Recipe: Loaded Mashed Potatoes

backpacking recipe: loaded mashed potatoes

Instant mashed potatoes are an easy to make meal for backpacking. No cooking on the stove is required, so this recipe is great for those who just want to add boiling water to a meal and will be ready to eat in 10 minutes or less.

This recipe can be easily modified with different types of cheese (or leave it out to go vegan) or veggies. Sometimes I like to add bacon jerky for extra protein and flavor, although any type of jerky could be used.


  • 1 cup instant mashed potatoes, Bob’s Red Mill
  • 2 TBS freeze dried mozzarella cheese
  • 1 TBS butter powder
  • 2 TBS sour cream powder
  • 1/4 cup dehydrated mushrooms
  • 1 TBS dehydrated green onions
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp fresh ground pepper
  • 1 tsp dried parsley

At Camp

  • Heat 1 cup of water to boiling
  • Add all ingredients and stir
  • Cover and let sit for 10 minutes, or until everything is fully rehydrated

Sourcing the ingredients

  • instant mashed potatoes: from Bob’s Red Mill (no additives, just potatoes!)
  • freeze-dried mozzarella cheese: from Packet Gourmet
  • butter powder: from Packit Gourmet
  • sour cream powder: from Packit Gourmet
  • green onions & mushrooms: I get these at any grocery store and dehydrate them at home

Packit Gourmet is a small family-run business in Austin that sells dehydrated, freeze-dried and ready-made meals for backpackers. They don’t use additives or preservatives in their dried ingredients, which is much preferred over products typically found in grocery stores.

Dehydrating ingredients

It’s easy to dehydrate ingredients at home! I use a Nesco Snackmaster dehydrator with temperature control. I purchased additional fruit roll trays for every tray in the dehydrator so food doesn’t fall through the standard trays.

I regularly dehydrate green onions, mushrooms, pasta, and rice for use in my recipes. It’s important to thoroughly dry everything until there’s no moisture left. To help food rehydrate faster, cut foods into small equal size pieces before dehydrating. It usually takes 6-8 hours to dehydrate chopped vegetables, longer for foods with more liquid or for meats.


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