The Flavorful Ingredient That Takes Mashed Potatoes To The Next Level

If all you do is peel, boil, and mash some potatoes, you'll still get a pretty decent batch of mashed potatoes. However, it'll taste relatively bland, and the texture won't be very creamy. That's where dairy-based ingredients usually come in. Giada De Laurentiis' adds mascarpone cheese to her mashed potatoes, for example, while Bobby Flay's recipe uses crème fraîche, though it's also common to add any combination of butter, cream, milk, and sour cream to improve the classic side dish.

While these ingredients do a great job at making mashed potatoes rich and velvety, you usually have to add something else to give it a bit more flavor, whether that be a pinch of salt and pepper or a garnish of fresh herbs. A much more effective approach to upgrading mashed potatoes is to simply add French onion dip instead. It's packed with flavor and yields mashed potatoes that are smooth and creamy.

What happens when you add French onion dip to mashed potatoes?

French onion dip is typically made with a base of sour cream. Therefore, adding it to mashed potatoes has a similar effect to adding sour cream: it makes the potatoes creamy while also introducing a slight tang. Unlike sour cream, however, French onion dip also includes either caramelized or dehydrated onion and onion powder, as well as garlic powder, parsley, and salt.

The combination of fat, salt, and acid in French onion dip is precisely what can give your mashed potatoes such a well-rounded flavor, but you should be wary of using store-bought French onion dip for this trick; it likely won't produce the same results. Some store brands use a base of oil instead of sour cream for their dips. Though the oil can give mashed potatoes a creamy texture, it isn't acidic like sour cream, meaning store-bought French onion dip might not give mashed potatoes that perfect balance of fat, salt, and acid that you're looking for. Homemade French onion dip — which is pretty easy to whip up — is the way to go so you know exactly what's gone into it and, ultimately, what's going to go into your mashed potatoes. 

How much French onion dip should you add to mashed potatoes

Much like adding any other creamy ingredient to mashed potatoes, you can realistically eyeball how much French onion dip to add and taste as you go. But considering French onion dip also contains extra seasoning, it's best to measure it out so it doesn't turn out too salty. You might try a ratio of a fourth cup of French onion dip per pound of potatoes to start and adjust as necessary.

If you accidentally went overboard with the French onion dip or opted for a store-bought version that leans salty, the best way to counteract this is to add a splash of milk or cream. This could easily cause your mashed potatoes to become runny as a result, so if you feel like you need to add a lot of milk, it's probably better to just add more mashed potatoes to bring the balance of flavors back.