Creamy Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes

Prep 10 mins
Cook 55 mins
Total 1 hr 5 mins
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These Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes are made with cream cheese, sour cream, half and half, and butter! A fluffy, indulgent favorite that you can make up to 2 days ahead of time – now you have more time to enjoy your guests!

Creamy, Fluffy Mashed Potatoes You Can Make in Advance

One of the best things about a holiday meal is the side dish extravaganza, right? Suddenly the table is loaded down with all kinds of yummy classics like stuffing, gravy, corn, and sweet potatoes… just thinking about it is enough to make you hungry!

This easy recipe is all about getting one of those crowd-pleasing favorites on the table with minimum fuss. You can pull these ultra-creamy spuds together up to two days ahead of time, and simply stick them in your oven on the big day. 

(For more mashed potato options, be sure to take a look at these easy recipes for classic Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Cheesy Potato Casseroles and my Instant Pot Mashed Maple Sweet Potatoes!)

Close-up shot of creamy mashed potatoes with chives.

What Is the Trick to Good Mashed Potatoes?

Everyone does mashed potatoes a little differently, and depending on your taste, you might use different tricks and hacks to make them “perfect.” But a must-have tip for making good mashed potatoes in advance is this: add cream!

Creamy ingredients ensure a mouthwatering dish, even after it’s been hanging out in your fridge for a couple of days. Another great tip? Use a hand mixer to create extra smooth, extra fluffy potatoes. 

From top: Cream cheese, half-and-half, melted butter, seasonings, sour cream, Russet potatoes.

Recipe Ingredients

To make this recipe, you’ll need a bag of potatoes, some dairy items, and a few seasonings. Here’s the list:

  • Potatoes: Russet or Yukon Gold potatoes are great for mashing.
  • Cream Cheese and Sour Cream: These ingredients should be at room temperature before adding them to the dish.
  • Butter: Melted, plus more to grease the pan.
  • Half and Half: Warm the half and half slightly before adding it to the recipe. You can also use heavy cream.
  • Seasonings: Garlic powder, onion powder, kosher salt, and freshly cracked black pepper.
  • Optional Toppings: Chives or green onions, plus additional melted butter.
A small white plate with a helping of mashed potatoes.

How to Prepare Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes

This simple method for make-ahead mashed potatoes delivers perfect results, every time. Let’s take a look at the steps:

  • Cook the Potatoes. To get started, you’ll need to peel the potatoes and cut them into large cubes. Place the potatoes in a large pot, and cover them with water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium, and cook the potatoes for 20 minutes or fork-tender.
  • Drain and Dry. Drain the potatoes in a colander, and then dump them back into the pot. Place the pot back on the stove for one minute, to help cook out any excess liquid.
  • Mash the Potatoes, and Add the Rest of the Ingredients. Mash the potatoes using your preferred method. A potato masher or ricer works great. Then add all of the remaining ingredients: cream cheese, sour cream, half and half, butter, and seasonings. Fold these into the potatoes.
  • Beat with a Mixer (Optional Step). For extra smooth mashed potatoes, use a hand mixer to beat the potatoes on high speed for 1 or 2 minutes, until they are light and fluffy. If you prefer more texture to your dish, you can skip this step.
  • Store. Spread the potatoes evenly in a buttered baking dish, and cover tightly with foil. Store in your fridge for up to 3 days.
  • Serve. When you’re ready to serve the potatoes, preheat the oven to 350°F. Place the baking dish in the preheated oven, and bake for 35 to 45 minutes, or until heated through. Top with additional butter and chives, if desired before serving.
  • Enjoy!
Creamy mashed potatoes spread into a casserole dish.

Tips for Success

While I already mentioned adding creamy ingredients and using a hand mixer, there are lots of other great ways to tweak your make-ahead mashed potatoes for ultimate deliciousness. Check these out:

  • Choosing the Right Potatoes: Starchy potatoes like Russets and Yukon Gold work best. Waxy potatoes, such as red potatoes, are usually better in recipes where you want chunks of potato, such as vegetable soup or roasted potatoes. 
  • Make-Ahead Made Easier: If you really need to get a jump on things, you can peel and cut the potatoes up to 2 days ahead of mashing them. This will impact the texture a little bit, but it still works. Store the potatoes in water in your fridge.
  • Sour Cream Substitute: The sour cream adds flavor and also helps to make the potatoes creamy. You can substitute Greek yogurt, or simply add additional half-and-half, if you don’t want to use sour cream.
  • Half and Half Substitute: Speaking of half and half, you can use whole or even nonfat milk in its place if needed. Or go extra wild with some heavy cream!
  • Mash the Potatoes While They Are Hot: Have all of your ingredients, as well as your masher and mixer ready. This will help you mix everything together while the potatoes are still hot, which will help them blend smoothly without getting gluey or lumpy.
  • For Cheesy Potatoes: Add 1 cup of your favorite shredded cheese. The cheese can be mixed directly into the potatoes with the other ingredients, or sprinkled over the top about 10 minutes before they are finished baking.
  • Slow Cooker Option: Prepare the potatoes according to the recipe, but do not spread them in a baking dish. Instead, place them in the crockpot on warm for several hours, until ready to serve. If the potatoes get dry then stir in a little additional half-and-half to moisten them.
Mashed potatoes topped with melted butter and chives.

