How to Freeze Mashed Potatoes
I’ve been busy making our Thanksgiving meal. Yes, two weeks in advance. It’s easy when you know how to properly freeze everything it takes for your Thanksgiving feast. Read on if you want to know how to freeze mashed potatoes. Not only is this great recipe easy, but it also produces the best mashed potatoes you’ve ever served. This might be the perfect side dish!
For the last four or five years, I’ve cooked almost everything (except the turkey) in advance and stored it in the freezer.
It makes Thanksgiving dinner so much easier for me! I just transfer the prepared Thanksgiving sides to the fridge a couple of days before to defrost, and then reheat it in the oven on Thanksgiving afternoon. The only things I prepare on Thanksgiving day are the turkey and the deviled eggs. Using make ahead recipes for your side dishes makes the Thanksgiving prep easier for you.
Usually, you can’t freeze potatoes whether they are raw potatoes or cooked and mashed in a standard recipe. They get grainy and gross since freezing can change the texture of the unprotected potato molecules. The trick to freezable mashed potatoes is to coat every molecule of potato in luscious, full-fat dairy. I imagine the dairy duo of butter and sour cream blanketing and protecting the fragile starches.
My usual mashed potatoes are made with Yukon Gold potatoes or red potatoes. I love the firmer, waxier texture of Yukon Golds because I like the potatoes a little rustic, and more smashed than whipped. But for this recipe, I used russet potatoes – those big Idaho potatoes that are so good as baked potatoes – which have a drier consistency and whip up light and fluffy. So fluffy!
Since this recipe is for Thanksgiving, forget about the calorie count. Also, if you are going to freeze this, ALL DAIRY MUST BE FULL FAT.
I said full fat. Think of it as insulation. For the potatoes, not you.
FREEZE-AHEAD MASHED POTATO RECIPE
5 pounds russet potatoes
8 ounces cream cheese
8 ounces sour cream
8 Tablespoons butter, unsalted
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste
Bring cream cheese, sour cream, and butter to room temperature (very important!)
Peel and cube potatoes and cook until tender in a large pot of salted water. I put in a tablespoon or two of salt before I add the potatoes.
Use a little bit of the soft butter to grease a casserole dish. This dish should be able to go in the freezer and in the oven.
Once the dish is buttered, use a tablespoon or so of the grated Parm to dust the inside of the dish. Set aside.
Prepping a baking dish is completely optional, but a great way to go from freezer to oven to table. Another great option is to let the finished recipe cool and then store it in a large freezer bag until it’s time to reheat. This might be the best way to save oven space because you can warm the mashed potatoes in a crock pot or instant pot on Thanksgiving Day.
When potatoes fall apart when you press on them, drain and return to the pan on the stove. Make sure the stove is off now.
Add the cream cheese, sour cream, and all but one tablespoon of the butter.
Using a hand mixer, whip until smooth. Don’t over-mix, since that can create gummy potatoes.
You can add splashes of whole milk if a tablespoon at a time to adjust the consistency.
For the last few years, I’ve become a convert to the potato ricer. You just press your cooked potatoes through the ricer and you get always-fluffy, never gummy mashed potatoes. Let a kid help with this part. It’s full for them and gets them involved with the meal.
Also, it’s fine to use your standard potato masher, just slightly less festive. Again, let the kids help mash potatoes.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Put potatoes into a baking dish, sprinkle with the grated Parmesan and dot the top of the potatoes with the reserved tablespoon of butter. Feel free to use extra. On this many pounds of potatoes, you can use plenty of butter
Cover tightly with plastic wrap and freeze.
Reheating Instructions for Frozen Mashed Potatoes
(If you don’t want to freeze this, you can make it a day in advance and store it in the fridge.)
The day before Thanksgiving, transfer frozen mashed potatoes to the refrigerator to thaw.
About an hour before dinner, set the dish out to come to room temperature.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Remove plastic wrap and bake uncovered for 30 minutes. Make sure the center is fully heated.
I turn the broiler on for five more minutes if it’s not browned enough.
I think this recipe is smooth and rich and perfect for the Thanksgiving table. I’ve made it for years and it is a much-anticipated part of our annual dinner.
You can’t have Thanksgiving without mashed potatoes!
If there are leftovers, I mix with a little cheese and egg and fry up potato pancakes on Friday or Saturday.
This recipe is from an old favorite cookbook, “Happy Holidays from the Diva of Do-Ahead” by Diane Phillips.
It’s a wonderful book for entire make-ahead meals for every holiday throughout the year, and I highly recommend it. It’s on Amazon for about ten dollars.
Next, make-ahead gravy! Get it done in advance almost completely so you don’t have to sweat it on Turkey Day.