How Are Potato Flakes Really Made?

According to Goodrich Cereals, potatoes are one of the most important food crops worldwide, coming in fourth place behind wheat, rice, and maize. They are a fundamental ingredient in most recipes and can be incorporated in new ways that you've probably never tried before. Hashbrowns for breakfast, french fries for lunch, or mashed potatoes for dinner — they're versatile for every meal. Plus, potatoes are filled with nutrients, fiber, and potassium and are naturally gluten-free (via Healthline). 

Potatoes have gone beyond essential recipes and can be seen as a healthier bread alternative. Other surprising products are potato flakes, an ingredient that helps to thicken and enrich recipes for potato soup, rolls, and mashed potatoes (via Insanely Good Recipes). But, how are they made exactly? Are they as crunchy as corn flakes, meaning we can eat them with milk, too? Or are they reserved for savory food? You may find it as a surprise that potato flakes are produced through a thorough industrial process, per Mechanization Fights Inflation.

Potato flakes are mashed potatoes in a new form

As Mechanization Fights Inflation explains, it all starts with unpeeled potatoes that are cleaned, dusted, and then peeled using steam. Once washed and inspected, a machine called a hydro cutter slices the peeled potatoes and pre-cooks them. After the slices of pre-cooked potato are cooled, they are mashed. The mashed potatoes are then dehydrated on a drum dryer that flattens them. When fully dried and flattened, the layer of mashed potatoes is shattered into flakes of similar size with a mill sifter. Finally, they are packaged and distributed in stores, where you can buy them. Once you're home, simply add cold water to create a number of potato-based recipes.

And no, potato flakes and potato flour are not the same, although they are both sold in bags and look disintegrated. Survival Freedom notes that potato flour results from grinding peeled potatoes, while flakes are dehydrated mashed potatoes broken into small pieces. But, as King Arthur Baking suggests, you can easily use potato flakes as a substitution for potato flour in your homemade recipe for bread. 

Now that you know potato flakes better, you have a new ingredient to incorporate into your cooking and baking. Just add it to one of the many wonderful benefits of potatoes.