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Why canned potatoes — a favorite among Aldi fans — are an underrated ingredient

Aldi fans are finding lots of ways to use the grocery chain's canned spuds, whether sliced or whole.
A super trendy Aldi product is also a humble one: canned potatoes.
A super trendy Aldi product is also a humble one: canned potatoes.TODAY Illustration / Terri Peters
/ Source: TODAY

The most recent Aldi product to gain attention isn't the chain's cult-favorite line of frozen chicken products or its copycat fast-food dipping sauces.

What's a-peeling to Aldi fans lately can be found in the canned goods aisle: whole and sliced canned potatoes, priced at less than 50 cents a can.

Kathleen Vito, who lives in Maryland, says she grew up eating canned potatoes but had forgotten about them until she saw members of The Aldi Nerd Facebook group sharing meals created with the preserved spuds.

"I started buying them again," Vito told me. "I remembered a cooking show with Sandra Lee where she used them for potato salad so I tried that just yesterday. I've made fried potatoes on the stove, which are really good if you're having bacon. And I'm going to try and make potatoes au gratin next."

Vito says the canned potatoes serve her well, as her kids are now grown and she often cooks only for herself and her husband.

"You can stock up and use them like fresh without the issue of them spoiling," she explained. "It's just the two of us and fresh potatoes go bad on me in the pantry sometimes."

Canned potatoes, which are typically preserved in water using a vacuum-sealing method, are softer than raw potatoes due to the preserving process. Otherwise, when they're drained and dumped from the can, they look exactly like peeled white potatoes.

I tried both Aldi's sliced and canned versions of the product in a One-Pot Summer Vegetable Chowder and was thrilled with the results. The pre-sliced potatoes worked perfectly in the soup and the whole potatoes were soft enough to roughly chop, giving them the perfect texture for a chunky chowder.

I was worried the potato pieces would break down in my soup, but even with their softer texture, they remained intact throughout the cooking process and even held up in the following day's leftovers.

Ohio mom-of-three LeAnn Walters-Young says she, too, grew up eating canned potatoes. So when she saw her fellow Aldi shoppers sharing posts about the ingredient, she was surprised more people aren't aware of its benefits.

"The ease of cooking and their versatility are what I like," said Walters-Young, who likes to fry sliced canned potatoes, canned green beans and a ham steak together for a quick and easy meal. "They're such a simple thing you can have on hand that you can actually turn into something nutritious. And with the harsh winters we get in Lake Erie, it's good to have a vegetable on hand for when you can't make it to the store."

Christine Stecker, who lives in Pennsylvania, agreed and said Aldi's low price for each can only adds to the benefits of canned potatoes.

"The price is great and they're as good as any name-brand ones I've ever spent money on," said Stecker, who prefers to by the pre-sliced version. "I drain them and put them in a skillet with butter, salt, pepper, garlic powder and paprika — it's become a go-to when I'm at a loss for a tasty side dish."