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Want to know the secret to the best mashed potatoes? Keep it simple with no fancy ingredients – just the right ratio of butter, cream and salt. My Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes are so easy to make and can made up to 2 days in advance!

Deliciously rich and buttery and exceptionally fluffy mashed potatoes will be the star of your meal. Pair with your holiday Glazed Ham or weeknight Shake and Bake Pork Chops.

An overhead shot of the best mashed potatoes baked in a large dish
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Why Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes Are The Best

  • They have the perfect ratio of butter, milk, and cream making them the richest and most flavorful potatoes ever.
  • The make-ahead option gives you extra time in the kitchen.
  • The double mash makes them extra fluffy.
  • Pouring a little mixture of butter and cream on top before baking gives them a beautiful golden top with crispy bits that are so tasty!

Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes are an easy side dish that is perfect for any occasion, from a casual Sunday meal to an extravagant Thanksgiving dinner menu right next to the Sweet Potato Casserole. I love that I can prepare them a day or 2 in advance and refrigerate until I’m ready to bake them. Saves a ton of time and energy!

A close up of Mashed Potatoes on a large spoon.

Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes Recipe Ingredients

I like my spuds pretty simple – no fancy whipped potatoes or crazy ingredients. Just 5 ingredients in fact:

  • Potatoes – I prefer russets for mashing, the insides are nice and fluffy and they don’t get too mushy. You could also go with Yukon golds or red potatoes which are both nice and creamy.
  • Milk – warmed in the microwave or on the stovetop. You can use any kind of milk, but stay away from sweetened versions, like nut-based milks. The higher fat content the milk has, the richer your potatoes will be. That said, I personally use nonfat milk and my potatoes are always so good.
  • Cream – also warmed. This will give you richness so you could go with a lower fat milk if you want. The cream will make your mashed potatoes creamy, so I highly recommend using it.
  • Butter – I always use salted butter, and just taste test before adding additional salt. Potatoes are notoriously bland so they need that extra salt. Go for the real butter, rather than margarine for the best flavor.
  • Salt – Lots of salt. That’s the key to the best potatoes! Cook them in salted water and add salt when you mash them and mix them. Potatoes are bland so salt is a necessary ingredient to elevate the flavor.

How To Make The Best Mashed Potatoes

My recipe includes a make-ahead option. You can make your taters a day ahead and store them in a covered casserole dish overnight or for up to 2 days. Pour a little melted butter/cream mixture on top and bake them.

  • Boil the Potatoes. Cook the chopped, peeled potatoes in salted boiling water until they are fork-tender. Drain and put the potatoes back in the large pot. Let them sit for a few minutes untouched, to let the last bits of water evaporate, then mash them up a few times with some salt.
  • Prepare the Add-Ins. Melt the butter, milk, and cream together in the microwave (or in a small saucepan on the stove) and stir into the potatoes, reserving about a ¼ cup for when you bake them later. Melting everything together brings the additions to the same temperature as the potatoes. Adding cold milk or butter just cools down the potatoes and they won’t mash as well. You can serve the potatoes straight out of the pot, or transfer them to a baking dish and bake right away or store for tomorrow’s dinner.
  • Make Ahead or Bake Now. Scoop the potatoes into a 2-quart baking dish. At this point, you can either cover them with foil and pop them in the fridge for a day or two or bake them right away. When you’re ready to heat them up, just pour that extra reserved butter mixture (set it out on the counter for about 30 minutes first or microwave to melt) over the cold potatoes and pop them in the oven until they are warmed through and golden on top. The butter mixture will give the potatoes a golden and crispy top and keep them from drying out.
collage of images showing steps for making mashed potatoes
mashed potatoes in a dish prior to baking

Recipe FAQs

Why are my mashed potatoes gummy?

Unfortunately, once your mashed spuds have become sticky and gluey, there is no going back. This result can happen when the potatoes aren’t drained well enough or have been overcooked, but most often this is caused by over-mixing. The more they are mixed, the more starch is released which is what caused that gummy texture.

Can I make mashed potatoes in a crock pot?

Absolutely! Try my recipe for Easy Crock Pot Mashed Potatoes. They are a great option when you need your stove or oven free for other dishes.

Can you make mashed potatoes ahead of time and keep warm?

The best way to keep your mashed potatoes warm while you finish making dinner is place them in an oven safe dish and cover with foil. Keep them warm in a 250-300℉ oven for up to an hour. It’s important to keep them covered or they could dry out.

Can you prep potatoes ahead of time for mashed potatoes?

You can peel and chop your potatoes in advance. Place them in a large bowl, filled with enough water to cover the potatoes, and store them in the refrigerator overnight.

Recipe Variations

Pour on some Homemade Turkey Gravy or keep them au natural, the choice is yours. Or, try some of these delicious flavor options!

