Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes


If you like this recipe, please share!

Get a head start on your holiday meal with make-ahead mashed potatoes. Make holidays and even weeknight dinners easy on yourself with this side dish. Fluffy and creamy they are a welcomed addition to your meal.

Overhead photo of mashed potatoes in a serving dish with butter.

Potatoes are my favorite vegetable. They are on every holiday table from Easter to Thanksgiving and Christmas plus many meals in between.

If you’ve never made mashed potatoes before they are relatively easy. The difficult part is to not add too much milk or cream.

Ingredients for Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes

Just a few ingredeints and you have the best mashed potatoes ever! My family can tell when I don’t use cream cheese, though I try to keep it on hand

  • Russet Potatoes
  • Butter
  • Cream Cheese
  • Half and Half
  • Salt and Pepper

What’s the best way to make mashed potatoes?

For as long as I can remember my Mom used a ricer to make mashed potatoes. In fact, it was my grandmother’s ricer and now my brother has it.

A ricer truly makes the fluffiest potatoes. Using a handheld masher or mixer compresses the potatoes. I’ll never forget the day I heard Martha Stewart say the only way to make decent mashed potatoes was by using a ricer. You can see the one I use in the recipe card below.

Something I knew all along. Even my husband, who had never even heard of a ricer before we got married, now believes it’s the best way to mash.

My second choice would be a hand masher, which you can also see in the recipe card. To me, that’s more work for a less delicious bowl of mashed potatoes.

I don’t suggest using your stand mixer, which I know a lot of people already do. Over whipping the potatoes will make them gluey or gummy. Many people will tell you otherwise but if you choose to use one, you must babysit them. Can using a mixer make good mashed potatoes? Maybe, but be very careful. Don’t walk away and watch them like a hawk.

I’ve never made mashed potatoes using a mixer but I have had them and find them to be just OK.

Mashed potatoes in an oval baking dish with melted butter on top.

Tips for Making Mashed Potatoes

  • Cut the potatoes into even-sized cubes so they cook evenly.
  • For the smoothest mashed potatoes, use a potato ricer. You can achieve this with a traditional masher but it’s more work.
  • Always start potatoes in cold water. Put cubed potatoes in a pot and cover with an inch of cold water. Don’t drop them into boiling water because you will cook the outsides of the potatoes faster than the inside, leaving them unevenly cooked.
  • Taste for proper seasoning. Don’t be afraid to add salt. 

How far ahead can I make mashed potatoes?

This particular recipe can be made up to 2 days in advance. Store them covered, in the refrigerator.

On the day you’re ready to serve take the potatoes from the refrigerator and let them sit on the counter a couple of hours before warming them in a 350°F oven for about 20 – 30 minutes until warmed through. I like to put a couple of pats of butter on top to melt into the mixture.

Stir the potatoes before serving or transfer to a serving bowl for the table or buffet.

This make-ahead mashed potatoes recipe helps alleviate some stress related to any meal, but especially a holiday meal.

Make ahead mashed pototoes Twitter image.

More Potato Recipes

There truly is a potato recipe for everyone and every occasion. If these make-ahead mashed potatoes aren’t your thing try these easy herbed Hasselback potatoes or twice-baked potatoes, which are KIND of like mashed. This recipe, along with the twice-baked potatoes, has been adapted from The Pioneer Woman.

If you’re looking for a less traditional potato recipe, try these butternut squash mashed potatoes.


Recipe – Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes

Get a head start on a weeknight dinner or holiday meal with these creamy and delicious make-ahead mashed potatoes.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time40 minutes
Total Time55 minutes
Course: Side Dishes
Cuisine: American
Servings: 10 servings


  • 5 pounds russet potatoes
  • 1 cup butter plus more for the top of potatoes
  • 8 ounces cream cheese softened
  • 1/2 cup to 3/4 cups half-and-half
  • Salt and Pepper to taste


  • Peel and cut the potatoes into about 3-inch cubes so they are all about the same size. Add potatoes to a large pot and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil and cook for 30 to 40 minutes until a sharp knife easily glides into the cubes.
  • Drain the potatoes in a large colander. Dry the pot before mashing the potatoes. If you use a ricer, rice potatoes into Mash the potatoes over low heat, allowing all the steam to escape, before adding in all the other ingredients.
  • Turn off the stove and add 1 ½ sticks of butter, the cream cheese, and ½ cup of half-and-half. If potatoes are still thick, gradually add more 1/2 and 1/2. Stir to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Stir well and place in a medium-sized baking dish. Throw a few pats of butter over the top of the potatoes. Just prior to serving, place them in a 350-degree oven and heat until butter is melted and potatoes are warmed through.

Recipe Notes

When making this dish a day or two in advance, take it out of the fridge about 2 to 3 hours before serving time. Bake in a 350-degree oven for about 20 to 30 minutes or until warmed through.
Recipe adapted from The Pioneer Woman

Similar Posts


  1. I love this idea! Being able to prep things ahead of time, especially around the holidays, makes things so much easier.

5 from 1 vote (1 rating without comment)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating