Easy Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes Recipe (For a Crowd)

This is the best make-ahead mashed potatoes recipe. Prep this dish early and reheat it in the slow cooker for an easy Thanksgiving side dish everyone loves.

Easy Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes Recipe (For a Crowd)

Can you believe it’s already time to start preparing for Thanksgiving?

Lucky for you (and me), I have a fantastic make-ahead freezer recipe to share – Creamy Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes!

This recipe has been a personal favorite over the years, and it’s the perfect solution for busy holiday meal prep. These mashed potatoes are incredibly creamy and freeze beautifully and reheat easily in your slow cooker. 

This comprehensive guide provides step-by-step instructions on creating make-ahead mashed potatoes for the freezer.

Additionally, we’ll explore the benefits of freezing this dish and answer frequently asked questions to ensure you have the perfect holiday.

Easy Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes Recipes (For a Crowd)

How to Make Easy Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes 

Scroll down for the recipe with a complete ingredient list and step-by-step instructions for this recipe.

Boiling Potatoes in Cold Water

Boil the Potatoes:

Place the peeled and cubed potatoes in a large pot of salted water. 

Bring to a boil and cook until fork-tender, approximately 25-30 minutes.

Drain and Mash: 

Drain the cooked potatoes and return them to the pot. Mash them using a potato masher or a ricer until smooth and lump-free.

Add Creamy Buttery Additions:

While the potatoes are still warm, add the butter, sour cream, and milk—season with salt and pepper to taste. 

Mix until all the ingredients are well incorporated and your mashed potatoes are creamy and fluffy.

Freezing Mashed Potatoes

Cool and Pack: 

Allow the mashed potatoes to cool completely. Once cooled, transfer them to freezer-safe containers or resealable bags. Be sure to remove any excess air from the bags to prevent freezer burn.

Freeze Mashed Potatoes: 

Label the containers or bags with the date and place them in the freezer. These mashed potatoes can be frozen for up to 2-3 months.

Here are some frequently asked questions about how to make these make-ahead mashed potatoes:

What Potatoes Are Best For Mashed Potatoes

What Potatoes Are Best for Mashed Potatoes?

The best potatoes for mashed potatoes are typically those with a high starch content and a low moisture content. These types of potatoes yield the creamiest and fluffiest mashed potatoes. 

The popular potato choices for this make-ahead recipe are Russet and Yukon Gold.

The primary difference in taste between Yukon Gold and Russet potatoes lies in their flavor profiles and textures.

  • Yukon Gold Potatoes: Yukon Gold potatoes are known for their buttery and slightly sweet flavor.  When cooked, they have a creamy, smooth texture, making them an excellent choice for mashed potatoes and gratins. Their thin, yellowish skin is tender and can be left on for added color and texture in various dishes.
  • Russet Potatoes: Russet potatoes, also known as Idaho potatoes, have a mild, earthy flavor with a starchy and dry texture. This makes them ideal for baking, frying, and creating fluffy mashed potatoes. The thicker and rougher skin of Russet potatoes is usually peeled before cooking in most recipes.

For these make-ahead mashed potatoes, I’ve experimented with both varieties, and they turn out beautifully. 

I find though that the Yukon Gold potatoes offer a more buttery, creamy texture.

Use Yukon Gold potatoes when possible in your dish. 

Easy Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes for a Crowd

Are Mashed Potatoes Gluten-Free?

When prepared with ingredients like potatoes, butter, milk, salt, and pepper, mashed potatoes are naturally gluten-free. Potatoes do not contain gluten, so they are safe for individuals with gluten sensitivity or celiac disease.

However, it’s essential to be cautious when making mashed potatoes, as certain additives or toppings can introduce gluten. Here are some things to watch out for:

  • Gravy: If you serve mashed potatoes with gravy, use a gluten-free gravy thickener or a gluten-free pre-made gravy mix. Traditional gravy is typically thickened with wheat flour, which contains gluten. Check here for some gluten-free gravy options.
  • Toppings: If you add toppings to your mashed potatoes, such as breadcrumbs, fried onions, or crispy bacon, make sure these are gluten-free. Standard breadcrumbs contain gluten, so you would need to use gluten-free breadcrumbs if desired.