Yummy Serving Suggestions

These mashed potatoes are so good, you might be tempted to make a meal out of them by themselves! But they really shine next to all of your other holiday favorites. Here are some of ours:

  • Turkey: A perfectly golden-brown, crispy-skinned, juicy whole turkey makes a gorgeous main course for Thanksgiving and Christmas. This easy tutorial will show you exactly How to Cook a Perfect Thanksgiving Turkey. I also love this easy recipe for Crockpot Turkey Breast if you aren’t up for making a whole turkey.
  • Green Bean Casserole: This creamy veggie side topped with crispy fried onions is always a hit. For a condensed soup-free version of the classic, try this recipe for The Best Green Bean Casserole!
  • Stuffing: Of course you need a big casserole dish filled with stuffing! This is my favorite classic Homemade Stuffing, but I also have a great recipe for this flavorful Sausage Stuffing!
  • Cranberry Sauce: Tangy and tart, cranberry sauce cuts the richness of all your seasonal favorites, and adds plenty of bold flavor and color at the same time. This Apple Cranberry Sauce is extra-festive, thanks to apples, orange juice, and a touch of cinnamon.
Creamy make-ahead mashed potatoes in a white rectangular casserole.

How to Store and Reheat the Leftovers

Store the unbaked mashed potatoes in a casserole dish in the fridge for up to 3 days. Make sure it is tightly covered. After baking and serving, you can store any leftovers in the fridge for an additional 4 days.

Does Freezing Mashed Potatoes Change the Texture?

Ordinary mashed potatoes made with a little butter and milk won’t freeze very well, but this recipe will, thanks to full-fat cream cheese, sour cream, and half-and-half. Those ingredients protect the dish from becoming watery after you freeze and thaw. 

So go ahead and freeze any leftover mashed potatoes, for up to 3 months! Thaw in the fridge overnight, and reheat again in the oven. Individual portions can also be reheated in the microwave.

Yield: 10 - 12 Servings

Creamy Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes

Make-ahead mashed potatoes in a casserole dish.

These Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes are made with cream cheese, sour cream, half and half, and butter! A fluffy, indulgent favorite that you can make up to 2 days ahead of time.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 55 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes

Ingredients

  • 5 pounds Russet or Yukon Gold potatoes
  • 8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 cup sour cream, room temperature
  • ¼ cup butter, melted (plus additional butter to grease the pan)
  • ½ cup half and half, warmed
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

Optional Toppings:

  • Melted butter
  • Chives or green onions

Instructions

  1. Butter a 9x13 baking dish. Set aside.
  2. Peel the potatoes and cut them into large cubes. Add the potatoes to a large pot and fill the pot with water.
  3. Bring the water to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, reduce the temperature to medium heat, and cook for 20 minutes. The size of your potatoes will determine the cook time. Larger potatoes may take longer. The potatoes are done when they are easily pierced with a fork.
  4. Drain the potatoes in a colander, then place back on the stove for one minute to remove excess moisture.
  5. Mash the potatoes using a potato masher or ricer.
  6. Add all of the ingredients and fold into the potatoes. If you prefer lumpy mashed potatoes, skip to the next step. For smooth mashed potatoes: beat on high speed for 1 to 2 minutes using a hand mixer, until the potatoes are light and fluffy.
  7. Spread the potatoes evenly in the prepared baking dish and cover with aluminum foil. Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
  8. When ready to serve, preheat the oven to 350°F.
  9. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, covered with foil, or until the potatoes are heated through. Top with additional butter and chives, if desired.

Notes

Storing and Freezing

  • Store the unbaked casserole in the fridge for up to 3 days. You can store any leftovers in the fridge for an additional 4 days.
  • Freeze leftover mashed potatoes for up to 3 months. Allow to thaw in the fridge overnight and reheat again in the oven. Individual portions can also be reheated in the microwave.

Recipe Tips

  • Starchy potatoes like Russets and Yukon Gold work best. They can be cut up to 2 days ahead and stored refrigerated and in water, but that will impact the final texture a little bit.
  • The sour cream adds flavor and also helps to make the potatoes creamy. You can substitute Greek yogurt or simply add additional half-and-half, if you do not wish to use sour cream.
  • The half-and-half helps to make creamy potatoes, but whole or nonfat milk may be used. Or go extra wild with some heavy cream!
  • Have all of your ingredients, as well as your masher and mixer ready. This will help you mix everything together while the potatoes are still hot, which will help them blend smoothly without getting gluey or lumpy.
  • Can I make these cheesy potatoes? Yes, add 1 cup of your favorite shredded cheese. The cheese can be mixed directly into the potatoes with the other ingredients, or sprinkled over the top about 10 minutes before it is finished baking.
  • Can I make potatoes in the slow cooker? Yes, you can prepare the potatoes according to the recipe directions through step 7. Then place in the crockpot on warm for several hours, until ready to serve. If the potatoes get dry then stir in a little additional half-and-half to moisten them.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

12

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 336Total Fat: 16gSaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 47mgSodium: 234mgCarbohydrates: 43gFiber: 4gSugar: 4gProtein: 7g

Categories

More Perfect Holiday Sides

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy.

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Comments

6 Responses
    1. A woman holding a camera standing in front of some shelves.
      Jessica

      Hi Susan! Yes! Freeze mashed potatoes for up to 3 months. Allow to thaw in the fridge overnight and reheat again in the oven. Individual portions can also be reheated in the microwave.

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Jessica
I'm a trial & error, self taught, sugar addict who thankfully learned how to survive in the kitchen! I am also a wife, mama of 3.
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