Last Updated on August 9, 2021
Today, we’re going to be taking a look at mashed potatoes and answering the question: do mashed potatoes have gluten? Everybody loves mashed potatoes. They’re a staple favorite at every holiday and who can resist their creaminess? If I could only eat one food for the rest of my life, it would probably be potatoes.
If the gluten-free lifestyle is new to you, gluten is a cereal grain that you’ll find in barley, rye, oats, wheat, and spelt. I always remember it as BROWS to make life easier.
As we know, potatoes are a vegetable. In theory, this means that they should always be gluten-free. Naturally, they are, but for shop-bought potatoes, depending on the style – this may not always be the case.
I don’t think I need to give an explanation of what mashed potatoes are, however they come in so many different shapes and sizes – it’s hard to distinguish which ones are gluten-free and which ones aren’t. Of course, potatoes in their natural form are gluten-free, but let’s take a look at some sneaky products that might catch you out!
Does Potato Starch Have Gluten?
First, let’s take a look at what it is. Potato starch is essentially, the starch from a potato, extracted and dried to form a white flour-like powder. As it’s not a grain (like gluten), potato starch is 100% gluten-free and a great substitute for wheat flour in cooking. It’s perfect for sauces, stews, and gravies. It’s a really good thickener and keeps food moist. It can be used in cooking and baking; but most often, cooking.
Are Instant Potatoes Gluten-Free?
Instant potatoes are great for convenience and if you’re wanting a quick, easy accompaniment. However, instant potatoes are sneaky! I’ve bought two of the same brand before, just different flavors and one was gluten-free, the other wasn’t. Remember to always check the label of anything you buy. Even if you’ve bought it before, it’s always best to check as ingredients or manufacturing methods can change.
Some instant potatoes will contain yeast extract, which will sometimes contain barley. This is one of the sneaky additions I mentioned earlier. If this is added to the instant potato mix, it will be clearly labelled on the ingredients.
Idahoan is the leading instant potato brand in the US and the good news is – their products are gluten-free! There really is no need for instant potatoes to be anything but gluten-free. Idahoan have a wide selection of instant potatoes including:
- Buttery Homestyle Instant Potatoes
- Four Cheese Instant Potatoes
- Sour Cream and Chives Instant Potatoes
- Golden Selects Instant Potatoes
- Original Instant Potatoes
- Roasted Garlic Instant Potatoes
- Applewood Smoked Bacon Instant Potatoes
and many more! You can find the full range on Amazon here.
Some other instant potato brands worth mentioning are Hungry Jack Instant Potatoes and Betty Crocker Potato buds. If you live in Europe, Smash is a great gluten-free brand that you’ll likely find in all your local supermarkets.
They’re all very affordable options and there will likely be others in your local grocery store – just be sure to check the labels. And always opt for products that have a clear “gluten-free” label on the packaging if you can.
Are Homemade Mashed Potatoes Gluten-Free?
Depending on what you add to your potatoes, absolutely! Usually, this style of potatoes is made by just adding butter and milk to boiled potatoes and mashing away. You can also sometimes add cheese to the mix. If you’re using these ingredients, your homemade mash will be gluten-free. However, always check everything you’re adding to the potatoes as you wouldn’t want to contaminate your delicious mash!
When eating out at restaurants, mashed potatoes are usually the safest option if you’re craving potatoes. And usually, the potato that will be the least likely victim of cross-contact with gluten-containing foods. However, it’s always best to check with your server and have a chat with the chef if possible, before ordering. This will eliminate any worry and give you peace of mind when eating.
Are Potato Rolls Gluten-Free?
Another sneaky one! Despite their name including potato, potato rolls are not usually gluten-free. Most rolls use wheat flour as their main ingredient and then a portion of potato flakes or potato flour is added to the recipe when making. Potato rolls (or bread) is usually just wheat bread with potatoes added as an extra.
It can feel overwhelming checking everything before you purchase, but it’ll become a second nature before you know it. If you’re wanting to try making your own gluten-free version of potato rolls, I’ve found a great recipe.
These Gluten-Free Potato Rolls from Zest for Baking are light, soft, and utterly irresistible. The ingredients you’ll need are:
- almond milk
- white vinegar
- dry yeast
- mashed potatoes
- gluten-free flour
- xanthan gum
This recipe does require quite a few ingredients, but most of them you’ll likely have in your pantry at home anyways. If you try this recipe at home, I would love to know.
To conclude, I hope this article has helped to answer the question: do mashed potatoes have gluten? I, for one, am beyond grateful that mashed potatoes are gluten-free. I can happily live without a lot of foods – but mash certainly isn’t one of them! The smoother and creamier, the better.
When buying mashed potatoes, remember to look out for thickeners (which often contain wheat), yeast extract (which often contain barley), flavorings, and seasonings. As long as you’re vigilant when shopping, there shouldn’t be any issues.
Do you have any mashed potato recipes that you think are worth sharing with us? Or do you have a favorite instant potatoes brand? Please feel free to let us know in the comments below.
Hi, my name’s Zoë. I’m 28 years old and live in London, UK. I work full time as a freelance writer and critic for West End theatre. Writing has been a passion of mine for as long as I can remember. I spend most of my free time at the theatre, or at conventions. I’m married to the love of my life, and live in a small apartment with my fur baby, Lillie. I run two of my own blogs: No Safer Place and Stage to Page: both of which have won awards. I also have a YouTube channel where I talk about all things stagey.