Cheesy Mashed Potatoes are fluffy and creamy and loaded with 3 kinds of cheese. Totally customizable and simple to prepare, this easy baked mashed potatoes side dish is great for making ahead during the holidays.
Mashed potatoes in any form, be it slow cooker, instant pot or just regular stove top are among my top three favorite foods. I could eat a bowl of piping hot, creamy, buttery mashed potatoes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and not get tired of them.
My favorite way to make mashed potatoes though is to bake them. Baked mashed potatoes have that same super fluffy and creamy texture, but they also have golden, crunchy bits on top which is a perfect contrast.
My cheesy mashed potatoes are mixed, then spread into a pan and refrigerated until dinnertime. You can also bake them right away, or don’t bake them at all if you’re in a hurry.
Adding extra “stuff” to mashed potatoes can be tricky because they can quickly become gummy when overmixed, but I’ve got some tips to share that will give you the best cheesy mashed potatoes ever.
Why We Love Them
This is the ultimate comfort food – creamy and cheesy!
They are super simple to make.
They can be made up to 24 hours ahead of time.
How to Make Cheesy Mashed Potatoes
Make Ahead Mashed potatoes were one of the very first things I learned how to make. I mean, it’s pretty simple, right? Peel, chop, boil, mash. While I do love plain and simple with cream and butter, something magical happens when you add three kinds of cheese and sour cream.
Step by Step with Tips
First things first, grab a large pot. For 4 pounds of potatoes, I use a 5-quart dutch oven. Fill the pot with about 2-3 inches of water. It won’t seem like a lot but the potatoes displace a lot of the water and your pot will be full. You can always add or remove water once you’ve added the potatoes. Add a generous amount of salt to season the potatoes as they cook.
While the water is coming to a boil, rinse, peel and dice the potatoes into evenly sized chunks. Try to get the chunks close in size because that will help them to cook more evenly. Place the potatoes into the boiling water gently to avoid splashing.
Keep the heat at medium to medium-low so it keeps bubbling and cook the potatoes for about 20 minutes. Keep the lid on the pot, but not quite all the way. This lets the steam escape but still keeps the heat in. Otherwise the starchy water tends to boil over leaving a big mess on your stove. When the potatoes are fork tender (they break apart easily when pierced with a fork) drain them in a large colander and place them pack in the pot.
Now the fun begins – grab a masher and start mashing! Season the potatoes with salt and add some softened butter and mash away, careful not to take it too far and risk them becoming gummy. I typically will leave my potatoes a tad lumpy because I like the texture. You can beat them with a hand mixer if you want them super creamy, just use caution not to over-mix. Set aside while you prepare the cheese mixture.
You can’t have cheesy mashed potatoes without cheese! Beat some softened cream cheese until smooth, then stir in Parmesan and white cheddar cheese (feel free to use regular cheddar if that’s what you have) . Stir in sour cream, minced garlic and black pepper. Taste and add more salt if you like.
Stir the cheese gently into the mashed potatoes. At this point, you can opt to serve them right away or spread them into a pan for baking. If making baked mashed potatoes, you’ll want to reserve some cheese for topping. Cover with foil and refrigerate until you’re ready to bake, or up to 24 hours. Bake mashed potatoes for about 45 minutes, removing the foil about halfway through to brown the top.
Can I Make Cheesy Mashed Potatoes Ahead of Time?
This is a great make-ahead recipe! Follow the recipe up to just before baking. Cover the baking dish tightly with foil and refrigerate for up to 2 days or freeze for up to 3 months. To heat, thaw in the fridge and bake as directed.
Feel free to play around with the recipe and add things you love to give this recipe even more flavor.
Sharp cheddar cheese, Fontina, or Gruyere would be delicious, and who wouldn’t love some cheesy mashed potatoes with bacon? Goat cheese in place of cream cheese would be fabulous as well.
If you are a fan of fresh herbs, this mashed potatoes recipe plays well with fresh rosemary or thyme.
Wondering what is the best tool for mashing potatoes? Guess what – it really doesn’t matter!
As long as your potatoes are fork tender, you can use any masher you like from a handheld plastic masher (that’s what I used for nearly 15 years), to a fancy metal masher, to a potato ricer or even just a fork. Whatever you do, resist the temptation to use a blender food processor – they will cause your potatoes to be gummy and dense.
How to Serve
For a beautiful presentation, garnish your cheesy mashed potatoes with fresh minced parsley or chives and freshly cracked black pepper. Serve with your favorite protein, but we think they go best with these main dishes:
Refrigerate: If you plan to eat them within 3-4 days, just cover tightly and place in the refrigerator.
Freeze: Mashed potatoes make great leftovers because they are easy to freeze and easy to reheat. Allow the cheesy mashed potatoes to cool, then place them into a freezer bag or a freezer safe airtight container. Press out as much of the air as possible, then freeze for up to 4 months.
Reheat: If frozen, thaw in the fridge first. Reheat on the stovetop or in a covered dish in the oven. If you want to microwave them, do so at a 50% heat setting and stir every 30-40 seconds.
8ounceswhite cheddar cheesegrated, divided (about 2 ½ cups)
3ouncesParmesan cheesegrated or shredded (about ½ cup)
fresh minced parsley or chives for garnishif desired
In a 5 quart pot, boil about 2 inches of water. Once boiling, add 1 tablespoon of salt. (Water should be enough to cover the potatoes, so add as much as you think you need – you can always scoop some out if it’s too much)
Rinse, peel and dice potatoes into chunks.
Place potatoes into boiling water and cover (but keep the cover just slightly open to let steam escape). Cook over medium-low heat for 20-25 minutes, or until potatoes are fork tender. They should almost fall apart when pierced with a fork.
Remove from heat and drain.
Place potatoes back into the pan and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt. Add softened butter and mash well.
In a large mixing bowl by hand or with a hand mixer, beat cream cheese, white cheddar cheese (reserve about ¾ of a cup for toppinand Parmesan cheese together on low speed until smooth. Stir in sour cream, minced garlic and black pepper.
Stir cheese mixture into mashed potatoes just until combined; don’t over mix or the potatoes will become gummy. Spread potatoes into a 2 or 3 quart greased casserole dish and top evenly with remaining white cheddar cheese.
Cover with nonstick foil and refrigerate for up to 24 hours. When ready to heat, bake at 350 degreed F, covered, for 20 minutes, then remove foil and bake an additional 20-25 minutes or until cheese is melted and potatoes are warmed through. *If baking immediately, while potatoes are still hot, reduce cooking time by 15 minutes and leave uncovered.
Garnish with fresh minced parsley or chives if desired before serving.
Refrigerate: If you plan to eat them within 3-4 days, just cover tightly and place in the refrigerator.Freeze: Mashed potatoes make great leftovers because they are easy to freeze and easy to reheat. Allow the cheesy mashed potatoes to cool, then place them into a freezer bag or a freezer safe airtight container. Press out as much of the air as possible, then freeze for up to 4 months.Reheat: If frozen, thaw in the fridge first. Reheat on the stovetop or in a covered dish in the oven. If you want to microwave them, do so at a 50% heat setting and stir every 30-40 seconds.
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Kristin Maxwell is the creator and main recipe developer, writer, and photographer of Yellow Bliss Road. A self-taught cook and self-appointed foodie, she specializes in easy, flavorful and approachable recipes for any home cook.