These make ahead mashed potatoes are Russet potatoes that are boiled until tender, then combined with butter, garlic, cream cheese and seasonings to make the ultimate side dish. The perfect recipe to make before a big holiday when you don’t want to spend the whole day in the kitchen!

You can prepare potato side dish recipes in endless ways; some of my favorite recipes include crispy oven roasted potatoes, sweet potato souffle, ultra creamy cheesy potatoes, grilled sweet potatoes and these super convenient make ahead mashed potatoes.

A bowl of make ahead mashed potatoes topped with butter and herbs.

There’s nothing better than a big pile of buttery mashed potatoes go along with an Instant Pot turkey breast, or to serve alongside a juicy London broil. Making mashed potatoes can be time consuming, which is why I use this make ahead mashed potatoes recipe to get the prep work out of the way ahead of time, especially on holidays like Thanksgiving.

Mashed Potato Ingredients

Bowls of potatoes, cream cheese, butter and seasonings.
  • Potatoes: Russet potatoes are my favorite choice in this dish. Look for firm potatoes with no brown or soft spots.
  • Milk: I typically make this recipe with whole milk, but you can also use low fat milk, half and half, or even heavy cream.
  • Cream Cheese: Cut a block of cream cheese into smaller cubes to make it easier to mash into the potatoes.
  • Butter: I’ve tested this recipe with both salted and unsalted butter, and either way works just fine.
  • Garlic: Freshly minced garlic adds the most flavor to these potatoes. If you need to use dry garlic powder, use 1/3 of the amount.
  • Seasonings: Salt and pepper are classic seasonings to take your mashed potatoes from ordinary to extraordinary. Be sure to add a little fresh parsley too!

How To Prepare Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes

Peel your potatoes and cut them into quarters, then boil them in salted water until they are tender. Drain the potatoes, then mix them with melted butter and garlic, cream cheese, milk, salt and pepper. Use a potato masher, ricer or mixer to get your potatoes to the desired consistency. Let the potatoes cool, then place them in an oven safe dish, cover, and store in the refrigerator until you’re ready to heat them up.

Step by step shots on how to peel, boil and crush potatoes.

Tips For The Perfect Dish

  • The best potatoes for mashing are Russet potatoes and Yukon Gold potatoes. Either one will work just fine in this recipe.
  • If you’re looking to save on a few calories, it’s fine to use a reduced fat cream cheese such as Neufchatel and you can use low fat milk.
  • While this is obviously a make ahead mashed potato recipe, if you want to serve them right away you can absolutely do that too!

Quick Tip

This recipe can be made up to 3 days before you plan to serve your mashed potatoes. Cover the dish tightly with foil and store it in the refrigerator.

Mashed up potatoes in a baking dish.

Recipe FAQs

Can you boil potatoes ahead of time?

You can peel, cut and boil the potatoes up to 2 days before you plan to make your mashed potatoes. The only thing to consider with this is that cold potatoes will not blend as well with the cream cheese and butter, because there will be no residual heat to help everything melt and come together. Therefore, if you’re using previously boiled potatoes, you may want to reheat them first before you add the rest of the ingredients.

How do you warm up make ahead mashed potatoes?

Place the mashed potatoes in the oven in a covered dish. Bake at 350 degrees F for 30-40 minutes or until the potatoes are warmed through. Top with butter and chopped parsley, then serve and enjoy.

What is the easiest way to mash potatoes?

There are many different ways to mash potatoes they all produce different results. For the smoothest potatoes, use a potato ricer tool. If you want a more rustic, chunkier mash, use a potato masher. A stand mixer also works well to make a smoother, fluffy potato. Do not use a food processor, as this will make the potatoes gummy in texture.

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Flavor Variations

I think these potatoes are perfect as-is, but you can add an assortment of flavorings and toppings to suit your tastes!

  • Cheese: Add up to 1 cup of shredded cheese. Cheddar, fontina or parmesan cheeses are all great choices.
  • Flavorings: Stir in some caramelized onions, store bought pesto, onion powder, sour cream, fresh sliced chives, or even curry powder.
  • Toppings: Finish your potatoes with crispy bacon, french fried onions or green onions for an extra special treat.
Beef served over a pile of make ahead mashed potatoes.

This potato recipe is a great way to get on top of your holiday cooking without sacrificing any flavor.

