Do Instant Mashed Potatoes Already Contain Dairy?

If you're craving a creamy helping of mouthwatering mashed potatoes and you don't have time to peel, chop, and boil them, reaching for a box of instant mashed potatoes might just be your next best option. But if you're cautious about foods that have dairy or are following a dairy-free lifestyle, you may need to pay closer attention to dehydrated potatoes due to the possible presence of ingredients that include dairy.

Some brands of instant mashed potatoes contain dairy in the form of milk powder, while other brands offer dairy-free versions of the same product. Milk powder is simply liquid milk that has been evaporated to the point that it becomes a dry powder. You can use it as a shelf-stable alternative to milk and rehydrate it with water at a moment's notice. Milk powder is also very useful for adding extra flavor and creaminess to a wide variety of recipes without adding liquid.

When it comes to instant mashed potatoes, milk powder imparts a richer taste, making it quicker to get your delicious side dish on the table — assuming this ingredient fits your lifestyle.

Reading the label is a must

When filling up your grocery cart, get into the habit of taking a quick look at your selected items' ingredients so you can know exactly what you're buying. This is especially important if you have any dietary restrictions or preferences.

As a helpful tool, the FDA notes that United States federal law requires most prepackaged foods to include a statement on the label when the food's ingredients include one of the major food allergens, such as milk. However, the FDA cautions that you should check the ingredient labels every time you buy an item, including the exact same item, because ingredients, as well as labels, can be changed at any time.

Though it may be a mild inconvenience to always keep a watchful eye on the ingredient labels, this vigilance might be the key to saving you from an unpleasant situation when it comes to deciding what's safe for your body to consume. The good news is there are many varieties of dairy-free instant mashed potatoes available on grocery store shelves. Just make sure you check the labels so you can indulge in one of the many uses instant mashed potatoes have to offer.