Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes Recipe


Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes are a GREAT time saver for the busy holidays.

Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes

Prepare these mashed potatoes up to a week ahead of time and refrigerate. Your Christmas or Friendsgiving/Thanksgiving day meal prep will be much easier when all you need to do is warm these make ahead mashed potatoes up in the oven or slow cooker.  This is the perfect mashed potatoes dish for a crowd. Preparing mashed potatoes the day before, or up to a week before, will eliminate the mess and hassle of mashing at the last minute. I use this recipe every Thanksgiving to save time, and they turn out creamy and fluffy every time!  This is also a great potluck dish, as everyone loves mashed potatoes!

Is this your first holiday dinner? Fear not there are a lot of great tips here to help you make perfect mashed potatoes!

Learn about Potato Hints, Tips, and Information, Sweet Potato Tips, and History of Potatoes.

Check out Thanksgiving Dinner Menu – Ideas and recipes for your Thanksgiving dinner menu.

Make Ahead Mashed Potato Recipe:

Make Ahead Mashed Potato Recipe
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
40 mins
  • 15 Medium (5 pounds) potatoes peeled and quartered
  • 8 ounces cream cheese room temperature
  • 1 Cup sour cream
  • 2 Teaspoons onion powder
  • Salt and freshly-ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 egg whites slightly beaten
  • 4 Tablespoons butter
  • 1/3 Cup chopped chives optional
  1. Preparing Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes:

  2. Spray a large casserole dish with vegetable-oil cooking spray.

  3. In a large pot, add cut-up potatoes and just enough cold water until potatoes are covered; bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium; cover and let simmer 15 to 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork.  Potatoes are done when the internal temperature registers approximately 200 degrees F. on your cooking thermometer.  Overcooking can cause the potatoes to become gummy.

  4. Thermapen ThermometerThis is the type of cooking thermometer that I prefer and use in my cooking.  I get many readers asking what cooking thermometer that I prefer and use in my cooking and baking.  I, personally, use the Thermapen Thermometer shown in the photo on the right.  To learn more about this excellent thermometer and to also purchase one (if you desire), just click on the underlined: Thermapen Thermometer.

  5. Remove from heat and immediately drain potatoes thoroughly in a colander.  Return to saucepan; heat over medium-low heat approximately 1 to 2 minutes to dry potatoes, stirring occasionally.  NOTE: Boiled potatoes left in water will start to jellify and may even increase in volume (becoming swollen and watery).  That is why it is important to let the potatoes drain for a couple of minutes in a colander immediately after they are cooked.

  6. In the same cooking pan, mash potatoes with a potato masher or potato ricer until there are no lumps.  NEVER use a blender, electric mixer, or food processor to make mashed potatoes.

  7. Potato RicerGluey or gooey mashed potatoes are caused by vigorous over mashing, as anyone who has tried to make the side dish in a food processor can attest. When potatoes are boiled, their starch granules swell.  If those granules are broken too vigorously, the cells release copious quantities of starch, resulting in a potatoes with the consistency of wallpaper paste.  

  8. I personally use a potato ricer when making mashed potatoes.  Using a potato ricer, you can make velvety smooth mashed potatoes right at home because potatoes come out fluffy without being gummy.  Once you use the potato rice, you will never go back to the old traditional potato masher.

  9. Add cream cheese, sour cream, onion powder, salt, pepper, egg whites, and chopped chives (if desired); blend well.  Dot with butter.

  10. Cool mashed potatoes slightly, cover, and then refrigerate.

  11. The prepared mashed potatoes may be made up to a week ahead of time.  If preparing ahead, place in an ovenproof baking dish, allow to cool slightly, cover, and refrigerate.

  12. When ready to heat the potatoes:

  13. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

  14. Take potatoes out of the refrigerator 30 minutes before baking.

  15. Bake, loosely covered, 40 minutes or until steaming hot in center.


  17. Crock Pot - Slow Cooker Make-Ahead Mashed Potato Recipe: 

  18. Mashed Potatoes in slow cookerI, personally, like and use this crock pot/slow cooker version, as it frees up my oven for other dishes when making my holiday meals. Heating the prepared mashed potatoes in the crock-pot is a great way to keep the oven freed up for the other dishes.

  19. Take the prepared mashed potatoes out of refrigerator about 3 1/2 hours before serving time.  See Preparing Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes above.  Place the mashed potatoes in the crock-pot/slow cooker.  Cover and use low heat for approximately 3 hours, stirring once or twice.

