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Can you make Idahoan mashed potatoes in the microwave?

Yes, you can absolutely make Idahoan mashed potatoes in the microwave! Idahoan mashed potatoes are a popular convenience food that allows you to quickly prepare creamy, delicious mashed potatoes by just adding water and microwaving. While the stovetop instructions result in the best texture, the microwave instructions produce a tasty dish with minimal effort.

Instructions for Microwaving Idahoan Mashed Potatoes

Making Idahoan mashed potatoes in the microwave is easy. Here are the basic steps:

  1. Take the Idahoan mashed potatoes pouch and empty the potato flakes into a microwave-safe bowl. The pouches contain different amounts depending on the variety, but a typical pouch contains about 1 1/3 cups of potato flakes.
  2. Add water to the potato flakes according to package directions, usually around 1 1/4 cups of water. The water should just cover the potatoes. Stir to combine and break up any clumps.
  3. Microwave the potato mixture uncovered on high power for about 5 minutes, stopping halfway through to stir. The stirring helps prevent clumping and evens out the cooking.
  4. After microwaving, the potatoes should be hot and creamy. Let them sit for 2-3 minutes before stirring in any milk, butter, or additional ingredients.
  5. Stir vigorously until smooth and creamy. Add salt and pepper or any other seasonings to taste.

That’s all there is to it! The entire process takes around 10 minutes from start to finish. The results are quick, easy mashed potatoes.

Tips for the Best Microwave Idahoan Mashed Potatoes

Follow these tips and tricks for getting the creamiest, smoothest Idahoan mashed potatoes from the microwave:

  • Use a microwave-safe bowl that is large enough to allow the potatoes to cook evenly. A bowl with a wide bottom works best.
  • Add the water slowly and stir vigorously to prevent clumping.
  • Microwave in 2-3 minute intervals, stopping to stir in between. This prevents overflowing.
  • Let the potatoes sit for 2-3 minutes before stirring in milk, butter, etc. This helps thicken them up.
  • Mix in extra butter or milk for a creamier texture.
  • Add sour cream or cheese for more flavor.
  • Season well with salt, pepper, garlic powder, etc according to taste.

Advantages of Microwaving Idahoan Mashed Potatoes

Making Idahoan mashed potatoes in the microwave has several advantages:

  • Speed – Microwaving is significantly faster than cooking on the stovetop. You can have perfect mashed potatoes in just 10 minutes.
  • Convenience – No pots or pans to clean up! Just microwave in a bowl and you’re done.
  • Easy prep – Minimal prep and ingredients required. Just add water and microwave.
  • Portion control – The single-serve pouches make it easy to prepare the exact amount you need.
  • Consistency – Results are reliable with no stovetop monitoring required.

Microwaving is great for quick weeknight side dishes, small households, or times when you want mashed potatoes with little fuss.

Disadvantages of Microwaving Idahoan Mashed Potatoes

While microwaving is fast and convenient, there are a few drawbacks:

  • The texture may be slightly less creamy and smooth than stovetop.
  • Overmixing can lead to gumminess.
  • They can dry out more quickly than stovetop potatoes.
  • You are limited to ingredients included in the pouch.
  • Not ideal for larger gatherings or batches.

Many people still find the microwave method produces delicious, satisfying results. But for the absolute best texture, the stovetop is preferred.

Stovetop vs. Microwave Instructions

Idahoan includes both stovetop and microwave instructions with their mashed potato pouches. Here is a comparison:

Stovetop Instructions

  • Boil potatoes in water for 5-7 minutes, stirring frequently.
  • Remove from heat, add milk, butter, and seasoning.
  • Using an electric mixer, blend until light and fluffy.

Microwave Instructions

  • Place potatoes and water in microwave-safe bowl.
  • Microwave on high for 5 minutes, stirring halfway through.
  • Let sit 2-3 minutes before mixing in milk, butter, etc.
  • Stir vigorously until smooth and creamy.

The stovetop method takes more time and effort but yields the fluffiest, smoothest texture. The microwave version sacrifices some creaminess for convenience but still makes a tasty side dish in minutes.

Can You Make Regular Mashed Potatoes in the Microwave?

While Idahoan mashed potatoes are formulated specifically for the microwave, you can also make mashed potatoes from scratch in the microwave with a few adjustments.

