixture cook for just one minute. Remove from the heat and mash to your desired texture, leaving a few lumps if you like. Add the mashed mixture to the instant potatoes, and stir it through, making sure the two types are well-mixed for a more homemade consistency. And if you want to make it extra-special, try adding a couple of extra ingredients, too.

Elevate mashed potatoes with easy add-ins

Combining canned potatoes with instant mash already significantly improves the texture of the dish, but it's easy enough to give the flavor an extra boost, too. Just as cream of mushroom soup is the canned ingredient you need for ultra-savory mashed potatoes made the traditional way, adding an umami-rich note makes it more delicious in a flash. Try heating chicken (or vegetable) broth and butter before adding instant mash flakes and heavy cream to make the side dish more indulgent and flavorsome; then, add in the mashed canned potatoes for textural contrast.

Adding roasted garlic, shredded cheddar or Parmesan cheese, or fresh herbs to the potato mix is another simple but surefire way to add loads of flavor, and switching usual milk for cream or buttermilk will also add richness for a more satisfying end result.

To really take things to the next level, try loading your quick mashed potato mixture with a variety of toppings to transform a simple side into the main event. Crumble over blue cheese and chopped cooked bacon for a salty tanginess. Or, try sour cream and chopped green onions for both creaminess and crunch. However you choose to dress them up, the combination of instant and canned potatoes provides a great base for all sorts of additions that can turn the quick-fix potatoes into something much more impressive.