Use fresh, whole ingredients for a gluten-free dish, and check labels for processed items.

Homemade mashed potatoes are usually gluten-free, but it’s a good practice to check the gluten-free status of your ingredients.

How to Make Dairy-Free Mashed Potatoes?

Use almond, coconut, or oat milk and dairy-free butter for dairy-free mashed potatoes.

How Do I Reheat Frozen Mashed Potatoes?

To reheat, you have a couple of options.

One of the best methods is to use your slow cooker. The mashed potatoes reheat in crockpot and save room in your oven for the Thanksgiving Turkey.

Place the thawed mashed potatoes in the slow cooker on low heat for 3-4 hours, stirring occasionally until heated.

You can also reheat them in the oven. Bake the potatoes at 350 degrees for thirty to forty minutes or until completely hot.

Can I double the recipe for a large gathering?

This recipe is easily scalable. Make sure you have a large pot to accommodate the additional potatoes and adjust the other ingredients accordingly.

I have doubled and tripled the batch for our family gatherings. We rarely have leftovers, and this is always our family’s favorite Thanksgiving side dish.

Make Ahead Turkey Gravy

I recommend preparing these with this make-ahead turkey gravy recipe for topping.

What to Add in Mashed Potatoes

Can I add additional seasonings or toppings to the mashed potatoes?

These mashed potatoes are a blank canvas. Feel free to add garlic, herbs, cheese, or any other favorite toppings or seasonings to customize the flavor.

I have provided instructions for topping with melted butter and paprika.

What Freezer-Safe Container Should I Prepare These Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes In?

Selecting the proper containers can make all the difference in freezing dishes. Here are some options:

  • Glass or Plastic Containers: If you prefer a more durable, consider investing in glass or BPA-free plastic containers with airtight lids. They can be reused for future freezing needs. I have linked to a great option below.
  • Foil Pans or Containers: These come in various sizes and are ideal for freezing casseroles. They’re easy to stack in the freezer and can be recycled afterward.
Easy Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes Recipes (For a Crowd)

Easy Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes

Yield: 12
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Additional Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes

Naturally gluten-free, these make-ahead mashed potatoes can be made early for your holiday meal and freeze until the big day. You can reheat in your slow cooker to save space in your oven.


  • 5 pounds Yukon Gold Potatoes
  • 1 block (8 oz) of low-fat cream cheese, softened
  • 3/4 cup low-fat sour cream
  • 4 tablespoons melted butter
  • 3/4 cup milk (or more if desired)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • Paprika (optional)


  1. Peel potatoes and cut into small cubes. Throw the potatoes in a large pot filled with cold salted water.
  1. Bring to a boil. Cook for 25-30 minutes or until fork-tender.
  2. Drain the boiled potatoes and put them back into the hot pot. Add melted butter, cream cheese, milk, sour cream, and salt. Mash with a potato masher or use a hand mixer to whip the potatoes. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Spoon mashed potatoes into a freezer-safe casserole dish and label.
  4. Allow the mashed potatoes to thaw 1-3 days before your event in your airtight container in the fridge. See the notes below for warming instructions.


  • To prepare in slow cooker: Spray a slow cooker with cooking spray and put prepared potatoes inside. Brush the top of the potatoes with a tablespoon of melted butter and sprinkle with paprika. Cook on low for two to four hours.
  • To prepare in the oven: Bake the potatoes at 350 degrees for thirty to forty minutes or until completely hot in your baking dish.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 249Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 18mgSodium: 340mgCarbohydrates: 42gFiber: 4gSugar: 3gProtein: 7g

The calorie and nutrition information provided with our recipes is intended to be an estimate based on commonly used ingredients and serving sizes. However, individual nutritional needs may vary, and the actual values can depend on factors such as specific brands of ingredients, preparation methods, and portion sizes. Please use these figures as estimates.

Other Make-Ahead Thanksgiving Recipes To Try This Year:

Did you try this recipe? We would love to hear what you thought of this holiday classic side dish!

Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes Freezer Recipe from MomAdvice.com

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Published September 06, 2023 by:

Amy Allen Clark is the founder of MomAdvice.com. You can read all about her here.

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