Instant Mashed Potatoes: Awesome Survival Food?

Portion of homemade Mashed Potatoes on wooden background | Instant Mashed Potatoes: Awesome Survival Food? | Featured

Are instant mashed potatoes a suitable food for survival? Find out as you read the rest of the article!

RELATED: 9 Survival Foods That Will Outlast The Apocalypse

Mashed Potatoes | Survival Food Pros and Cons

Tasty Mashed Potatoes


As many of you may remember from a recent article I wrote titled 21 Home Remedies For Toothache Pain Relief, I just had my wisdom tooth extracted a couple of weeks ago and had to be on a soft food diet for a few days while I healed.

Well, I am back to eating regular foods, but not without a new appreciation for a delicious snack that kept my stomach full — instant mashed potatoes.

Being a southern boy, I grew up on my Nana's best mashed potatoes recipe, so suffice it to say I was a little hesitant to try the instant variety. Now I have had them before as my mother was not the best cook, but the tasteless, chunky gruel that my mother used to serve me should have never been called instant mashed potatoes.

My wife loaded me up with these nifty single-serve portion sizes or Idahoan mashed potatoes. The first bowl had me hooked, and each variety I tried was just as good.

The best garlic mashed potatoes with just a touch of extra butter are by far my favorite. Now, what does this have to do with survival?

The Pros

After doing a little research, I have found that these pouches and cups of instant mashed potatoes have a fairly long shelf life (roughly 18 months) and I am fairly positive that they would be okay for much longer than that.

It's extremely lightweight and only requires water to eat, even though you are supposed to heat it (and it tastes better heated). I have set a bowl of it out and made it without heat. Obviously, there is something much better about a steaming pile of potato than there is about a room temperature mound of it, but it is still flavorful and filling

Idahoan has a good variety of flavors. At roughly $1.00 per package, they are a good investment to get a filling meal or add substance to an otherwise light meal.

RELATED: 43 Survival Food Items That Actually Taste Good

The Cons

While the shelf life is fairly long for a bagged food, the actual container is rather flimsy. The microwavable cups have a very vulnerable paper top that will tear easily.

The cost of the cups with a single serving is the same as a 4 serving pouch.

The Bottom Line

At around $1.00 per bag, these are a steal. They provide a quick, tasty meal with minimal water. Even a prepper on the tightest budget should be able to make room for these.

Now, I have specifically pointed out the Idahoan brand instant mashed potatoes, but I know there are several other brands available. Does anyone else stock up on these or have any alternatives?

I am going to give you a link to these so you can check them out, but if you want them, I would much rather you go to your local grocer to pick them up for a lot less. Or if anyone knows an online retailer that sells them cheaper, please leave a comment and let me know.

You can also serve these delicious mashed potatoes at home. Check out this video from Rocket boom:

The key points about these instant mashed potatoes are its long shelf life, and it only needs water to prepare. When it comes to food in a survival situation, ease of preparation is extremely important considering the potentially limited resources you'll have.

Either way, these simple mashed potatoes are great for home serving or for survival purposes.

Would you consider instant mashed potatoes for your survival food prepping? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below!


Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on March 4, 2013, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.

32 Responses to :
Instant Mashed Potatoes: Awesome Survival Food?

  1. Robert says:

    Been savin these over a yr now alot of times find em with coupons buy two save 50 cents. I take these and all box storage food like hb helper outa the boxes and store in food barrels . This preppin has became my new savings account. Thnx Joe

  2. Jim Craft says:

    I have a couple dozen bags of these in my food storage/long term supplies. I rotate out older ones when I use them, and have recently had a bag of Idahoan that was more than two years old and still tastes as good as new bags. I like the varieties, and try to buy every kind when they are on sale for $1.00 each. A very good idea for Preppers!

  3. kaytee says:

    Have you read the ingredient lists? Sounds like they’ll fill your belly– that “less than 22% (sand)” should help with the “full” feeling, as will the partially hydrogenated, can’t-be-bothered-to-specify oils mix (second ingredient). And the MSG and artificial flavorings may make it “tasty”. However, they are NOT something to eat when nutrition is a priority.

    I think for instant potatoes, I’ll stick with the LTS version from the LDS Cannery. The dogs like them, and they make acceptable “potato soup” with a bit of seasoning. They still have a few too many ingredients, but all of them are specified. As a bonus– the storage life is 30 years.

    1. eliia says:

      kaytee, EXACTLY what I was thinking. In hard times, even more than usual, we want to stay well. Those nonfood additions will not be welcome. Give me the regular LDS dried ones and hope to find some butter or oil and salt. They are great for soup thickening. Im not LDS but they are kind and generous to all that are willing to put out a little effort. The cost is minimal. God bless ’em.

      1. Ellen says:

        I got my canned butter and canned cheese from Pleasant Hill Grain.

    2. Charles says:

      Besides being a lot better tasting, the unnecessary ingredients in the Idaho potatoes are why we use Honest Earth Creamy Mash. See

      The ingredients are simply potatoes, sea salt, butter and a little milk. The shelf life is quite good. My mother’s mashed potatoes were outstanding, but I would swear these are just as good. Costco has large boxes of eight serving packs, but you can easily make smaller amounts and store the open pack in a container.

