Instant potatoes‏ Storage?

On all of the boxes and packages of instant mashed potatoes I see at the grocery store, the expiration date is only a year or so out?

Is this an item that stores longer than the package indicates, or am I looking at the wrong type?


love the book.


Thanks for your email Burt.
Sometimes food has an expiration date for stocking and rotation purposes and it doesn’t reflect accurately how long a food product can last. You see it in salt, sugar, and honey, products that easily have decades worth of shelf life. Other products such as canned goods can often be eaten years after their expiration date as long as the can isn’t leaking or swollen.
In my book, “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collape”, I describe a few easy to find food products, available in pretty much any supermarket around the world, that are good options for the survivalist that doesn’t have fancy survival food available. While a few MRE and specialty food for emergencies last a long time and taste pretty good, it does get expensive if you only stock up on those. Its better if you have a few staples for bulk, and sprinkle the menu with a few of those other ready meals so as to have some variety and not get bored.
One of these commonly available food products that I recommend is indeed instant mashed potatos. The dehydrated flakes look almost like paper and they infact last well beyond their expiration date as long as they are kept in a dry sealed package away from bugs.
In my book I describe something similar done by Incas, here’s the excerpt,

Dehydrated mashed potatoes: I like this stuff a lot. It stores almost indefinitely as long as it’s kept dry. The ancient Incas used to make something similar: “The Incas had an interesting way of dehydrating potatoes. Small potatoes were placed outside on the ground at high elevations to freeze during the night. The next morning the potatoes would be gathered into piles. The men and women would stomp on them which would cause the water to squirt out. When they wanted to use the dehydrated potatoes they would just add water.”
Potatoes are ones of the basic food staples around the world. A lightweight package that stores almost indefinitely and just needs water? Priceless.

Rotate every couple years, but its good to know that they may as well last decades if stored properly. Note that this applies to dehydrated mashed potatos alone. Often you will find many brands that add other ingredients to the instant mix to make it more tasty, usually milk poweder, butter and herbs. This will reduce the shelf life so keep that in mind and check the ingredients.
If you buy bulk and plan for long term storage you might want to store them inside food-grade plastic buckets lined with Mylar bags. Fill the bucket, drop a few oxygen absorbers and seal the Mylar bag with a hot iron. This removes the oxygen and is one of the best methods to keep food stored for long periods of time. Some comercial products like this bucket contain a vairety of food stored, these compliment nicely the staples you may store.

Emergency Survival Food Supply 275 Meal Pack
Emergency Survival Food Supply 275 Meal Pack

Sometimes the original instant mashed potatoes packaging is already pretty good and there’s no need for this, just leave it sealed, in a box where the packaging wont be damaged.

Idahoan Real Mashed Potatoes With Vitamin C, 26-Ounce Units (Pack of 4)
Idahoan Real Mashed Potatoes With Vitamin C, 26-Ounce Units (Pack of 4)

I like the aluminum lined packages ( used sometimes in tuna pouches). Plastic foils like these will keep the instant mashed potatoes good for years beyond its expiration date.

Take care!



Instant potatoes‏ Storage? — 13 Comments

  1. such a coincidence….
    last Tuesday, we cleaned out our
    food pantry, and found some 4 year
    old instant potatoes. we cooked
    them. no problem at all.

    • I like to use them to get more out of my regular potatoes. Chop up potatoes, boil in minimum water. Don’t drain, this keeps the nutrients. Mash in the pan, add flakes to adsorb the water.

      For survival sake, it may be a good way to make scavenged roots more palatable for the family.

  2. Good stuff to stretch stews and thicken soups, omelets. Same way we use leftover cooked rice. Make them as potatoes, and you can top them with nearly anything, and have something interesting, cheese, salsa, leftovers, on top of meat loaf or sausage, yum!
    Eric in MI

  3. Can I store my I stant mashed taters in 2 liter soda bottles and should I put oxygen absorbers in it? Thanks

    • You could and even if you dont need them if everytihng is dry and clean it would help extend the shelf life even more. If you’re doing that though, you might want to go ahead and get propper mylar bags.

  4. Pulled out a #10 can of Idahoan potato flakes from our year 2000 stocking days, it was dated with an expiration of 1999. Before even looking around the web for the real shelf life of these cans I opened one (seal still good), did the visual test, the smell test even ate a few flakes, they seemed fine. Cooked up a batch and they tasted like fresh bought. Granted they have been stored at a dry, cold and dark 55 deg temp. But one should never assume that is enough. I know there are a lot of potato flake packaged products out there that include an oxygen absorber in the can, they will go 30 plus years. This original Idahoan can had no oxygen absorber included but obviously was prepared and packaged right and is just fine. After reading your comment, “I like this stuff a lot. It stores almost indefinitely as long as it’s kept dry.” I just wish to confirm that good advice. Good luck with this site and the future. JM

  5. can u use kroger brand instant mashed potatos naturaly flaverd that has naturaly flaverd milk in mylar bags for long time storage? roughly how long ? please email me soon as u can my bags should be coming this week thanks

    • Hi Les, check my other replies, you can but it will last a lot less than plain mashed. Stick to plain mashed for the kind of LTS you have in mind!Its not bad anyway and if you-re hungry you will enjoy it. Besides, oil or milk can be added later. I gave up milk and took maybe a week before getting used to mashed without milk, just water. i dont miss it one bit. 😉

  6. how long will instant mashed potatoes naturaly flaverd milk last in mylar oxyden obsorbers might roughly last already bought.when i go back store what brand or typ to get for realy long storage and what oils to watch out for not to get in product let me no soon as can please thanks.

    • Stick to plain instant mashed, that added milk (fat) will cause it do go bad much faster since fat does go rancid eventually. Properly stored and sealed it will last a couple years or maybe more but I can pretty much guarantee that plain mash with no other aditives will last decades if sealed while I cant say the same about mashed with added milk.

    • With the oxigen absorbers, at leas tin theory you can remove almost all air, but any bit of air left can cause the fatty to go rancid. Again, maybe well done it will last a couple years but Id rather not risk ti and go with plain (no milk, no added stuff) knowing that it lasts much longer.

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