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These recipes for making mashed potatoes a day or two before Thanksgiving will reduce the stress of the big day. Steve Alexander and his wife, Diane Montiel, have been using a recipe from friend Ann Wright for several years and in Diane’s words, “It’s magic.” Another friend, Nova Lanktree, has a slightly different recipe but both accomplish the same thing: eliminating the potato peeling, the water boiling, and mashing as you try to get the turkey and other side dishes prepared without ruining your hairdo and makeup. All three ladies spoke with Steve about the game-changing recipes. You’re welcome, America!

Ann Wright’s Make-ahead-of-time-Mashed Potatoes

(Original recipe credit to Mary Yoo.)

5-pound bag of potatoes, peeled, cooked and drained. (I buy 7-8 large Russet potatoes.)

Leave the potatoes in the pot and WHILE STILL HOT, add:

3-oz cream cheese

1 stick butter


1 cup milk (your choice of whole or reduced fat)

1 tsp Lawry’s Seasoned Salt

1 tsp onion powder

1/4 tsp white pepper (or black if you don’t have white and don’t want to buy it)

Beat until smooth (I use a hand mixer.)

Transfer to a casserole dish, cover and put in the fridge.

On the serving day, remove from the fridge and get it to room temperature.

Optional: You can put a dab of butter on top and then put the potatoes in the oven at 350 until hot. (I always put it in the oven while the turkey is resting before carving.)

You can also heat it up in the microwave and it’ll taste just as good.

Will keep in the fridge for a week, but I always make it the day before Thanksgiving. Yay! No big pot to wash or potatoes to peel, cook and mash that day. It’s already done! AND, they are delicious! Serves 6 to 8.

Nova Lanktree’s Make-ahead Mashed Potato Casserole

(Original recipe credit to Marge Paul’s recipe in the St. Attracta Cicero cookbook, circa 1980s.)

3 oz cream cheese, softened

1 tsp garlic salt

1/4 tsp pepper

1/2 cup sour cream

3 lbs. baking potatoes

2 tbsp butter or margarine

Sprinkle of paprika

In a bowl, stir together cream cheese, garlic salt, pepper and sour cream until smooth and set aside.

Peel and boil potatoes. Drain.

Using an electric mixer, beat potatoes until they are in fine lumps.

Add the cream cheese mixture and continue beating until smooth.

Spoon into a 2-quart casserole, cover and refrigerate.

On serving day, remove from refrigerator, dot with butter and sprinkle with paprika.

In oven pre-heated to 400 degrees, bake covered for 20-25 minutes. Remove cover and bake until potatoes begin to turn golden.