Creamy Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes

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Perfect for the busy holidays, these ultra-creamy make-ahead mashed potatoes can be prepared two days ahead of time and reheated in the microwave.

Much as my family loves mashed potatoes with pools of melted butter and gravy on Thanksgiving, I’m always reluctant to make them because they’re difficult to make ahead. I don’t know about you, but to me, the thought of frantically mashing potatoes at the last minute (while trying to get a dozen other hot dishes on the table, with guests of all ages milling around the kitchen) is nerve-wracking.

That’s why I was thrilled to recently discover on Cooks Illustrated a method for make-ahead mashed potatoes that works really well. Not only are the mashed potatoes ultra-creamy, but they can also be made two days ahead of time and reheated in the microwave — a huge bonus when oven and burner space is at a premium during the holidays.

What you’ll need for make-ahead mashed potatoes

make ahead mashed potatoes

Interestingly, the recipe calls for baking the potatoes instead of boiling them. In all my years of cooking, I have never seen a mashed potato recipe that starts with baked potatoes. But it makes sense: water is the enemy of perfectly mashed potatoes. If the potatoes are too wet, they become dense and heavy. (That’s why most recipes instruct you to “dry” the boiled potatoes on the stovetop before adding the butter and liquid.)

Baking the potatoes does take longer but it’s a tradeoff: you don’t have to peel or dry the potatoes and it’s completely hands-off. And since the potatoes cook directly on the oven rack, you won’t even dirty a pan!

How To Make Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes

make ahead mashed potatoes

To begin, place the potatoes directly on an oven rack and bake until very soft, 50 to 60 minutes. While the potatoes are still hot, cut each in potato in half lengthwise. Scoop out all of the flesh from each potato half into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or the bowl of an electric mixer). Break the cooked potato flesh down into small pieces using a fork, potato masher, or rubber spatula.

make ahead mashed potatoes

Beat on low speed until completely smooth and no lumps remain, stopping the mixer to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. It’s important to do this while the potatoes are still hot; otherwise you’ll end up with lumps.

make ahead mashed potatoes

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, bring the cream and butter to a simmer.

Remove the bowl from the mixer. Using a large rubber spatula, gradually fold in the hot cream and butter mixture. Folding (rather than stirring in the stand mixer) prevents the potatoes from becoming gluey.

make ahead mashed potatoes

It will take a few minutes to mix the liquid in; keep folding until the potatoes are smooth and creamy. Mix in the salt, then taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary.

make ahead mashed potatoes

Transfer the mashed potatoes to a large microwave-safe bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for up to 2 days. To reheat, poke lots of holes in the plastic wrap with the tip of a knife and microwave at medium-high (75 percent) power for about 14 minutes. Stir the potatoes halfway through reheating to be sure they warm evenly. Season to taste, then transfer the potatoes to a serving bowl. Top with the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and the chives and serve warm.

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Creamy Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes

Perfect for the busy holidays, these ultra-creamy make-ahead mashed potatoes can be prepared two days ahead of time and reheated in the microwave.

Servings: 8

Ingredients

  • 3-1/2 pounds Russet potatoes
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
  • Chives, for serving

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 450°F and adjust an oven rack to the middle position.
  2. Place the potatoes directly on the oven rack (alternatively, you can place them on a wire rack set in a rimmed baking sheet). Bake until very soft, 50 to 60 minutes, depending on the size of the potatoes. (Err on the side of overcooking rather than undercooking them.)
  3. Remove the potatoes from the oven. While they are still hot, cut each potato in half lengthwise. Using an oven mitt or a folded kitchen towel to hold the hot potatoes, scoop out all of the flesh from each potato half into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (*see note below on using a potato ricer, food mill or hand-held electric mixer). The flesh near the skin gets a little tough, so be sure to leave it behind. Break the cooked potato flesh down into small pieces using a potato masher, fork, or rubber spatula. Beat on low speed until completely smooth and no lumps remain, 1 to 2 minutes, stopping the mixer to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed.
  4. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan over medium heat, bring the cream and 6 tablespoons of the butter to a simmer.
  5. Remove the bowl from the mixer stand and, using a large rubber spatula, gradually fold in the hot cream and butter mixture. It will take a few minutes to mix it all in; keep folding until the potatoes are smooth and creamy. Stir in the salt, then taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary. Transfer the mashed potatoes to a large microwave-safe bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap (the bowl should be large enough that the potatoes don’t touch the plastic wrap). Refrigerate for up to 2 days. (DO NOT FREEZE)
  6. To reheat, use the tip of a knife to poke about 10 holes in the plastic wrap, and microwave at medium-high (75 percent) power until the potatoes are hot, about 14 minutes, stirring halfway through the reheating time. Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary. Transfer the mashed potatoes to a serving dish, top with the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, and sprinkle with the chives. Serve hot.
  7. Notes: For perfectly smooth potatoes, pass the potato flesh through a potato ricer or food mill before adding them to the mixer. If you don't have a stand mixer, you can use a hand-held electric mixer. If you don't have an electric mixer, pass the potatoes through a food mill or potato ricer and then whip by hand with a wooden spoon.

