Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes

ThanksgivingMake-aheadPotato

Don't stress over mashed potatoes, make them ahead! These extra-rich make-ahead mashed potatoes can be kept refrigerated or frozen, and then reheated when you're ready to eat.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

Make Them Today, So You Can Eat Tomorrow

When it comes to holiday dinners, the more dishes you can make ahead, the better, right?

Mashed potatoes are central to our holiday meals (how else can you make gravy volcanoes?) and they are the easiest thing in the world to make ahead.

Stress-free! (At least the potato part.)

An Easy Mashed Potatoes Recipe

In this simple recipe we are are mashing boiled potatoes and garlic (a potato ricer is helpful for making everything fluffy), mixing them with butter, cream cheese, yogurt, and a touch of rosemary.

The cream cheese helps fortify the mashed potatoes so they reheat well, and the yogurt gives them a light tang. You could also use sour cream.

Heap the baking dish with the potatoes, and chill until a couple hours before dinner time, then let come to room temp and bake. Easy!

Make-Ahead or Freeze

Once prepared, let the mashed potatoes cool completely, then cover and store in the fridge for up to two days.

You can also freeze these mashed potatoes for up to two weeks. The high fat content in these mashed potatoes means that they will freeze and thaw just fine.

To freeze, first line your casserole dish with a layer of aluminum foil followed by a layer of plastic wrap. Add the mashed potatoes, cool completely, then freeze in the casserole dish until solid.

Once frozen, use the foil to lift the mashed potatoes out of the pan by lifting up on the foil. This way, the mashed potatoes are molded in the shape of your casserole dish, but your dish isn’t tied up in the freezer for weeks. (The layer of plastic wrap between the mashed potatoes and the foil protects the potatoes from picking up a metallic flavor from the foil.)

Cover the top of the frozen mashed potatoes with plastic wrap and another layer of foil, so the mashed potatoes are completely protected. Freeze for up to two weeks.

Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes

How to Warm Frozen Mashed Potatoes

Frozen mashed potatoes can either be thawed overnight in the fridge, or warmed while still frozen. Either way, unwrap the block of mashed potatoes from the plastic wrap and foil, and place it back in the original casserole dish. If thawing overnight, cover and place in the fridge.

If your mashed potatoes are thawed, followed the baking directions in the recipe as written. If baking from frozen, add 15 to 20 minutes onto the warming time. You may want to stir the mashed potatoes once or twice while baking to make sure they are warming evenly.

If the frozen mashed potatoes seem a bit watery when reheated, just stir in some more butter or cream cheese.

More Favorite Potato Side Dish Recipes

Updated November 24, 2018 : We spiffed up this post a little to make it sparkle! No changes to the recipe.

Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes Recipe

  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 1 hour, 10 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 6 to 8

Note on freezing: If you freeze and then defrost, you may need to stir up the mashed potatoes before baking. See above for more detailed freezing and reheating instructions.

Ingredients

  • 4 to 5 pounds potatoes (russets, yukon gold or a combination), peeled and cut into 2-inch chunks
  • Salt
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and whole
  • 1 small sprig fresh rosemary
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided 2 tablespoons and 1 tablespoon
  • 8 ounces cream cheese (full fat), room temperature
  • 1/2 cup plain or greek yogurt (or sour cream)
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh minced rosemary
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Chives for garnish

Method

1 Cook the potatoes: Place peeled cut potatoes in a large saucepan, cover with an inch of cold water. Add 2 teaspoons of salt to the water. Add the garlic cloves and rosemary sprig.

Heat on high to bring to a boil, then reduce to low, cover to maintain a simmer until the potatoes are just cooked through, about 10 to 12 minutes.

Once potatoes are done, drain the potatoes. Discard the rosemary sprig, save the garlic cloves with the potatoes.

2 Mash the potatoes and garlic cloves: While the potatoes are still hot, use either a potato masher or a potato ricer to roughly mash the potatoes and the garlic cloves in a large bowl.

A ricer will yield fluffier, less gluey, mashed potatoes.

3 Mix in cream cheese and yogurt: In a large upright mixer (or if you have strong arms, you can do this by hand), add the riced or roughly mashed potatoes into the mixer bowl, along with 2 tablespoons of butter, the softened cream cheese, and the yogurt.

Mix on low to start, then increase the speed to medium and mix just until everything is well incorporated. (Don't overmix!)

Stir in the minced rosemary, the salt and pepper. Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed.

4 Place in casserole dish: Butter generously the inside of a 2-quart casserole dish. Add the mashed potatoes, and spread out in an even layer. Dot with the remaining 1 Tbsp butter.

At this point, you've done the make-ahead part of the recipe. You can cover with plastic wrap and chill until ready to bake. You can make up to 2 days ahead. (Or you can freeze for up to 2 weeks ahead; see headnotes for more detailed freezing and reheating instructions.)

5 Bake: When ready to make, remove from refrigerator and let sit for an hour to come to room temperature. Bake at 350°F for 30 to 45 minutes, until the top is lightly browned.

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baked mashed potatoes in casserole dish

Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

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12 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. iris

    This is the very best recipe for mashed potatoes!!!! Took all the confusion out of Thanksgiving dinner. The potato ricer is fabulous!!! I got RAVE reviews about potatoes – Didn’t share the secret – make ahead. No panic!! Thank you so much! Made again but halved recipe – worked perfectly!!

    xxxxxyyyyy

  2. Jessica

    WOW!!! This was an absolute favorite for our Thanksgiving! The ricer changed the game, Definitely making again soon!

    xxxxxyyyyy

  3. colleenes

    The best make ahead mashed potatoes I’ve ever had! Quick & delicious!

    xxxxxyyyyy

  4. Nella

    Could i double this recipe? I’m expecting around 15 people. Thank you so much!

    Show Replies (1)
  5. katie

    Do you think you can reheat in a crockpot?

    Show Replies (1)
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