I have a secret shame, and his name is Bob. Bob’s Red Mill Instant Mashed Potatoes, to be exact. I originally bought them to thicken up soups, but things have spiraled out of control. As a professional food writer, I have no business eating these; as a lazy powerlifter, I cannot stop eating them, usually alongside a few pork chops or several chicken thighs. When supplemented with lots of milk and sour cream, they make a serviceable mash. When mixed with an egg and spoonful of pancake mix, they make an excellent waffle.
One of the first things I ever waffled (besides waffles) was leftover mashed potatoes. They had a little parmesan crust, and they were delightful, if exceedingly delicate. Fragility aside, the problem with that particular waffle is that I rarely have leftover mashed potatoes, and I’m even less likely to have the gumption required to make a fresh batch simply to turn them into waffles. This is the sort of moment for which instant mashed potato flakes exist. They’re uniform, easy to work with, and ready to take on as many seasonings as you can throw at them.
I used an instant potato pancake recipe from Chef John as a baseline, assuming the egg (and lack of added milk) would be enough to keep the waffles whole, even as they was transferred out of the waffle maker. This turned out to be almost true—I was able to get the waffles on the plate in one piece, but they were lightly mangled, and getting them that far required slow, careful movements, which I am not known for.
Then I remembered the IHOP omelette, which is made with a bit of pancake batter for a more structurally sound, springy kind of omelette. I added a tablespoon to the potatoes, adjusted the seasonings to my liking (read: added MSG), and tossed a handful of cheese in there, because why not. The divoted plates made quick work of the instant spuds, and in a mere four minutes, I had produced some deeply savory potato waffles.
If you want to put your own spin on these waffles, you can play around with the seasonings (I plan on adding some paprika to my next batch), add some heat with cayenne, or mix in bacon along with the cheese. You can also omit the cheese entirely, though I’m not sure why you would want to do that. These crispy waffles are best enjoyed immediately, but you can always reheat them in a nonstick pan over medium-low heat if you have extras (but I doubt you will).
- 1 cup tap-cold water
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon Bisquick baking mix
- 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1/8 teaspoon MSG
- 1-2 pinches white pepper
- 3/4 cup instant mashed potato flakes
- 1/4 cup shredded cheese
Mix the egg, water, baking mix, and seasonings together in a medium mixing bowl. Add the potato flakes, and stir to combine. Fold in the cheese, and let the mixture thicken on the countertop for a minute or so.
Heat your waffle maker to medium-high. Divide the potato mixture into four portions, and cook each portion for 3-5 minutes, until it is golden brown and can be removed from the waffle maker in one piece. A wooden chopstick can help lift it out of the grooves. Serve immediately with a dollop of sour cream, or use as a base for your favorite egg.