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Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes

on October 1, 2013

Click Here to Print: Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes

Making mashed potatoes the night before = zero stress.

Making mashed potatoes the night before = zero stress.

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.  It wasn’t always.  As a kid I would default to “Christmas” because we got two weeks off school and there were presents involved.  Similarly, “Summer” was always my answer to, “What’s your favorite season?”  I have a summer birthday and of course there is no school, so it seemed the obvious choice.

Who am I kidding?  I’m a teacher.  I obviously like a lot of things about school.  I’m not sure why my answers always involved being away from friends and structure and learning and notebooks and freshly sharpened pencils and lunchtime and, and, it’s been too long… with a summer baby and long maternity leave, I haven’t been there in 4 months!  See you next month, School!

Aaaanyway… these days, when people ask, “What’s your favorite holiday?” and “What’s your favorite season?” (I would imagine I am asked more often than the average adult as a middle school teacher. Those kids are curious.)  I answer “Thanksgiving” and “Fall.”

Why am I talking about Thanksgiving on October 1st?  Well, I just tried this recipe and now that I have, my Thanksgiving Day will never be the same!  Mashed potatoes are a must-have and pretty labor intensive at the last minute when pretty much everything else needs a little labor, too.  I do believe that I will always make mashed potatoes the day before Thanksgiving. Mmm… all this talking (typing) about Thanksgiving is making me excited for my dad’s homemade turkey gravy!

You might want to use one of these for step #6.

You might want to use one of these for step #6.


  • 5 pounds russet potatoes (13 medium)
  • ½ c butter, plus 2 T (1 ¼ sticks)
  • 4 ounces cream cheese
  • ¾ c half and half
  • ½ t seasoning salt
  • freshly cracked pepper
  • McCormick Brown Gravy Mix (optional)


  1. Get one stick of butter and the cream cheese out of the fridge to soften.  (I put them near the stove so they get a little heat.)
  2. Put a large pot of water on to boil.
  3. While it’s heating up, peel, rinse, and cut the potatoes into quarters.
  4. When the water is simmering, add the potatoes, bring to a boil, and cook for 30 minutes (or until a fork can almost break one apart).
  5. Turn the burner down to low and drain the potatoes using a large colander.  Put the pot back on the burner.
  6. Put the potatoes back in the pot and mash them using a potato masher, allowing the steam to escape for about 3 minutes.
  7. Add the softened stick of butter, cream cheese, half and half, seasoning salt, and pepper.  Mash until combined.
  8. Taste and adjust seasonings to your liking.
  9. Put the potatoes into a large baking dish and smooth out the top.
  10. Cut the remaining 2 T butter into thin pats and place them on top of the potatoes.
  11. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve (up to 2 days).
  12. When ready to serve, preheat oven to 350.
  13. Bake 20-30 minutes or until heated through.  Don’t use a cover if you want a lightly brown buttery crust.  Cover them if you don’t.

Here are some ideas to get your “kid cook” involved with this recipe:

  • Allow her to try the potatoes and suggest seasoning adjustments.
  • Have her help smooth out the top and add pats of butter once in the baking dish.
  • Talk to her about how potatoes grow under the ground and ask if she can think of other things that grow underground (carrots, onions, beets, radishes, etc.)

This recipe is modified slightly from: Pioneer Woman


2 responses to “Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes

  1. […] Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes Oct […]

  2. […] & Mashed Potatoes – these recipes are for make-ahead, which I’m not doing this time, but you could if […]

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