YES, YOU CAN make mashed potatoes in advance! In this post I’ll give you two options for keeping them warm for 1-2 hours.
If you have ever cooked Thanksgiving dinner, I’m sure you have experienced the frenzy of the last hour of cooking.
You have planned the timing of your dishes to a tee, but somehow you still run around the kitchen with your head cut off trying to get everything on the table at the same time.
Instead, prepare mashed potatoes a bit ahead of time and keep them warm for up to two hours so that the it was less frenzied the last hour of cooking.
I have read some great recipes on how to cook the mashed potatoes in a crock pot. This sounded great, but it still took about four hours to cook them, and you had to mash them either by hand in the crock pot, or put them in another bowl to use the hand mixer to keep from getting hot mashed potatoes in your eyeballs.
I personally love a little skin left on my potatoes, but I also want them to be as smooth and creamy as possible. I find using a hand mixer helps me achieve both of these things. For this recipe, I have opted for making mashed potatoes the old-fashioned way (on the stove top) since it takes much less time. However, I used the crockpot to keep them warm for up to two hours so your burners and sink have one less thing on them when you are in the home stretch of preparing your meal.
This is also a perfect recipe if you want to prepare mashed potatoes and bring them to your hosts’ home. The crockpot will keep them warm on a fairly short trip (up to 30 minutes or so) and you can plug it back into an outlet and set it on the buffet table so it’s out of the way!
The two methods for keeping your mashed potatoes warm
- The crockpot method works best for potatoes that have mostly butter added to the potatoes and very little milk or cream in proportion to the amount of potatoes in the recipe
- The double boiler method works best for mashed potatoes that are super creamy from adding quite a bit more liquid (milk or cream)
Why the crockpot method doesn’t work for all mashed potatoes recipes
- If you like your mashed potatoes to be more of a thinner, dare I say, “soupy” consistency that has quite a bit more milk or cream in them, then the crockpot method might actually break the potatoes down too much
- The crockpot method works best if you add mostly butter, butter, and more butter and just a bit of liquid form milk or cream. My recipe below uses only 1/4 cup of milk or heavy cream for 5 pounds of potatoes
- This method works best if you only have the crockpot turned on the warm setting for up to two hours.
My recipe below is for Roasted Garlic and Buttery Cream Cheese Mashed Potatoes, YUUUUMMMM!!!! Of course, we have lots of butter, but the roasted garlic adds a hint of sweetness and the cream cheese adds another layer of tang while keeping them rich and creamy.
One more delicious mashed potato recipe
If you can find créme fraiche at the store, you MUST try these Créme Fraiche Mashed Potatoes! You can sub cream cheese for créme fraiche if you can’t find it. You can keep these warm in the crockpot too!
Make-ahead mashed potatoes recipe
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, or if you are roasting a turkey just roast the garlic on whatever temperature the oven is set for. Cut the tops off of two bulbs of garlic and drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper. Wrap them in aluminum foil and roast for 35-45 minutes or until they are soft. While the garlic is roasting, skin and dice your potatoes to equal portions.
You can add your potatoes straight to the cold water in a large stock pot to keep them from browning while you are finishing the rest. I have even kept them in the water for a couple of hours before boiling. Boil your potatoes until they are fork-tender and place in a large bowl.
Squeeze out the roasted garlic and mash with a fork. Add the softened butter, cream cheese, garlic and puree with a hand mixer. Add cream or milk and season with salt and puree again. Now liberally butter the inside of a crock pot and add your mashed potatoes.
Drizzle some vegetable or chicken broth around the edges of the potatoes to keep them moist and help create a bit of steam inside the crockpot. Top with a little more butter and seal the crock pot. Set the crockpot to “WARM” and walk away!!!
The Double Boiler Method
To use the double boiler method, use a large pot filled with up to 4 cups of water. The longer you need to keep them warm, the more water you’ll need to add. Otherwise, you’ll need to make sure to continuously check the water levels to ensure you don’t burn your pot.
Heat the water in your pot to a low simmer and place a heatproof bowl on top (metal ones work best as glass might break). Make sure the water is below the bottom of the bowl. Add your mashed potatoes to the bowl and keep the heat on low. Cover the bowl with a lid. Keep on the stovetop for up to two hours, but it’s better for 1-1.5 hours.
how to host an epic Thanksgiving dinner
Get my guide to being the hostess with the most-ess. See the epic post here. Here’s a sneak peek:
- Warm Apple Salad with Apple Cider Vinaigrette
- Sourdough Garlic Rosemary Rolls
- Epic Duck Fat Roasted Turkey (you’re here!)
- How to Keep Mashed Potatoes Warm (YES you CAN keep them warm and buttery and soft up to 4 hours in advance!)
- Southern Cornbread Stuffing/Dressing
- 15-minute Cranberry Clementine Sauce
- Perfect Pie Crust
- Peach Crostata with Spiced Crumble
- Cream Cheese Pumpkin Pie with Gingersnap Crust ( Recipe & Video)
- FREE Downloadable Prep & Planning Guide for the month, week, and day of (with a cooking timeline for the day the big day)
Bon appetit ya’ll,
How to Keep Mashed Potatoes Warm
- 5 pounds Russet potatoes most of the skins removed and chopped in equal size pieces
- 2 whole bulbs garlic
- 6 oz cream cheese softened
- 2 sticks butter 16 Tbsp (227 grams)
- 1 1/2–2 tsp salt
- 1/4 cup heavy cream or milk
- 1/4 cup or so chicken or vegetable broth
Roasting the Garlic
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
- Cut the tops off of 2 bulbs of garlic. Place them in aluminum foil and season with salt and pepper and olive oil. Wrap tightly and bake for 35-45 minutes or until the garlic is soft and easily squeezes out of the bulb.
Making the Mashed Potatoes
- Meanwhile set out the butter and cream cheese to let it come to room temp.
- Skin the potatoes, leaving a little skin intact (if desired) and cut into equal size chunks.
- Place the potatoes into a large pot filled with cold salted water.
- Heat on high and boil the potatoes until they are fork tender. Drain in a colander and place in a large bowl.
- Squeeze out the garlic and mash with a fork. Add to the potatoes.
- Add the butter and cream cheese and mix with a hand mixer until nice and smooth. Season with salt.
- Butter the inside of a crock pot and add the mashed potatoes. Top with a pad of butter and add about 1/4 cup chicken or vegetable broth around the rim of the potatoes to keep them moist and create steam inside the crock pot.
- Seal the crock pot with the lid and turn it on to the "Warm" setting. Keep warm for up to two hours.
- If your mashed potatoes recipe uses more milk or cream to make them more "soupy", the crockpot method won't work well because it will actually break down the potatoes. Use the double boiler method below instead.
The Double Boiler Method
- To use the double boiler method, use a large pot filled with up to 4 cups of water. The longer you need to keep them warm, the more water you'll need to add. Otherwise, you'll need to make sure to continuously check the water levels to ensure you don't burn your pot. Heat the water in your pot to a low simmer and place a heatproof bowl on top (metal ones work best as glass might break). Make sure the water is below the bottom of the bowl. Add your mashed potatoes to the bowl and keep the heat on low. Cover the bowl with a lid. Keep on the stovetop for up to two hours, but it's better for 1-1.5 hours.