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5 Types of Potatoes to Store in Your Food Storage Pantry

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Building a well-stocked pantry is a key part of preparedness, and potatoes shouldn’t be overlooked! Here are five types of potatoes that offer long shelf life and a (mostly) lightweight profile. From quick side dishes to creative recipe additions, we’ll show you how to get the most out of these shelf-stable staples. But wait, there’s more! We’ll also explore how each type of canned potato contributes to a well-rounded emergency food storage plan.

My husband is a meat-and-potatoes kind of guy. Except not really so much of the meat; just potatoes. As far as he is concerned, potatoes are the stuff of life. “Potatoes have probably saved millions of lives,” he told me when I said I was going to sit down to write an article on potatoes in a can.

So, of course, we have to have them as part of our food storage. How could we not? They are versatile, inexpensive, come in a number of different forms for food storage, and are sold by every food storage company that I know of.

Here’s everything you need to know about the different ways potatoes can be purchased, and how I use them in my home.

Types of Potatoes For Your Pantry

Here are five types of potatoes you could store in your food storage pantry:

  • dehydrated potatoes
  • freeze-dried potatoes
  • complete mashed potatoes
  • potato flakes
  • commercially cooked canned potatoes in water

Varieties may include potato beads, dices, slices, and shredded potatoes, depending on the company. Let’s look at each one.

Dehydrated Potatoes

In their dehydrated form, as slices, these potatoes look and feel like extra thick, brittle potato chips. Once hydrated, however, they can be used just like any other sliced or diced potato in soup, stew, casseroles, and even potato salad. If you’ve ever purchased a pouch of Potatoes au Gratin from a brand such as Betty Crocker or Idahoan, you’re familiar with dehydrated sliced potatoes.

Dehydrated potatoes are a budget-friendly food option and will be less expensive than freeze dried. Also, because they shrink up so much in the drying process, you will end up with more potatoes in the container than if they were freeze dried.

The dehydrated hash browns that come in what looks like an oversized school milk carton from brands like Idaho Spuds or Hungry Jack are super for camping and make quick additions to breakfast. Just rehydrate for about 15 minutes and then fry. We love them in breakfast burritos, and if you live near a Costco, they sell them in 8-packs.

These aren’t for long-term storage, though, as the stated shelf life is about two years. I’ve had pretty good luck keeping them longer before rotating them out, but it will depend on your storage conditions.

Freeze Dried Potatoes

Thrive Life carries freeze dried potatoes in dices, which works well when reconstituted and used in place of potato slices when making potatoes au gratin. Yum! You can also chop the reconstituted potato dices finely and use them for hash browns. Some people don’t enjoy plain, reconstituted freeze-dried potatoes because the freeze-drying process robs the potatoes of some flavor, and it somewhat alters the texture. However, in most dishes, you would scarcely know the difference between fresh and freeze-dried.

Freeze drying preserves much of the original texture and flavor, and for this reason, FD potatoes are a great improvement over the dehydrated kind. They also take less time to reconstitute. Dehydrated potatoes must be left in hot water for 10-15 minutes before cooking, whereas freeze-dried potatoes only require five minutes.

The improved potatoey-ness comes at a price, however: Freeze-dried anything is going to be considerably more expensive than dehydrated foods. Depending on your personal preference, the extra cost may be worth it. Both freeze-dried and dehydrated potatoes (if properly packaged) will store for upwards of 20+ years, under the right conditions.

Complete Mashed Potatoes

Thrive Life sells mashed potatoes in the form of a flakey powder, but they may also come as potato pearls or beads depending on the company.

As the name would suggest, these are just-add-water mashed potatoes, with “potatoes” being the only ingredient. No artificial flavorings here! Add your own choices of milk, butter, and seasonings in whatever amounts you please. I love having a can of instant mashed potatoes in my pantry at all times. They’re perfect for a quick side dish for dinner, or as a component of shepherd’s pie. I’ve added sliced green onion, grated cheddar cheese, and seasoning to leftover mashed potatoes and then breaded and fried them.

To store these longer, remove them from there bags or boxes and repackage them into something more suitable for long-term storage.

Potato Flakes

Potato flakes are similar to instant mashed potatoes. You will have to add extra milk, butter, and salt yourself. Some people say that they taste rather bland, even with added butter. By themselves, potato flakes can only be described as “stodgy.” Furthermore, the high starch content has a tendency to produce a gummy, gluey texture.

This isn’t particularly desirable in mashed potatoes, but is an excellent quality in bread making. All that extra starch helps make the dough extra stretchy, producing a delightfully tender crumb. It also makes a great thickening agent in soups. Potato flakes are especially great for making donuts, because what could be better than making an unhealthy dessert out of your food storage?

To increase the shelf life, you’ll want to remove them from their boxes or bags and repackage them into something more suitable for long-term storage.