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Per serving (8 servings)
  • Calories: 464
  • Fat: 34 g
  • Saturated fat: 21 g
  • Carbohydrates: 38 g
  • Sugar: 3 g
  • Fiber: 3 g
  • Protein: 6 g
  • Sodium: 470 mg
  • Cholesterol: 112 mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

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Reviews & Comments

  • Delicious! As my grown daughter assisted me in preparing lunch, one of her tasks was to get these potatoes reheated in the microwave. I think she ate one serving just checking to see if they were heated! Rave reviews from me for the convenience of a make ahead side dish and from my family for superb mashed potatoes. I find such joy in cooking for my family and I thank you for the many recipes you have shared.

    • — Jennie on February 14, 2021
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  • Awesome! I was doubtful at first that make ahead mashed potatos would taste “fresh” but they were light and creamy. This recipe is amazing and since I despise peeling potatos it is a win, win.
    Thanks, Sharen

    • — Sharen on February 3, 2021
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  • This is THE BEST mashed potatoes I’ve ever had in my life. Absolutely brilliant to bake instead of boil & the make-ahead option is so handy to focus on the main! I had my mom over for dinner & gave her a container for leftovers – she took 2/3 of the mashed potatoes home!!

    • — Roxanne on February 1, 2021
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  • I’ve been using this recipe for mashed potatoes for couple of years now, and I will never, ever peel and boil potatoes for mashed potatoes again! These are fantastic–creamy, buttery, and easy to make. Don’t be alarmed at the amount of liquid you fold into the potatoes. It seems like too much at first, but it isn’t.

    • — Jaclyn on January 31, 2021
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  • I can’t believe how much of a time saver this recipe is. It is easy and by far, the most delicious creamy mashed potatoes I have ever made. When cooking, your site is the first place I search for new recipe ideas. I have yet to be disappointed!

    • — Kathleen on January 31, 2021
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  • I made this for Thanksgiving. I like make-ahead dishes, especially during the holiday season. Hubby & I enjoyed these mashed potatoes.

    • — Elisabeth Morgan on January 30, 2021
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  • Best mashed potatoes ever! So wonderful to be able to make ahead! I followed the instructions exactly with perfect results! I have shared this recipe with my family and friends! Super yummy

    • — Norah Molinari on January 29, 2021
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  • Winner, easy, tasty, make ahead!
    I took a chance and made this recipe for Christmas dinner with my children and grandchildren without testing it first. I was thrilled with the results! Baking the potatoes is much easier than peeling them first and then boiling. They were silky and super delicious! Everyone enjoyed them!

    I am very confident in Jen’s recipes. I have not been disappointed yet!

    • — Karen M Miller on January 29, 2021
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  • These really are THE BEST mashed potatoes. This is my go-to potato recipe for the holidays, and they always get rave reviews! Just make sure to mash the potatoes while they’re hot! One time I waited too long to scoop and mash, and the potatoes ended up soupy with lumps. Otherwise…foolproof!

    • — Melissa Quinn on January 29, 2021
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  • This is a super convenient make ahead recipe. I usually only make mashed potatoes for holidays and being able to make them early is a game changer.
    I don’t change a thing on this recipe…it is pure perfection!

