Creamy Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes

Rich and delicious these creamy make ahead mashed potatoes are the perfect side dish. Swirled with cream cheese and butter they come out full of comfort. You can enjoy them as you make them or make them in advance for a larger meal.

Creamy Mashed Potatoes being scooped out with a wooden spoon

The perfect addition to any dinner table these creamy mashed potatoes are my go-to recipe for any holiday dinner.

With it comes light and fluffy potato flesh mixed in with cream cheese and half and half to bring you the most luscious mashed potatoes ever. Seasoned lightly with garlic powder and seasoning salt, these potatoes pair well with any main course.

Not only does everyone gobble them up but this recipe can actually be made a few days in advance without losing its texture! So, you can save time in the kitchen while still enjoying a full-course meal.

These are ‘special’ mashed potatoes to us because of how rich they are, so we usually only serve them on special occasions but if you want them along with your Tuesday night pot roast, have at it. They are seriously the best mashed potatoes I’ve ever tasted.

You don’t have to make them ahead if you don’t want to though. If you want to eat them as soon as you make them, go right on ahead. They are amazing either way.

Ingredients You Need

  • Potatoes: russet potatoes work best for creamy mashed potatoes because they’re so full of starch. This makes for a lighter and fluffier texture once mashed.
  • Butter: opt for unsalted butter as you’ll be seasoning the mashed potatoes yourself.
  • Cream cheese: allow the cream cheese to come to room temperature before you need it. This ensures that it mixes more easily into the potatoes.
  • Half and half: the secret ingredient to ultra-rich mashed potatoes. Though regular milk will work, it won’t give them as comforting a feel. Whole milk will work here as well.
  • Seasonings: you only need a couple of seasonings for this recipe. Garlic powder, seasoning salt, and black pepper will do the trick. Adjust the ratios as needed according to your personal tastes.
Creamy Mashed Potatoes in a casserole dish

Making Creamy Mashed Potatoes in Advance

The highlight of this mashed potato recipe is that you don’t need to be tied to the kitchen the day of your big dinner, you can make them ahead of time!

To do so, bake the potatoes as instructed, then, let them cool fully on the counter. Keep the potatoes in the serving dish and wrap it in plastic wrap. Pop in the fridge for 1-2 days.

The day you need them, let the potatoes sit on the counter for 2-3 hours before serving them. This gets their creamy texture back.

Then, bake in the oven at 350F until completely warmed through (about 30 minutes).

Storing Leftovers

If you have leftover mashed potatoes, store them in an airtight container in the fridge for 2-3 days.

You can reheat them in intervals in the microwave or pop them back in the oven in a casserole dish.

Know that leftover creamy potatoes make for the most delicious Shepherd’s Pie topping too.

Creamy Mashed Potatoes in a pretty light blue rimmed floral dish

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Creamy Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes

The ultimate holiday side dish, these cream mashed potatoes are rich, and indulgent and can be made in advance to reduce stress on the day you need them.
Servings 10 servings


  • 5 pounds russet potatoes
  • 3/4 cups Butter
  • 1 8 oz package cream cheese softened
  • 3/4 cups half & half
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder or more if you like it really garlic-y
  • 3/4 teaspoon – 1 teaspoon Seasoning Salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon – 1 teaspoon Black Pepper


  • Peel & cut the potatoes into chunks, roughly about the same size. Rinse your potatoes & place in a large pot. Cover with hot water by a couple inches. Bring to a boil and cook for about 20-30 minutes, until fork tender but not falling apart.
  • Drain the potatoes in a large colander. Place the drained potatoes back into the pot & place the pot on the stove. Mash the potatoes over low heat with a potato masher, allowing all the steam to escape.
  • Turn off the stove and add 1 ½ sticks of butter, the cream cheese, and the half-and-half. Mash it all up to mix. Stir in the garlic powder. Season to taste with seasoning salt (I like Lawry’s) & black pepper.
  • Mix the potatoes well & place in a medium to large sized baking dish. Dot the top with a few pats of butter and place them in an oven preheated to 350 degrees and heat until butter is melted and potatoes are warmed through.
  • Note: When making this dish a day or two in advance, take it out of the fridge about 2 to 3 hours before serving time. Bake in a 350-degree oven for about 30 minutes or until warmed through.
Which potatoes are best for mashed potatoes?

Any potatoes will work for mashed potatoes. However, Russet potatoes tend to be best due to their starchy nature. This makes it so that they fluff up better than other varieties which creates the perfect texture.

Is milk or cream better for mashed potatoes?

Though milk can be used, cream, half and half, or whole milk will yield a much richer mashed potato.

Can you freeze creamy mashed potatoes?

Yes! Allow them to cool completely before placing them in an airtight container or freezer-safe bag. Try to shape them flat to make it easier to thaw. When you need them, let them thaw overnight in the fridge. When you’re ready, place them into an oven-safe casserole dish along with a bit of half and half to bring back the texture. Heat them at 350F until warmed through.

These Make-Ahead Creamy Mashed Potatoes don't have to be made ahead if you don't want to. They are the richest, most delicious, & most decadent mashed potato I've ever had. EVER. |