Canned Potatoes in Water

Commercially cooked canned potatoes in water offer another convenient, shelf-stable, though not lightweight, option for your pantry. Peeled and pre-cooked, they require minimal preparation and can be used in various ways. Simply drain them before incorporating them into soups, stews, or potato salad. They can also be mashed or tossed with herbs and spices for a quick side dish. However, commercially cooked canned potatoes may have a softer texture compared to dehydrated or freeze-dried varieties.

If you are working to increase the canned food in your emergency food storage, this option is good one to consider. It won’t require any of your water storage to rehydrate, and you could actually use the water in the can for cooking purposes. Note: Salt is used in the canning process, so look for low-salt or no-salt added versions if that’s a concern.

Pro Tips for Choosing Which to Store

  • Consider your cooking habits! If you frequently make mashed potatoes, flakes might be a good staple. For those who love variety, a combination of freeze-dried and dehydrated options offers the best of both worlds.
  • If flavor and texture are the most important factor for you, then you want freeze-dried potatoes. They rehydrate quickly and offer a near-fresh potato experience.
  • If you need a convenient options for last-minute dishes then potato flakes or commercially cooked canned potatoes may be a good fit. Both require minimal prep.
  • If you’re keeping an eye on costs then dehydrated potatoes, flakes, and canned in water are the most affordable choice. They’re a great options for bulking up soups and stews. Just be aware of the slightly different texture in each.
  • If long-term storage for emergency preparedness is your concern then both freeze-dried and dehydrated potatoes are excellent choices. Their lightweight nature and long shelf life make them ideal for emergency food storage.

Comparison of Potato Types for Food Storage

Feature Freeze-dried Potatoes Dehydrated Potatoes Complete Mashed Potatoes (Flakes) Commercially Cooked (in Water)
Flavor & Texture Superior Good Bland (needs additions) Soft
Rehydration Time 5 minutes 10-15 minutes Just add water None
Shelf Life* 20+ years Several years Several years Several years
Weight Lightweight Lightweight Lightweight Moderate weight
Cost More expensive Less expensive Moderate cost Moderate cost
Availability Less readily available Widely available Widely available Widely available
Preparation Requires rehydration Requires rehydration Just add water Drain
Best Uses All dishes, backpacking Soups, stews, casseroles Mashed potatoes Quick side dish, soups
*Shelf life varies based on your storage conditions.

Recipe: Homemade Potato Donuts

This recipe originally calls for white flour, but it will work well with whole wheat flour on the condition that it is from hard white winter wheat. One final word of warning: This recipe makes a LOT of donuts, so don’t start unless you’re committed.


  • 1/2 cup ThriveLife Non-Fat Powdered Milk
  • 3 1/2 C warm water
  • 3 Tbsp yeast
  • 1 C sugar
  • 1 Tbsp salt
  • 1/2 C ThriveLife Scrambled Egg Mix
  • 1 1/2 C mashed potatoes (for best results, use ThriveLife Mashed Potatoes, reconstituted)
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 3/4 C shortening
  • 5-7 C Thrive Life White Flour
  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • Granulated sugar, for dipping


  1. Reconstitute milk powder in warm water. Dissolve yeast and sugar.
  2. Add egg powder and stir until dissolved.
  3. Add salt, potatoes, lemon zest, nutmeg, and shortening.
  4. Stir in 3 C flour and mix well.
  5. Add remaining flour 1/2 C at a time until the dough is stiff, but still pretty sticky.
  6. Let rise in a greased bowl until double in size (about 1 1/2 hours).
  7. Roll out like biscuits and cut into rounds. If you don’t have a donut cutter, use a wide mouth jar lid, and fingers to make a hole in the middle.
  8. Let rise on greased cookie sheets.
  9. Deep fry. While still warm, dip one side in sugar. Drain on paper towels.
Do canned potatoes taste as good as fresh potatoes?

Freeze-dried potatoes offer the closest flavor and texture to fresh potatoes. Dehydrated and commercially cooked varieties may have a slightly different texture. However, you can still create delicious meals with all types of canned potatoes.

How do I keep my canned in water potatoes from becoming mush in my recipes?

Add them at end and stir gently to incorporate them. They only need to heat through, not cook.

Get your FREE freeze-dried food primer now!

Click here for everything you need to know to get started using freeze-dried food:

  • What it is and how to use it
  • Which brands are the best quality
  • How to decide what to buy
  • How to save money buying freeze-dried food

Click here to get your FREE freeze-dried food primer!

Final Thoughts

With five distinct types of potatoes to choose from, your food storage pantry can be bursting with delicious and versatile options. Whether you’re whipping up a quick side dish for tonight’s dinner or building a long-term emergency food supply, these potatoes offer a convenient and budget-friendly solution. So, next time you’re at the grocery store, consider stocking up on these shelf-stable staples.

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