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Mashed Potatoes--Making them ahead of time.

For Thanksgiving dinner. Always fall into the last minute trap of mashing potatoes, making gravy and carving the turkey. Who has a good way of mashing the potatoes earlier and keeping them hot and tasty? Double Boiler? Notthe one with the cream cheese and sour cream that is then baked. Thanks

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  1. I've had success by making the mashed potatoes and keeping them covered and then right before serving I put them back on the stove over low heat and add a splash of milk or cream to loosen them up. Keep and eye on them and stir constantly.

    I've also heard that you can keep them warm over a double boiler, but stove space is at a premium during the holidays so I always use the above method.

    2 Replies
    1. re: SarahEats

      This is exactly what I do. I mash the taters (don't over-mash), then lid them and keep the burner on the lowest setting. They do not burn or dry out in the 10 minutes it takes me to carve the turkey. If something else comes up, I have dropped a smidge of milk in and turned the heat up for a couple minutes before sending them to the table though.

      Another thread suggested that they could be made a couple hours ahead and kept in a crock pot. I have not tried this method yet, but it would likely work for some other types of side dishes.

      1. re: Ace_Mclean

        I usually make them 2-3 hours prior to serving and keep them warm in the crock pot (on low) with an occaisional stir. Anything longer than that and they start to break down. The key is to maintain the warmth. Mashed potatoes get mealy and all the other things posters mentioned when you let them get cold and reheat them. Keep them warm and they'll stay perfect!

    2. I would actually make the gravy early, rather than the potatoes. You can buy some turkey wings, and use the wings and the giblets to make a gravy either the day before, or that morning.
      We make 15 pounds of mashed for Thanksgiving so we really cannot let them sit and then reheat.They are the only thing I make at the last minute. I let the bird sit for at least 1⁄2 hour ( tented), and carve right before I mash the potatoes. Sometimes I make the gravy while the bird rests, and sometimes I make it early.

      1 Reply
      1. re: macca

        I do exactly the same. I do a make-ahead gravy by roasting turkey wings with some onions/carrots/celery. With that stock, I can do my gravy a couple days in advance & just reheat while carving the turkey. We like to mash our taters just before serving, but I do cook them slightly ahead of time. I drain off most of the cooking liquid, leaving just a bit at the bottom, and keep them warm on a burner set at low. When we're ready to mash them, we'll drain any remaining liquid and mash them with some heated half & half cream and butter. If we mash them a bit too early (like yesterday - our turkey wasn't quite done even though the thermometer registered the right temp, so back in the oven it went!), just leave the covered pan on a burner set at low. Stir occasionally and check that they are not drying out.

      2. One year my SIL offered to bring sides for Christmas dinner and she brought mashed potatoes and sweet potatoes, obviously cooked long before - my guess is the previous day. We reheated them in the microwave per her instructions. They both tasted awful, gluey and lumpy at the same time. I don't know how she made them but she left with almost the same amount she brought.

        1 Reply
        1. re: cheryl_h

          I know what you mean about gluey mashed potatoes. I have read that if you overbeat the potatoes, like with a hand mixer, there is a point where they will release more of the starch and become gluey. I think the key is to mash gently and then reheat gently.

        2. You might want to turn the mashed potatoes into a crisp-topped casserole. Refrigerate the finished mashed potatoes in a covered casserole (some caramelized onions in the mix wouldn't hurt). About 45 minutes before needed, drizzle a little olive oil over the top and bake uncovered.

          1. I had a hard time with not-warm -nough potatoes for years, so I tried to make them closer and closer to serving time so that they would remain hot. Little did I realize, I was introducing cold kitchen air and cooling them down as I mashed or whipped them.

            Now I get much better success by making them about an hour before I serve, leaving them a little moister than I would normally, tightly covering them with foil, and reheating them right before serving in the oven.