  4. Mary Jane says:

    I’ve tried many instant mashed potatos and these are definatly the best. However you misses the baby redswhich I think really taste great. Have been getting them at Costco when I sopped with my friend. They had switched tyes but are now back to the baby reds. Get them in the store when they’re on sale for a dollar

  5. Dan Haggerty says:

    The Idahoan Mashed potatoes are delicious and a great deal. My wife an I bought a dozen or so bags ans stored them in the basement with our canned foods. Last week we found that mice had gnawed through every single bag and eaten the entire contents. I thought that the bag would have protected the contents, but I guess either the mice smelled through the package or they just bite everything to see if the contents are edible.

    Be sure you store the Idahoan MP’s in a safe container.

    1. JOHNNY3H says:

      Living for over 60 years on the SE Texas Gulf Coast [lots of hurricanes, AND violent weather possible during all four seasons], we always maintain a TWO MONTH supply of food and water[in 2.5 gallon spigot-ted refrigerator containers], year round.

      We keep extras of all goods we routinely eat, canned meats and veggies, and lots of dried beans, peas,lentils and other dried veggies, as well as lots of a variety of pastas,Ramen noodles, oatmeal,flour,cornmeal,sugar, etc. Each package is marked with date of purchase.

      Since this cache consists of foods we eat regularly, we eat the older first, and replenish the cache weekly. This way most stuff does not age for an excessive time.

      All of these dry product’s shelf lives are severely compromised by microscopic “critters” [bugs]which come inside the sealed packages from the manufacturer-processor. In a few months they can eat and turn most of a package of pasta into powder [their excrement].

      To prevent their damage, we place all these item into CAKE and-or COOKIE “TINS,” and-or much larger similar tins in which popped corn and chips are sold in bulk. We put similar products together in the same tins, and label them with masking tape and fine point markers.

      These tins prevent access by rodents, roaches, and ants [yes, roaches and ants also will chew through plastic packaging]so we place the food items into the tins, and then into the deep freezer for a week or so. The deep freeze treatment kills all the tiny critters that CAME INSIDE the packages from the grocery store.

      When we want a product, we open the tin and remove as much as we need, quickly re-close the tin and return it to storage.

  6. ALBERT says:

    Like Moist, Roasted Chicken or Foul, Then you’ll love this Neat Trick.
    Mix all of the Dried & Fresh Spices you like in a Bowl of Potato Flakes, Add Boiling water & Mix I/P until Stiff & Stuff your Bird, with this mix
    And roast as you wish. The Mix will season the bird, The Potatoes will Become runny & absorb the Fat & Water, making a Great Gravy & A great Seasoned Roasted Bird.

  7. ron says:

    good stuff to have on hand and will help fill the gap when hungry.

  8. While there are better alternatives for long term use (LDS etc.), these make handy, light weight, quick meals on the go. If you were on the move, and stopped for a 10 minute rest stop, you could easily heat 2 cups of water, add to the instant potatoes and be eating before you are back on the move. I also keep instant rice in my pack, for the same reason.

    Not something you want to live on long term, but it’ll keep you going.

    1. By the way, I like to repackage these in vacuum sealed bags, I can add the water right to the bag and eat from it, so no clean-up.

    2. ALBERT says:

      As a one time O.T.R. Driver, I learned a valuable trick, that works on cars and pick-ups in some cases.
      I refer to the old practice of heating or cooking a meal on the block of the engine of the auto/truck. This trick saved not only my money, but also kept me fed on those long hauls.
      At the time, I recall building a Copper Box with a very tight seal, & with a can of Mushroom soup & some Chicken, Would get a great meal at 1/3 the cost & it tasted better!

  9. cindy says:

    I almost bought this brand at Sam’s for our stockpile, but was put off by the number of chemical ingredients. So…back to our favorite, Hungry Jack; seems like it has fewer ingredients, and it’s been our favorite for decades. I keep some in a glass bale-top jar near the stove to add to soups and thicken sauces. I’ve been searching for it in a ‘giant economy size’, to seal into Mylar bags for our 5 gal pails; but so far, only find the larger family size at WM or our local grocer.

    1. ALBERT says:

      CINDY, GOOD NEWS, If you go to AMAZON & look up, ” Food Vacuum Bags or
      MYLAR Bags”, You’ll find Lots to choose from.
      I Just purchased, several doz. of the 1 GAL. size Vacuum bags at $.86 per box of 5, as well as a ZIP-LOCK VACUUM PUMP & 12 1Qt. Bags starter kit for under $10.00 A Great deal & these things Work!
      Power Vac.Pumps are great, but Hand-Vacuum pumps work just as well & never needs Batteries. I Recommend that you invest in the BELL-JAR Vacuum lid Adapters as well.
      Another trick when shopping at Amazon, Click on the Suppliers or Manufacturers Name & you’ll find even better deals.

