Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes and Gravy


I know what you’re thinking: Make the Thanksgiving mashed potatoes AND gravy ahead of time—up to several days before the big day? Like serve leftovers for the biggest best meal of the year? You have got to be kidding.

Well yes, that is exactly what I am suggesting and will be doing myself, but let me be clear—this is not leftovers. What you are about to learn is so amazing—and I’m not talking about only the recipes, but also the how-tos and full instructions. This has the potential to completely transform your Thanksgiving dinner prep by moving the two big last-minute tedious kitchen tasks—mashed potatoes and gravy—from the last minute to days ahead.

You gotta’ trust me on this. Once ready to serve, the flavors will have melded in ways you could have not predicted.

Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes

(Full printable recipe card follows)

You can make these fool-proof mashed potatoes several days before you will be serving them. Don’t worry. No one will ever detect your secret. In fact, fabulous mashed potatoes just might become your signature dish.

Ingredients

  • 5 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes (see recipe card notes)
  • 2 (3-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • ground black pepper, to taste
  • butter, chives, or green onions for optional garnish

Instructions

Several days ahead …

  1. Peel the potatoes and cut them into large cubes.
  2. Place potatoes in a large pot of lightly salted water and set over high heat. Bring to a boil and cook for about 15 minutes or until fork-tender.
  3. Drain. Move potatoes to a large bowl and mash using a potato masher or standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.
  4. Add cream cheese, sour cream, milk, onion salt, and pepper. Mix well until everything is well incorporated.
  5. Transfer to a large casserole dish for oven method, or to slow cooker inner removable pot. Cover and refrigerate.

On serving day…

Oven method

On the day of serving, remove potatoes from the refrigerator and allow to stand for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 325 F (165 C). Bake covered casserole in the preheated oven for 35-50 minutes, depending on the size and shape of the dish. Garnish as desired. Serve hot.

Slow cooker method

Four to 6 hours before mealtime, move the slow cooker pot holding the mashed potatoes to the slow cooker unit. Set to Low. Cover. Stir every 2 hours or so. Once thoroughly heated through, move the slow cooker to Warm. Garnish as desired. Serve hot.

 

 

Make-Ahead Gravy

(Full printable recipe card follows)

Ingredients

  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce (optional)
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, to taste
  • ground black pepper,to taste
  • Turkey (chicken, beef)  drippings

Instructions

Several days ahead…

  • Melt butter in a medium saucepan over med-high heat.
  • Whisk in the flour until well incorporated
  • Cook, whisking frequently until this roux is golden brown or about 10 minutes.
  • Add the chicken stock and whisk until combined.
  • Bring to a simmer and cook, whisking occasionally, until the gravy is thickened, 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Stir in the Worcestershire sauce, salt, and ground pepper.
  • Cool then refrigerate in an airtight container.

On serving day

  1. Transfer refrigerated gravy to saucepan set over low heat.
  2. Pour turkey drippings into a fat separator (or measuring cup and spoon off the fat),
  3. Add the drippings to the gravy.
  4. Stir until well combined and hot.
  5. Pour into a gravy boat and serve.

mashed potatoes with melted butter and chives

Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes

Let me be clear—but this is not about serving leftovers. This has the potential to completely transform your Thanksgiving dinner prep by moving the two big last-minute tedious kitchen tasks—mashed potatoes and gravy—from the last minute to days ahead.
Once ready to serve, the flavors will have melded in ways you could have not predicted. So good!
5 from 6 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Reheating in oven: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings: 12 people
Calories: 189kcal
Cost: $6

Ingredients

  • 5 lbs Yukon Gold potatoes Russet or red-skin potatoes are also good
  • 2 (3-oz) cream cheese softened
  • ¾ cup sour cream
  • ½ cup whole milk
  • 2 tspns salt See notes
  • ground black pepper to taste
  • butter, chives, green onion for optional garnish at time of serving

Instructions

Several days ahead ...