  • Garlic Add some fresh minced garlic and cream cheese.
  • Cheesy Make them extra creamy with different kinds of cheese, like cream cheese, cheddar, and Parmesan.
  • Colcannon These Irish Mashed Potatoes are perfect for St. Patty’s Day.
  • Loaded Like your favorite baked potato, this recipe has tons of cheese, sour cream, bacon and chives.
  • Slow Cooker A crock pot version of my favorite recipe.
  • Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes Easy to make and super tasty.

Looking to lighten up your mashed potatoes? Omit the cream and use all nonfat milk instead. This will definitely eliminate some calories, but they won’t be as rich and creamy.

A half eaten pan of make ahead best mashed potatoes.

Serving Suggestions

Serve them with your Thanksgiving Turkey or dinnertime classics like Chicken Fried Steak or Garlic Butter Steak Bites for the ultimate comfort food meal.

Storage and Reheating

Storage: Once potatoes are completely cooled, store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.

Freezing: Stored completely cooled in a freezer-safe container for up to 4 months.

Reheating: If frozen, thaw completely in the fridge overnight. Reheat in the microwave, or cover with foil and heat in the oven at 375 degrees. You may need to stir in a splash of milk or cream to loosen them up again. Or use the leftovers to make some crispy Potato Cheese Balls!

Expert Tips

  • Dice the potatoes in even-sized chunks. This helps them to cook evenly.
  • Salt the water. A lot. The potatoes absorb the water and the salt helps bring out the yummy flavor.
  • The masher doesn’t matter. There are super fancy mashers out there and there are basic ones. I used a basic plastic masher from Tupperware ten years, and it worked perfectly! I now have this OXO Potato Masher and it’s great too. You can whip them with a hand mixer too, but I like the thicker consistency you get with a regular masher.
  • Melt the butter and heat the milk. Rather than trying to melt the butter into the potatoes, heat the milk and butter up so they are the same temperature as the potatoes. No risk of cooling the potatoes or curdling the milk.
  • Want extra creamy potatoes? Add a scoop of sour cream or cream cheese.
  • Garnish with fresh minced parsley or chives and freshly cracked black pepper for a beautiful presentation.
bowl of potatoes that have been mashed with butter and parsley

Don’t forget the turkey!

Get the best roast turkey recipe, plus TONS of tips!

More Potato Recipes


Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes

5 from 34 votes
Want to know the secret to the best mashed potatoes? Keep it simple, no fancy ingredients – just the right ratio of butter, cream and salt.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings 8 servings


  • 4 pounds Russet Potatoes about 8 medium
  • Salt
  • 1/2 cup butter 1 stick
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • fresh minced parsley for garnish, if desired
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  • In a 5 quart pot, boil about 2 inches of water. Once boiling, add 1 tablespoon of salt.
  • While the water is coming to a boil, rinse, peel and dice potatoes into one inch chunks. Place potatoes into boiling water and cover with the lid. (Water should be enough to cover the potatoes). Cook over medium-low heat for 20-25 minutes, or until potatoes are fork tender.
  • Remove from heat and drain. Place potatoes back into the pan and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt. Mash several times with a potato masher.
  • In a small saucepan, add butter with milk, cream, and ¼ teaspoon pepper, and place over medium-low heat until butter is melted. Reserve ¼ cup and set aside. (Or melt in the microwave).
  • Pour the half of the butter mixture over the mashed potatoes and mix well. Add more of the butter mixture until potatoes are light and fluffy.
  • Pour potatoes into a greased 9″x13″ pan. Cover and refrigerate for up to 24 hours.

When you are ready to bake:

  • Pour remaining butter mixture over the top of the potatoes (you may need to melt in the microwave). Bake uncovered in a preheated 350 degree oven for 40-45 minutes. Stir before serving, if desired.
  • *If baking immediately (while potatoes are still hot), reduce baking time.


  • This recipe makes 8 generous servings, but will serve anywhere from 8 to 10 people, depending on portion size. If serving a lot of sides such as for Thanksgiving dinner, they could go a little further.
  • Make sure to chop into evenly-sized chunks for even cooking.
  • Salt the water generously – this is important as the potatoes will absorb the salt to bring out their flavor.
  • Don’t skip melting the butter and milk together. Cold ingredients will bring down the temperature of the potatoes and you risk them not mashing properly.
  • Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days or freeze for up to 4 months.
  • If frozen, thaw completely in the fridge overnight. Reheat in the microwave, or cover with foil and heat in the oven at 375 degrees.
Keyword make ahead mashed potatoes, mashed potatoes


Calories: 340kcalCarbohydrates: 43gProtein: 6gFat: 17gSaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 51mgSodium: 128mgPotassium: 993mgFiber: 3gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 620IUVitamin C: 13mgCalcium: 71mgIron: 2mg

Nutritional Disclaimer Kristin Maxwell of “Yellow Bliss Road” is not a dietician or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. For accurate calorie counts and other nutritional values, we recommend running the ingredients through your preferred online nutritional calculator. Calories and other nutritional values can vary depending on which brands were used.