More Potato Recipes To Try

Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes Video

5 from 26 votes

Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes

AuthorSara Welch
A bowl of make ahead mashed potatoes topped with butter and herbs.
These make ahead mashed potatoes are Russet potatoes that are boiled until tender, then combined with butter, garlic, cream cheese and seasonings to make the ultimate side dish. The perfect recipe to make before a big holiday when you don't want to spend the whole day in the kitchen!
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time1 hour
Total Time1 hour 20 minutes
Course Side
Cuisine American
Serves 10


  • 4 pounds Russet potatoes peeled and cut into quarters
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic minced
  • 8 ounces cream cheese cut into small cubes
  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt or more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper or more to taste
  • cooking spray

For serving

  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • additional butter for garnish optional


  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
  • Add the potatoes and cook for 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
  • Drain the potatoes, then place them back into the pot.
  • Place the butter and garlic in a small bowl. Microwave the bowl for 30 second increments until the butter is melted.
  • Add the melted garlic butter, cream cheese, milk, salt and pepper to the pot of potatoes.
  • Mash the potatoes until they're smooth and creamy.
  • Coat a 3 quart or larger oven safe baking dish with cooking spray.
  • Spread the potatoes in an even layer in the dish and cover with foil.
  • Refrigerate for up to 3 days.
  • When you're ready to warm the potatoes, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Place the covered pan of potatoes in the oven. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until potatoes are warmed through.
  • Top with parsley and additional butter if desired, then serve.


  1. Keep your peeled potatoes from browning by placing them in a bowl of water as you cut them.
  2. I typically use whole milk in this recipe, but have also tested it with low fat milk, half and half, and heavy cream with good results.
  3. No Russet potatoes on hand? This recipe will also work with Yukon Gold potatoes.


Calories: 328kcal | Carbohydrates: 34g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Cholesterol: 57mg | Sodium: 448mg | Potassium: 774mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 633IU | Vitamin C: 11mg | Calcium: 43mg | Iron: 2mg

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Recipe Rating


  1. HELP – Question – Don’t most potatoes come in 5 lb bags – How do you adjust the recipe for the extra potatoes? I am so excited to make for this Thanksgiving dinner.

    1. If you increase the servings to 12 in the recipe card it would get you to about 5 lbs of potatoes. It’s fine to just round up and down a bit since the calculator is giving some decimals. Like I’d do 2 teaspoons of salt for the 1.8 teaspoons. This is a very forgiving recipe so don’t stress too much on the exact amounts! You can taste the potatoes and add a little more seasoning if needed, or if they seem to thick add a bit of milk, etc.

  2. 5 stars
    I had 20 people at my house for Easter, everyone loved this recipe! It was also very easy to warm up the next day. The potatoes didn’t get dry at all.

  3. 5 stars
    Fantastic recipe! The cream cheese adds so much richness and flavor to the potatoes, and the garlic takes them over the top!

  4. 5 stars
    I made this for our dinner yesterday for my kids and they lobed it. I will be making mashed potatoes only this style from now on.

  5. 5 stars
    I just love that these can be made ahead of time! Perfect for the upcoming Easter holiday. 🙂

  6. 5 stars
    These were a hit at Thanksgiving this year. It was the only plate that was completely wiped empty. They came out so flavorful! I loved how easy they were to make, and how I could make them 2 days in advance, which helped a ton for the holidays. These will be my go-to potatoes for the holiday’s going forward.

  7. 5 stars
    I’ve just saved this recipe….I’m always looking for great make ahead recipes for my holiday file. Thank you!

  8. 5 stars
    These turned out so great – super fluffy and yummy. Love that we can make them ahead, and I can’t wait to make them again for Easter!

  9. 5 stars
    We made these potatoes for a friend the other day and they were a hit! Great for making meals for friends or preparing for the holidays!

  10. 5 stars
    how have I never added cream cheese to my mashed potatoes? what a great idea! it adds so much creaminess

  11. 5 stars
    Love mashed potatoes. It is so good when you can make a large batch in advance. Planning to make them your way soon. Thanks so much.

  12. 5 stars
    Yum! We never made mash with cream cheese up until now, but it will change from now on! Cream cheese is definitely the way to go for the creamiest, most decadent mash! We loved it! Thanks!

  13. 5 stars
    I love this idea for Easter because there are always so many things to prepare for that day. I will be putting this on the menu and adding some roasted garlic to the potatoes!