  • Peel the potatoes and cut into large cubes.
  • Place potatoes in a large pot of lightly salted water and set over high heat. Bring to a boil and cook for about 15 minutes or until fork-tender. Drain.
  • Move potatoes to large bowl and mash using a potato masher or standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.
  • Add cream cheese, sour cream, milk, onion salt, and pepper. Mix well until everything is well incorporated.
  • Transfer to a large casserole dish for oven method, or to slow cooker inner removable pot. Cover and refrigerate.

On serving day: Oven method

  • On the day of serving, remove potatoes from the refrigerator and allow to stand for 30 minutes. In the meantime, preheat oven to 325 F (165 C). Bake covered casserole in the preheated oven for 35-50 minutes, depending on the size and shape of the dish. Garnish as desired. Serve hot.

On serving day: Slow cooker method

  • On the day of serving at least 4 hours before mealtime, move the slow cooker pot holding the mashed potatoes to the slow cooker unit. Set to Low. Cover. Stir every 2 hours or so. Once thoroughly heated through, turn the slow cooker to Warm. Garnish as desired. Serve hot.

Notes

  1. Feeling adventurous? Substitute some or all of the salt with onion salt! 

Nutrition

Calories: 189kcal | Carbohydrates: 34g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 11mg | Sodium: 96mg | Potassium: 836mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 134IU | Vitamin C: 37mg | Calcium: 55mg | Iron: 2mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @EverydayCheapskate or tag #EverydayCheapskate!

 

Make-Ahead Gravy

Such a great way to make homemade gravy with the last-minute hassle and mess
5 from 6 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 25 minutes
At time of serving: 15 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 12
Calories: 107kcal
Cost: $5

Ingredients

  • 5 tbsp butter
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp Worchestershire Sauce, (optional, but delicious!)
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 1 tspn Kosher salt, or to taste
  • ground black pepper, to taste
  • Turkey drippings or beef, chicken; about 1 cup is ideal but use what you have

Instructions

Several days ahead ...

  • Melt butter in a medium saucepan over med-high heat.
  • Whisk in the flour until well incorporated
  • Cook, whisking frequently until this roux is golden brown or about 10 minutes.
  • Add the chicken stock and whisk until combined.
  • Bring to a simmer and cook, whisking occasionally, until the gravy is thickened, 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Stir in the Worcestershire sauce, salt, and ground pepper.
  • Cool then refrigerate in an airtight container.

On serving day ...

  • Transfer refrigerated gravy to saucepan set over low heat.
  • Pour turkey (beef, chicken) drippings into a fat separator (or measuring cup and spoon off the fat),
  • Add the drippings to the gravy.
  • Stir until well combined and hot.
  • Pour into a gravy boat and serve immediately. Yum!

Nutrition

Calories: 107kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 17mg | Sodium: 260mg | Potassium: 141mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 154IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 6mg | Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @EverydayCheapskate or tag #EverydayCheapskate!

 

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7 replies
  1. Jackie B says:

    5 stars
    Mary, these are GREAT! You are so right, no one knew on Thanksgiving Day that I made these on Tuesday. They were perfect and really are going to be my new signature dish 😉 Thank you so much for saving me stress; may blessings return to you!

    Reply
  2. Bake Up, Little Suzy says:

    5 stars
    We didn’t try the recipes (there’s no straying from Mom’s famous mashed potatoes and gravy), but we did use your make-ahead and re-warm in the slow cooker method, and it worked beautifully! Things get sooo hectic when the turkey comes out and the gravy needs to be made, that it was just wonderful to free up a stovetop burner (and our time and energy!) having the mashed potatoes piping hot and ready to serve in the crockpot. We were a little late in getting the mashed potatoes out of the fridge, so we turned it up to high for part of the time and we were just delighted by the little golden brown patches along the bottom and sides. This is a new Thanksgiving tradition for our family. Thank you so much!

    Reply
  3. Ligeia says:

    I got this potato recipe from your newsletter years ago, and it’s become a staple around here. Everyone who tries it loves it, and demands the recipe when they find out how convenient it is to make it ahead. I already have the ingredients for tomorrow’s batch!

    Haven’t tried the gravy; I apparently lack the gene required for successful sauces/gravies…lol.

    Thanks for all your recipes!

    Reply

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