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Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes

Cut your prep time for big holiday dinners with these Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes. A simple and delicious recipe that makes the most creamy mashed potatoes!

a brown serving bowl filled with creamy Mashed Potatoes

Make Ahead Means Less Stress

I know that mashed potatoes are the easiest thing to make. But I find making them annoying especially when I’m trying to pull together a big Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner. They’re just ONE MORE THING to do when you’re already busy (peeling, cutting, boiling). It’s just one more giant pot taking up room and making a boiling mess on the stove. So why not make what you can ahead of time, and put yourself ahead of the dinner game! All you have to do come serving time, is heat and stir in butter and cream.

a brown bowl filled with creamy Mashed Potatoes. in the background is a gravy boat filled with gravy

Creamy, buttery, delicious.

The key to the best, most creamy make ahead mashed potatoes is the hot cream and butter mixture that gets poured in. SO SO good. This mixture gets added on the day, right at serving time.  So instead of boiling and mashing, you’re just stirring. When you first pour this mix in you might feel like there’s too much, but keep mixing…the mashed potatoes will soak it all up and be so creamy.

a saucepan filled with mashed potatoes. a pyrex measuring cup is pouring milk and butter onto the potatoes

This is a 2-step make ahead recipe.

The first step is to boil and mash the potatoes, then refrigerate them until serving time. Right before you want to serve them you will want to make the cream/butter mix. This hot mixture gets poured over, and stirred into, the pre-made mashed potatoes, freshening them up and making them hot and delicious!

a top down view of a bowl of mashed potatoes. the bowl is sitting on a black and white plate and a woven grass placement. off to the side is a gold coloured napkin and a gravy boat filled with gravy

Recipe Tips:

  • Potatoes:  For creamy mashed potatoes use baking potatoes like Russets or Yukon Golds. My favourite are Yukon Golds.
  • Cream: Definitely use cream, not milk. Half & Half (10% cream) is my favourite. Sometimes I will use half heavy cream and half milk.
  • Draining: Make sure to drain the potatoes well. Both after boiling, and once again after the potatoes have sat in the fridge (they may accumulate water while sitting).
  • Mashing: To avoid the potatoes turning into a gluey mess, use a potato masher to mash them.
  • Don’t want to make these ahead? That’s fine! Just proceed with the recipe, skipping the fridge portion.
  • For more Make Ahead Thanksgiving (or Christmas) Dinner Tips, make sure to read my post full of tips here!
a brown bowl filled with mashed potatoes. a gravy boat of to the right is pouring gravy down onto the potatoes

Recipes to go with your mashed potatoes:


Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes

Cut your prep time for big holiday dinners with these Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes. A simple and delicious recipe that makes the most creamy mashed potatoes!

  • Author: Jo-Anna Rooney
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Stovetop


  • 2 lbs potatoes (approximately 6 medium potatoes)
  • 3/4 cup cream
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • fresh ground pepper


Mashed Potatoes:

  1. Bring a large stock pot of salted water to a boil.
  2. While the water is coming to a boil, peel and cut the potatoes into chunks (about 1 inch).
  3. Add the potato chunks to the water, turn down the heat to medium and boil until soft. This takes about 20 minutes or so depending on the potatoes.
  4. You can check if the potatoes are done by poking them with a fork…the fork will go easily into the potato when they’re done.
  5. Drain all water.
  6. Return the potatoes to the pot and let them sit for a few minutes. Drain again.
  7. Now mash the potatoes with a potato masher.
  8. Because you are making these ahead of time, at this point put the mashed potatoes into an air tight container in the fridge.

Cream and Butter:

  1. When you’re ready to serve the mashed potatoes it’s time to make the cream/butter mixture.
  2. In a small saucepan melt the butter.
  3. Then stir in the cream and let simmer for about 3 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat.

Putting it all together:

  1. Add the mashed potatoes to a large saucepan over low/medium heat. (note, first drain any excess water that might have accumulated while sitting in the fridge)
  2. Pour the hot cream/butter mixture over the potatoes.
  3. Season with the salt and pepper.
  4. Stir until the cream/butter is mixed in and the potatoes are creamy and hot.
  5. Serve immediately.

Keywords: mashed potatoes, make ahead mashed potatoes

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Have a delicious day!

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