Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes

These make-ahead mashed potatoes are creamy and impressive and easy to eat by the entire bowlful and something every home cook needs to know how to make, whether for weeknights or special occasions.

A wooden bowl filled with mashed potatoes and topped with a melted square of butter.

These easy mashed potatoes are a must for home cooks on those nights when work and home are crazy, and you need a comforting side dish that almost magically materializes in minutes. Simple enough for weeknights. Stunning enough for weekend dinner parties.–David Leite

Why Our Testers Loved This

Our testers were delighted with how easy it was to make the recipe and that these mashed potatoes turned out “creamy and fluffy, not gluey.”

Notes on Ingredients

  • Yukon Gold potatoes–The creamy texture of Yukon Gold potatoes is perfect for this recipe. We find that russet potatoes are too starchy, so don’t be tempted to substitute them.
  • Salt–Regular table salt works great for these creamy mashed potatoes. If you only have kosher salt on hand, that will be fine, too.
  • Milk–You can use any type of milk here, though the higher the fat content, the creamier your potatoes will be.
  • Unsalted butter–You can substitute salted butter here, but cut back on the amount of salt you add to the finished potatoes initially, and check the seasoning.

How to Make This Recipe

  1. Cook the potatoes. Cook the potatoes in boiling salted water until tender. Drain and let cool.
  2. Peel and mash the potatoes. Use your fingers or a peeler to slip the skins off the potatoes then pass through a ricer or mash.
  3. Add milk, butter, and seasoning. Stir in warm milk, butter, and season to taste. Serve.


Why are the potatoes cooked with their skins on?

Cooking the potatoes with their skins on prevents the spuds from becoming waterlogged and gummy. It’s also a great time-saver as the skins of the cooked potatoes should just slip right off.

How can I make these potatoes ahead of time?

The cooked mashed potatoes can be made and stored in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 2 days. To reheat, cover your container with plastic wrap (or transfer to a microwave-safe container if necessary), poke a few holes in the wrap, and microwave until heated through.

If you want to make your potatoes a few hours before serving, set the bowl of mashed potatoes over a saucepan of barely simmering water, and partially cover with a lid. When ready to serve, give them a good stir, adding a bit more milk or butter, if desired.

What can I do with leftover mashed potatoes?

Leftover mashed potatoes is never a bad thing. We love making mashed potato cakes, crispy mashed potato tacos, or this lamb shank shepherd’s pie with them.

Helpful Tips

  • Be sure to add your butter first before stirring in the milk. The butter will coat the potatoes in fat, which prevents them from becoming gluey.
  • If you don’t have a potato ricer, you can use a masher, or even a slotted spoon to press the potatoes against the side of the pan. If you prefer very smooth potatoes, you can blitz them briefly in a food processor.
  • This recipe is suitable for a gluten-free diet.

More great mashed potato recipes

☞ If you make this recipe, or any dish on LC, consider leaving a review, a star rating, and your best photo in the comments below. I love hearing from you.–David

Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes

A wooden bowl filled with mashed potatoes and topped with a melted square of butter.
These basic mashed potatoes are exactly as described. Simple, easy, and oh-so-comforting.

Prep 5 minutes
Cook 20 minutes
Total 45 minutes
4 servings
230 kcal
4.80 / 5 votes
Print RecipeBuy the What’s a Hostess to Do? cookbook

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  • 1 3/4 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes scrubbed and halved
  • 1 teaspoon plus 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk preferably whole
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter plus more for the top
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper


  • Place the potatoes in a medium saucepan and add enough cold water to cover by 1 inch. Add 1 teaspoon salt and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until the potatoes are easily pierced with a knife, about 20 minutes.
  • Drain the potatoes and let them cool enough to handle.
  • Slip the peels off the potatoes with your fingertips or, if that's challenging, peel them. Push the potatoes through a ricer or food mill and put them back in the saucepan or mash them with a masher in the pan.

    TESTER TIP: If you don't have a ricer or food mill or masher, you can also press the potatoes against the side of the pan with a slotted spatula.

  • Heat the milk in a small saucepan or in the microwave. Add the butter, 3/4 teaspoon salt (or to taste), and the pepper, then add as much warm milk mixture to the potatoes as needed to create the desired consistency, stirring until well combined.
  • Scoop the mashed potatoes into a bowl, top with more butter, and serve immediately.
Print RecipeBuy the What’s a Hostess to Do? cookbook

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  1. Storage–The cooked mashed potatoes can be stored in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 2 days. To reheat, cover it with plastic wrap and poke a few holes in it. Microwave until warmed through.
  2. Keep warm–If you need to keep your potatoes warm for only a few hours before serving, set them over a pan of barely simmering water, partially covered. Stir in a little extra milk or butter before serving, if desired.
  3. Dietary–This recipe is suitable for a gluten-free diet.

