Easy Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes are perfect for busy holidays. These creamy mashed potatoes will keep up to two days in the refrigerator and are heated in the oven before serving to save time.

Buttery mashed potatoes are the perfect side to almost any main dish, but I like to pair them with my Sweet and Spicy Glazed Pork Tenderloin, Crispy Pork Medallions, or Honey Soy Baked Chicken. They also make an appearance on our Thanksgiving menu plan right next to the Mashed Sweet Potatoes.

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plate of food with mashed potatoes

Why We Love This Mashed Potato Recipe

I love anything that makes my life easier, especially in the kitchen department. By making these easy mashed potatoes ahead of time, I can cut my dinner routine in half. Here’s why we love these taters:

  • Super easy to make
  • Simple ingredients
  • Deliciously creamy with a slightly golden crust
  • Packed with delicious buttery flavors
  • Stores easily for next day cooking

When it comes to making mashed potatoes, you can’t go wrong with this recipe. They come out creamy and buttery, with a slightly crunchy golden crust on top every time!

white casserole dish with mashed potatoes

What Are The Best Potatoes For Mashing?

Choose higher starch potatoes like Yukon Golds or Russets for flavor-packed, fluffy, and smooth mashed potatoes. Medium-starch Yukon Gold and other yellow-fleshed potatoes naturally have a buttery flavor along with a creamy, dense consistency. High-starch Russet potatoes have an earthy flavor and mash up light and fluffy.

Yukon Golds absorb less water as they cook than most other potatoes, so they’re less likely to get water-logged or gummy. Try roasting Russets instead of boiling to ensure they don’t take on too much water.

The higher the starchiness the lighter and fluffier the mashed potatoes. Yukon Golds will produce super creamy, dense mashed potatoes, while russets turn out fluffy and soft. Avoid waxy red potatoes for mashing they have firmer flesh and require more mashing, which could lead to “gluey” potatoes.

Still can’t decide which potatoes are best for mashing? Why not use a combination of Russets and Yukon Golds and get the best of both worlds!

mashed potato ingredients

Creamy Mashed Potatoes Ingredients

I love that I can whip up these mashed potatoes ahead of time and serve them with dinner the next day. With simple ingredients, you’ll love this easy side dish too. Here’s what you need:

  • Potatoes– You can use Yukon Gold, Russet, or a combination of the two. Make sure to peel and cube them.
  • Cream cheese– For best results, leave the cream cheese on the counter for 30-minutes to soften it.
  • Heavy cream and milk– You can use half heavy cream and half milk, or you can just use milk. Whichever you use you will want them to be warm when adding to the potatoes.
  • Salt and pepper– These add a little flavor. You could also add in some garlic powder or your favorite spices.
  • Butter- I use unsalted butter, but you can use salted as well. Divide the butter in half as you will use half now and half when you bake the mashed potatoes.
  • Chives or thyme– These are totally optional, but are super yummy to garnish your potatoes with.

photo collage of how to prepare make ahead mashed potatoes

How to Make Easy Mashed Potatoes Ahead of Time

(full printable recipe at the end of this post)

Although these are make-ahead mashed potatoes, you can finish the recipe and make them on the same day. Or you can store them in the refrigerator and bake them later. It just depends on when you need them.

Boil the potatoes: After you have peeled and cubed the potatoes, you will need to boil them. Place them in a pot covered with water and boil them for about 15 minutes.

Drain and mash the potatoes: Once the potatoes are tender but still firm, drain and mash them. You can mash them right in the pot you used to cook them in.

Blend ingredients: Next, put your mashed potatoes, cream cheese, milk (or milk and cream), butter, salt and pepper into a mixing bowl. Mix the ingredients until blended thoroughly.

Store for later: Put your mashed potatoes in a large casserole dish and cover with plastic wrap or aluminum foil. Then, put it in the refrigerator until ready to reheat.

Preheat and prep: When you are ready to eat your mashed potatoes, heat the oven to 350℉. Let the potatoes sit at room temperature for half an hour.

Bake the mashed potatoes: Dot the top of the mashed potatoes with butter. Then, bake them covered with aluminum foil for 30-minutes. Uncover the mashed potatoes and bake them for another 15-20 minutes. This will allow the top of the mashed potato to crisp up a bit.

Garnish: Remove after they are done cooking and cool slightly. Garnish your mashed potatoes with your favorite toppings such as freshly chopped chives, thyme, sour cream, or bacon bits.

