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Best store-bought, instant mashed potatoes

November 24, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
While piping-hot, homemade mashed potatoes are most likely everyone's first choice, could store-bought ones do in a pinch? Consumer Reports' Erin Gudeux tested a dozen, including ones from Pillsbury, Hungry Jack, and Betty Crocker."Our trained panelists tasted the potatoes not knowing which was which for two weeks to find the best," said Gudeaux.

There were seven of the dry, instant kind you add ingredients to, as well as three refrigerated ones and even two frozen mashed potatoes.

"Several of the dry, instant potatoes were not great," said Gudeaux.

Of those, Whole Foods Original Instant Mashed Potatoes rated the lowest.

"Testers said they were thin, soupy, and bland, and they even had a slight cardboard-like flavor," said Gudeaux.

But plenty of the store-bought mashed potatoes were pretty tasty. And testers found the best by far is Bob Evans Original Mashed Potatoes (refrigerated).

"They were creamy and flavorful, and even had a black pepper kick," said Gudeaux.

And all you need to do is heat them and serve.

So if you're going for spuds in a box should you marry them with packet gravy? Consumer Reports also did a dry packet gravy test and found that Norr's Roasted Turkey Gravy Mix is the best to top your potatoes.