Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes and Gravy


I know what you’re thinking: Make the Thanksgiving mashed potatoes AND gravy ahead of time—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 amazing 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
  • 8 ounces sour cream
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons onion 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!
4.58 from 7 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
  • 8 oz 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
4.58 from 7 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 tbspn butter
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbspn 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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14 replies
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  1. Tracy Lang says:

    5 stars
    Those potatoes sound delicious! For my gravy I buy turkey legs ahead of time, roast them, make stock & make my gravy using the fat from roasting. I can’t imaging the taste of the Worchestershire sauce in there but a bit of dry sherry adds a real nice taste.

    Reply
  2. Nicola says:

    Thank you so much for these recipes! I’m going to try the mashed potatoes this year. One question – what do you do with the butter at serving time? Do you mix it in with the potatoes? Do you slice it and put it on top before you bake it? Do you put a slice on top of an individual serving on a plate? None of the above? Thanks in advance!

    Reply
  3. it is good! says:

    I have used this make ahead recipe for the potatoes for years. I usually make it the day before along with a couple other dishes. My family loves the potatoes! Now, I will have to try the gravy.

    Reply
  4. Rosella Nelson says:

    5 stars
    We have made our mashed potatoes this way for many, many years. Such a time-saver, are delicious and always devoured by the family.

    Reply
  5. Kim says:

    5 stars
    I’m all about this! I just finished my turkey (sliced and wrapped tightly in a pan, with 2 cups juice to pour on top when reheating) and gravy (in two quart jars ready to reheat on stove) today. LOVE doing this ahead of time..so much more enjoyable on Thanksgiving. Usually I do potatoes, but my daughter-in-law is this year 🙂

    Reply
  6. Jenni Glenn says:

    Try googling Nutritional Yeast Gravy: it’s pretty yummy. You brown the yeast, but you have to watch it carefully so that it doesn’t burn.

    Reply
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