The Simple Additions Ina Garten Uses To Elevate Store-Bought Mashed Potatoes

With Thanksgiving around the corner, mashed potatoes are a must, and gravy is a plus. The hearty spuds are the perfect starch to accompany a meaty main and veggie side, but making them from scratch can be a bit time-consuming — especially if you're peeling them. According to Bon Appétit, Yukon Golds are the best variety of potatoes for mashing. However, with potato prices jumping 6% since the summer, per Small Biz Trends, it might tempt you to grab a tub of store-bought prepared mashed potatoes and call it a day. In fact, the "store-bought is fine" queen herself, Ina Garten, pulls this trick when recreating her Parmesan smashed potatoes from "The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook."

Ina Garten, Food Network's renowned home chef, lover of fine foods, and ultimate dinner party host admits to The New York Times that she uses prepared mashed potatoes straight from the tub to ease up the effort on her Parmesan smashed potatoes. Here's how she does it.

Sour cream, butter, and Parmesan are all you need

Normally when heating up a tub of prepared mashed potatoes, the microwave is the first option listed, and the oven is second. According to The New York Times, after testing out just about every package of prepared mashed potatoes, whether in the refrigerator or freezer section, Ina Garten ended up reheating her go-to brand in a non-traditional way, in a double-boiler. The Barefoot Contessa places her mashed potatoes in a bowl over simmering water, and when heated through, she stirs in sour cream, Parmesan cheese, butter, salt, and pepper.

These added flavors bring these already seasoned spuds to a new level of life. The only equipment needed is a bowl, saucepan, and a wooden spoon for stirring. When comparing this to all the equipment needed for making homemade mashed potatoes, like a chef's knife, cutting board, vegetable peeler, large pot, strainer, potato masher, or even a ricer, this simple swap that tastes homemade is a no-brainer — and let's face it, it saves you plenty of time as well.