The Game-Changing Ingredient You Should Add To Mashed Potatoes

According to the Idaho Potato Museum, Americans eat approximately 124 pounds of potatoes each year. While the Agricultural Marketing Research Center estimates that more than 60% of potatoes are sold to be processed into frozen and shelf-stable products, that still leaves a large load of fresh potatoes for consumers to purchase and whip up at home.

Although many home cooks may be cheffing it up with dishes like fondant potatoes or potatoes au gratin with gruyere, the Idaho Potato Commission has confirmed that potatoes are America's favorite vegetable and that, more specifically, mashed potatoes are the most popular preparation.

And why wouldn't they be? Not only are potatoes exceptionally inexpensive, but when mashed they are mainstays in simple dishes like shepherd's pie or potato cakes, while also acting as a side dish star alongside mains like Mississippi roast, fried chicken, and, of course, Thanksgiving turkey.

Since potatoes on their own have a natural neutrality, they make for a perfect foundation for creative cooks to build layered flavor. While butter is a staple mashed potato ingredient, the dish is often enhanced with dairy products like milk or cream, cream cheese, sour cream, assorted shredded hard cheeses, or even Bobby Flay's favorite: crème fraîche. 

But before you start thinking you need to be swanky to take your mashed spuds up a notch, there's another simple, but flavorful ingredient you should be adding.

Making the best mashed potatoes with French onion dip

You've no doubt dipped a chip into a bowl of French onion dip, but according to Lifehacker, adding the dip to your mashed potatoes will turn them from mundane to majestic. And you don't need to get fancy and make your own. Lifehacker actually prefers the pre-made dip you find in stores.

The first step in this mashed potato hack is to choose the right potatoes. If you prefer them rich and creamy, Bon Appétit recommends Yukon Golds. If you like your mashed spuds on the light and airy side, then russets are the way to go. 

After boiling your potatoes, the French onion fun begins. Lifehacker recommends using a quarter of a cup of dip for every pound of potatoes (along with a quarter cup of salted butter). Of course, you can taste test along the way, but this guidance is a solid start.

Lifehacker also recommends using a shelf-stable and canola-based brand like Lay's. However, several other brands, like Kroger and Bison, have their own recommended recipes for French onion mashed potatoes. Meanwhile, Dean's also has a recipe for twice-baked potatoes (essentially mashed potatoes in their own skin) using their dip as well.

No matter the brand you choose, the bottom line is that adding French onion dip to mashed potatoes is an easy way to impart creaminess and subtle flavor into this comfort food favorite.