My family loves homemade mashed potatoes. I boil diced potatoes until they are tender, then toss them in a mixing bowl with generous amounts of butter, milk, salt, pepper, and even sour cream. Then I blend it all just until it’s mostly smooth. Homemade mashed potatoes are the best when served for special holiday dinners, and I’ve gotten compliments when I’ve put my homemade potatoes in the slow cooker and taken them to Thanksgiving family potluck dinners.
But homemade mashed potatoes — while not difficult to make — do take some time. That’s why I usually keep some instant mashed potato packets around for those days when I want easy potatoes. Some instant mashed potatoes actually taste pretty good, even if they aren’t the same as making them fresh from scratch. These kind of mashed potatoes are usually sold in the dry goods section at the grocery store.
Then, I spotted a different type of mashed potatoes at Trader Joe’s, which is a cousin to Aldi. TJ’s actually stocks frozen mashed potatoes. I was intrigued, so I picked up a bag.
Trader Joe’s Mashed Potatoes cost $4.29 for a 28-ounce package at the time of publication. These are a product of France.
Ingredients are simple: potatoes, milk cultured butter (cream [milk], lactic acid starter culture), and salt.
If you’re looking out for allergens, these contain milk.
One bag has about six servings. A one-cup serving has 90 calories, 2.5 grams of total fat (3% DV), 2 grams of saturated fat (10% DV), 300 mg of sodium (13% DV), 14 grams of total carbohydrates (5% DV), 2 grams of total sugars, and no added sugars.
The bag has directions for heating these from frozen on the stovetop or in the microwave.
To heat on the stove, for two servings, place 2 cups of mashed potato pieces in a small saucepan and heat on low, stirring constantly for 3-4 minutes or until heated through. To heat the entire bag on the stove, place the contents in a medium saucepan and heat on low, stirring constantly, for 7-9 minutes or until heated through. Season to taste and serve.
To microwave, for two servings, place 2 cups of mashed potato pieces in a microwave-safe dish and cover. Heat on 50% power for 2 minutes, uncover, and stir. Place the cover back on and heat on high power for an additional 2-3 minutes or until heated thoroughly. Slowly uncover, season to taste, and serve. For the whole bag, place the contents in a microwave-safe dish and cover. Heat on 50% power for 3 minutes, uncover, and stir. Place cover back on and heat on high for an additional 6-8 minutes or until heated through. Slowly uncover, season to taste, and serve.
When you open this bag, you’ll find a lot of small, long pieces of frozen mashed potatoes. They almost look like little fingers. I heated these in a saucepan on my stovetop, which I thought was easiest so I didn’t have to mess with switching power levels on my microwave. I didn’t have any problems with these sticking the pan as they heated, but you do want to stay near the stove and stir them often. I cooked about half the bag of potatoes, which took no more than 10 minutes. I think the cook times listed on the package may be a little overly optimistic.
When these were fully heated, I transferred them to a serving bowl — they fit in a standard soup/cereal bowl. Some of my family members thought these were all right, while others didn’t care for them. They taste a little different from instant mashed potatoes, but not in a bad way. They also don’t quite taste like fresh made-from-scratch mashed potatoes. While they do contain some milk, butter, and salt, they are not highly seasoned, so you might want to add some additional butter or other seasonings of your own.
I do like how these contain mostly whole, easily identifiable ingredients, and they’re not a bad thing to keep in the freezer for days when you want mashed potatoes in a hurry.
Trader Joe’s Mashed Potatoes come in little frozen pellets. You pour out the amount you want to make and heat it either on the stovetop or in the microwave, and they heat in a matter of minutes. These have simple ingredients. They do contain some butter, milk, and salt, but they aren’t heavily seasoned, so you can add your own additional seasonings if you want to. My family had mixed opinions about whether they liked these as much as other forms of instant mashed potatoes, such as the little envelopes we usually make when we don’t have time to make mashed potatoes from scratch.