Side dishes

Make Ahead Thanksgiving Mashed Potatoes

These make-ahead Thanksgiving mashed potatoes are like a culinary hug. Buttery, rich, and velvety potatoes are the iconic comfort side dish that will already be prepared and waiting for your holiday feast. Savor this time-saving twist without the usual last-minute cooking frenzy for a stress-free holiday.

Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and it’s time to start planning our sumptuous feast! It came so fast this year! Are you hosting the big day, or are you one of the lucky ones who get to travel?

As we all probably know, there really is no secret to making mashed potatoes, right? Throw the spuds in a pot of water and mash them up with butter, milk, sour cream, and maybe some garlic. Ta-da. Here’s the real secret ….ready?

Make Ahead. These are my two favorite words!

And I’m pretty sure any seasoned home cook would say the same. It’s a game changer when hosting dinner parties or holiday feasts! Seriously! Make ahead is a culinary marvel that brings both convenience and comfort, not to mention your sanity! You truly will be the hostess with the most-est!

These mashed potatoes are one of the four dishes I make ahead for Thanksgiving. This recipe I share with you today has all the familiar ingredients: butter, sour cream, and cream; however, you can use your own and follow my make-ahead tips.

So, let’s give thanks and savor the beauty of enjoying a stress-free and joyful celebration with your friends and family.

Happy Thanksgiving Friends ❤️

Ingredients Notes And Substitutions

Potatoes ~ use a starchy variety, such as a Yukon, Idaho or Russet

Butter ~ salted or unsalted

Sour cream ~ this is my favorite addition; it adds a light tang and richness. Cream cheese can be substituted.

Heavy cream ~ i prefer this over milk for a richer and creamier texture. Half and half can be substituted

Fresh herbs ~ adding a bundle of fresh herbs infuses the potatoes every so subtly.

Optional ~ add a head of roasted garlic to your spuds for a huge flavor boost. Once roasted, they become soft and and be mashed in with the potatoes.

FAQ’s For Your Mashed Mess Up’s!

Help! My mashed potatoes are watery

It happens to the best of us! An easy fix is to whip in some fat. Sour cream or heavy cream to bring them back. You will see, however, that the potatoes have more of a creamy texture rather than fluffy. Who’s going to argue with that?

My mashed potatoes are gummy or gluey!

This is often caused by over-mixing.  If using an electric mixer, add your butter and milk toward the beginning and mix gently. Try adding small additions (1 tablespoon) of cream or melted butter to help loosen them.

Helpful Tips For The Perfect Potatoes

  • No Lumps! Probably the most common mishap, but easy to avoid. Make sure your potatoes are cut as evenly as possible, and the cooking process in cold water. Also, a potato ricer is a great tool to use that pushes them through a fine mesh that will eliminate any lumps.
  • Heat your milk and butter until the butter is melted and the milk is steaming. Yes, you can mix them together and then heat them. This helps them absorb into the potatoes more easily and quickly, resulting in creamier mashed potatoes.
  • Avoid waxy potatoes such as the red or white varieties.
  • Let excess moisture evaporate once you have drained the potatoes. You don’t want watery potatoes!

More Make Ahead Thanksgiving Recipes

Turkey Stuffing With Red Wine & Golden Raisins

Make Ahead Turkey Gravy

Make Ahead Brandied Cranberries

Mashed Potatoes

Potatoes being pressed through a potato ricer

How To Make Ahead Thanksgiving Mashed Potatoes

Here is a quick run-through. You’ll find the printable recipe card with full instructions below.

  1. Add the peeled and cut potato chunks to a large pot of salted water. Gather the fresh herbs, tie them with kitchen string, and add to the potatoes.
  2. Cook until fork tender, about 15 minutes. Remove the herb bundle, drain the potatoes thoroughly, and then return them to the pot.
  3. Now, add the melted butter, warm half and half, and sour cream to the potatoes. Mash them with a hand masher or a beater until smooth and creamy. Season generously with salt and pepper, adjusting to your taste preference. Once you’ve achieved that perfect velvety texture, cool completely.
  4. Transfer them to an air-tight container or plastic bag (easier clean up). Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
  5. The day you wish to serve them, add a few tablespoons of butter to the bottom of a slow cooker and spray the sides with nonstick spray (or rub with butter). Let the butter melt, and then add the mashed potatoes. Cover and set the heat to the low setting for about 2 hours; then, turn the setting to warm.
  6. When ready to serve, give them a good stir and check the texture. You may want to add a splash of cream or melted butter. Garnish with some freshly chopped chives or parsley. If you’re feeling fancy or want more decadence, drizzle melted garlic butter over the top. See notes below for alternative cooking and reheating options. 
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Make Ahead Thanksgiving Mashed Potatoes


