You Can Make 'Instant' Mashed Potatoes With This Snack Hack

Anyone who has ever gotten completely bogged down in work or pulled an all-night study session has probably been tempted to crack open a bag of potato chips and call it dinner instead of taking the time to step away and make a real snack. Thanks to a new kitchen hack making its way around social media, you may not have to feel so guilty about this plan anymore. Why? Because now, instead of "a bag of chips," you can say you ate mashed potatoes, and technically you'd be telling the truth.

That's right, the internet has discovered a way to make potato chips into mashed potatoes. Southern Living notes that the trend started somewhere on TikTok — although Lay's does now have a version of the recipe on its website — and has been catching on as more and more cooks' curiosities get the best of them.

As many cooks have discovered, the idea is honestly not as crazy as it sounds. As Sam the Cooking Guy explains on YouTube, potato chips and instant potato flakes made by companies like Idahoan are quite similar. They're both made out of dried potato bits; The chips are just fried with some extra flavoring. So it stands to reason that if potato flakes just need some water and dairy to reconstitute into mashed potatoes, the same should be true of potato chips.

Transforming your chips

The next time you're running short on time to prepare a side dish, or you're just looking for a heartier snack you can make on your dorm-room hotplate, give this incredibly fast recipe a whirl.

The Kitchn and Sam the Cooking Guy both note that the ideal ratio for this recipe is 3 ounces of potato chips per 1 cup of water. So you may need a kitchen scale to get it right. Measure out the chips and bring the water to a boil before dumping the munchies into the pot. While keeping the water on the heat, use a spoon to dunk the chips and get them soggy. As the water absorbs, continue mixing and the chips will begin to look more and more like mashed potatoes.

Once the chips take on the consistency of mashed potatoes, mix in some dairy. Sam the Cooking Guy recommends a quarter cup of half-and-half while Southern Living notes milk or butter could also do the job. Finally, plate the potatoes and add any toppings you want. Salt will probably be unnecessary as the chips will have plenty on their own.

The true beauty of this recipe is you are not limited to standard potato chips. Flavored chips like Sour Cream and Onion and Barbecue varieties have been tested by cooks with positive results. So whatever flavor chips you like best can easily be transformed into flavorful mashed potatoes without all the work of actually, you know, mashing potatoes.