Make-ahead mashed potato casserole is the perfect addition to any holiday menu! With cheddar cheese, green onions, and bacon, they’re so flavorful you don’t even need the gravy.
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This make-ahead mashed potato casserole is the answer to your holiday prayers.
Whether it’s for Thanksgiving, Christmas, or any other get-together, these potatoes can be made ahead of time and reheated when you’re ready to serve. So no more last-minute scrambling in the kitchen!
Of course, this recipe isn’t just about having a side dish you can make in advance. These make-ahead mashed potatoes are also delicious! They’re creamy and smooth, with just the right amount of butter and cream, and some cream cheese for extra richness. Shredded cheddar, crispy bacon, and sliced green onions take them to the next level!
Easy Make-Ahead Mashed Potato Casserole Recipe
The most common problem cooks face when it comes to holiday hosting is finding the space to cook everything and timing it all so it’s finished at the same time. It’s like playing a game of mental Tetris, and if you lose, it means you’re serving up cold sweet potato casserole or everyone’s waiting 3 hours for the turkey to finish cooking. (PS – Our post on how long to cook a turkey can help with that.)
This make-ahead mashed potato casserole frees up that oh-so-important stovetop real estate because it’s warmed up in the oven, so you can have all 4 burners available for making gravy, cranberry sauce, steamed broccoli, and anything else you’re planning on serving.
See recipe card below this post for ingredient quantities and full instructions.
- Potatoes – I used Russet potatoes for this recipe.
- Cream cheese – Use unflavored, full-fat cream cheese.
- Unsalted butter
- Heavy cream
- Onion powder
- Garlic powder
- Shredded cheddar cheese – I like using sharp cheddar for this recipe, but feel free to use another variety of cheddar, or a different cheese altogether like gouda, Colby jack, or pepper jack.
- Green onion – For a milder flavor, you can substitute chives.
- Bacon slices – The bacon needs to be cooked and chopped; if you’re in a time crunch, you can use bacon bits instead, or use our recipe for making bacon in the oven.
- Kosher salt & black pepper
How to Make Make-Ahead Mashed Potato Casserole
- Prepare: Lightly grease a 9×13 baking dish with butter or cooking spray.
- Boil the Potatoes: Place the potatoes in a large pot or Dutch oven and fill the pot with enough water that it comes up about 1 inch above the potatoes. Add a few generous pinches of kosher salt and bring to a boil over high heat. Cook until the potatoes are fork-tender, about 8 to 10 minutes.
- Warm Up the Dairy: Combine the butter, cream, onion powder, and garlic powder in a small pot and heat on low until the butter melts and the cream warms.
- Mash the Potatoes: Drain the boiled potatoes, then mash them. Stir in the cream cheese, then slowly stir in the melted butter mixture. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Assemble the Casserole: Transfer the potatoes to the prepared baking dish and smooth the top with a spatula. Sprinkle the cheese, bacon, and green onions on top of the potatoes. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
- Bake: Remove the plastic wrap and bake the mashed potato casserole at 350ºF for 40 to 45 minutes, or until warmed through.
How to Store Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes
These make-ahead mashed potatoes can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days. When ready to serve, remove them from the fridge and let them come to room temperature for 30 minutes before baking according to the recipe instructions.
Here are some main dishes to serve with these make-ahead mashed potatoes:
The best potatoes for mashed potatoes are starchy potatoes like Russet or Yukon Gold potatoes. These types of potatoes have a higher starch content than red potatoes or other varieties, which makes them light and fluffy when mashed.
The most common reason for gluey mashed potatoes is that they were overcooked. Be sure to cook the potatoes just until they are tender and not a minute longer. Also, avoid using a food processor, hand mixer, or blender to mash the potatoes; they tend to overwork the potatoes and make them gummy. Instead, use a potato masher, ricer, or fork to mash the potatoes by hand.
This recipe is specifically for make-ahead mashed potatoes, so they can be made up to 3 days in advance. Store them in the fridge until you’re ready to bake and serve.
No, soaking the potatoes in cold water will not make them better mashed potatoes. In fact, it may actually make them worse! Soaking the potatoes reduces the starch content, and it’s the starch that makes potatoes fluffy when mashed.
More Holiday Side Dishes
- Individual Green Bean Casseroles
- Easy 5-Ingredient Corn Casserole – Made with Jiffy
- Crock Pot Macaroni and Cheese
- Cheesy Broccoli Rice Casserole
Make-Ahead Mashed Potato Casserole
- 3 lbs potatoes, peeled and chopped
- 6 oz cream cheese, softened
- ½ cup unsalted butter
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 3 tbsp green onion, diced small
- 6-8 bacon slices, cooked and chopped
- Kosher salt & black pepper to taste
- Lightly grease a 9×13-inch baking dish.
- In a large pot or Dutch oven, add the chopped potatoes and cover with water. Add a couple large pinches of kosher salt and bring to a boil over high heat. Cook until the potatoes are soft, about 8-10 minutes.
- Add the butter, cream, onion powder, and garlic powder to a small pot and heat on low to melt.
- Drain the potatoes and mash using a potato masher or pass them through a tamis for a smoother texture. Once mashed, add the cream cheese and stir with a spatula to incorporate. Next, slowly add the melted butter and cream a few ounces at a time stirring constantly to fully combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Transfer the potatoes to the prepared baking dish and smooth with a spatula. Sprinkle the cheese, bacon, and green onions on top. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
- When ready, remove the plastic wrap and bake at 350F for 40-45 minutes or until warmed through.