  20. When you are ready to serve the mashed potatoes, stir, and then add some additional dollops of butter.


  22. Leftover Mashed Potatoes:

  23. If you have any leftover mashed potatoes, place them in a re-sealable plastic bag and freeze.

  24. Makes 12 to 15 servings.


Watch the video

Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes Additional Mashed Potato Recipes:

Frequent questions asked by readers:

What causes mashed potatoes to become gooey and how can I prevent this from happening?

Help! I’ve been making mashed potatoes all my life and have never had the problem I had today.  I just made 5 pounds of mashed potatoes, using a ricer, and for the first time ever I ended up with gluey mashed potatoes.  My ingredients were identical to what I always have used (potatoes, melted butter, scalded milk, salt, and pepper) but as soon as I added the butter to the riced potatoes, the potatoes became gluey.  I tried to save them by using a blender and thinning with the milk but the problem intensified.  Is there any way to save the potatoes or do I have to start over?  Please answer as soon as possible.  I have company coming tomorrow for dinner and time is of the essence.


Russet potatoes make the best-mashed potatoes.  Peel them and cut them into equal-sized pieces.  Boil and drain.

Dry over low heat for a few minutes.  Mash with a potato masher, potato ricer, or electric beaters.  Do this very quickly so the potatoes will remain hot.

Note: Gluey or gooey mashed potatoes are caused by vigorous over-mashing, as anyone who has tried to make the side dish in a food processor can attest. When potatoes are boiled, their starch granules swell.  If those granules are broken too vigorously, the cells release copious quantities of starch, resulting in potatoes with the consistency of wallpaper paste.

NEVER use a blender or food processor to make mashed potatoes.  There are starch packets inside the potato cells and the blender blades rip right through them, releasing the starch and this makes the potatoes into library paste.  The cells of the potato flesh contain a very fine starch.  Mashing gently leaves most of the cells intact.  Processing in a blender or a Food Processor acts like a cell homogenizer and releases all that starch into the liquid.  Adding any liquid early just makes the process more efficient.

Add one tablespoon butter (more or less if you like) for each two potatoes, and salt to your taste.  Beat until the butter is melted.  Then add milk or light cream that has been heated but not brought to a boil (if you add cold liquid, the potatoes will be cold and gummy).  Beat the liquid into the potatoes to make a smooth, fluffy mixture.  Add only enough liquid to make the mixture smooth, about one tablespoon for each potato.  Do not overbeat. they should be soft and moist, but firm enough to hold their shape.

All this should be done as quickly as possible so the potatoes never have a chance to get cold – that is the secret of delicious mashed potatoes!

Can you make bulk batches of mashed potatoes and freeze?  If so, how long can they be stored in the freezer?

You can freeze mashed potatoes for up to 6 months and reheat, but the texture may not quite be the same.  Freeze the mashed potatoes in smaller batch sizes and thaw in the refrigerator the day before serving.  Then follow the instructions to warm the mashed potatoes in oven or slow cooker the day of Thanksgiving.

For 20 people how many pounds of potatoes would you cook for mashed potatoes?


Plan on 3/4 cup of mashed potatoes per person:

20 people x   (.75) cup =  15 pounds of mashed potatoes needed

The equation:  1 (1.25) pounds boiled potatoes = 2 (2.50) cups mashed potatoes = 3 1/3 (3.33) servings of mashed potatoes @ (.75) cup per person

20 people divided by 3 1/3 (3.33) = 6

6 x 1 (1.25) lbs  =  7.5 lbs of raw or boiled potatoes

I hope I have not confused you too much, but you will need 7.5 pounds of raw or boiled potatoes.

Comments and Reviews

10 Responses to “Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes Recipe”

  1. Sherryl V Stillwagon

    Thanks this has helped me a lot and has given me information I didn’t know but hadn’t asked about.

  2. JP Haight

    What is the purpose of using egg whites?

    • Linda Stradley

      Adding the egg whites add body and fluffiness to the mashed potatoes. The hot potatoes and cream cook the eggs enough to render them food safe.

  3. Cindy

    I peel the potatoes a day ahead,cover with water,keep in refrig. This takes the starch out and you will not have STICKY potatoes.

  4. Beth

    This is my go to mashed potato recipe for holiday dinners. You can cook the potatoes in an instant pot for 7-8 minutes with a quick release.

  5. Kim

    I’m completely out of eggs. The nearest store is an hour drive. What would you use as a replacement?

    • Whats Cooking America

      The eggs will help make the mashed potatoes fluffier, but you can omit them and they will still be delicious.

  6. Mary

    I will be using 10 pounds of potatoes, so would be doubling this recipe. How long would I need to warm them in a crockpot before serving?

  7. Dottie

    What would the measurements be for 8 servings

  8. Tricia

    What are the egg whites for?


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