Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes – creamy, buttery mashed potatoes that can be made up to three days ahead and heated before serving to save time.
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Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes Recipe
These Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes have become a holiday staple at my house and are our absolute favorite side dish. You can prepare them up to three days ahead of time, refrigerate them, then bake them on the day of serving. It’s a great time saver, and these mashed potatoes are absolutely incredible. Creamy and buttery, with a slightly crunchy golden crust on top. These make ahead mashed potatoes are truly heavenly. If you make these mashed potatoes for any holiday or event, be prepared to be in charge of the mashed potatoes for every event!
Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes Ingredients
- Potatoes – Russet Potatoes are the classic potatoes used for mashing. I recommend buying the biggest potatoes you can find to avoiding spending too much time peeling. It’s a lot easier to peel just five 1 lb potatoes! I will usually buy them individually at the grocery store vs buying a big bag. Plus, you can get ones free from spots or sprouts. This is my favorite tip for all mashed potatoes. This really cuts down on the total time for prep. Bigger potatoes are much easier to peel. Yukon Gold potatoes would be the best substitute.
- Butter – 1/2 a cup butter at room temperature (one stick of butter). I recommend using salted butter for savory dishes. If you only have unsalted butter, ad an extra pinch of salt to the potatoes.
- Kosher Salt – I use Morton’s Kosher Salt, two teaspoons. If using table salt, decrease recipe amount by half. If cutting back on salt, you can start with one teaspoon salt and adjust as needed.
- White Pepper – white pepper has a different, more mild flavor than black pepper and is a classic with mashed potatoes. Bonus: Little kids won’t see any black flecks. 😄 1/2 teaspoon pepper, adjust as needed.
- Cream Cheese – at room temperature. This is the secret ingredient that makes them so good as a make ahead recipe!
- Half and Half – warmed, stir in a little at a time and adjust as needed.
How to Make Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes
- Peel russet potatoes and cut into two inch chunks. Place in a large pot filled with cold water. Bring water to a boil, then reduce to a simmer over medium heat. Let simmer for about twenty minutes or until potatoes are fork-tender.
- Drain well and return to warm pot for mashing or a large bowl, if you prefer.
- Using a potato masher, mash potatoes with softened butter, salt and pepper. Then mash in softened cream cheese. Stir in warm half and half.
- Taste potatoes and adjust seasoning, as needed.
- Transfer to a 9×13 casserole dish and store tightly covered with aluminum foil up to three days ahead. I usually make these on Tuesday to serve on Thanksgiving Thursday.
- Potatoes will be chilled through, so remove them several hours before heating so they can come to room temperature.
- Heat covered with aluminum foil for traditional mashed potatoes, or leave uncovered for a golden brown top.
- Top with fresh chives or green onions.
How to Make Mashed Potatoes Ahead of Time and Reheat in the Oven
- Prepare this recipe up to three days ahead.
- Let cool, then add pats of butter to top. Cover tightly and refrigerate.
- Before heating, remove potatoes from fridge for 1-2 hours so they come to room temperature.
- Cook as directed in recipe card.
- This is the best method for fresh and delicious mashed potatoes.
- Note: If you leave the potatoes uncovered in the oven, they get a beautiful golden brown crust on top!
- The secret to really great mashed potatoes is to drain them really well, so if you are doubling this recipe, make sure you drain the potatoes in two batches. Ten pounds of potatoes don’t drain as well when dumped into a colander all at once.
- Use a hand potato masher for textured potatoes, a potato ricer for completely smooth mashed potatoes and an electric hand mixer for a combination of the two. If using a hand mixer, be careful not to over mix or they can become gummy.
Make Ahead Garlic Mashed Potatoes – Prepare the potatoes as directed, except replace the softened butter with garlic butter. To prepare the garlic butter, melt butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Add 2-4 whole peeled and smashed garlic cloves to butter. Remove from heat and let garlic cloves flavor butter while peeling and boiling potatoes. Once you are ready to add the butter, remove whole garlic cloves from butter before mashing for a subtle garlic flavor. If you want to mash garlic cloves into the potatoes, use a fork to mash cloves, then add into potatoes.
