Day Before Mashed Potatoes

by | Nov 7, 2019 | All, Side Dishes

Hosting a big dinner? Free up your oven space and reheat these Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes in your slow cooker! 

Slow cooker filled with mashed potatoes with melted butter on top. Salt and pepper shakers on side on white board.

Day Before Mashed Potatoes Recipe

The biggest lifesaver of Thanksgiving (and many events and holidays since) are these Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes.

That’s right, make the mashed potatoes the day before and reheat them in your slow cooker, which leaves your oven open for the rest of the feast’s goodies.

After all, you can never have enough oven space. Am I right?

What potatoes are the best for mashed potatoes?

There is a lot of discussion out there about which potatoes make the best mashed potatoes. I love to mix it up and use Yukon Gold and Russet potatoes for my mashed potatoes.

The Yukon Golds add a creamy buttery texture and the Russets are high in starch making them light and fluffy. Combining the two of them together gives you the best of both worlds. Who doesn’t love getting everything they want in the same delicious bite?

Mashed potato recipe in a stainless steel oval baking dish with melted butter, salt and pepper on top.

What ingredients do you need for this potato recipe?

  • Yukon Gold and Russet Potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • Sour Cream
  • Cream Cheese
  • Salt 
  • Pepper
  • Butter

5 Tips for the best mashed potatoes ever

Mashed potatoes are so easy to make from scratch. Use these easy tips to get the best potato side dish every single time.

  1. Cube the potatoes so they are the same size- potatoes that are cut into small cubes work best for this recipe because they will cook evenly. No one likes chunky potatoes.
  2. Do not overcook your potatoes. Boil them for 9-10 minutes or until a fork goes into them easily. If you cook them too long you will end up with mushy potatoes.
  3. Drain them well! This is a BIG one. Drain, drain, drain and then pop them back in the pan and place on stove for 1 minute to get all of the excess water out of them This critical step gives you fluffy potatoes!
  4. Invest in a potato ricer- This is the MOST important tip of all. One of my ALL time favorite kitchen gadgets is this potato ricer. The triangular shape makes ricing the cooked potatoes a snap and nothing gets stuck in the corners. (Amazon Affiliate Link)
  5. Have your sour cream and cream cheese at room temperature- Room temperature ingredients will blend into the potatoes faster so you don’t have to overmix your potatoes. Overmixing = gluey potatoes 

Make mahead Mashed potato recipe in a silver baking dish garnished with freshly ground pepper and melted butter.

How to make the best mashed potatoes ahead of time

Step 1: Peel and cube the potatoes and place them in a large pan filled with cold water.

Step 2: Bring potatoes to a boil and cut until just fork tender.

Step 3: Drain the potatoes well and place over low heat in a pan on the stove to remove the last drops of water.

Step 4: Place the room temperature sour cream and cream cheese in a large bowl of a stand mixer.

Step 5: Rice the potatoes into the bowl and season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir on low speed until just mixed.

Step 6: Adjust seasonings if necessary.

Step 7: Place in a slow cooker dish or large oval baking pan and cover. Refrigerate until ready to bake.

My favorite part of these mashed potatoes is that I can have them completely done ahead of time. Pans washed, potatoes mashed and all ready for the big day. Anything that makes entertaining easy is a huge win in my book.

Follow all of our tips for a Stress Free Thanksgiving!

White bowl filled with mashed potatoes with melted butter on top. Small salt and pepper shakers on white board with brown spoon for serving.

The Best way to reheat mashed potatoes before a meal

There are several ways that you can reheat these spuds before you are ready to eat.

  1.  In the Oven: Preheat your oven to 350°. If your potatoes have been in the refrigerator, let them sit out for 60 minutes before you pop them in the oven, it will cut down on your baking time. Leave them in the oven until they are warmed through, about 30 minutes depending on how much stuff you have in your oven.
  2. In a Slow Cooker or Crock Pot: I love to use my slow cooker to reheat these, especially with big holiday dinners. Simply heat them on high for one hour or low for 2-3. Don’t forget to stir them so the bottom doesn’t burn.
  3.  In the Microwave: I’ll use the microwave to reheat these in a pinch. Pop them in the microwave for 2-3 minutes and then stir. Repeat the process until heated through. Be careful when you touch the bowl, it will be hot!

What makes these mashed potatoes so good?

I know I’m a bit biased, but these Day Before Mashed Potatoes are pretty much the best spuds you will ever have. The cream cheese and sour cream make them creamy and rich. In fact, you may not even need gravy.

My kids are not gravy lovers (not sure where that came from), but these potatoes are one of the highlights of any meal for them. I loooooove gravy, and these potatoes taste amazing with a big ladle of gravy over the top.

If you have ever eaten at my house for any special occasion (or just ever, really), you have had these potatoes. They have bailed me out more than once and forever hold a special place in my heart. 

Top down image of day before mashed potatoes in slow cooker with a pat of butter and spoon for serving.

