Can you make mashed potatoes ahead of time?
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Can you make mashed potatoes ahead of time—or, rather, should you?

When you’re planning a major feast, you want to get as much prepared in advance as possible. (So see all the Thanksgiving recipes you can make ahead.) If you’re making mashed potatoes, you can prep the potatoes themselves a few days beforehand, or actually mash them up to one day before.

Prepping the Potatoes Ahead of Time

To save time spent peeling and chopping on Thanksgiving Day, you can peel the spuds and keep them submerged in a bowl of water in the fridge, whole or cut up, for hours—even overnight—before boiling.

perfect mashed potatoes

Chowhound

When it comes to prepping mashed potatoes, Will Owen has kept peeled potatoes refrigerated in water-filled, zipper-lock bags for several days with no ill effects.

Karl S says there’s a better way that avoids the whole issue: “[D]on’t chop, don’t peel. Steam them whole. Pop them into a potato ricer with the peel, and the peel stays in the hopper. This way you get way less moisture in the potato, and that makes for better mashed potatoes.”

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Making the Mashed Potatoes Ahead of Time

Others take it a step further and actually mash their potatoes ahead of time, up to the day before, reheating them in the oven or microwave.

Chowhound danhole, who adds a bit of extra butter and reheats in the microwave, says hers come out nice and fluffy, and taste even better than freshly mashed; valerie makes hers supercreamy (with butter, half-and-half, and sour cream), and says they reheat beautifully in the oven; Diane in Bexley’s secret is to add cream cheese (around six ounces per five pounds of potatoes).

non dairy vegan mashed potatoes

Chowhound

What Not to Do

Here’s what not to do, according to ‘hounds: Don’t boil your potatoes ahead and wait to mash them, even for half an hour, and don’t hold mashed potatoes in a slow cooker. Both result in a mash so gluey even a paste-eating kindergartener wouldn’t touch them.

See our Ultimate Guide to Creamy Mashed Potatoes for more pointers. And here’s how we prefer to reheat cold mashed potatoes, whether they’re made ahead or leftover:


For more tips, tricks, hacks, and recipes, see our Ultimate Thanksgiving Guide and our Ultimate Friendsgiving Guide too.

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Another way to get ahead: Get your groceries delivered for the big day.
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