Skip to main content
Thanksgiving

You Don’t Have to Make Your Mashed Potatoes on Thanksgiving Day

Make-ahead mashed potatoes are a turkey-day game changer.
By Published Nov. 4, 2022

Planning and executing the perfect Thanksgiving or Friendsgiving can be stressful. One job that always seems to take longer than it should is making mashed potatoes. 

All that peeling, boiling or roasting, mashing, mixing—all while trying to keep those taters hot when they reach the table? It's a surprisingly arduous task. 

The best solution is to make mashed potatoes ahead, but that can be challenging too. It’s not as simple as following your favorite recipe and reheating the potatoes the day you need them. 

Thankfully, we’ve figured it out for you. Our recipe for Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes is famously ingenious, simple, and best of all, delicious. You can make them up to two days before the big event and store them in the fridge. 

Here's how to do it.

Sign up for The Thanksgiving Success Series

Be Thanksgiving-ready with the help of the Test Kitchen experts.

1. Roast (Don’t Boil) the Potatoes

Instead of all that peeling and chopping, we microwave and then roast the potatoes whole. The microwave cuts down on cooking time, and leaving them whole ensures they stay moist and tender.

Once they’re cooked, halve them and scoop out the fluffy potato flesh with a spoon, similar to how you would prepare an avocado. Use a potato masher or silicone spatula to break the potato up. 

2. Use Your Stand Mixer to Mash Them

Now comes the fun part: For unparalleled smoothness, break out your stand mixer to mix those spuds till they’re completely lump-free. You could also use a hand mixer or mix completely by hand, though your potatoes will be lumpier in both cases. 

3. Add More Liquid Than You Think You Need

Next, fold in some hot cream and melted butter (I like to go rogue and infuse these with garlic and thyme on the stovetop, though I make sure to strain out those aromatics).

Your potatoes will be loose, but follow the recipe as written to make sure there’s extra liquid to account for the reheat. Transfer those taters to a microwave-safe bowl and cover them with plastic wrap or a silicone cover. 

4. Reheat in the Microwave

When it’s close to suppertime, remove the potatoes and poke several holes in the plastic with the tip of a knife, or leave a small gap between the silicone cover and the bowl’s edge.

Microwave them on 75% power for roughly 14 minutes, stirring once at the halfway mark. The lower power setting will ensure an even, gentle reheat that won’t scorch the spuds. Microwaving them also frees up your stove and keeps things more hands-off so that you can focus on carving your turkey or other important tasks. Season to taste and serve (preferably drenched in gravy). 

I love this recipe, and it’s one of our most popular Thanksgiving recipes for a reason. Follow its steps, and your mashed potatoes just might become the main event at this year’s celebration.