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 potatoes in endless ways; some of my favorite recipes include crispy oven roasted potatoes, ultra creamy cheesy potatoes and these super convenient make ahead mashed potatoes.
There’s nothing better than a big pile of buttery mashed potatoes go along with a turkey dinner, or to serve alongside a juicy steak. 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
- 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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This make ahead mashed potato recipe is a great way to get on top of your holiday cooking without sacrificing any flavor.
More potato recipes to try
- Scalloped Potatoes and Ham
- Crock Pot Mashed Potatoes
- Smashed Potatoes with Garlic
- Mashed Red Potatoes
- Funeral Potatoes
Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes Video
Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes
- 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
- 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.
- Keep your peeled potatoes from browning by placing them in a bowl of water as you cut them.
- 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.
- No Russet potatoes on hand? This recipe will also work with Yukon Gold potatoes.
Fantastic recipe! The cream cheese adds so much richness and flavor to the potatoes, and the garlic takes them over the top!
So delicious and I love that it can be made in advance.
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.
I just love that these can be made ahead of time! Perfect for the upcoming Easter holiday. 🙂
wow these mashed potatoes are so satistfying. I’m totally adding this to our weekly menu!
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.
I’ve just saved this recipe….I’m always looking for great make ahead recipes for my holiday file. Thank you!
The cream cheese makes the mash potato so delicious. And I love how I can make this ahead of time.
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!
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!
how have I never added cream cheese to my mashed potatoes? what a great idea! it adds so much creaminess
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.
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!
What a great idea for getting ahead when family come over. So delicious and easy too.
I love making mashed potatoes ahead of time. Definitely my favorite side with so many dishes!
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!