Potato Bark: How to Dehydrate Mashed Potatoes

Dehydrating mashed potatoes made with milk and butter is a no-no, because dairy foods and fat can spoil in dehydrated meals. The good news is that you can leave those items out when you make potato bark, and still enjoy delicious and creamy potato meals on the trail.

Dehydrating Potato Bark and how to use it to make backpacking meals.

This page shows how to dehydrate mashed potatoes by blending them with fat-free vegetable, beef, or chicken broth. The broth adds great flavor to the dehydrated mashed potato recipes on this page.

You will also learn how to make instant mashed potato powder from potato bark.

How to Make Potato Bark


  • 2½ lbs. potatoes (1134 g)
  • 16 oz. fat-free vegetable, beef, or chicken broth (473 ml)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • optional: garlic powder to taste

Cook, Mash & Blend

Peel and boil 2½ pounds of potatoes until soft. Drain.

Mash the potatoes with 16 ounces of fat-free vegetable, beef, or chicken broth. Because fats and dairy products don’t dehydrate well and can spoil, do not add any milk or butter. Add salt, if desired, but you’ll get some sodium from the broth.

Run the mashed potatoes through a blender until creamy.

Dehydrate the Mashed Potatoes

Mashed potatoes on Excalibur dehydrator tray.

Cover dehydrator trays with nonstick sheets or parchment paper.

Pour a 6-inch puddle of potatoes onto the covered tray and spread thinly (about an ⅛-inch) with a spatula. 2½ pounds of mashed potatoes will take up five 15 x 15 trays.

Dehydrate mashed potatoes at 135°F (57°C) for approximately 8–10 hours until potatoes form a brittle sheet.

Yield: 2½ pounds of potatoes (1134 g) will dehydrate down to 5½ ounces (156 g) and fill 2 cups when crushed.

Flip the Potato Bark

If you have an Excalibur or Cosori dehydrator, use the “flip-trick” as follows to thoroughly dry the underside of the potato sheet.

After about 5 hours of drying, place a dehydrator tray on top of the potato sheet and flip the 2 trays over so that the moister bottom side is facing up.

The dried sheet of potatoes will easily snap into bark or crush down for tighter packing.

Mashed Potatoes with Meat & Vegetables

Dehydrated mashed potatoes, ground meat, and vegetables.

Servings: 1


  • ½ cup potato bark (32 g)
  • ¼ cup dehydrated ground beef or chicken (30 g)
  • ¼ cup dehydrated mixed vegetables (20 g)
  • 1¼ cup water to rehydrate (300 ml)
  • optional seasonings- garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper to taste.

Large Portion:

The above recipe provides 422 calories. To make a larger portion with 601 calories, use ¾-cup potato bark, ⅓-cup dried meat, ⅓-cup dried vegetables and 1¾-cups water to rehydrate.

At Home:

For more food dehydrating information, see dehydrating meat and dehydrating vegetables.

Crush Potato Bark into small pieces for tighter packing.

Pack all ingredients in a Ziploc bag.

Mashed potatoes with beef & vegetables

Photo: Rehydrated Mashed Potatoes with Meat & Vegetables.

On the Trail:

Combine all ingredients with water in pot and soak for 5 minutes. Cover pot and light stove.

Bring to a boil, remove pot lid, and continue cooking for another minute. If the potatoes soak up most of the water after they start boiling, hold the pot higher above the stove to prevent burning.

Add a little more water to make the potatoes easier to stir and less likely to burn.

Remove pot from heat and transfer to an insulating pot cozy for 10 minutes to give the meat and vegetables a little more time to soften. Stir vigorously to finish dissolving bark until creamy.


Combine dehydrated mashed potatoes with different dried meats and vegetables such as:

  • Ground Turkey and Mixed Vegetables (corn, carrots, peas, green beans)
  • Ground Beef and Broccoli
  • Deli Ham and Green Beans
  • Ground Beef and Peppers, Onions, Mushrooms

How to Make Barbecue Potato Bark

Follow the same preparations as regular potato bark, but replace 8 ounces of the broth with 8 ounces of barbecue sauce.


  • 2½ lbs potatoes (1134 g)
  • 8 ounces fat free vegetable, beef or chicken broth (237 ml)
  • 8 ounces barbecue sauce (237 ml)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Barbecue Beef Stew

BBQ Beef Stew made with dehydrated BBQ Potato Bark.

