Make-ahead mashed potatoes are a timesaver for Thanksgiving and other holidays. Credit: Brian Feulner | BDN

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays hands down, although I fully admit to being “the girl who cried favorite.” What I love the most is that I can go crazy making side dishes and filling up the dining room table and not have to apologize one bit for it. Because Thanksgiving is all about the side dishes.

The only problem? There is only so much oven and stove-top space available on the big day. That’s when we have to get creative and include some recipes that can be made ahead.

All the better to save previous oven space … and our sanity. Which makes these make-ahead mashed potatoes perfect for your master list. Throw it together the night before, doing little more than cooking the potatoes and mixing a handful of ingredients together, and pop the dish into the oven 30 minutes before you’re ready to dig in.

Ribbons of freshly grated sharp Cheddar cheese. Creamy, velvety potatoes. And a slight tinge of onion from the chives on top.

This comfort food favorite will instantly become the star of your Thanksgiving Day table.

Have leftovers? Dice up some cooked turkey or ham, mix it with the potatoes, and shape patties with your hands. Pop them into a lightly greased pan, and cook them for a few minutes on each side until they develop a slightly crispy outer layer. Get ready to enjoy some delicious mashed potato patties.

Cheddar and chive make-ahead mashed potatoes

Servings: 8-10

3-pound potatoes (about 4 large)

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons butter

2 (3-ounce each) packages 1/3 less fat cream cheese, softened

2/3 cup light sour cream

1/4 cup milk

1 cup grated cheddar cheese

1 tablespoon butter, melted

1/2 teaspoon paprika


Boil potatoes with salt until tender. Drain and peel potatoes, place in large mixing bowl, and mash with a potato masher. Add 2 tablespoons butter, the cream cheese, sour cream, milk and cheddar, mixing until all ingredients are blended.

Spoon mixture into a lightly greased 12-by-8-by-2-inch baking dish. Brush top of mixture with the remaining tablespoon of melted butter; sprinkle with paprika.

Bake immediately, or cover and refrigerate.

If refrigerated, let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before baking. Bake at 350 F, uncovered, 30 minutes or until hot. Sprinkle with chopped chives and a little bit of additional grated Cheddar right before serving.

Cate O’Malley is a food writer and author of the food blog Sweetnicks.