Friday, August 5, 2011

Mediocre Mashed Potatoes Let Down The Garlic Lover: Idahoan Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes!

The Good: Easy to make, Has some nutritional value, Simple packaging, Easy preparation
The Bad: Not terribly garlicky.
The Basics: Ultimately recommended on a toss of a coin, these Roasted Garlic instant mashed potatoes are good, but not garlicky enough for real fans!

As one who has written quite a few reviews of teas, it seems strange that I would be so intimidated by writing about the little packet of potatoes I just opened up, cooked and have been eating. The potatoes are Idahoan brand instant mashed potatoes, Roasted Garlic flavor, and this is the third time I've had this flavor of them, but the first time I sat down to try reviewing instant potatoes. I'm not sure why it's such a challenge.

It could be because I've been longing for nachos all night. I've been craving nachos dripping with hot cheese, salty on both sides, crispy . . . mmmm. It's unfortunate that this package of potatoes is my compromise food for the night. Go figure.


Idahoan Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes come in a four ounce plastic package with a simple tear open top. There are four servings per container and basically, these are instant mashed potatoes that may be made on either the stove top or in the microwave. The serving size is supposed to be only half a cup but just getting home from work, it's pretty easy to down a whole batch in one sitting!

The Roasted Garlic flavored potatoes are surprisingly standard, embodying pretty much the most simple, flavored potatoes mashed potatoes one might imagine. Unfortunately, the Roasted Garlic flavored mashed potatoes come out feeling much like any other instant potato product.

Ease Of Preparation

The Idahoan Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes are ridiculously easy to make. I mean, if making tea is as easy as "pour boiling water over the tea bags," it's hard to see how these potatoes are much more of a culinary challenge.

On the stove top, the Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes truly are as easy as boiling water. Two cups of water need to be boiled and removed from the heat. Once the water is boiling, simply tear open the package, pour the potato buds into the water and stir. After a minute, the potatoes will be rehydrated and they need to simply be stirred again and they are ready to consume. Voila! Instant potatoes. Depending on one's stove, the potatoes might take up to four minutes to prepare on the stove top.

In the microwave, the directions are almost as easy. Simple combine two cups cold water in a microwavable bowl, stir in the Idahoan instant potatoes and microwave on high for three to four minutes. When the microwave beeps, stir once and they are ready to eat!

Yes, these are man-friendly mashed potatoes; ideal for the non-culinarily inclined cook.


Here's where the Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes fall down a bit. I am a huge fan of garlic. When I first moved in with my last partner, our first purchase together was a new garlic press. Yes, that's commitment! I absolutely love garlic and I know the flavor of garlic incredibly well.

The Idahoan Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes, no matter how well mixed up, are erratic in the taste department. I prepared mine using the stove top for this review and I stirred the batch up for a good thirty seconds, which is well beyond what the directions demand. The result was a batch of very smooth mashed potatoes that would never be mistaken for fresh mashed potatoes, but are pretty decent anyway.

The problem is, there are two different taste experiences in this bowl. There is the bland and slightly salty instant mashed potato taste that could be any brand's instant potatoes. It is a generic, vaguely flavored potato taste.

Then there are the good bites. They are cosmetically identical to the others, so it seems like it's a crapshoot. Those bites are rich in the smell and taste of garlic. It's a processed, sanitized garlic taste, but those bites taste like roasted garlic and the taste fills one's mouth and goes all the way up to the nostrils. The Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes are delicious on these bites and if the whole product tasted this way, they would certainly be above average.

With only half a serving tasting garlicky, though, these are average at best.


The nice thing about the Idahoan Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes is that they are fairly nutritious, as they are made with real potatoes. One serving has 110 calories, twenty-five of which are from fat. A serving has 5% of the daily recommended fat (3 grams), one gram of which is saturated fat. There is no cholesterol or vitamin A, but there is quite a bit of salt (25% of one's daily sodium), a couple grams of protein, and a little bit of carbohydrates (7% of the RDA). There is also a miniscule amount of Calcium and Iron, which makes one wonder why Idahoan did not have the product made with milk to beef up the nutrition some. It is remarkably easy with just the water, though, so it's hard to complain.

The nutritional information also notes that these potatoes contain milk and soy.

The instant mashed potatoes are intended as a side dish, but they seem like they would supply some decent energy for the outdoorsman who wants something light and delicious to eat while on hikes or camping trips. With the sodium content, though, it is highly recommended one have more than just the two cups water needed to rehydrate these potatoes on hand!


After several minutes of looking, I have not managed to find an expiration date on my pouch of Roasted Garlic mashed potatoes. The only number that looks stamped onto the bag is 7345MI, which I doubt is an expiration date. If, however, the bag would have lasted until July third, 2045, I would not have been surprised. I am assuming that if unopened these last indefinitely.

Once they are made, though, they should probably be eaten within a few days, if refrigerated. Truth be told, I've never made a batch and not finished it right off.

Cleanup is ridiculously easy as well; simply wash the bowl the potatoes were made in. I've noticed the Idahoan Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes do not stick to the sides of the metal pot I use and any buds that remain on the plate or fork wash right off. Yes, these are almost as easy to clean up after as tea is.


These are good, though very average instant mashed potatoes and if they had just a little more garlic flavor and more consistent distribution of that flavor, these would be essential in my cupboard. As it is, they are good, but they are not going to light the world on fire.

For other foods, check out my reviews of:
Idahoan Butter and Herb Mashed Potatoes
Ocean Spray Original Craisins
Yancey's Fancy Buffalo Wing Cheddar


For other food reviews, please visit my index page by clicking here!

© 2011, 2008 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.

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