Serves 1


  • ½ cup BBQ Potato Bark (32 g)
  • ¼ cup dehydrated ground beef (30 g)
  • ¼ cup dehydrated mixed vegetables: try okra, corn, and carrots. (20 g)
  • 1¼ cup water to rehydrate (300 ml)

Increase quantities proportionally for larger servings.

This meal reminds me a little of Brunswick Stew with the tangy barbecue flavor.

Barbecue potato bark stew.

Photo: Barbecue potato bark stew with beef, corn, and okra.

How to Make Instant Mashed Potato Powder

Potato bark can cause vacuum-sealed bags to lose their seals due to the bark’s sharp edges. It can also require a fair amount of spirited stirring to get it to fully turn back into creamy potatoes in a rehydrated meal. Grinding potato bark into powder solves both of those concerns.

I still enjoy meals made from potato bark and its variations: bbq potato bark and potato-vegetable bark. When making potato bark with barbeque sauce or extra vegetables, it may become less brittle and harder to grind into powder.

Place potato bark in a blender or grinding appliance. Take your time and process the bark in small quantities if using a blender, otherwise you could overheat the blender.

Potato bark ground into instant mashed potato powder.

Photo: A ¾-cup portion of bark (l), then ground into instant mashed potato powder (r).

Potato Bark to Powder Conversions:

  • A ½-cup portion of potato bark (32 g) yields 2 Tbsp., plus 2 tsp. of potato powder.
  • A ¾-cup portion of potato bark (48 g) yields 4 Tbsp. (¼-cup) of potato powder.

Cheesy Cream Potatoes & Chili

Rehydrated cheesy cream potatoes with chili

This creamy meal is delicious any time of day, but it really hits the spot for breakfast as an alternative to oatmeal.

Servings: 1


  • ½ cup dried chili (45 g)*
  • ¼ cup potato powder (48 g)
  • 2 Tbsp. cheese powder**
  • 2 cups water

* See Dehydrated Chili Recipes. (Beef & Bean or Lentil Chili)

** As an alternative to using cheese powder, try adding slices of fresh cheese if you carry it on the trail.

On the Trail:

Combine dried chili and water in pot. Hold back the potato and cheese powders. Soak 5 minutes, then light stove and bring to a boil. Transfer pot to insulating cozy for 10–15 minutes.

Return pot to stove and bring to a light boil. Stir in potato and cheese powders and transfer pot to an insulating cozy for 10 minutes.

Creamy Potatoes with Ground Beef & Vegetables

This recipe is similar to the potato bark with meat and vegetables recipe, but it uses potato powder and provides a larger serving size.

Creamy Potatoes with Ground Beef & Vegetables

Servings: 1 large or 2 small


  • ¼ cup potato powder (48 g), equivalent to ¾-cup bark
  • ⅓ cup dried ground beef (35 g)
  • ⅓ cup dried vegetables (25 g)
  • 1¾ cups water to rehydrate (414 ml)

Pot Cooking: Since potato powder rehydrates almost instantly, it is best to soak the other ingredients for 5–10 minutes, and then bring them to a boil for a minute. Then stir in the potato powder and transfer the pot to an insulating cozy for 15 minutes. This approach requires that you pack the potato powder in a separate bag.

Thermos Cooking: Use 2 cups of boiled water (473 ml). Add to all ingredients in thermos, and wait 20 minutes or more.

Rehydrated mashed potatoes with beef & vegetables, prepared in a thermos food jar and served in GSI bowls.

Photo: A large serving of Creamy Potatoes with Ground Beef & Vegetables shared by Chef Glenn and Dominique. Prepared in a thermos food jar while travelling.

Explore More...

Learn how to make potato-vegetable bark in Recipes for Adventure.

Photo: Potato-Vegetable Bark.

In my book, Recipes for Adventure: Healthy, Hearty, and Homemade Backpacking Recipes, I show how to make potato-vegetable bark by blending vegetables with potatoes to create meals like Potato-Vegetable Bark Stew with Ham & Green Beans (shown above) and Root Bark Stew.

The book also shows how to make corn bark, bean bark, sweet potato bark, and pumpkin pie bark.

More Topics...

Dehydrating Sweet Potatoes

Dehydrating Potatoes (Sliced, cubed, fry-cut, grated, skins)

Dehydrating Food Table of Contents: How to dehydrate vegetables, fruit, meat, sauce, bark, soup, rice, pasta, dog treats, and more!

Sale: Buy 1 e-book and get $5 off each additional e-book.

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