Are Golden Corral's Beloved Mashed Potatoes Instant Or The Real Deal?

While there are many ways to eat potatoes, there's nothing quite as classic as mashing them into a steaming pile of buttery goodness. One restaurant that does a great job at this is Golden Corral. Golden Corral is a buffet chain that opened in North Carolina in the early 1970s. It's open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, offering a variety of main dishes and sides that people can load up their plates with. Its lunch and dinner menus include mashed potatoes as well as variations on the classic side that add cheese and garlic — yum!

While there may be restaurants that take the easy route and make their mashed potatoes from instant potato flakes, Golden Corral isn't one of them. Instead, this company does the hard work of peeling, cooking, and mashing its potatoes in-house. In fact, because it makes its mashed potatoes from scratch, this chain claims to peel over a million potatoes a week! All that hard work has led to great-tasting 'taters for its buffet.

The secret to Golden Corral's tasty mashed potatoes

Golden Corral hasn't released its official recipe for mashed potatoes (after all, it's got to keep some things secret). However, it has given us some insight into how it makes its potatoes.

The company claims its secret to this tasty side is hand-peeled potatoes paired with whole buttermilk and white pepper. While Golden Corral may not have shared much else about what ingredients go into its mashed potatoes, we do know a little more about this side's nutritional information. For instance, we know these mashed potatoes contain soy, which could be an allergen for some people. We also know that this side packs about 200 calories for every ½ cup, although this amount can change depending on whether you're eating regular, garlic, or garlic and cheddar varieties.

At the end of the day, while we may not be privy to Golden Corral's exact mashed potatoes recipe, one thing is for sure — the company skips the packaged instant potatoes and creates a from-scratch tasty side. So, next time you go to the buffet, know that its cooks poured a little extra love into your potatoes by avoiding the instant version.

What's the difference between instant and fresh mashed potatoes anyway?

If you're wondering what all the fuss is over whether or not Golden Corral's mashed potatoes are instant or from scratch, it may help to know what instant mashed potatoes are. The boxed version is made from real potatoes, which are processed and mashed before dehydrating. While some instant mashed potato brands only contain the vegetable itself, others contain lengthy lists of ingredients and additives. The result is that these instant flakes may have unwanted ingredients added in as preservatives.

Besides not being as natural as making mashed potatoes yourself, when manufacturers dehydrate potatoes into flakes, they also lose some of the dietary fiber. That means that you won't be getting the same nutritional value as you would from fresh mashed potatoes. Finally, instant mashed potatoes don't always have the buttery, milky taste of from-scratch recipes, nor do they have the same texture. The result is that swapping out real potatoes for instant flakes can lead to some noticeable differences in your dish. Luckily, if you're dining at Golden Corral, you don't have to worry about any of this and can rest assured that you're enjoying bonafide whole potatoes!