    • — pamela hartman on January 28, 2021
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  • These make ahead mashed potatoes are the most delicious, creamy potatoes you will ever have! I have made them several times, always to rave reviews AND the bonus is they are make ahead and reheated in your microwave, leaving stove top burners for other veggies, gravy etc. Warning….When you add the cream & butter you’re going to think you made a mistake because there is soooo much liquid but don’t panic, the potatoes will absorb all that luscious cream and butter until you are left with a bowl of smooth delicious mashed!
    Don’t hesitate to try there!!

    • — Anita Rodobolski on January 28, 2021
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  • I never thought I would be able to make mashed potatoes ahead of time but this recipe definitely made me a believer. I followed the recipe as instructed, though I did find I didn’t need the melted butter after heating the mashed potatoes in the microwave. So decadent and delicious! A family favorite.

    • — Shannon on January 28, 2021
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  • This recipe is a real time saver. It is an insane amount of cream though, and it doesn’t work to cut down on it – too dry otherwise.

    • — CY G on January 28, 2021
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  • These are the only mashed potatoes I make! Perfect for the holiday season because you really can make them a day in advance without them getting gummy. The best!

    • — ann snowling on January 28, 2021
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  • I have tried many other make-ahead mashed potatoes recipes and find this one to be the absolute best! My friends and family say the same. The potatoes taste delicious whether you eat them right away or reheat them as instructed. My husband had the idea of saving the potato skins, brushing them with butter and salt, and baking them to make crisp potato skins, which also can be good with a little of the mashed potatoes scooped inside them. Since discovering this recipe two years ago, it’s the only one I use. Thank you Jennifer!

    • — Gigi on January 28, 2021
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  • Dumb question – am I poking potatoes with fork before baking or just as is ? 😬

    • — MPK on January 28, 2021
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    • Not a dumb question! You don’t need to poke them. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on January 28, 2021
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  • These are some of the best mashed potatoes I’ve ever had. I like how baking the potatoes instead of boiling eliminates the possibility of water logged potatoes if the cook should happen to get distracted and leave them on the stove too long! I’ve made these a few times now and everyone who’s eaten them has loved them! They take a bit longer to make (I use a potato ricer before mixing) but you end up with really smooth mashed potatoes.

    • — Christine on January 28, 2021
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  • This was fantastic for Thanksgiving when so many dishes need to be finalized at one time! Having made this ahead of time was super helpful and it was truly creamy – this is how I’ll do it every Thanksgiving now! Dont skip the chives!

    • — Michele McKinley on January 28, 2021
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  • This has become a must for Thanksgiving dinner! I’ve made it now for the past four years, and it is always such a hit! These potatoes are so unbelievably creamy and smooth. You definitely need to make sure to beat them enough to get rid of lumps. I love that you can make it ahead of time and then just pop it in the microwave right before serving dinner. I also like that you can use the potato skins to make crispy potato skin chips so there’s no waste. I like to scrub the potato skins really well before baking and then use the leftover skins (after you scoop out the flesh for the recipe) and then sprinkle some cheese, salt, pepper, and oil and bake until crispy. Yum!

    • — JC on January 28, 2021
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  • These are the best mashed potatoes I have ever made! The baked potato method is genius — I will never go back to boiling potatoes again!

    • — Erin on January 28, 2021
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  • You cannot mess these up if you follow the directions. I have found that using a melon baller is the easiest way for me to remove the potato flesh. I haven’t tried it but I bet a small cookie scoop would work, too!

    • — Leah S. on January 28, 2021
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  • I love mashed potatoes but I hate making them during the hectic dinner hour. Making them ahead of time and have them still be fluffy is wonderful.

    • — Mary LD on January 28, 2021
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  • These are fantastic. I have made them in vacation rental kitchens with almost no equipment and have made them at home and they always turn out fantastic!

    • — Colleen on January 28, 2021
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  • Due to last minute holiday plans, I became the host and had to make Thanksgiving this past year. When I saw this recipe, I just had to add it to my list to free up my oven. I am so happy I did! Not only did it do that but they were a huge hit with the family. I have made 2 times since then! Thank you!