Side Dishes are the star of many big meals! Here are more of our favorites.

Find all of our side dish recipes here.

Top down pinterest image of Day before mashed potatoes in a silver oval baking dish with small bowls of salt and pepper on the side.

You can never have too many potato recipes.

Yield: 6

Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes

White bowl filled with mashed potatoes with melted butter on top. Small salt and pepper shakers on white board with brown spoon for serving.

A creamy mashed potato made the day before and reheated in the oven, slow cooker or microwave.

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour


  • 3 pounds potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 6 ounces cream cheese (light or regular)
  • 1 cup sour cream (light or regular)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons butter


  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Drop in potatoes and cook until tender but still firm, about 15 minutes.
  2. Transfer potatoes to a large bowl and mash until smooth. I use a ricer first and then place them in my stand mixer.
  3. Mix in the cream cheese, sour cream, salt, pepper and butter. Be careful to not over mix or they will become gluey. Cover and refrigerate until ready to bake.
  4. Place potato mixture in a slow cooker sprayed with cooking spray and cook on low for 5 hours or until heated through, stirring occasionally.


These potatoes can also be reheated in the oven. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease a medium baking dish. Spread potato mixture into the prepared baking dish, and bake in the preheated oven about 30 minutes or until heated through.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:

1 cup

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 420Total Fat: 21gSaturated Fat: 12gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 61mgSodium: 203mgCarbohydrates: 51gFiber: 5gSugar: 5gProtein: 8g

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These easy, make-ahead mashed potatoes are made a day ahead of time and reheated right before serving. This creamy potato recipe is a long-time family favorite.

These Day Before Mashed Potatoes are a lifesaver when it comes to hosting. Make them the day before and reheat in your slow cooker! #thanksgiving #potatoes #slowcooker #crockpot

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About Lisa

Hi, I’m Lisa! Looking for the party? It’s probably at my house. Nothing brings me more joy than sharing good food with friends and family. That and a seriously good cocktail.


  1. Avatar

    They look delicious! My mom had a list taped inside one of the kitchen cupboards with a timeline for cooking all of the Thanksgiving food. She generally started cooking two days before with cranberry sauce and pies, then finished up on Thanksgiving morning with turkey, gravy, stuffing, rolls, and more. This recipe sounds perfect for avoiding that last minute rush! 🙂

  2. Avatar

    I was at that first Thanksgiving and those mashed potatoes were truly amazing…we were so so glad to have Lisa in the family.

    I have made these potatoes many times with success. Just delicious!

  3. Avatar

    OMG! It looks tasty! I am gonna make this as per your instruction. Wish me best of luck!

  4. Avatar

    Using Idaho or Russet potatoes will prevent them from turning gluey, in my experience. I also use less sour cream….and they are amazing!

  5. Avatar

    Does the cream cheese need to be at room temp or does it blend well with the hot mashed potatoes?

    • Avatar

      I usually pull the cream cheese out when I start peeling the potatoes and it’s perfect! Good luck!

      • Avatar

        Thank you! Making these today!

      • Avatar

        I made them today and I dont think I mashed them good enough as I have tiny little potato pieces in my batch. Is there anything I can do after the fact? Will they go away when I cook them tomorrow. Should I mash until they go away? I just dont want to over mash. Thoughts?

        • Avatar

          Hi Amy,
          The little pieces won’t go away but they will be softer when you bake them again, depending on how bug the pieces are. You could try mashing them a little more, but be careful, if you over mash them, they could get a gluey texture. If they aren’t too big, I say leave them, it lets people know they are real potatoes! Either way, they should still be delicious! Happy Thanksgiving!

          • Avatar

            Ok, so I ran to Bed Bath and Beyond and picked up a potato ricer, and, OH…MY…OMG! That make all the difference in the world for my 2nd batch. These mashed potatoes are heavenly and now that I have the right tool are super easy! Thank you Lisa for replying to all my questions. Happy Thanksgiving to you!

          • Avatar

            My potato ricer has to be one of my most favorite things! I’m glad it made a difference! Enjoy your Thanksgiving ~ you have put your work in~ your guests don’t know how good they have it!!

  6. Avatar

    Absolutely delicious, family loved them, will definitely make again

  7. Avatar

    Can you make these 3 days ahead and refrigerate until ready to slow cook?

    • Avatar

      Yes! I’m making mine tomorrow!! It will be good for 3 days!

  8. Avatar

    I made these the day of, because the wind knocked our power out the day before, and quantities were slightly off bc I needed to make 5 lb of potatoes but forgot to buy enough extra to double or almost double the recipe, but still… these were the best mashed potatoes I’ve ever made by far, and maybe the best ones I’ve ever had. SO GOOD! Great recipe!

    • Avatar

      Hi Steffie- I love these potatoes too, my family knows when I try something new and ask what I did to the potatoes.This recipe is pretty forgiving but gives you the creamiest potatoes. I’m so happy that you love them too!


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