Potatoes in a Pinch

FRESNO, Calif.

When it comes to making mashed potatoes, Bodine Boling's homemade ones are a real crowd pleaser. "It seems to be something other people like, because I get a lot of compliments about them."

And while piping-hot, homemade mashed potatoes are most likely everyone's first choice, could store-bought ones do in a pinch?

Consumer reports' Erin Gudeux tested a dozen, including ones from Pillsbury, Hungry Jack, and Betty Crocker. "Our trained panelists tasted the potatoes not knowing which was which for two weeks to find the best."

There were seven of the dry, instant kind you add ingredients to, as well as three refrigerated ones and even two frozen mashed potatoes.

"Several of the dry, instant potatoes were not great."

Of those, Whole Foods Original Instant Mashed Potatoes rated the lowest.

"Testers said they were thin, soupy, and bland, and they even had a slight cardboard-like flavor."

But plenty of the store-bought mashed potatoes were pretty tasty. And testers found the best by far is Bob Evans Original Refrigerated Mashed Potatoes.

"They were creamy and flavorful and even had a black pepper kick."

And all you need to do is heat them and serve. Good to know, especially if your mashed potatoes don't turn out quite as good as homemade.

If you're opting for store-bought mashed potatoes, you probably could use some help with the gravy. Consumer reports' tests of instant gravies found Knorr's Roasted Turkey Gravy Mix is very good, and it just might fool your guests.

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