    • — Sherry on January 28, 2021
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  • This recipe worked exactly as described! I couldn’t believe the creamy mashed potatoes coming out of my microwave on Thanksgiving day. I don’t think I will ever make holiday potatoes another way!!

    • — Steffanie on January 28, 2021
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  • This is the best mashed potato recipe I have ever made. Creamy, buttery and delicious! This is the only mashed potato recipe we use anymore and it turns out perfect every single time. Thanks for the great recipe!

    • — Lindsay on January 28, 2021
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  • This recipe, though simple, is a staple of dinner in my house. I do an extra two steps when it comes to transferring the cooked potatoes to the stand mixer:

    1. After slicing the potato in half, I place a wire mesh (used for cooling) inverted on top of a mixing bowl and put the potato halves flat-side down on top. I then smush them down and force the potato flesh to come through the wires in the form of little cubes. I find this easier for handling than either a) holding a hot potato and scooping w/ a spoon or b) waiting for the potato to be cool down, in which case it has gotten harder.
    2. *extra* once you have a bowl full of potato cubes, you can pass them through a potato ricer for super creamy potatoes (it’s only a minor difference. I usually skip this step to save time). The rest of the recipe I follow per Jenn’s instrution

    Sure hope I win that Dutch Oven!! 😀

    • — Paul G. on January 28, 2021
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  • These potatoes are a lifesaver! We had our Christmas dinner at home with our two boys. Normally, we go to my brother’s house for an extended family Christmas dinner. I would usually bring the rolls. Well, I didn’t want to disappoint my husband and sons, so I had to make the whole dinner. Being able to make the mashed potatoes 2 days ahead helped sooo much. Plus they were scrumptious! Even better than my sister-in-law’s potatoes. The only thing I did differently from your recipe was that I used my potato ricer instead of my mixer. Thank you so much for this wonderful recipe!

    • — Maureen on January 12, 2021
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  • My daughter made these potatoes for Christmas dinner, and they were delicious so I had to make them again. I did modify the recipe slightly and used half and half instead of heavy cream. They were just as good.

    • — Jean Hasselbauer on January 1, 2021
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  • Hi Jenn. I love these potatoes and have made them many times. Wondering if there is a way to make them garlic mashed potatoes?

    • — Stacey Rampy on December 30, 2020
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    • Hi Stacey, I do think you could add some garlic to these.

      • — Jenn on December 30, 2020
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  • Made it, family loved it. I was afraid of scooping out the hot baked potatoes but it was very easy with my silicone mitt.

    • — Nancy Thomas on December 26, 2020
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  • I’ve made this several times and it’s always perfect. I love the make ahead aspect and having leftover potato skins for snacks. Like other reviewers, the liquid seems like a lot of volume, but it folds right in.

    • — Fancy ATL on December 25, 2020
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  • This was so good. At first, I also thought there was too much liquid but just keep folding it in and it will end up so velvety. It was delicious plain and I can’t wait to see how it reheats tomorrow paired with turkey gravy.

    • — Randy Patrick on December 24, 2020
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  • I’ve made this many times and the potatoes come out perfect each time.
    A fork works well breaking the cooked potato flesh.
    This year, since no one is coming over, I decided to try and lower the calorie count!!
    I used 1% milk instead of the cream and they turned out great!!
    I kept the butter the same!!

    • — Wendy Schoenburg on December 24, 2020
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  • Can you use red potatoes? Also, could you substitute some of the milk for cream cheese?

    • — Bekka on December 24, 2020
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    • I don’t recommend it. Sorry!!

      • — Jenn on December 24, 2020
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      • Thanks so much for your immediate response!

        • — Rebekka Pine on December 24, 2020
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  • This was excellent. I was worried there was too much liquid and better, but it worked perfectly! This will be my go-to make ahead for holidays.

    • — Kathryn on December 23, 2020
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  • Hi! Love your recipes and have had success with many of them. I’d like to make these potatoes for Christmas dinner, however, I live in Portugal and never see russet potatoes here. I only see white or red potatoes like yukon. They make terrific mashed potatoes but I’ve never baked them. Will I have the same result? Thanks Jenn!

    Becky

    • — Becky StClair on December 23, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Becky, I don’t recommend Yukon gold potatoes for this recipe. I’m sorry!

