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Oct 27, 2008 07:11 PM

Keeping mashed potatoes warm....

My boyfriend and I are hosting Thanksgiving for 20 this year. I am very excited, as I love to cook and entertain and have family over. I've started planning the menu and would like to cook as much as possible early in the day. I am curious about tricks for keeping mashed potatoes warm. I have heard about the crock pot method, although the only one I own is fairly small. I have a large dutch oven, and was thinking I could boil the potatoes in that, mash in the same pot and it will maintain the heat for at least an hour. Also, I am probably going to rent some chafing dishes.

Has anyone had luck with keeping MPs warm for dinner?


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  1. The crock pot method works pretty well.
    If you have a very large bowl and another that will fit inside of it you can fill the smaller one with mashed potatoes, set it inside the larger bowl into which you've poured enough hot water to come half to three quarters of the way up the sides of the smaller bowl, put a lid on the smaller bowl and set the paired bowls in a low oven (<200 degrees). But don't figure on this working for more than about an hour; and you'll need to fluff your potatoes when you remove them from the oven.
    You can try my preferred method by doing the same thing but do it with your cooked potatoes and wait to mash them just before putting your dinner on the table. Use warm milk and room temperature butter to avoid cooling them down in the mashing process.
    If you're going to put them in a chafing dish, wait until the very last minutes. Personally, I hate chafing dishes. Reminds me of the self serve steam tables. It's a long story ......

    1. I'm a fan of the crockpot method. It's worth asking a friend or family member to borrow an extra one if yours is too small. I haven't had much luck with holding them in a chafing dish--it just doesn't keep them hot enough.

      P.S. Your smaller crockpot might be good for keeping the gravy warm. :)

      1. If your serving bowl will fit into the dutch oven, put the mashed spuds into the bowl, cover it, then put a little boiling water into the dutch oven, put the bowl in, and put the lid on the dutch oven. You could set it on the counter on a folded bath towel and wrap another around and over it. At worst, you might have to replace the boiling water.

        1. At a presentation we attended, we heard Shirley Corriher say that mashed potatoes are much better reheated than kept hot, and so for the next holiday dinner I did as she advised: cooked and mashed the potatoes while the turkey was roasting, put them into a covered ovenproof dish and kept them at room temperature, then stuck them into a 300ยบ oven for twenty minutes before serving. They were perfect.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Will Owen

            Lucky you, Will! She is an endless fount of wisdom - I loved her appearances on Nathalie Dupree's shows and often consult my copy of "Cookwise". "Bakewise" is on my wishlist. I don't have cable so don't know if she's ever had her own show, but wish she were on PBS regularly. She'd be a great addition to the Cooks Illustrated/America's Test Kitchen folks, but doubt that so distinctly southern a woman would be at home in Boston, even though we'd love to have her nearby.

            1. re: greygarious

              When we lived in Nashville, we'd see Nathalie Dupree as often as once a year doing live demonstrations and book signings. The best visit was at one Southern book festival, where she was on a panel discussing Southern food with John Edgerton and the woman who'd cooked for the Arkansas governors, can't remember her name. Nathalie and I got to talking and had a lot of fun ragging on the Southern penchant for drowning sweet potatoes in brown sugar and marshmallows. She was always very sweet and approachable.

              I'm sorry to say I have none of Shirley's books, a shortcoming that I must soon address. When we saw her she was promoting her latest, but we were too broke to buy a copy and get in line to meet her.

            2. re: Will Owen

              Excellent idea. Could I microwave to reheat?

            3. If you have a rice cooker, I like to make my potatoes in that and leave them in (the rice keeper keeps them warm). Just before serving, I add warm milk, butter, garlic, etc. No matter what method you use to cook, though, I think it's better to mash them just before serving.

              2 Replies
              1. re: chowser

                How do you make mashed potatoes in the rice cooker?

                1. re: Karen K

                  I cook potatoes (peeled or not, cut into chunks) like I would rice and then just leave them. The rice cooker keeps it warm but it's a moist heat so they don't dry out or get gummy like they would if they were sitting in water. When I'm ready to serve, I mash and add other ingredients.