6 stress-free and perfect potato dishes to make ahead or last minute

2021-12-25 02:07:57 By : Ms. Sunny Liu

Mashed, cheesy, scalloped. Plenty of potato dishes grace plenty of Thanksgiving feasts. But as a side dish, cooks are scrambling to oven space and getting everything to the table hot and ready. 

Relax. We are here to help. From the creamiest mashed potatoes to rich-tasting potatoes smothered with cheese to potato casseroles, here are six last-minute potato dishes for your Thanksgiving feast.

We've included two of our favorite mashed potato recipes from our archives.

Keep in mind you can make mashed in advance and keep them warm in a slow-cooker or Instant Pot. You can also make potato casserole dishes in advance and rewarm in the oven while the turkey rests. 

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These are the creamiest mashed potatoes you'll ever make. You can make them in advance and keep them warm in your slow-cooker or Instant Pot. Be sure to use warm or hot milk or cream. Also, make sure the butter is at room temperature. Adding cold milk especially to hot potatoes will make them gummy.

Serves: 8 / Preparation time: 10 minutes / Total time: 20 minutes

4 pounds russets or Yukon Golds, peeled and quartered

¾ to 1 cup hot milk or half-and-half

6 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces

1 teaspoon salt or to taste

½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper or to taste

Place the potatoes in a large saucepan and add enough cold water to cover by 1 inch. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, cover and cook 15 to 20 minutes, or until tender. Drain the potatoes in a colander.

Return the hot potatoes to the pan and mash until smooth with a potato masher.

Gradually add ¾ cup of the hot milk, butter, salt and pepper while continuing to mash the potatoes until fluffy. Add the remaining milk if necessary.

Variations to add to potatoes while they cook: Peeled, whole garlic cloves, or mash them with the potatoes. Peeled and quartered rutabaga, celery root, turnip or parsnip.

Variations to mix into the cooked, mashed potatoes: Freshly chopped herbs such as parsley, dill, sage and rosemary; roasted garlic; nonfat chicken broth instead of milk; favorite cheeses, shredded or crumbled.

From and tested by Susan Selasky for the Free Press Test Kitchen.

261 calories (33% from fat), 10 grams fat (6 grams sat. fat), 6 grams carbohydrates, 4 grams protein, 405 mg sodium, 26 mg cholesterol, 4 grams fiber.

Serves: 10 / Prep time: 10 minutes / Cook time: 40 minutes

1 can condensed cream of chicken soup

2 cups sour cream (full fat is best)

¼ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper grinder

2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese

1 bag (30 ounces) frozen southern style diced or shredded hash brown potatoes, thawed

3 tablespoons of unsalted butter, melted

½ sleeve of Ritz crackers, crushed

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with cooking spray or butter; set aside.

In a large skillet melt the butter over medium heat. Add onion and saute the onion just until soft, but not browned.

Stir in the soup, sour cream, salt, and pepper until well mixed. Stir in the cheese until blended in well. Add the potatoes and mix. Taste and adjust seasoning.

Turn out into prepared baking dish. For the topping, mix the 3 tablespoons of melted butter with the Ritz cracker crumbs and sprinkle evenly over the top of the casserole.

Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until hot and bubbly.

Cook's notes: Instead of topping with crackers, you can use French fried onions, or top the casserole with extra cheese during the last 5 minutes of baking.

Serves: 12 / Preparation time: 10 minutes / Total time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

This casserole can be prepared up to 1 day ahead. Because these are mashed, then baked, they are a bit drier than stove top mashed potatoes. You can mix in some additional warm milk before reheating. A small amount of melted butter can be drizzled on top before serving.

5 pounds Yukon Gold or Russet potatoes

8 ounces regular or reduced-fat cream cheese

¾ cup regular or reduced-fat sour cream

½ teaspoon white pepper or to taste

To prepare the potatoes: Fill a large pot at least halfway with cold water. Peel the potatoes and cut them into ¼-inch-thick slices and place in the pot.

Stir enough salt into the water until it tastes mildly salted. Cover tightly and bring to a full boil over high heat, reduce to medium so the water is just over a simmer; set the lid askew. Cook until the potatoes are tender.

Butter a 9-by-13-inch casserole dish.

Drain the potatoes well and return them to the warm pot. Add the cream cheese and, using a hand-held mixer, mash the potatoes until the cream cheese melts.

Beat in the sour cream and milk. Season with salt and white pepper. Transfer to the prepared dish and completely cool. The potatoes can be prepared at this point up to 4 hours ahead, cover them loosely with plastic wrap. Or they can be made 1 day ahead at this point. Cool, cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate.

To heat the potatoes: Bring the potato dish to room temperature. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Bake the casserole until the potatoes are heated through, about 30 minutes.

Serve hot, sprinkled with chives, if desired.

Adapted from "Thanksgiving 101" by Rick Rodgers (Broadway Books, $15). Tested by Susan Selasky for the Free Press Test Kitchen.

213 calories (20% from fat), 5 grams fat (3 grams sat. fat), 37 grams carbohydrate, 6 grams protein, 90 mg sodium, 16 mg cholesterol, 56 mg calcium, 0 grams fiber.