Cheesy Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes – Prepare the potatoes as directed, but stir in 1 cup of cheddar cheese and 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese. If adding cheese, reduce kosher salt by 1/2 teaspoon.
Sour Cream and Chive Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes – substitute 1/2 cup of the half and half for 1/2 cup sour cream and stir in 1-2 tablespoon of chives after mashing. Top with additional chives.
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Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes - fluffy, buttery mashed potatoes that can be made up to three days ahead and heated before serving to save time.
- 5 pounds russet potatoes peeled and cut into 2 inch chunks
- 12 tablespoons butter 1 1/2 sticks
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
- 8 oz cream cheese softened
- 1 cup of half and half heated
Place potatoes in a large pot and fill with water.
Bring potatoes to a boil, then reduce heat and let simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.
Once potatoes are tender, drain really well in a colander.
Return potatoes to pot.
Cube one stick of butter and add to hot potatoes.
Sprinkle in salt and pepper and begin mashing using a hand masher.
Mash until smooth.
Add softened cream cheese and mash until combined.
Stir in hot half and half.
Transfer potatoes to a baking dish.
Slice remaining butter into six slices and lay on top of mashed potatoes.
Cover and bake potatoes at 350 for 35-45 minutes until heated through. For a golden brown top, leave potatoes uncovered.
Sprinkle with finely diced chives.
If you use this recipe, I’d love you to tag me on Instagram! You can also find more delicious recipes on my Facebook page.
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Erin @ The Spiffy Cookie
Definitely a great idea for Thanksgiving or any other large meal requiring a lot of prep. Anything that can be made or prepped the day before is awesome.
Mashed potatoes are my favorite food! These look awesome!
Want to try it sounds so good
What size baking dish do you use? I’d like to try this for Thanksgiving. Thank you for your help!
The dish I used was a 2.25 quart dish. Please let me know when you make it! I would love to hear how it turns out! :0)
Looks like a great recipe! Do you think I could make ahead and freeze?
I don’t think potatoes freeze well, but I haven’t tried it personally. You can refrigerate these up to three days ahead though! Thanks for a great question!
This looks like an awesome idea! I was wondering how much you can taste the cream cheese though? I hate straight cream cheese, but understand it helps make things oh so creamy.. Could I use a different cheese or would that mess up the texture too much? Thanks for any idea!
You can’t taste the cream cheese at all! I think you will love it!
I have six children, their spouses and 19 grandchildren. On Thanksgiving I make 15 lbs of potatoes using this same recipe. I add some sour cream also. I use a huge disposable foil pan (doubled) to accommodate for the weight. I make them the night before Thanksgiving, put them in the fridge covered with plastic wrap or foil. They come out perfect every time. My family LOVES these. They would clobber me if I ever did not bring these. It is a labor of love, but I love seeing and hearing how they appreciate them every year. GOBBLE GOBBLE!!!
Hi Melissa, thought you’d like to know Ive made something Very close to this for years and always put some in individual ramekins that can go from freezer to oven (the 2 cup sizes) to have for those busy days and it freezes very well.
Thank you, Holly! That sounds great!
Do you cook them uncovered the whole time or just at the end?
Uncovered the whole time!
Hi Melissa, These look yummy! Do you refrigerate before the baking stage? Or do you bake, then rebake day of?
Hi Erin! If you are making these ahead of time, refrigerate prior to baking.
Natasha of Natashaskitchen.com
These potatoes look incredibly! I love the make-ahead option. This would be perfect for Sunday lunch. Thank you! Pinning! 🙂
LOVING THIS RECIPE THANK YOU FOR SHARING YUMMY!!!
Thank you, Terri!
