How to make mashed potatoes ahead of time.
Mashed potatoes are arguably the most popular side dish for everything from steak to fried chicken to turkey dinner. Everyone loves mashed potatoes! Except the cook. Ask any cook and they will tell you how stressful it is to make the potatoes and get them to the table hot, and the mess it leaves in the wake. However, even with the stress and mess, you still have to make the mashed potatoes. So I went on a mission for make-ahead mashed potatoes.
I tried multiple recipes and techniques. What I discovered is that there are two really great ways to make mashed potatoes in advance.
Both methods require you to first make your favorite mashed potato recipe. If you don’t have a good recipe, try mine below.
Method One: The Slow Cooker
If you are serving them the same day you make them you can make them up to about 2.5 hours in advance and put them right in the crockpot on “warm” and they will stay wonderfully. Stir occasionally, and if you see them starting to dry out simply add touch more milk, cream or chicken broth.
If you are making them to serve more than 2 hours in advance, such as one or two days in advance, you can make the complete recipe and store them right in the crock pot, cool, cover them so saran wrap is resting on top of the potatoes to reduce air exposure and then top with the lid. Refrigerate until about 2.5 – 3 hours before serving time. Remove the saran wrap and place crockpot on “low.” Once the potatoes loosen up and become creamy again, stir occasionally. If too dry, just add small amounts of milk, creme or chicken broth until you achieve the consistency you are looking for. They will stay well for up to 3 hours after they are hot. They will stay even longer, but that is the point where I see them start to dry out so I like to keep it under 3.
Method Two: The Double Boiler
When you are making mashed potatoes and only need to make them a few hours in advance rather than a day or so, another great way to keep them hot is to use a double boiler. A double boiler is simply a pot with just enough water in the bottom to almost touch the bottom of the glass bowl you will set inside the pot. Bring the water to a simmer and control your heat to keep the water at a very low simmer. Insert your bowl of potatoes and cover. This method will keep the potatoes hot for up to two hours, but I like to try and keep it to 1.5 hours or less. Be careful when removing the bowl- it will get very hot!
Pro tips for excellent mashed potatoes:
1. For light, fluffy Mashed Potatoes, use a Ricer.
Once I discovered a potato ricer and experienced the results, I stopped with all the other equipment. It’s 100% worth the extra effort. Amazon sells several varieties.
Using a potato ricer to make mashed potatoes will ensure fluffy potatoes. They look like this before adding butter and cream, but blend together for silky, smooth mashed potatoes.