Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes – Time Saver!

Posted on by Ashley      6 Comments

Mashed potatoes are a little scoop of heaven. For me, they are the star of the holiday table. The holiday food I love most. They’re fluffy, smooth, buttery, salty, and savory. If you can’t tell, I HEART mashed potatoes.

photo of mashed potatoes and gravy

They are also tricky when you want them to be served warm with all the other side dishes that are part of your holiday feast. To help avoid the problems of timing, too many cooks in the kitchen and to save on valuable stovetop real estate, here’s a simple trick I learned a few years back that has been a SERIOUS LIFESAVER and it’s sort of a secret weapon when it comes to serving Thanksgiving. Not only does it keep me from being a sweaty wreck before dinner is served, but this tip also allows me to spend more time with my guests outside of the kitchen. What’s my trick? Make your mashed potatoes a day ahead, store in the fridge and warm them up in a crockpot. EASY AS PIE!

Make your favorite mashed potato recipe the day before your feast and warm them in a crockpot! If you don’t have one, what are you waiting for? They are magical cooking machines and Thrift Town sells crockpots for about under $10. Selection varies by store.

  • Make your favorite mashed potato recipe the day before your feast and refrigerate in an airtight container or zip lock bag(s)
  • Reheat your spuds in a crockpot about *four hours before you plan to serve your meal, grease the inside of your crock with butter, put some cream (milk or half & half) on the bottom (about 1/3 cup for a full 7-quart crockpot of potatoes and scale down if needed). Dish in your cold potatoes.
  • Cover and set crockpot to warm. Mix every hour until they are heated. Just before serving, add a little extra butter and a splash of cream and give them a final mix.
  • The end result is perfectly warm and delicious potatoes that you don’t have to race to get to the table. If you keep them in the crockpot, they stay nice and warm for seconds (or thirds)!

*Please note that cooking times vary depending on the size and the temperature of your crockpot. If you’re trying this for the first time, please babysit them to make sure they get to the desired temperature at the desired time.

Ashley’s Favorite No Recipe Mashed Potato Recipe:

  • Select your favorite potatoes (as many as needed)
  • Peel, cube, and boil in salted water until tender
  • Strain all liquid
  • Mix/Mash potatoes with butter, chicken broth, warmed milk (warmed milk helps keep the starches from getting pasty) I use about 50% broth and 50% warm milk. Add the liquids little by little because there’s no going back! You can always add more. Hold back on adding too many liquids if you want to mix in some sour cream like I do.
  • Secret ingredient: Add a little sour cream until fluffy. (For reference I use about 1/3 cup sour cream for an entire full 7-quart crock pot of potatoes)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Garnish with chives
  • Store in an airtight container, refrigerate and warm up the following day using the instructions above

    photo of cooking in a kitchen

    Here is a fun photo of me giving my friend Nadia a cooking lesson. Cheers!



I am the art director and marketing manager for Thrift Town. I have worked for Thrift Town for just about twenty years and I'm passionate about thrift, decorating, entertaining, crafting and, of course Thrift Town.


  1. Mary Esther

    Ashley thank you for the great tip! Lost my daughter in September and Thanksgiving was usually at her place so she always cooked the potatoes. This year it’s at my house and I don’t want to fuss over anything. Your tip was my daughter’s way of watching over me in heaven. She would have loved your apron too. Happy Thanksgiving!

    • Dear Mary, I am so sorry for the loss of your daughter. I wish you and your family all my best with your Thanksgiving and your potatoes. I do believe our loved ones watch over us and I’m sure your daughter will be smiling down at you for stepping in to host Thanksgiving. I know this year will be different, and probably difficult. I hope you can focus on all of your blessings, past and present, and be thankful for them this Thanksgiving. All my best, -Ashley

  2. Allen Shaffer

    Wow…that is an easy and practical idea! Must try for Thanksgiving, and for other meals. Great tip!!!

    • Thanks Allen,

      If you try it out let us know. There are also many youtube and google posts on this topic if you get stuck or have questions on Thanksgiving. The main thing is giving the potatoes enough time to heat up.


  3. Awesome idea! I’m trying that this year. Thank you!