Serve and Enjoy!

make ahead mashed potatoes in a white serving dish

Recipe FAQs

Do I need to peel the potatoes for mashed potatoes?

Many chefs recommend that you peel your potatoes before you mash them as it will produce fluffier, creamier mashed potatoes. However, there are many recipes for mashed potatoes in which the skin is left on the potato. In fact, the skin has most of your vitamins and nutrients in it. For this recipe, we peeled them, but that is totally up to you.

What type of potatoes are best for mashed potatoes?

I personally find that Yukon Golds are the best potatoes for mashed potatoes. They are naturally creamy when you mash them, never gritty, and even have a slight butter flavor on their own. However, Russet or Idaho potatoes work as well.

What is 2 pounds of potatoes?

Most potatoes come in 5 pound bags, but this recipe calls for 2.5 pounds of potatoes. 2 pounds of potatoes is approximately 6 medium potatoes. So, to get the 2.5 pounds, you will want to use 7-8 medium-sized potatoes.

plate with holiday food including make ahead mashed potatoes

Pro Tips For The Best Mashed Potatoes

Use chicken broth: Instead of boiling your potatoes in water, boil them in 4-6 cups of chicken broth for even more delicious flavor. After mixing, make sure to test the flavor before adding more salt.

Do NOT add cold milk/cream: Make sure the milk or cream you add to your potatoes is warm to hot. This will help it absorb better into the hot potatoes avoiding the need to over mix.

Add garlic salt: If you like garlic mash, add a little garlic salt to your mashed potatoes while mixing all the other ingredients.

Remove excess water: After boiling, drain the potatoes and put them back in the pot without a lid. Set them back on the hot burner for a few minutes, shaking the pot, until all the excess moisture on the potatoes has evaporated.

Don’t overmix mashed potatoes: Potatoes are full of starch, and if handled too much your mashed potatoes will become gooey.

Use an electric mixer: If you prefer creamy and smooth mashed potatoes, use an electric mixer when mashing the potatoes and blending the ingredients.

Use a hand masher: If you like your potatoes a little lumpy, use a hand masher instead of the electric mixer. This will leave you with a few chunks of potatoes to enjoy.

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plate of food with mashed potatoes

Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes

Yield: 10-12 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour

MAKE-AHEAD MASHED POTATOES are perfect for busy holidays. They will keep up to two days in the refrigerator and come out creamy and buttery, with a slightly crunchy golden crust on top every time!


  • 2½ pounds potatoes, peeled and cubed (Yukon Gold, Russet or combo of the two)
  • 3 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1¼ cup milk (or half heavy cream and half milk), warmed
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter (divided)
  • freshly chopped chives or thyme for garnish (optional)


  1. Spray a large casserole dish with cooking spray (or grease with butter) and set aside.
  2. Boil potatoes until tender but still firm (about 15 minutes). Drain and drain the potatoes and put them back in the pot without a lid. Set them back on a hot/warm burner for a few minutes, shaking the pot, until all the excess moisture on the potatoes has evaporated. 
  3. In a large mixing bowl, mix potatoes, cream cheese, milk, 1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) softened butter, and salt. Mix until blended.
  4. Add mashed potatoes to the prepared casserole dish and cover. Store in the refrigerator overnight or for up to two days.
  5. When ready to bake, let the potatoes sit at room temperature for about 1/2 hour and heat the oven to 350° F. Dot the top of the potatoes with the remaining 1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) of butter. Bake covered in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, uncover and bake until hot about another 15-20 minutes. This will give the mashed potatoes a bit of a crispy top.
  6. Garnish with freshly chopped chives or thyme, if desired.


For even more flavor, boil potatoes in 4-6 cups of chicken broth.

After mixing, be sure to taste and see if you need to add more salt to your liking.

Want a little garlic flavor? Add a little garlic salt to the mashed potatoes.

If you like your mashed potatoes a little lumpy, then use a hand masher, if you prefer creamy and smooth mashed potatoes, then use an electric mixer.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 193Total Fat: 11gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 30mgSodium: 221mgCarbohydrates: 22gFiber: 2gSugar: 3gProtein: 4g

Nutrition information is estimated based on the ingredients and cooking instructions as described in each recipe and is intended to be used for informational purposes only. Please note that nutrition details may vary based on methods of preparation, origin, and freshness of ingredients used.

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holiday plate of food with mashed potatoes