Show Nutrition

Serving: 1portionCalories: 230kcal (12%)Carbohydrates: 38g (13%)Protein: 6g (12%)Fat: 6g (9%)Saturated Fat: 4g (25%)Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.3gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0.2gCholesterol: 18mg (6%)Sodium: 617mg (27%)Potassium: 938mg (27%)Fiber: 5g (21%)Sugar: 4g (4%)Vitamin A: 298IU (6%)Vitamin C: 39mg (47%)Calcium: 103mg (10%)Iron: 2mg (11%)

#leitesculinaria on Instagram If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We’d love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

This is my new go-to easy mashed potatoes recipe. Mashing potatoes can be a bit of work, but this recipe cuts down the prep work by peeling the potatoes after they’re cooked. The resulting mashed potatoes were creamy and fluffy, not gluey.

The flavor was comforting, rustic, and amazing. While I could eat a bowl of these without any enhancement, these would make an incredible meal topped with cheese and bacon.

I didn’t have a ricer or food mill, so I used a potato masher. While I was peeling the potatoes, I warmed the milk in the microwave for about 2 minutes on 80% power. I used the entire cup of milk.

This simple recipe for make-ahead mashed potatoes is simply delicious! This isn’t one of those intensely buttery, rich, potato purée recipes. These mashed potatoes are far more casual and far less rich, but still yummy and a great weeknight side.

I found that not peeling the potatoes and chopping them up before they were boiled was a helpful time saver. Removing the potato skins after boiling was super easy. Just make sure to let the potatoes cool down a bit. It took 10 to 15 minutes before I could handle the potatoes with my bare hands. The skin slips off so easily—this approach was so much better than peeling potatoes beforehand!

I made this recipe twice. The second time I had to improvise since I didn’t have a ricer or masher available. I ended up pushing the potatoes through a slotted metal spatula. The results were a bit chunkier, but my husband preferred them this way.

Since the potatoes do cool off a bit before you mash them, make sure to heat the milk as that helps warm them up again.

These basic mashed potatoes were deliciously creamy and comforting. I loved using Yukon Gold potatoes versus russets as they seemed to yield a creamier texture.

Instead of pushing the potatoes through a food mill, I simply combined the ingredients in the blender. The consistency was so creamy that it resembled a savory pudding. Next time, I’ll add some grated Parmesan to further enhance the flavor.

While I followed the directions to peel the potatoes after cooking, I was left with these questions. Why peel after cooking instead of before? Does doing this lessen the amount of water absorbed by the potatoes? Do the skins add flavor? Whatever the answers, I loved the end result and definitely plan to make these potatoes again!


#leitesculinaria on Instagram If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We'd love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.


  1. 4 stars
    I make mashed potatoes for 16 to 20 people in the early morning. I first peel the potatoes. After cooking, I mash them, oftentimes using a Hand blender. I use warm milk, sour cream, garlic, butter, salt, and pepper. I put them in a huge greased CrockPot and then take them to the dinner party at 5 p.m.

    About an hour before our dinner, I turn the CrockPot on low, and use a spoon to stir. Sometimes I add a little more milk and butter.

    I have been asked to do this for 15 years, and everybody loves them.

    When I’m having a get-together at my home for around 8 people I do the same as your recipe.

  2. 5 stars
    I love cooking the potatoes with the skins on. The potatoes were fluffy and delicious. My make-ahead hint is to reheat the potatoes in the microwave for a minute or two. I followed the hint and put a pat of butter in the middle of the potatoes then covered the bowl with wax paper or plastic wrap. I served these easy mashed potatoes with Smothered Pork Chops.

  3. Olá! Aqui no Brazil também fazemos este purê com a mesma receita, deliciosa! É um acompanhamento ideal para um arroz branco, uma carne assada ou um bife a parmegiana. Na verdade é bem vindo em todos os eventos cotidianos , amo batata!

    Grande abraço,

    PS: Espero que seus bichinhos estejam bem.

    1. Caro Rosana, obrigado por escrever. Acho que a fascinação Português e brasileiro com batatas é incrível. Como nós os amamos! E eu amo o purê de batatas, de estilo Português. Muitos e muitos de manteiga. Como você pode dar errado!

      E os nossos dois gatos morreram. Mas ainda temos diabo do gato, que é um punhado, mas nós o amamos.

      1. 5 stars
        It works! A faster way to get mashed potatoes on the dinner table and have them still taste great. The skins slipped right off. Mashed up with the potato masher. Not a hint of gumminess. It worked great with russet potatoes as well. We even kept them warm with the Julia Child law and, except for the loss due to “just another taste,” they held up fine for 45 minutes. Thanks for another great recipe.

        1. Terrific to hear, Mary Joan! So glad this recipe works as wonderfully for you as it does for us. And I love the “just another taste” issue. Thanks so much for taking the time to let us know. Looking forward to hearing which recipe on the site you try next…

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