Could I substitute the cream cheese with plain greek yogurt, and use low-fat half and half to make a “heart smart” version?
I haven’t tried it, but I think I would try reduced fat cream cheese rather than the yogurt. I think it would work either way, but I thing the rf cream cheese would have the most similar texture. Good luck! Let me know how it turns out!
Anne M Wolfe
This is an old recipe handed down thru generations in my family. I was told that the cream cheese (sadly, full fat) is what makes the potatoes freezable (and make-ahead-able…is that a word?). Substituting yogurt might work for day-of preparation, but I don’t think it will work for making day(s) ahead. Good luck!
I put half cream cheese and the other sour cream. These are delicious.
Can you use sour cream instead of cream cheese? Thank you.
Made them early in the day for our Thanksgiving dinner. How nice to not have to be fussing with potatoes at the last minute. They were delicious and everyone loved them. I think this will be a new tradition! Thank you!
Hi I was just wondering what is half and half. So looking forward to trying this
Thanks a million
Half & half is a dairy product that is half cream, half whole milk. It’s found where the milk and cream are in the store. If you can’t find it or they are sold out, you could make your own, for this recipe just do 1/2 cup cream, 1/2 cup whole milk.
Perfect!! I know these will be good because all recipes I make from you are! I am in charge of Mashed potatoes this year and was looking for a way to make them ahead of time since I won’t be using my slow cooker. I’ll keep you posted.
Such a great recipe! The potatoes were thick and creamy just how I like’em!
I love mashed potatoes, they are one of my favorite sides ever and one of my favorite parts of Thanksgiving dinner. I can’t make them ahead though, I’d eat them and then not have them for the holiday meal LOL.
I love that I can make these up ahead of time saving me one more thing to do on the day of Thanksgiving. They are also really good.
I am always on the lookout for yummy mashed potatoes and these are awesome! 🙂 Thanks so much for sharing! 🙂
This is so great! I never realized you could make them ahead of time! Definitely a time saver!
My mom made these for Thanksgiving! This make-ahead dish is insanely good. It was a highlight of our table! Highly recommend and will certainly make again!
How far in advance of baking these potatoes should I remove them from the refrigerator?
These potatoes are incredible!! We are seriously so obsessed!! Thanks so much for sharing!
I have made this recipe before! They truly are THE best-mashed potatoes ?
This is great! I love it when I can make something once and use it several times. It’s such a time saver.
Pinning! This will be a total life saver during the holidays!! I’m all for helping myself out the day before.
Our whole house loves mashed potatoes. This recipe is going to be a life-saver when the holidays roll arond. Thanks for the great idea!
katerina @ diethood.com
WOW! These mashed potatoes are SO creamy and delicious!! The perfect side dish!
These were amazing we had them with dinner and everyone said these were their favorite mashed potatoes ever!!
This were excellent! I’ve never added half and half to my mashed potatoes before but these turned out better than ever!
Yummy! My family is going to love this recipe! I can’t wait to give this a try! Looks so delicious and tasty!
Melissa, In the interest of oven space, I was thinking, I could use the slow cooker liner to bake them in and then keep warm in the slow cooker. Thoughts?
Did you do this? I need to host dinner and my oven isnt working!
I have made this recipe many times and use my slow cooker because my oven is always in use. Follow the recipe, put in your crockpot and cook on Low for 2 to 3 hours. Just before serving, stir in a little butter and season with salt and pepper to taste. There are many recipes online for this.
A hit out of the park! Thank you very much. Rather than water I used chicken stock to cook the potatoes and then used that stock to make my gravy. Both were a success. Thanks for sharing.
I made these for Thanksgiving and switched out some ingredients to make them vegan—plant-based butter, plant-based cream cheese, and for the half and half I used 2/3 cup oat milk and 1/3 cup Nut Pods almond+coconut creamer. They were truly the best mashed potatoes I’ve ever made and loved by all! Make ahead convenience and delicious!
These look so creamy and good!