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Oct 31, 2023

Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes

This recipe for make-ahead mashed potatoes will feed a crowd, perfect for your next holiday gathering.  

Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes in a yellow casserole dish.

This recipe for mashed potatoes is perfect for busy holidays or those times when you are feeding a crowd and you don't want to be stuck in the kitchen mashing potatoes for a large crowd at the last minute. 

Usually, the most stressful time for the host at holiday dinners is right before dinner is served. Between slicing the turkey and making the gravy, mashing potatoes at the last minute is pretty stressful and labor intensive, especially during the high wire act of trying to get multiple dishes on the table. 

Bring on the serenity. These make-ahead mashed potatoes will help allay all (or most) of that stress. This is my "go-to" mashed potato recipe. 

Add make-ahead turkey gravy to your menu for even more convenience. The more you can make ahead, the better. 

Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes in a yellow casserole dish.

Plus, you'd probably rather hang out with your family and friends. 

What you'll need:

To feed 15 to 20 people, you'll need about six pounds of russet potatoes. 

Additional ingredients include a brick of cream cheese, sour cream, and lots of butter. The cream cheese and sour cream add sort of a "twice baked potato" flavor. In my mind that's a good thing.

You'll also need garlic salt and pepper, along with paprika for topping before baking. I also toss a few chives into the mixture before baking. 

Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes in a small black bowl.

Tips for Great Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes:

1. Drain the boiled potatoes well before mashing them. After returning them to the pan, I like to return the pan to the stove and let any extra water evaporate by heating the pan for a minute or two over medium heat. 

2. Use a potato ricer or potato masher to mash the potatoes. If you use the masher, don't worry too much about lumps as they seem to dissappear during the second bake. 

3. Make sure your cream cheese and butter are softened before mixing them into the potatoes. 

4. I like to use a 13 inch by 9 inch cast iron casserole, or if I halve the recipe, a 9" square cast iron casserole because the cast iron retains heat after baking, keeping the potatoes piping hot. A ceramic, Pyrex, or even a foil pan are also fine for baking these potatoes. 

5. The potatoes can be made up to three days in advance and refrigerated. They also can be frozen for up to two weeks. In a pinch, especially if you only have one oven, they can be partially cooked in a microwave (if your pan is microwave safe), and then finished in the oven once you've removed the Thanksgiving turkey or Christmas roast.

6. For taking these potatoes to a potluck, the insulated Rachel Ray casserole carrier is wonderful for keeping them warm. I read about it in one of the America's Test Kitchen magazines, impulsively bought it, and I've used it way more than I expected. It is great for potlucks at work too. 

Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes in a yellow casserole dish.

Some of my favorite holiday side dishes:

Creamed Lima Beans with Bacon

Cheesy Corn Casserole

Balsamic and Ginger Glazed Carrots

Roasted Cipollini Onions

Corn Soufflé

Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes in a yellow casserole dish.

More Holiday Side Dish Recipes from Favorite Food Blogs:

Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes in a small black bowl.

Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes

Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes
Yield: 16
Author: Karen's Kitchen Stories
Prep time: 1 HourCook time: 1 HourTotal time: 2 Hour
This recipe for make-ahead mashed potatoes will feed a crowd at your next holiday gathering.


  • 5 1/2 to 6 pounds of russet potatoes
  • 8 ounces of cream cheese, softened and cut into one-inch cubes
  • 1 cup of sour cream
  • 1 stick of butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 2 teaspoons garlic salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons finely chopped scallions or chives - optional - plus more for garnish
  • paprika - optional - for sprinkling over the top


  1. Peel and cut the potatoes into approximately 2 inch chunks.
  2. Just cover the potatoes with water and bring to a boil.
  3. Simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes, until the pieces can be pierced easily with a fork, but not falling apart.
  4. Drain into a colander and return the potatoes to the pan.
  5. Mash the potatoes with a masher in the pan.
  6. Add the cream cheese, sour cream, half of the butter, garlic salt, and pepper.
  7. Mash with a masher or mix with a large wooden spoon until fully incorporated.
  8. Mix in optional scallions or chives.
  9. Place the potatoes into a buttered 3 quart casserole and dot the top with the rest of the butter.
  10. Sprinkle with paprika.
  11. At this point, the dish can be refrigerated up to three days, or frozen prior to baking
  12. Bring to room temperature and bake, covered, in a 375 degree F oven for 50 to 60 minutes.
  13. Garnish with extra chives or green onions if you like.

Nutrition Facts



Fat (grams)

14 g

Sat. Fat (grams)

8 g

Carbs (grams)

30 g

Fiber (grams)

2 g

Net carbs

28 g

Sugar (grams)

2 g

Protein (grams)

5 g

Cholesterol (grams)

38 mg
mashed potatoes, make ahead
side dish
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Originally published 11/2012. Updated 11/2023. 

Would you like to comment?

  1. These sound perfect for a day when there is so much going on!

  2. I love potatoes w/ cream cheese and sourcream - I know I'd love these. I'll definitely be trying these. Even if it's only for a regular-old meal ;)

  3. Make ahead mashed potatoes are definitely a game changer.

  4. I love that you can make these days in advance! I love homemade mashed potatoes but hate rushing to boil and make them on a holiday.

  5. Mashed potatoes and gravy are my favorite, but the potatoes are such a pain to make. I love the idea of making them in advance!

  6. I may have to try these this year. One less thing to deal on the big day. They look super creamy and delicious.

  7. These have to be amazing with all the butter etc. And make ahead is a godsend for the holidays.


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