Make a big batch of homemade light and fluffy mashed potatoes and freeze it for later. No grainy, glue-y warmed-up mess here. I’m sharing my proven tips on reheating that perfect make-ahead roasted garlic mashed potatoes.
First, I have to admit, I’m the biggest mashed potato snob! I absolutely cannot stand boxed stuff. It has that weird (aka i-am-a-boxed-mashed-potato-mix) smell and flavor to it, that’s so offputting to me. Grr, don’t even wanna talk about it.
And I don’t like super-thick, glue-y mashed potatoes either. Ugh, just no, thanks!
I like my mashed potatoes light and fluffy, rich and smooth. Ideally, the consistency is not too runny, just thick enough to hold some gravy on top. And homemade is the only way to go. I can eat it straight up, with or without gravy, for a meal. I won’t even complain if I had to eat it every single day for a month!! Can you tell I love potatoes?
Anyway, I’ve perfected my fluffy homemade mashed potatoes recipe a few years back. And then I decided to experiment with freezing some to enjoy later. Many argue that reheated frozen mashed potatoes are the grossest, but I disagree.
You CAN enjoy perfectly fluffy reheated mashed potatoes that you won’t even be able to tell that it was once frozen.
But there is a teeny-tiny secret to bring the light and fluffy texture back to them before serving. Keep on scrolling to learn how.
But first, let’s talk about how to make perfectly light, fluffy, rich and flavorful mashed potatoes to start with.
What kind of potatoes to use for fluffy mashed potatoes?
If you’re like me, a sucker for light n’ fluffy mashed potatoes, you wanna use good old russets. These high-starch potatoes are quite dry, when boiled, but absorbs all the goodies (butter, milk, etc) in to yield rich and flavorful mashed potatoes.
What is the best method to cook potatoes?
I cut the potatoes into a medium chunks to speed up the cooking. This also helps to release some of its starch during cooking, which aids to achieve that fluffy texture. And most importantly make sure to salt the water, and maybe drop a bay leaf.
What is the best way to mash the potatoes?
Forget about the mixers, blenders and food processor! Those high-speed tools overwork the potato starches, creating glue-y, starchy thick puree. Far from what we’re after! Just grab the trusty potato masher and slowly and gently mash the potatoes into light and fluffy goodness!
One more very important tip: mash the potatoes right away when they’re still piping hot! If you let the cooked potatoes cool before mashing, they’ll never get that fluffy consistency. Instead you’ll end up with glue-like mess! Also warm up the milk before adding it to the potatoes.
Now how to freeze and reheat mashed potatoes?
- If you’re freezing the leftovers, I recommend freezing them in small portion sizes by placing a cup or so rounds on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, or silicone mat. And then transfer the frozen pre-portioned mashed potatoes into a freezer bags. It’s easier to thaw this way. Make sure the mashed potato is fully cooled before freezing!
- If you’re making mashed potatoes ahead for Thanksgiving, for example, place the mashed potatoes into a large freezer bag, or airtight container, and freeze the whole thing. A day in advance transfer the frozen batch of mashed potatoes into the fridge and let it slowly thaw overnight. Since it’s a big chunk, it’ll take a while. But we are not done yet!
The most common problem with reheated frozen mashed potato is the grainy texture.
The secret to reheat frozen mashed potatoes is to heat the mashed potatoes thoroughly to a piping hot temperature in the microwave on high. The time will vary depending on your microwave and how big batch you have.
Then you wanna add a bit more butter and milk and fluff it up with a potato masher. And I promise, you’ll get rich and fluffy mashed potatoes as if you just whip them up.
Again I noticed that when the mashed potato is just thawed and hasn’t been thoroughly heated, it’s super grainy and icky. But once you bring it to a piping hot and fluff it up with some butter and milk, the texture changes back to smooth and fluffy. Yep, that’s the trick!
Wowsa, that was a long post. High five to those who’re still with me. ✋
Oh and if you’re looking for a quick and easy Instant Pot mashed potatoes, this’s a great recipe to try!
Make-Ahead Roasted Garlic Mashed Potato
- 1 head of garlic roasted
- 4 lbs about 2kg russet potatoes
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 ½ tablespoons salt
- 1 ½ cup 360ml warm milk (preferably whole)
- 1 stick ½ cup/115gr unsalted butter, softened
- 3 tablespoons mayo
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- Salt and pepper to taste
- To roast the garlic, preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).
- Cut the top of the garlic head, exposing the garlic cloves, and place it in the middle of aluminum foil cut side up.
- Drizzle a tablespoon of olive oil and wrap the garlic.
- Roast it for 45 minutes, or until the garlic is golden and mushy. Unwrap and let it cool.
- To make the mashed potato, peel the potatoes, if desired. Cut into medium pieces and place them in a large pot, filled with cold water.
- Add bay leaf and salt.
- Bring it to a boil over medium high heat. Continue to cook until potatoes are nice and tender, about 15 minutes. Remove bay leaf and drain the water, reserving about 1 cup of cooking water.
- Press the roasted garlic through a garlic press into the hot potatoes.
- Add milk, butter and mayo.
- Using a potato masher, mash the potatoes until nice and smooth (or chunky, however you like it). Season with garlic powder, salt and pepper to taste.
- To freeze the leftover mashed potatoes, place it in an airtight container, or ziplock bag. (Make sure the mashed potato is fully cooled before freezing!) Freeze it for up to 2 months. When ready to use, slowly defrost it overnight in the fridge. (At this point the mashed potato will be grainy and not very appetizing.) Heat it in a microwave on high to thoroughly heat it up. Depending on how big of a batch you have, the time will vary. Just make sure, the mashed potato is piping hot. Add little bit of softened butter and warm milk and mash it to fluff it up. If needed, warm it up again in the microwave on high. Serve immediately, or put it in a warm oven to keep it hot.
This recipe was originally published on November 4th, 2015.