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Dec 18, 2010 05:16 AM

Quick question about mashed potatoes...

...what's the best way to make them a few hours ahead of serving time? Refrigerate and reheat? Cover and keep warm? Something else? Thanks!

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  1. Whether you bake or boil, remove and cover......give it a quick nuke to warm ......Heat your dairy in a pot or double boiler. I'll use any combination of butter, milk, half & half, cream, sour cream, cheeses, and cream cheese. Smash and combine....Season to taste.

    Or, you can follow the above and bake in the oven.....individual Duchesse...or casserole style.

    1. Don't usually do them ahead of time very often, but for the last three Thanksgivings I've done them many hours ahead and put them in a crockpot set on low. My guess would be that I stir them maybe once an hour and they come out just as good as freshly made.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Bryan Pepperseed

        Crock pot has been how I've been doing it for several years for lack of stove top availability at that "critical time". Works out great!

        1. re: Bryan Pepperseed

          I haven't got a crockpot. Would keeping them in a bowl, covered, in a very low oven work? Or would they dry out too much?

          1. re: CindyJ

            Personally, (assuming I didn't say' "Screw it, I'll just do Betty Crocker instant five minutes before serving") if I had to make them in advance without a crockpot I would go with bushwickgirl's microwave plan. If no microwave either, i guess I would lean towards greygariuos' double boiler plan as long as someone was there to check on the water.

        2. Made in advance, mashed potatoes reheat very easily in the MW, or pop them in the oven, in a well buttered dish, covered, and bake until hot, stirring occasionally. If you bake them uncovered and drizzle with a little melted butter, they'll develop a lightly browned tasty crust; some people like that. My other favorite way to keep them hot, beyond the oven method, is in a slow cooker on low, as Bryan mentioned.

          1. Yet another method - make them, put in a serving bowl, cover with a lid or tin foil, and set over a pan of simmering water, effectively creating a double boiler. If you need the burner, you can take the pot and bowl assembly off as long as you return the water to a simmer every 30-45 minutes.

            1. Been reading about retrograding the starch -- have tried this a couple fo times and it does make a big difference when reheating.

              Retrograding is a way to fix the starch in the potato cells so it doesn't get all gummy and wallpaper-pasty when reheating. A little bit of MG type learning, but good advice.

              As I recall, cook potatoes at 160 deg F for 30-40 minutes, then drain and cool quickly in an ice bath or running tap. Then when fully cooled cook as normal.

              First time I did this I was duly unimpressed, the potatoes tasted exactly the same. But when reheated they were totally different than reheated mashed potatoes I've had before. Totally recommend this method now for make-ahead mashed potatoes.

              4 Replies
              1. re: stomsf

                Now there's an interesting suggestion, of which I shall take careful note. However, when I'm making mashed potatoes in the quantity needed for a major feast, I always use the ricer rather than beating them, and simply stir in the milk/cream/butter, a process that avoids developing the starch. Some years ago I read that they can then simply be covered, and when needed heated for about twenty minutes at 325ยบ with no damage to flavor or texture, and that's how I've been doing it since then. Works like a charm.

                I do not like them when KEPT hot, not at all. After they're made they're kept covered at kitchen temperature, perhaps wrapped in a towel, but that's it.

                1. re: Will Owen

                  I use an old-fashioned masher for my potatoes. I hate how gummy and pasty they become when using any type of mixer.

                  That's an interesting distinction you've made, and I appreciate that. You're saying don't KEEP them hot; rather, let them reach room temp, then reheat them.

                  1. re: CindyJ

                    I keep a heavy-wire masher around partly because it's what Mom used, partly because it's just right for two or three potatoes, either mashed or "smashed" (broken up coarsely with just butter, salt and pepper, usually done with very thin-skinned White Rose potatoes). I don't have the arm to mash 5 or 6 pounds of potatoes anymore that way, though, and the ricer gives more or less uniform particles with no starch developed at all.

                2. re: stomsf

                  Interesting! I'm assuming you mean to cook the potatoes in 160 deg. water. If I can figure out how to maintain 160 degrees on the stovetop, I'm going to try this.