Perfect Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes
(Party Potatoes Recipe)

The Recipe: How to make smooth, rich and fluffy mashed potatoes – sure, serve them right away but these mashed potatoes are especially designed for cooking ahead of time to serve later. This makes them great for serving a crowd and perfect for parties and family gatherings. Trust me, making the potatoes ahead of time takes so much pressure off the cook. Hooray! No more making potatoes at the last minute!

The Story: Memories of my dad making mashed potatoes. He was such a ham!

Perfect Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes, also called Party Potatoes. The potatoes are smooth, rich and fluffy, great for serving a crowd, perfect for parties and family gatherings. For Weight Watchers, #PP4. #KitchenParade

When I was a child, Dad was in charge of mashing the potatoes at Thanksgiving, Christmas and Sunday Dinner, a stage-worthy performance of dramatic flourish and culinary tension.

Act One: Dad smashed the potatoes with a hand masher, but just so far. “You want lumps,” he admonished. “This isn’t Hungry Jack.”

Act Two: He swiped a tasteful of potatoes with the tip of his little finger, then air-smacked his lips, tasting in turn for smoothness, creaminess and saltiness. In the next minutes, he would add what sure looked like equal measures of butter and cream – making my young eyes widen and later, my nutrition-conscious eyes wince – and plenty of salt and pepper.

Act Three: Tableside, we moaned over Dad’s comfort-perfect mashed potatoes, declaring them "heavenly". Still, like cooks everywhere, Dad was more critical of his results than anyone else, smacking his lips once more, asserting that another pat of butter would make all the difference.

So it it any wonder I have celestial standards when it comes to mashed potatoes? No "diet" mashed potatoes here, thank you, at least not for special occasions. So when my dad’s not around to make the potatoes, I turn to these wonderful make-ahead mashed potatoes. The butter, cream cheese and sour cream combine in a smooth consistency (with a few lumps of potato!) and reveal a certain earthy sweetness when the potatoes are made a day ahead.

ALANNA's TIPS To save a dish, use a cooking pot in which a hand mixer can be used. Baking potatoes are the starchy potatoes, ones like russets and Idahos. (Did you know? An Idaho potato is a russet that’s been grown in Idaho, branded by location like Parmesan Reggiano from Italy!) Some times baking potatoes are described as "mealy" potatoes since the flesh is a little dryer. I haven’t tested this recipe with any other kind of potato (why mess with perfection?) and think that a baking potato’s flesh is perfectly suited for this particular recipe, which adds moisture with the dairy ingredients and can be made ahead of time and reheated. For mashing, I love the control afforded by a hand-held electric mixer. Otherwise, mash by hand or use a stand mixer. Never mash potatoes in a food processor unless you favor mashed potatoes in a glue-like mess. Many cooks rave about potatoes mashed with a "potato ricer" – I bought one just for potatoes but was unimpressed. The inspiring recipe makes the potatoes even creamier with another 4 ounces cream cheese. To my taste, that's just too rich and frankly, too "cream cheesy". This way, they are still totally "mashed potatoes" – to my taste, that's perfect! The potatoes reheat more evenly and quickly when a shallow baking dish is used.

PERFECT MAKE-AHEAD
MASHED POTATOES
(PARTY POTATOES)

Make-ahead mashed potatoes for a crowd
Hands-on time: 25 minutes
Time to table: 50 minutes
Makes 10 cups (easy to halve and double)
  • 4 pounds (1860g) baking potatoes
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick, 115g) butter, room temperature, cubed
  • 8 ounces (225g) Neufchatel (low-fat cream cheese), room temperature
  • 3/4 cup (6 ounces/170g) sour cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg (don’t skip, a key ingredient)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • A pat of salted butter, optional
  • Fresh thyme for garnish, optional

PREP Wash and peel the potatoes, drop into cold water as each one is peeled. Cut potatoes into same-size pieces and rinse under running water.

COOK Place potatoes in a large saucepan, barely cover with water, cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to maintain a simmer; cook until potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes, then drain off the cooking water.

WARM THE ADDITIONS While the potatoes cook, in a small saucepan, gently melt the butter on low heat. Stir in the Neufchatel, sour cream, nutmeg, salt and pepper until melted. Keep warm but do not allow to boil.

COOK OFF EXCESS WATER Return the drained potatoes to the still-hot pot, leave the pot dry but turn on the heat to about medium high. Stay close, watching carefully, you want to cook off the excess liquid that the potatoes will express without burning them. This takes two or three or even five minutes.

MASH If needed, transfer potatoes to a bowl for mashing. With a hand mixer or a potato masher, mash the potatoes by themselves until almost smooth. Then mix in warm butter-cream cheese-sour cream mixture until light and fluffy. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.

TO SERVE RIGHT AWAY Transfer to a serving bowl. Top with a slice of butter and sprinkle with fresh thyme leaves. Serve immediately.

TO SERVE LATER Transfer potatoes to a buttered shallow baking dish and sprinkle with fresh thyme leaves. Cover with foil and refrigerate for up to two days. Return to room temperature for several hours, then reheat at 350F for about 60 minutes; leave foil on for the first 30 minutes, then uncover, stir and finish reheating for the last 30 minutes.

NUTRITION INFORMATION Per Half Cup: 147 Calories; 9g Tot Fat; 6g Sat Fat; 24mg Cholesterol; 144mg Sodium; 14g Carb; 1g Fiber; 0g Sugar; 3g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS POINTS Old Points 3.5 & WW PointsPlus 4

Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Quick Suppers are Kitchen Parade favorites and feature recipes easy on the budget, the clock, the waistline and the dishwasher. Do you have a favorite recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via recipes@kitchen-parade.com. How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. Follow Kitchen Parade on Facebook!

Perfect Party Potatoes, Ready for the Oven


Perfect Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes, also called Party Potatoes. The potatoes are smooth, rich and fluffy, great for serving a crowd, perfect for parties and family gatherings. For Weight Watchers, #PP4. #KitchenParade

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LOVE this! I was thinking of adding a bit of cream cheese this year to my potatoes. So I'm glad to see it in your recipe!
 
I quadrupled the batch and made these last night to reheat today for a group of 35... I'm hoping for the best!

How early should I take out the potatoes to let them warm up to room temperature? An hour or so?
 
Kate ~ Good for you! How soon to take them out is a function of how deep / big the container is. You'll want them to be warmed through so a couple of hours isn't too long. Enjoy!
 

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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. But I also love hearing your reactions, your curiosity, even your concerns! When you've made a recipe, I especially love to know how it turned out, what variations you made, what you'll do differently the next time. ~ Alanna