      1. cindy says:

        Yes, I found that Ziplock pump while in NY last summer! I ‘dry can’ a lot of things for shorter term storage. Also, have found Mylar bags at a great price (both zip top and vac seal) at USAEmergency.

    2. Smilardog says:

      At the Sam’s Club I found cases Idahoan® REAL Premium Mashed Potatoes – 3.24 lbs.. Each case had 4 giant sized (3.24lb)cartons in them. I got some used 5 gal food grade buckets from Walmart Deli at a $1 a peice. I opened everything up and poured everything into Mylar bags in the buckets. Took the wand from my Nitrogen tanks and pushed it all the way down into the bottom of the bucket and filled it with gas until my lighter would not light anymore while holding it inside the bag. Then I threw a oxygen absorber in and compressed the mylar over a wood round rod (closet clothe hanger rod)I had previously cut to size to lay across the bucket and sealed it with my clothes iron.

      It is now, sitting up in the CO Rockies at our cabin/Hidey-Hole right along side all of our other buckets of goodies. Joe, I wondered about that 18 month date also. What I read was the 18 month was based on the one ingredient, Butter/oil. What ever I read said it would go rancid after 18 month. I didn’t see that ingredient on the label. Just 100% Idahoan Patotoes.

      It’s been in storage now for two years at 9,000ft, where is is nice and cool. Actually, at freezing temps most of the time because there is no heater on because the cabin is only occupied by us in the summer.

      Concidering the way I packed it and how it is stored, I am believing for a whole lot more the 18 months. To tell you the truth I figured the that SHTF would have already happened by now. Just more time to prepare… Thank You, Lord

    3. Desert Fox says:

      I have read the ingredients on instant mashed potatoes and rejected buying it, although it might be convenient to have a little… As a soup or stew thickener…I usually use oatmeal. It’s beneficial to your digestion too! I smash them a little to break them up before adding to the pot.

    4. Desert Fox says:

      Just found a large pack of the giant Mylar bags in my garage! I cut them in half and fours and used the iron to reseal the edges. Use a kitchen towel to put directly over the Mylar edge, that way it does not melt onto the surface of the iron (use dry heat). it works great!

  10. Tesa Murray says:

    I buy one from the LDS. It has milk and butter already in it and is very, very low cost. It’s $5.00 per bag and makes about 21 cups of mashed potatoes that taste amazing.

  11. Judy says:

    I have a small stock of the Betty Crocker Dehydrated potatoes, not the mashed. Had not thought about the packaging as you said. They are great even now, I make a casserole out of the boxed ones by just adding a few ingredients & some sort of meat. Our favorite is using cream corn (or whole corn with some cream cheese), onions, garlic, bell peppers & smoked sausage. IT’s quicker than doing it from scratch & the seasonings are pretty good. My husband loves them & I have taken this to potlucks & had a lot of positive comments, even requests for the recipe. LOL Because I dehydrate all of the ingredients I listed, these are good stock items for long term.

  12. Carolyn Inman says:

    I love the Potato Pearls from Emergency Essentials (located in Utah). They have amazing products, great sales and group discounts. I get their monthly catalog, which contains many emergency supplies other than foods. Go to

  13. David says:

    You can try gently pressing on the tooth from different directions to see if it brings relief. In the case of a cracked or abcessed tooth where the nerve root is being impinged upon, slightly moving or repositioning the tooth can bring huge relief. Also, if you can feel a pimple or boil-like outcropping on the gums, keeping at it with the warm salt water rinses mentioned above will help bring it to a head and drain. It’s nasty, because it’s basically just pus, but again the relief of pressure on the nerve that results will sometimes bring instant relief. Just be sure to continue rinsing your mouth several times afterwards to help the abcess drain completely and heal.

  14. Sargint Rock says:

    I love Grits and I found one of the best ways to keep them is in the vacuum containers(Canisters) sold by Liquid Planet for coffee and Tea storage. It’s great for when you open a large container and need to store the rest without access to hot irons and oxygen absorbers!
    The canisters have a unique plunger that removes all air and an air tight sealing cap on top. Check it out.

  15. lea says:

    I make my own Mashed Potatoes. When I make home made from real potatoes, I make more than needed at my meal. Then I dehydrate the left overs in 1 cup increments (sort of like fruit leather). When completely dried, they break up easily. I store them in vacuum sealed bags. When I want to use them, I place the contents (1 cup serving) in a container and cover with boiling water to make 1 cup total. They rehydrate quickly and I add a bit of butter, salt and if I have it, milk to make a creamy mashed potato. Pretty simple to do. I also do this with left over squash.

  16. Nuroh Nurudeen says:


  17. Marilyn says:

    I too, have tried and enjoy these on occasion and I agree with your assessment. They make a dandy base for a quick potato soup as well. Some of them are even gluten free! They are quite reasonable as my local Kroger usually charges $0.99 or a $1.00 for them but I found them on sale this week at an independent store for $0.89. I keep a few of these in a plastic shoebox so that they don’t slide around on my shelf.

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