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  • Author: Teri Wallingford
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 8 1x

Description

These make-ahead Thanksgiving mashed potatoes are like a culinary hug. Buttery, rich, and velvety potatoes are the iconic comfort side dish that will already be prepared and waiting for your holiday feast. Savor this time-saving twist without the usual last-minute cooking frenzy for a stress-free holiday.


Ingredients

Units Scale

For the make-ahead mashed potatoes * see notes below

  • 4 pounds potatoes. Peeled and cut into large cubes. Russets, Yukon Golds, or Idaho
  • 1 small bunch of fresh herbs tied together. Rosemary, thyme, and sage
  • 46 tablespoons lukewarm melted butter. Salted or unsalted
  • 2 tablespoons butter. For the greasing baking dish
  • 1/2 to 1 cup lukewarm heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup sour cream, room temperature
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • garnish with parsley, chives, or melted garlic butter


Instructions

For the make-ahead mashed potatoes

  1. Add the peeled and cut potato chunks to a large pot of salted water. Gather the fresh herbs, tie them with kitchen string, and add to the potatoes. Cook over medium heat until fork tender, about 15 minutes.
  2. Remove the herb bundle, drain the potatoes thoroughly, and then return them to the pot. Let them sit for a couple of minutes to evaporate any excess moisture. This will prevent the potatoes from becoming watery or mealy. Very important!
  3. Now, add the warm melted butter, warm cream, and sour cream to the potatoes. Mash them with a hand masher or a beater until smooth and creamy. Season generously with salt and pepper, adjusting to your taste preference. Once you’ve achieved that perfect velvety texture. Cool completely,
  4. Transfer them to an air-tight container or plastic bag (easier clean up). Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 days, or freeze for up to 1 month.
  5. The day you wish to serve them (slow cooker method)See below for alternative reheating options.
  6.    Add a few tablespoons of butter to the bottom of a slow cooker and spray the sides with nonstick spray (or rub with butter). Let the butter melt, and then add the mashed potatoes. Cover and set the heat to the low setting for about 2 hours; then, turn the setting to warm. Mashed potatoes left in the slow cooker for an extended time can start to brown around the edges.
  7. When ready to serve, give them a good stir and check the texture. You may want to add a splash of cream or melted butter.
  8. Garnish with some freshly chopped chives or parsley. If you’re feeling fancy or want more decadence, drizzle melted garlic butter over the top.

Notes

Make Ahead & Reheating

  • The ingredient amounts for the butter, and milk is a starting measurement. You may want to add more depending on how creamy or loose you prefer your potatoes to be
  • For oven reheating. Follow instructions through step 3 – transfer the potatoes to a buttered baking dish. Smooth out the top with a spatula and cover it tightly with plastic wrap. When it’s time to serve, pop the dish in a preheated oven at 350°F for 25-30 minutes or until the potatoes are heated through
  • For Stovetop reheating.Warm potatoes (from fridge or thawed from frozen) slowly over low heat in a covered saucepan, stirring occasionally, until heated through. If potatoes seem dry, Add cream or butter as needed.
  • For Microwave reheating. Remove (from the fridge or thawed from frozen) and place in a microwave-safe dish. Cover to retain some steam and heat for about 5 minutes at a time, stirring occasionally. 

Helpful tips for perfect mashed potatoes

  • No Lumps! Probably the most common mishap, but easy to avoid. Make sure your potatoes are cut as evenly as possible, and potatoes start in cold water. Also, a potato ricer is a great tool to use that pushes them through a fine mesh, eliminating any lumps.
  • Heat your milk and butter until the butter is melted and the milk is steaming. Yes, you can mix them together and then heat them. This helps them absorb into the potatoes more easily and quickly, resulting in creamier mashed potatoes.
  • Avoid waxy potatoes such as the red or white varieties.
  • Let excess moisture evaporate once you have drained the potatoes. You don’t want watery potatoes!
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Category: Side
  • Method: Stove top
  • Cuisine: American

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