Popular for holiday dinners from Thanksgiving to Christmas and beyond, mashed potatoes are one of the main staples of the classic American diet.
Needless to say, Trader Joe’s stocks ready-made mashed potatoes in their frozen section year round.
Prior to 2020, Trader Joe’s used to carry two popular mashed potato products–their classic Trader Joe’s Mashed Potatoes and their Garlic & Butter Mashed Potatoes. Unfortunately, both of these products were discontinued due to supply chain issues early in the pandemic.
Finally, in the fall of 2022, Trader Joe’s released a replacement for their sorely missed potatoes of the past when they introduced their Trader Joe’s Mashed Potatoes for $4.29 a bag in the frozen section.
As it stands, these new TJ’s Mashed Potatoes are the only variety for sale at the popular grocer. They do not sell instant mashed potatoes or boxed mashed potatoes.
Trader Joe’s has also been known to carry frozen Mashed Sweet Potatoes as a seasonal product around the holidays each year. However, it’s unclear whether this product will be returning in 2023.
If you’re looking for an alternative to potatoes, you can also find a bag of frozen Mashed Cauliflower in the TJ’s frozen section for just $2.99 a bag.
Ingredients & Nutrition
Trader Joe’s Mashed Potatoes are made with just four ingredients–potatoes, milk, cultured butter, and salt.
In one serving (one cup of frozen potatoes), you’ll be consuming 90 calories from 2.5 grams of fat, 5 mg of cholesterol, 300 mg of sodium, 14 grams of carbs, 2 grams of fiber, 2 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.
Unfortunately, this is quite a lot of sodium for such a small serving. One cup of these potatoes frozen turns out to only be about a ½ cup once it’s reheated. Aside from that, this is about what you would expect from potatoes combined with butter and milk.
Because these potatoes contain dairy, they are not vegan. However, they are completely gluten free.
According to the bag, these potatoes are recommended for preparation either on the stovetop or in the microwave. Either way, they should be kept frozen until you’re ready to prepare them. No need to defrost first.
On the Stove
I decided to prepare my mashed potatoes on the stovetop, which ended up being a bit more complicated than the bag suggests.
According to the instructions, all you have to do is add your potatoes to a pan on low heat and then stir continuously for 3-4 minutes until heated. But I found that this method didn’t work so well for me.
Here’s what the potatoes looked like when they first came out of the bag…
Because of their shape, measuring one cup was a bit awkward. It also became apparent very quickly that one cup wasn’t going to be a very fulfilling serving, so I opted to go for a cup and a half.
Once I got the potatoes into the pan and started stirring, I quickly decided it wasn’t going to be worth my time to stir for four minutes straight. And if I had kept them over low heat with the lid off, it would have taken much longer than four minutes for them to heat all the way through.
Instead, I ended up adding about two tablespoons of water and a little bit of olive oil to the pan, then covered it and left it on low-medium heat for about 3-4 minutes. After that, I uncovered the pan and stirred the potatoes a bit, but they weren’t all the way defrosted yet. In the end, I probably kept the potatoes on the heat with the lid on for about 8 minutes before they were completely thawed and ready to eat.
As mentioned above, one frozen cup of these potatoes only ends up being about a half cup once they’re reheated. I used 1 ½ cups frozen and that felt like a decent serving for one person.
In the Microwave
If you’d like to prepare these potatoes in the microwave, all you have to do is place your desired amount of potatoes in a microwave safe dish and cover. Then, place into your microwave and heat on 50% power for about 2 minutes. Remove the dish and lid, stir your potatoes, then replace into the microwave and continue heating for 2-3 more minutes.
If your potatoes are not fully heated after this time, continue heating for a minute at a time until they’re ready.
If you’re preparing the entire bag of potatoes in the microwave at one time, reference the photo of the bag above for specific instructions.
If you’re a fan of air frying, you might be wondering whether these potatoes can be prepared that way.
While it’s definitely possible to prepare from-scratch mashed potatoes in the air fryer, the jury’s still out on whether this method works for TJ’s frozen Mashed Potatoes.
Will you be the first to try it?
How To Dress Up Your Trader Joe’s Mashed Potatoes
One of the most popular ways to use these mashed potatoes is by topping a Shepherd’s Pie. In fact, TJ’s has their very own recipe for Meatless Shepherd’s Pie using their frozen Mashed Potatoes here.
They also have their own recipe for Cheesy Mashed Potatoes using the same bag of frozen spuds.
If you’d like to go a different direction, check out this recipe for Scalloped Mashed Potatoes from Thrillist which also uses TJ’s potatoes.
And if you want to go rogue, try this list of ideas for ways to dress up your TJ’s mash…
- Stir in a handful of cheddar cheese, chopped green onions, and bacon bits
- Serve with a drizzle of mushroom gravy
- Stir in some fresh roasted garlic, a pad of butter, and some fresh cracked black pepper
My Honest Review
Finally, it’s time to find out what I thought about these TJ’s potatoes…
Sadly, I found these mashed potatoes to be bland, boring, and underwhelming.
Don’t get me wrong–they were fine. They just weren’t good, and I definitely wouldn’t pay to buy them again.
They were under seasoned and made from potatoes that clearly never had much natural flavor to begin with. If I had to make these again, I would definitely add some butter, salt, and black pepper at the very least. They would also be improved by adding some roasted garlic, chives, or a generous helping of cheese.
Thankfully, I’m not alone when it comes to my mashed potato disappointment…
Here’s some honest input from Reddit to back up my feelings…
This TJ’s customer really didn’t hold back…
One thing is clear: TJ’s customers definitely prepared the old version of Trader Joe’s Frozen Mashed Potatoes. Take it from this Reddit user who’s definitely not happy about the change…
My take is that these potatoes are passable if you plan on dressing them up with a bunch of other ingredients anyway. But if you’re expecting them to be flavorful or comparable to homemade, you’re better off looking elsewhere.
Based on the fact that none of TJ’s customers are happy with this new product, I wouldn’t be surprised if it gets discontinued and replaced soon.