Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes

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These Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes are so perfect to add to your busy holiday menu.  They make last minute preparations so much easier!

Casserole dish full of Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes

What’s the best way to cook potatoes for mashed potatoes?

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add peeled potatoes, and cook until tender but still firm, about 15 minutes; drain. Mash, and continue with the instructions for this recipe.

How to prepare Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes:

Start with already cooked potatoes that are mashed.  Add cream cheese, sour cream and milk.  This is going to make your mashed potatoes creamy, and they won’t dry out when you’re making them ahead!  Onion salt and pepper are added for a little flavor.

If serving right away, cover and bake in a preheated oven at 325°F. for 50 minutes.  However, you can make this recipe up to several days ahead and store in the fridge. If baking cold, let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes first.  Add melted butter on top and maybe some chopped chives!

Casserole dish of Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes with melted butter

Is there any way to lighten up mashed potatoes?

It’s okay to lighten this make ahead mashed potatoes recipe up a little by using low fat cream cheese and light sour cream.  Don’t skimp too much though because they’re so creamy and good if prepared as the recipe is written.

Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes with dinner

How can you keep Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes warm?

You can certainly make them ahead and keep them in a buttered slow cooker (just butter the sides of the slow cooker).  Just set it at warm, and it’ll be good to go warming for a few hours.

Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes served with dinner

This is a terrific recipe for those who get nervous about preparing a lot of recipes on Thanksgiving Day. If you have a slow cooker, you can make them ahead of time and just warm them in a buttered crockpot until they’re ready to serve. So easy!

If you’re looking for delicious main dishes to serve with mashed potatoes, you might like to try my Prime Rib Roast or this Roasted Vegetable Meatloaf. Balsamic Beer-Braised Pork Roast, Beef Tenderloin with Balsamic Glaze and Rosemary and Garlic Leg of Lamb Roast are great pairings with mashed potatoes too!

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5 from 10 votes

Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes

A lifesaver during busy holiday dinner preparations!
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings 12 servings
Calories 200kcal
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Keyword make ahead, mashed potatoes


  • 5 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes (peeled, boiled & mashed)
  • 6 ounces cream cheese
  • 8 ounces sour cream
  • 1/2 cup milk or half and half cream
  • 2 teaspoons onion salt
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste


  • Combine all ingredients in a large bowl; mix well using an electric mixer. Place in a large, buttered casserole dish.
  • If serving right away, cover and bake in a preheated oven at 325°F. for 50 minutes.


  • *How to cook the potatoes: Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add peeled potatoes, and cook until tender but still firm, about 15 minutes; drain. Mash, and continue with the instructions for this recipe.
  • *It's ok to lighten this recipe up a little by using low fat cream cheese and light sour cream.
  • *You can make this recipe several days ahead and store in the fridge. If baking cold, let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes first.
  • *If you're lacking oven space, start warming this in a well-buttered crockpot earlier in the day.


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 200kcal | Carbohydrates: 25g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 26mg | Sodium: 471mg | Potassium: 840mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 325IU | Vitamin C: 21.7mg | Calcium: 103mg | Iron: 6.2mg
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  • Ashley @ Wishes & Dishes wrote:

    This will save my butt on thanksgiving!

  • Toni | Boulder Locavore wrote:

    It looks amazing! I will try this!

  • Jennifer Farley wrote:

    This recipe is perfect for thanksgiving! Thank you for sharing!

  • Melissa Sperka wrote:

    We LOVE these potatoes the pictures makes me want to grab a spoon and dig in!

  • Joanne wrote:

    You wouldn’t know these are made ahead. Such a great texture and so delicious!

  • Vivian wrote:


  • carrie wrote:

    Great post and idea

  • Aysegul wrote:

    Nice recipe as a sidedish for Meat products on Thanksgiving. Thanks for it

  • jherman wrote:

    I like smashed not whipped potatoes- any chance it might work for a chunkier less buttered potato?

    • Lori Lange wrote:

      You can certainly try!

  • Jillian wrote:

    I’m excited to try this recipe, and am so happy to have found one that allows me more time right before we sit down to eat! I’m making them one day early, and am planning on warming them in the crockpot. Do I forego the baking then? Or do I still bake them today, and warm them in the crockpot tomorrow?

    • Lori Lange wrote:

      I think warming in the crockpot later is just fine. Add more milk, as needed, if they begin to dry out.

  • Gina wrote:

    i have thanksgiving every year but this year im having surgery the day before and this idea is great but i think i will buy the plastic liners for the crock pot plus i think it will keep it from drying out

    • Lori Lange wrote:

      good idea!

  • Whitney wrote:

    “Buttered crock pot” Silly question, but I assume you mean butter the sides of the crock pot as you would a cake/baking pan to keep them from burning/sticking?

    I never thought of putting mashed potatoes in a crock pot like this. The mashed potatoes and the gravy are the last things to be put together on TG day with a traditional dance in the kitchen between my best friend’s husband who whips the potatoes while I make the gravy using the hot potato water instead of broth. Gonna try this with my mashed potato recipe.

    • Lori Lange wrote:

      Yes! Hope it works well for you!

  • Jenn wrote:

    Really? Wow I wish I would’ve thought of this sooner! Hosting my 4th or 5th Thanksgiving dinner and having potatoes in the crock just make since and get them done and out of the way a day or two ahead of time so I can focus on my turkey!! Thanks so much.

    • Lori Lange wrote:

      You’re welcome!

  • Gina wrote:

    Thank you so much for this recipe and Crockpot heating idea! Hosting my very first Thanksgiving and am nervous about how it is all going to work. Thanks to you, I have a feeling that I will do great!!!!

  • Shannon wrote:

    I would like to make the potatoes ahead of time and warm them up on Thanksgiving morning to serve at noon. Can you tell me how long I need to warm them in the Crockpot and at what setting (warm, low or high)? Thanks!

    • Lori Lange wrote:

      I just set them on warm (low) in the morning- keep an eye on them and turn them off at some point if they warm up too much- turn them on again closer to dinner . Stir in milk or cream if they appear to be drying out.

  • Tammy wrote:

    If you make them early Thanksgiving morning…Can you put them in the crockpot after mixing everything together instead of putting them in the oven?

    • Lori Lange wrote:

      That should work just fine.

  • Monica wrote:

    Hi. Quick question: if I make this ahead of time except for the baking, as you suggested, does that mean that I have it completely done (all ingreds in the baking dish) and then just pop in oven for the full cooking?

  • Beth wrote:

    I love the idea of warming them in the slow cooker since oven space on the holidays is always at a premium!

  • Kandi wrote:

    Lori, can you use another potato besides Yukon Gold?

    • Lori Lange wrote:

      @Kandi, Sure!

  • Stephanie wrote:

    I’m sorry if this is a naive question, but do you skip the oven step in the recipe if you are using the crockpot?

    • Lori Lange wrote:

      @Stephanie, yes, I should have been more clear about that. You can warm it entirely in the crockpot if you’re going that route instead of the oven. Just be sure to give it plenty of time as the crockpot will take much longer to warm than the oven.

    • Stephanie wrote:

      @Lori Lange, Thank you! I plan to make these Thanksgiving!