      • — Jenn on December 23, 2020
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      • I was afraid you were going to say this. Thanks for replying!

        • — Becky on December 24, 2020
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    • Only thing I didn’t see was….Do you poke and wash potatoes before baking them? Ty

      • — Femali on December 25, 2020
      • Reply
      • I wash them but don’t poke them. 🙂

        • — Jenn on December 26, 2020
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  • I made the mashed potatoes for Thanksgiving. They were delicious. I will make them again.

    • — Margot on December 10, 2020
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  • Made these for the family this year, and everyone absolutely loved them. Reminded me of making mashed potatoes with my grandpa, and he was the best at mashing – with a hand mixer, and heating the cream and butter first before the add. So light, creamy, and delish – tasted like home. First time I made them where I thought they were as good as that old memory.

    • — Beckie on November 30, 2020
    • Reply
  • Heavenly! And, a marvelous time-saver!

    Followed the recipe E-X-A-C-T-L-Y. Both batches were a tad “loose”. Think I’ll cut back by a half cup cream next time. Other than that, an EXCEPTIONAL recipe. One that I will turn to time, and again!

    Appreciate the reliable, explict, approachable, comfortable recipes, Jenn. Your cookbook is wonderful collection of recipes that meets all skills – whether you’re a beginner in the kitchen, or one with decades under the belt. Truly, a WELL-planned, insightful, THOUGHTFUL text. It’s a pleasure to read/work from. Congrats! Jerri of Lincoln, NE

    • — Jerri on November 30, 2020
    • Reply
    • ❤️❤️

      • — Jenn on November 30, 2020
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      • The best mashed potatoes ever…and it saved my broken thumb from peeling and chopping!!! Had a few scoops left and they made terrific potato pancakes for brunch. Thank you Jenn. This is a keeper 😊

        • — Jo on December 5, 2020
        • Reply
  • Oh my gosh what a god send. Will never go back to making them the same day as dinner again. They were the best. Thank you so much for the recipe ,,, try this every one. I heated them in a slow cooker. Fabulous!! Tara

    • — Tara icke on November 30, 2020
    • Reply
    • Tara,

      That’s a thought! For how long??

      Diana

      • — Diana on December 20, 2020
      • Reply
  • I made this for Thanksgiving 2020 and my family all raved about it! They liked it so much, that I had to make a second batch for leftovers the next day. The potatoes are extremely creamy. Definitely take the time to mash the cooked potatoes with a potato masher before using the mixer. I mashed them right in my Kitchenaid mixing bowl. The recipe was extremely easy!!

    • — Gina on November 29, 2020
    • Reply
  • These were amazing and super easy!! Will never make any other way again. Be sure to double or triple the recipe for a larger group. We had 5 people and just a bit left over. I also used a hand mixer and reheated in low/warm slowly in crock pot. Fantastic. Thank you!!

    • — KKS on November 27, 2020
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    • How long in crock pot?

      • — Denise on December 21, 2020
      • Reply
    • Do you think this method be used with gold potatoes? Will the skin hold up for “carving” in the same way?

      • — Lindsey on December 24, 2020
      • Reply
      • I don’t recommend it, Lindsay – sorry!!

        • — Jenn on December 24, 2020
        • Reply
  • The BEST mashed potatoes!!! Reheated so well! I was a bit panicked when I saw all the liquid in the potatoes, but I stayed the course and it blended perfectly, just like Jenn said they would! Thank you Jenn!!

    • — Nicole on November 27, 2020
    • Reply
  • Tried this method for Thanksgiving….anything that will save time. Turned out fabulous….couple things, I did bake the potatoes, and found to get the pulp out easier, I just rolled the potato in the oven mitt, kind of squashing it slightly. this really made it very easy to remove. Second, after each potato, I used the fork and added a little butter. I think this is what makes them light and fluffy. I didn’t use beaters at all. And third, I did use with half and half.

    They were delicious and my now “go to mashed”, when cooking for a crowd. Bonus, you could use the potato skins as an appetizer. Just drizzle little olive oil or butter, throw back in the oven to brown up, then add topping….no more peeling, potatoes (which I hate) or cleaning big pots.

    • — Marian on November 27, 2020
    • Reply

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