Make ahead mashed potatoes are ready and waiting for you in the freezer. Store them in 8×8″ pans for a crowd or scoop them into mini loaf pans to have mashed potatoes for two any time!
Make ahead mashed potatoes:
This year, I’m thankful for mashed potatoes. Well, not exactly mashed potatoes, though it’s definitely not Thanksgiving without a scoop of creamy silky mashed potatoes on my plate. Far be it from me to ever underestimate the power of warm, comforting starchy side dishes!
The real reason I’m thankful this year is that I’m the one in charge of bringing mashed potatoes this year, and our table is going to have 20+ people at it. How incredible is this? Maybe you’re not following me—my husband and I lived far from family for 7+ years, and we’re just now getting used to having big family holiday dinners again. It feels like a gift each time it happens.
We moved to Texas to be near my side of the family (my entire extended family is here in north Texas), but were surprised to discover a side of my husband’s family that left the farm on North Dakota decades ago. Their kids are our age, and it just feels like my heart is going to explode when I think of all the family we both have here. Yes, we left a big piece of our heart in California, but our hearts beat for big family dinners and kids playing loudly upstairs or giggling while jumping on the trampoline together.
California will always be the place my husband and I fell in love—the wine tasting weekends in Napa, beach days in Los Angeles and San Francisco trips will never be forgotten and they’re a big part of us. But, we spent our first date talking about where our family lived and how much we would like to move closer to them. Admittedly, we took a brief pit stop in the Midwest before making our way back South, but I like to think those years in the Midwest were tough but good for us. I feel lucky to have lived all over the country, but I’ll take home any day, thank you very much.
Freezer mashed potatoes:
This method for make ahead mashed potatoes is extra special, because it uses 5 pounds of potatoes. What is it doing on a blog about cooking for two, you might ask? Well, if you buy those mini loaf pans that you commonly see this time of year for gift giving sweet breads, you can use them to store mashed potatoes in the freezer. And a mini loaf pan holds a perfect portion of mashed potatoes for two people!
Mashed potatoes for two:
You can see in the photos that I also put a big portion of make ahead mashed potatoes in a freezer safe 8×8-inch pan. I do this in case we have a dinner party coming up soon. It’s one less side dish that I have to make when I’m trying to entertain my guests. Plus, mashed potatoes are such a crowd-pleasing side dish—everyone loves them!
So, you’re going to start with a 5 pound bag of golden mashed potatoes. The larger the potatoes, the better, because it’s difficult to peel the little potatoes. However, you may absolutely use the little ones and leave the skins on when you mash; it’s personal preference here.
If you’re looking for a slightly lighter version of mashed potatoes, this recipe is adapted from one in my cookbook Dinner Just for Two. That version uses a portion of chicken broth for the liquid. The version in my cookbook is in the chapter called ‘Cook Once, Eat Twice,’ and you’ll make mashed potatoes to use in several dishes throughout the week, including Potato Soup for Two and Samosa-Inspired Potato Pancakes with Peas! It’s a brilliant way to use a large bag of potatoes to serve two creatively, if I do say so myself.
I hope these make ahead mashed potatoes make your holiday season easier, and I hope you love having ready-made mashed potatoes in the freezer as a quick side dish during the week!
- 5 pounds golden potatoes*
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 2 cups half and half
- 2 sticks unsalted butter, divided
- First, fill a large cooking pot with cold water.
- Peel each potato and then place it in the cold water. Once all of the potatoes are in the pot, then turn on the heat to HIGH.
- Bring the potatoes to a boil, add the salt, and continue to cook until the potatoes are tender all the way through, about 15 minutes.
- Drain the potatoes, and then return to them to the pot immediately.
- Add the half and half and one stick of the butter. Using an electric mixer, beat the potatoes to mash them and combine them with the half and half and butter.
- Place the potaotes in whichever freezer storage dish you prefer: either 8x8" pans or mini loaf pans. Slice the remaining stick of butter and dot it along the surface. Cover the pans tightly with heavy duty aluminum foil, place them in freezer-safe bags and freeze.
- To reheat, place the potatoes directly from the freezer with the foil cover still on them into a 350-degree oven. Heat for 30 minutes, stir, and continue to cook until they're warm throughout.
- You may need to add an extra splash of half and half or salt before serving--taste and adjust to your preferences.
*I recommend finding the largest golden potatoes you can find because it's hard to peel the smaller ones. Alternatively, you can use all tiny potatoes and leave the skins on when cooking and mashing--your choice.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 360 Total Fat: 20g Saturated Fat: 12g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 7g Cholesterol: 55mg Sodium: 574mg Carbohydrates: 42g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 4g Sugar: 4g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 6g