To make homemade mashed potatoes in the microwave:

  • Cut potatoes into small, evenly-sized pieces.
  • Place in a microwave-safe bowl with a small amount of water.
  • Cover and microwave for about 5 minutes until fork tender, checking and stirring occasionally.
  • Drain any excess water.
  • Mash potatoes while still hot, adding butter, milk, salt, and pepper.
  • Stir vigorously until smooth and creamy.

The keys are cutting the potatoes small and cooking them in intervals to prevent uneven cooking. Letting the microwaved potatoes sit for a few minutes before mashing can also improve the texture.

Tips for the Best Homemade Microwave Mashed Potatoes

Follow these tips for microwave mashed potatoes with a smooth, creamy texture:

  • Choose potatoes with high starch content like Russets or Yukon Gold.
  • Peel potatoes before cooking if desired.
  • Cut potatoes into 1/2-inch cubes.
  • Add just 1-2 Tbsp water before microwaving.
  • Cook in 3 minute intervals until fork tender.
  • Let potatoes steam for 2 minutes before mashing.
  • Use butter and heated milk when making the mash.
  • Mix vigorously to reach desired smoothness.

With the right techniques, you can absolutely achieve delicious homemade mashed potatoes from the microwave. But instant potato products like Idahoan remain the easiest, quickest option.

Idahoan Microwave Mashed Potato Recipes

Basic Idahoan mashed potatoes made with just water, milk, and butter are tasty on their own. But you can also jazz them up with mix-ins and extra flavors. Try these recipes:

Loaded Baked Potato

  • Prepare Idahoan Potatoes according to microwave directions.
  • Stir in 2 tbsp sour cream, 2 tbsp cheddar cheese, and 3 slices cooked, crumbled bacon.
  • Top with extra cheese, chives, and bacon bits.

Cheesy Garlic Parmesan

  • Prepare Idahoan potatoes according to directions.
  • Mix in 1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese, 1 minced garlic clove, 2 tbsp milk, and 1 tbsp butter.
  • Season with salt, pepper, and dried parsley.

Ranch and Bacon

  • Make potatoes as directed.
  • Stir in 3 slices crumbled cooked bacon, 2 tbsp ranch dressing, 1/4 cup cheddar cheese, and 2 tbsp sour cream.
  • Garnish with extra bacon and green onions.

Get creative with different mix-ins like shredded chicken, broccoli, jalapenos, or buffalo sauce. The possibilities are endless!

Common Questions

Can you prepare Idahoan potatoes in the microwave at work?

Yes, Idahoan mashed potatoes can easily be made at work with access to a microwave. The single-serve pouches are convenient to keep on hand for quick meals. Prepare them in a microwave-safe bowl, let sit 1-2 minutes after cooking, and stir thoroughly before enjoying.

Do you have to use Idahoan brand potatoes?

No, you can use any brand of instant mashed potatoes in the microwave. Idahoan is one of the most popular brands, but store brands or other companies like Betty Crocker also work well. Just follow the same microwave instructions, adjusting cook times as needed.

Is the microwave healthier than the stovetop for mashed potatoes?

Microwaving is not necessarily healthier than the stovetop method. Both cooking methods result in a similar nutritional value for the potatoes themselves. However, microwaving avoids extra oil or butter that may be used for stovetop cooking. Overall, neither method is inherently healthier.

Do microwave mashed potatoes taste the same as stovetop?

There is a slight difference in taste and texture when microwaving vs. stovetop. Microwaved potatoes are more prone to drying out and may have a less creamy, light texture. However, with the right techniques, you can produce good results in the microwave that are very close to stovetop flavor and texture.

Can you use potato flakes instead of granules to make microwave mashed potatoes?

Potato flakes can be used to make microwave mashed potatoes, however they may result in a gluey or gummy texture. Potato granules are formulated to reconstitute more smoothly. For best results, use potato granules like those in Idahoan instant potatoes.


Making Idahoan instant mashed potatoes in the microwave produces delicious results in a fraction of the time required for stovetop preparation. While the stovetop method yields the creamiest texture, the convenience and speed of the microwave cannot be beat. With a few simple tips, you can easily achieve light, fluffy potato flavor from your microwave. Idahoan mashed potatoes make an effortless, tasty side dish any night of the week.