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Tried 3 store bought mashed potatoes and one crushed the competition

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Is there anything more comforting than a bowl of warm, buttery, velvety mashed potatoes? All signs point to no – and you certainly don’t need a holiday like Thanksgiving as an excuse to eat them.

Mashed potatoes are so much more than a carb indulgence — they’re a necessary component to a variety of dishes like meatloaf, shepherd’s pie, and Salisbury steak. But my favorite preparation of all is with a bowl, a spoon and pants with an elastic waistband.

Boiling potatoes and mashing them yourself is not a difficult task and many chefs may call my decision to buy refrigerated varieties blasphemy and laziness in the textbooks, but sometimes life gets stressful and complicated and if I want chilled mashed potatoes, then I’ll have chilled mashed potatoes.

Surprisingly, Amazon Fresh tends to only sell three preset options (at least in the New York area), so if you’re hoping to satisfy that craving in a heartbeat, you won’t get much diversity. The range, however, includes the self-proclaimed #1 (they literally use that accolade to advertise the product), Bob Evans, the proven Hormel, and then a brand I’d never heard of: Reser’s.

Which of these smooth potatoes reigned supreme in the ultimate taste test? The results surprised me and they will probably surprise you, America. Check out my full ranking below.

3. Bob Evans Original Mashed Potatoes

Original Bob Evans Mashed Potatoes (courtesy Joey Skladany)

The national chain may want to rethink its marketing campaign, calling it “America’s #1 chilled mashed potato.” While the creamy consistency was present and palatable, I felt it was too edgy with hardly any notes of butter, cream or even salt. In fact, these tasted downright wholesome, which is the last thing I want to experience when partaking in carb bliss. To salvage the recipe which, frankly, doesn’t stand on its own, incorporate them into a dish like the aforementioned shepherd’s pie where ingredients like meat and vegetables will help round out and enhance the flavor. Otherwise, you’re better off going to a real Bob Evans restaurant and in person ordering their fresh mashed potatoes (which I can say are delicious and an upgrade from the packaged variety).

2. Hormel Homestyle Mashed Potatoes

Tried 3 store bought mashed potatoes and one crushed the competition

 |  Today Headlines

Homemade Hormel Mashed Potatoes (courtesy Joey Skladany)

While Hormel earned points for creaminess, there was a slight flavor to her recipe that reminded me of sour cream. That wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, but if you like your mashed potatoes to taste like heavy cream, you’ll be disappointed with the overall flavor profile. That said, these are the easiest to make with your own additions like chives, grated cheddar cheese, garlic, or bacon bits. They’ll take on any topping with ease and since the base isn’t potato heavy like Bob Evans, these toppings will shine on their own. Just be careful not to overdo it – adding lots of fatty ingredients can make you physically sick after eating something that is already so dense and filling.

1. Reser Creamy Mashed Potatoes

Tried 3 store bought mashed potatoes and one crushed the competition

 |  Today Headlines

Reser’s Creamy Mashed Potatoes (courtesy Joey Skladany)

This was, by far, the best premade mashed potato of the bunch. It might even be the best premade mashed potato I’ve ever tasted. The recipe was smooth, buttery and had the perfect amount of black pepper to add spice. You really don’t have anything to add, which is why I was able to fit almost an entire board in one sitting (#dangerous). If you’re struggling to find a side dish, pop it in the microwave quickly and serve with a spoon in an oversized bowl. No one needs to know that you haven’t struggled to peel, wash, boil and mash to get something totally tuber.

Of course, you can always make your own mashed potatoes at home, when you’re feeling a little more motivated. Here are some of my favorite recipes TODAY:

Creamy Mashed Potatoes by Kristen Kish

A classic high quality recipe that incorporates chicken broth for an added depth of umami flavor.

Carson’s Mother’s Cloud Nine Mashed Potatoes by Carson Daly

Carson dresses his potatoes with alcohol, which sounds absurd until you realize how well it pairs with roasted garlic and crumbled bacon.

Slow Cooker Mashed Potatoes by Elizabeth Heiskell

Is there anything a slow cooker can’t do? Apparently not, which is why I love this quick and easy recipe that uses cream cheese for extra decadence.

Sweet Potato and Plantain Mash by Kevin Curry

This sweet potato and plantain iteration is so sweet it’s practically a dessert. Serve it with salted butter to bring a little balance.

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