Serves: 6 / Preparation time: 30 minutes / Total time: 45 minutes

In "Smashed, Mashed, Boiled and Baked - and Fried Too" (Workman, $16.95), author Raghavan Iyer writes that "the secret to mashed potatoes lies in the right floury potato (the russet), a potato ricer and, of course, indulgent fats such as cream and butter." Here is Iyer's basic recipe that you can season as you like. This recipe easily doubles or triples.

4 ounces cream cheese, cut into chunks

1½ teaspoons coarse sea or kosher salt

1½ teaspoons coarsely cracked black peppercorns

½ cup finely chopped fresh chives or herbs of choice

Peel the potatoes and give them a good rinse under running water. Cut them into quarters, place them in a medium-size pan and cover them with cold water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Lower the heat, cover the pan and gently boil the potatoes until they fall apart easily when pierced with a fork, about 20 to 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan pour the cream and add the cream cheese, butter, salt and peppercorns. Simmer over medium heat, uncovered, whisking occasionally, until the cream bubbles, the cheese softens and becomes smooth and the butter melts, 5 to 8 minutes. Keep the cream warm over very low heat until the potatoes are done.

Drain the potatoes in a colander and give it a gentle shake to remove excess water. Return the potatoes to the pan. Dry them out over low heat until the surface appears dry, stirring occasionally so they don't stick to the bottom of the pan.

Working in batches, if necessary, transfer the potatoes to a ricer and press them through into a serving bowl. (If you don't have a ricer, use a potato masher and fluff them very thoroughly with a fork when completely mashed.) Pour the pepper-speckled cream over the potatoes and sprinkle with the chives. Fold together with a spatula just until the liquid is incorporated. Don't overmix it. Serve hot.

From "Smashed, Mashed, Boiled and Baked — and Fried Too" by Raghavan Iyer (Workman, $16.95).

Serves: 12 / Preparation time: 15 minutes / Total time: 1 hour, 10 minutes

½ cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth

½ cup (2 ounces) shredded smoked Gouda cheese

½ cup (2 ounces) reduced-fat baby Swiss cheese

3 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter. Sprinkle in the flour. Gradually whisk in the milk until blended. Stir in the cider, chicken broth, salt, pepper and nutmeg; bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat.

Combine the cheeses in a small bowl.

Arrange half of the potato slices in a shallow casserole dish or 11-by-7-inch dish and sprinkle with ½ cup of the cheese mixture. Arrange remaining potato slices on top. Pour the cider mixture over the potatoes and bake for 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and press the potatoes with a spatula. Sprinkle with the remaining ½-cup cheese mixture and bake an additional 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Remove from the oven and let stand 15 minutes before serving. Cut into individual stacks or use a biscuit cutter to cut into circles

Adapted from Cooking Light magazine, October 1998. Tested by Susan Selasky for the Free Press Test Kitchen.

168 calories (15% from fat), 3 grams fat (2 grams sat. fat), 30 grams carbohydrates, 6 grams protein, 202 mg sodium, 11 mg cholesterol, 2 grams fiber.

Serves: 10 / Preparation time: 15 minutes / Total time: 1 hour, 5 minutes

This recipe can be doubled or tripled. Bake 1-2 hours ahead and tote it covered with foil. Reheat at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. With the cheese and heavy cream, this is a rich dish. A small serving goes a long way.

1 package (5.2 ounces) Boursin cheese with black pepper

2½ to 3 pounds Yukon gold or red-skinned potatoes, peeled and sliced 1⁄3-inch thick

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons minced fresh chives, divided

½ cup (2 ounces) shredded Parmesan cheese, optional

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, optional

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a saucepan, place the cream, Boursin, shallots and garlic and heat over low heat. Cook, stirring, until the Boursin melts and the mixture thickens slightly, about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, brush a 13-by-9-inch baking dish with olive oil. Arrange half of the potato slices in the dish, overlapping as needed. Season the potatoes with salt and pepper and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon chives.

Pour half of the Boursin mixture over the potatoes. Arrange the remaining potato slices on top, season with salt and pepper and scatter the remaining 1 tablespoon chives over them. Pour the remaining Boursin mixture over the potatoes. Scatter the Parmesan cheese over the top, if desired.

Bake the gratin, uncovered, until it is deeply browned and the potatoes are tender, 45 to 50 minutes. You can serve the gratin at once, garnished with chopped parsley, or let it rest 15 to 20 minutes before serving.

From “What Can I Bring? Cookbook” by Anne Byrn (Workman, $14.95).

Tested by Susan Selasky for the Free Press Test Kitchen.

326 calories (69% from fat), 25 grams fat (15 grams sat. fat), 24 grams carbohydrates, 4 grams protein, 112 mg sodium, 82 mg cholesterol, 42 mg calcium, 2 grams fiber.

Contact Detroit Free Press food writer Sue Selasky and send food and restaurant news to: 313-222-6872 or sselasky@freepress.com. Follow @SusanMariecooks on Twitter.

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