Kristin Maxwell

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.

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  1. Sandra says:

    Always sooo good! I agree russets are best, some small white or red potatoes do better roasted because they do become gummy. 😇

    1. Kristin says:

      Awesome feedback Sandra! Thanks for stopping by.

  2. Cayla Williams says:

    Made this dish for thanksgiving and it was amazing ! Definitely recommend. Such an easy, delicious recipe!

    1. Kristin says:

      Love the feedback Cayla! Thanks for stopping by.

  3. Kelly says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your delicious recipes and expertise!! I’m hosting for the first time and I’m definitely making these. I love how you can change the serving size!

    1. Kristin says:

      You are so welcome Kelly! Thanks for stopping by.

  4. gayla says:

    Made this recipe 3 times now. Always delicious.

    1. Kristin says:

      That’s awesome Gayla! Thanks for stopping by.

  5. Chris says:

    Did I read this correctly that you only cook the potatoes in 2” of water? I’ve always covered them completely but then again maybe that is why I don’t make good mashed potatoes!

    1. Kristin says:

      In theory, when using a 5 quart pot, 2 inches should be enough to cover the potatoes. But yes, they should be covered with water. I updated the recipe to make that more clear.

  6. Brenda Young says:

    Can I just heat them up on top of stove instead of casserole dish? I will be making 15 lbs. These taste like just made, correct? I don’t want 30+ people thinking they are day old but time wise this would help me out!

    1. Kristin says:

      Yes you can make them on the stove. Just mash them in the large pot and add the cream/butter mixture. I would start with maybe half, and then adding 1/4 cup at a time. Since the baked version calls for pouring some on top, you don’t want them to be too thin.

  7. Jayne Mcguire says:

    These look amazing. I can’t wait to try them, do i dare try a new recipe on thanksgiving day? Especially with such a staple menu item?! yeah… i think I’m going to try it!! What’s the green stuff sprinkled on top?

    1. Kristin says:

      Sprinkled on top would be parsley. And I promise you they are amazing!!

  8. Rebecca says:

    I need to cook for a crowd. Do you think this can be doubled and put in an extra large casserole dish or would you make two separate batches? Also, could you use gold or red potatoes for this method, skin on or off?

    1. Kristin says:

      This recipe is pretty flexible, so yes to both questions!

      1. Dana says:

        Does it really take 45 minutes to heat these through? I don’t want them to burn.

  9. Ruby says:

    Can these potatoes be done in a slow cooker?

    1. Kristin says:

      I haven’t tried with this specific recipe.

  10. Allison says:

    Can I make these potatoes 2 day before?

    1. Kristin says:

      Hi! Yes you can definitely make them two days ahead. Just cover and refrigerate.

  11. Sheryle says:

    I make a day ahead version too, but I use softened cream cheese. I also dry my potatoes, but after draining, I place them back in the pan over low heat. As I mash and stir them around, they dry and the steam escapes. I use about 1/2-3/4 c. half and half, and 1 stick of butter (also softened) and an 8oz package of cream cheese, softened (Philadelphia is the best!). I put that all in after the first mash and gently stir it all together. You’re right! Never use an electric mixer on potatoes or you will get the equivalent of glue! While I do cook them in salted water, I think the amount of salt you may be encouraging newer cooks to add, may be their downfall. After I add the aforementioned ingredients, keeping in mind that I sometimes use salted, or sometimes unsalted butter, I taste the potatoes. It is only then that I add more salt if needed. And then it’s Lowery’s seasoned salt, in small amounts and tasting after each addition (Oh OK, I’m “snacking”, but that’s tasting isn’t it?). It took me many years as a new cook to really figure out the amount of salt that is in salted butter, and face it, that is what most new cooks use.
    I’m only adding these suggestions now, because it’s “tis the season” and many new cooks will be producing their first family Thanksgiving dinner. I personally make ahead as much of the meal as I can, then we deep fry the Turkey (90 mins tops). And after years of being all-in the kitchen, have turned into let me shove this in the oven, set the timer, will be right back! I hope you don’t take offense, but salt is a powerful thing and can make or break a dish. And this is coming from someone whose greatest treat is eating a lemon like a grapefruit sprinkled with a lot of SALT. Not against salt at all, where would we be with out it? Just want new cooks to be successful as they search for recipes for their family dinners.

  12. Gail Garmon says:

    I use evaporated milk and as much butter as I dare.. Never thought about salting the water…will do that this time.

  13. Vanessa says:

    I am DEFINITELY trying this for Thanksgiving this year Kristin!!! Never seen them made like this and they sound amazing! 🙂

  14. Ronni says:

    It sounds weird, but adding just a splash of vanilla will blow your mind. We first had it at a fancy restaurant–vanilla bean mashed potatoes. Now, we’re never going out and buying vanilla bean, so we just use a bit of extract. It’s delicious and very very subtle. People will remark that the potatoes are tastier, but they won’t be able to tell why. I promise it’s good!