Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes – learn how to make homemade mashed potatoes in advance that are then baked casserole-style right before the big meal. These creamy mashed potatoes are the perfect time-saving side dish to add to your holiday spread.
I am a strong proponent for making as many Thanksgiving side dishes in advance as possible, but oddly enough mashed potatoes are one of the only sides I always save for the last minute (literally moments before we sit down for dinner).
After cooking for days, the last thing I want to do is make homemade mashed potatoes. By Thanksgiving day, I’m ready to simply sit down with my family with a big glass of wine and FEAST.
My friend, Corey, shared this method for making mashed potatoes ahead of time and I will forever be grateful. With just a handful of simple ingredients, you can make the richest, creamiest, and fluffiest mashed potatoes EVER a day in advance and no one will ever know the difference. ENJOY!
Ingredients & Equipment
- Yukon Gold Potatoes – work great for mashed potatoes. They have a naturally buttery flavor and a creamy texture.
- Warm Heavy Cream – gives mashed potatoes a super creamy consistency.
- Butter (room temperature) – adds flavor and creaminess.
- Cream Cheese (room temperature) – adds rich, tangy flavor and smoothness.
- Cream of Tartar – makes mashed potatoes smooth and fluffy and helps achieve almost a meringue-like consistency.
- Salt and Pepper – to taste.
You’ll also need a few tools:
- Large Pot
- Food Mill, Ricer or Potato Masher – After boiling the potatoes, I put them through a food mill or ricer to mash them.
- Standing or Handheld Electric Mixer
- Round Casserole Dish
How to Make – The Steps
Step 1: Start the potatoes in cold water, add salt, and bring to a boil. Boil until a fork comes out easily. Use a fork and not a knife, it will give you a more accurate measure of if the potatoes are cooked through.
Step 2: Drain the potatoes in a colander.
Step 4: Add the butter, cream cheese, salt, pepper, and cream of tartar.
Step 5: Add about half of the warm cream. Save the rest to get the right consistency. You can always add, but cannot take away, so it is better to start slow.
Step 6: Whip until light and fluffy.
Step 7: Spray a casserole dish (mine was 2 quarts) with cooking spray.
Step 8: Spread the potato mixture into the casserole dish. At this point, you can cover it with plastic wrap and keep it in the fridge overnight.
Step 9: If you are baking this straight away, bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Put it under the broiler for a few seconds to crisp up the top. If you are taking this from the fridge, let it sit out at room temperature so that it is not ice cold, and then bake.
Tips & Tricks
- It’s important that the potatoes are boiled completely through. You should be able to pierce the skin with ease and the peels should essentially fall right off.
- Do not add the warm cream all at once. If you add the warm cream all at once, you run the risk of using too much liquid and your mashed potatoes becoming thin and watery.
- Start with just half of the cream and then continue adding it in slowly until potatoes are smooth and creamy.
- Do not overwork the potatoes. Your mashed potatoes may turn out tough and gummy.
- This recipe is a great canvas for additional mix-ins and flavors (fresh herbs, roasted garlic, Boursin cheese, caramelized onions, bacon, chives, etc).
Why are Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes So Good?
- These extra creamy mashed potatoes have just 5-ingredients including one secret ingredient -the cream of tartar. A dash of cream of tartar makes a huge difference.
- This recipe is super easy to adjust for more or fewer servings.
- Time-savor. Having these mashed potatoes ready to go is a lifesaver during the holidays.
- Beautiful presentation. When baked the mashed potatoes get a souffle-style elegant crust.
These mashed potatoes are not only convenient because you can make them in advance but also because they pair well with a variety of main courses and savory side dishes. Check out my favorite recipes to serve with mashed potatoes during the holidays:
- Brined Turkey Breast
- Herb Roasted Turkey
- Savory Vegetable Crisp
- Green Beans Almondine
- Cornbread, Sausage & Pecan Stuffing
How to Store and Reheat
Storing: Once baked, let the mashed potatoes cool completely. Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to two days.
Make-Ahead and Freezer Options
Freezing: Mashed potatoes are best frozen first and then thawed before baking. Follow the instructions (but do not bake). Let cool completely. Freeze wrapped very tightly in plastic wrap inside an airtight container. When ready to use, thaw in a saucepan until warmed through and then transfer to a casserole dish to finish in the oven.
Without compromising flavor and texture, mashed potatoes should be made no sooner than two days in advance.
Leave the peels on. Boiling the potatoes without peeling them first keeps the potatoes from absorbing too much water which can result in watery, thin mashed potatoes
Potatoes with a high-starch content make the smoothest and creamiest mashed potatoes. Yukon golds and russets are creamy, dense, and have a natural buttery flavor.
If your mashed potatoes are too thin, you can thicken them up using a leavening agent like corn starch or tapioca powder. Add one tablespoon at a time while gently stirring until desired consistency is reached.
More Potato recipes
Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes
- 5 pound bag Yukon Gold potatoes
- 1 cup warm heavy cream
- 1 stick butter at room temperature
- 1 block cream cheese at room temperature
- salt and pepper to taste you will need a lot
- 1 Tablespoon cream of tartar
- Start the potatoes in cold water, add salt, and bring to a boil. Boil until a fork comes out easily. Use a fork and not a knife, it will give you a more accurate measure of if the potatoes are cooked through.
- Drain the potatoes in a colander.
- Put the warm potatoes through a food mill (or a ricer).
- Add the butter, cream cheese, salt, pepper, and cream of tartar.
- Add about half of the warm cream. Save the rest to get the right consistency. You can always add, but cannot take away, so it is better to start slow.
- Whip until light and fluffy. Check for seasoning.
- Spray a casserole dish (mine was 2 quarts) with cooking spray.
- Spread the potato mixture into the casserole dish. At this point, you can cover it with plastic wrap and keep it in the fridge overnight.
- If you are baking this straight away, bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Put it under the broiler for a few seconds to crisp up the top. If you are taking this from the fridge, let it sit out at room temperature so that it is not ice cold, and then bake.