The Great Mashed Potato Showdown: A Battle of Butter and Spuds

Taste-Testing Premade Mashed Potatoes Uncovered! Find out Which 2 Brands Deserve a Spot on Your Thanksgiving Table

I tested 4 premade mashed potato brands, but only 2 are worthy of Thanksgiving.

four brands of premade mashed potatoes lined up in a row Image: Paige Bennett

You know, sometimes life throws you a curveball. Like the time I discovered an entire aisle dedicated to premade mashed potatoes at the grocery store. Is this a dream come true for mashed potato lovers like myself or a warning sign of a potato uprising? I had to find out.

So, armed with an adventurous spirit and a microwave, I embarked on a quest to taste-test four brands of premade mashed potatoes. These starchy contenders were Lamb Weston, Kroger, Bob Evans, and Target’s Good & Gather. I was prepared to uncover the crème de la crème of premade spuds.

Let’s start with the biggest disappointment: Lamb Weston. Their frozen discs of mashed potatoes left me feeling confused and betrayed. They took forever to cook, leaving me questioning if I accidentally stumbled upon a time warp while nuking them in the microwave. And when I finally took a bite, it tasted…sweet? Sweet mashed potatoes? No, thank you. Sorry, Lamb Weston, but this love affair is definitely over.

Next up, the Kroger brand. Now, let’s talk about their interesting cooking instructions. Instead of puncturing the plastic film like a typical frozen meal, they demanded that I keep it on at first. It was like they were playing hard to get. However, when they finally revealed themselves, I discovered a lumpy texture that didn’t quite hit the mark. But hey, at least the flavor was on point!

Now, let’s move on to the Bob Evans potatoes. They took longer to cook than the other microwavable options, but trust me, it was worth the wait. These bad boys were thick and creamy, like a celebrity chef’s dream. Sure, the flavor could use a bit more oomph, but with a little butter and salt, they were like a potato symphony in my mouth.

Last but not least, we have Target’s Good & Gather. These potatoes, my friends, had potential. They boasted the use of Yukon Gold potatoes, which, if you’re a mashed potato connoisseur like me, you know are top-notch. However, upon opening the container, I immediately spotted a problem—watery mashed potatoes. My heart sank. I had high hopes for these golden wonders, but alas, they were too watery and lacked the flavor punch I craved.

In the end, there was no clear winner. Each brand had its strengths and weaknesses, like models walking down a mashed potato runway. But if I were forced to choose, I’d go with the reliable and versatile Bob Evans. With a little extra love in the form of butter and salt, these potatoes can transform into a superstar side dish fit for any occasion.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m still a firm believer in homemade mashed potatoes. Nothing quite compares to the satisfaction of peeling, boiling, and mashing your own spuds. But for those times when life gets in the way, it’s nice to have a backup plan.

So, fellow mashed potato enthusiasts, next time you’re in a pinch and need a quick fix of creamy goodness, give premade mashed potatoes a whirl. Just be prepared for some surprises along the way, like sweet flavors and perplexing cooking instructions. And remember, no matter which brand you choose, adding a little love (and butter) can turn a decent dish into a culinary masterpiece.

Originally published on October 3, 2022, and most recently updated on November 21, 2023.