Make ahead mashed potatoes are perfect for holiday meals! These Creamy Italian Mashed Potatoes are packed with flavor and so easy to throw together. After whipping the potatoes, you put them in a casserole dish and bake til crispy. It’s so good!

Creamy mashed potatoes baked til crispy

Saturday afternoon, Eric and I piled everyone into the car to head to my niece and nephew’s joint baptism ceremony. We even managed to get the usual Saturday night bath in early, so everyone was looking particularly spiffy. (Well. Except Valentine. She napped through the bath and looked like a baby Einstein.) But never mind that, most of us looked great.

That is, until we were about halfway there, and I looked down and realized that below my long maxi skirt I was wearing fuzzy socks and Eric’s 3-year-old moccasin slippers.

mashed potatoes with crispy topping

It was too late to go back. We would miss the ceremony. I was panicking. I can’t walk into the church wearing SLIPPERS!!!

Eric’s said, “They look fine! Just take off the socks.”

Thanks Eric. Thanks a lot.

I suppose this is karma for stealing Eric’s slippers all the time. My house is cold, okay?! Seriously though, it has been raining nonstop this week. It’s like California finally got the memo that it’s supposed to be winter, just in time for spring.

make ahead mashed potatoes with crispy topping

Speaking of spring, did you know that Easter is only in eighteen days?? How did this happen?? Early Easters always throw me off!

How to make Creamy Italian Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes

I’ve got you covered for mashed potatoes! This recipe is one that I’ve been meaning to try out for years. A reader left a comment on this Mashed Potatoes recipe that her grandma used to make creamy mashed potatoes with cream cheese and dry Italian dressing mix. Then she would bake them til crispy. It sounds amazing, right?? It is. We absolutely loved these potatoes.

Italian dressing mix and chicken base

pot of creamy mashed potatoes

casserole dish of mashed potatoes

I love that they are baked, because you still get super creamy mashed potatoes underneath the crispy topping, but you can make them up to a day in advance. I am slowly learning over the years just how much finesse it takes to pull off a perfect holiday meal where everything is still warm but nothing is dried out. It’s tough! I’m still not there! But dishes like these make ahead mashed potatoes make it a lot easier. At least you don’t have to worry about dried out (or stone cold!) mashed potatoes! Just leave them in a warm oven until it’s time to eat.

make ahead crispy mashed potatoes


Check out my Easter Flavors board on Pinterest for more holiday meal ideas!

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Other potato recipes to make for Easter this year!

Aunt Shirley’s Famous Creamy Mashed Potatoes <<legit.

Funeral Potatoes << I made this classic for you to try :)

Mashed Potatoes from my mom :) I have some really great mashed potato makers in my family, guys, what can I say.

Ultra Creamy, Cheesy, Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes: (this one’s from Ina!)

Italian Roasted Smashed Potatoes from Wine and Glue

Garlic Mozzarella Mashed Potatoes from Southern Plate

Make-Ahead Garlic Herb Mashed Potatoes from Valerie’s Kitchen


Make Ahead Creamy Italian Mashed Potatoes

5 from 3 votes
Prep: 25 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Total: 45 minutes
Servings: 8
Make ahead side dishes are perfect for holiday meals! These Creamy Italian Mashed Potatoes are packed with flavor and so easy to throw together. After whipping the potatoes, you put them in a casserole dish and bake til crispy. It's so good!


  • 5 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 4-5 cloves of garlic, smashed and minced
  • 1 8 ounce package cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup salted butter, 1 stick
  • 2 .7 ounce packets dry Italian dressing mix
  • 1 teaspoon Better Than Bouillon Chicken Base
  • 1 tablespoon dry Italian dressing mix, for topping
  • 1-3 teaspoons Italian seasoning, for topping


  • Bring a large pot of water to boil over high heat while you peel and chop the potatoes. Chop them into 1 or 2 inch chunks.
  • Chop the onion and the garlic.
  • Add the potatoes, onion, and garlic to the water, even if it's not boiling yet. Leave the heat on high until the water starts boiling, then reduce to a medium simmer.
  • Boil for about 15-20 minutes until the potatoes are very tender.
  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Drain well.
  • Add the cream cheese, butter, 2 packets of Italian dressing mix, and Chicken Base.
  • Use a hand mixer to beat the potatoes. This should only take about 2 minutes.
  • Taste the potatoes and see if you want to add any salt and pepper.
  • Pour the potatoes into a 3 quart casserole dish. (Any size will do. 9x13 works great, and then you get lots of crispy topping.)
  • Use your spoon to create wave and divets on the surface of the potatoes.
  • Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon additional dry Italian dressing mix. If you don't have another packet, or think it's annoying to have an open package in your cupboard, then skip it and just sprinkle on some Italian seasoning. I did both!
  • Bake at 400 degrees F for about 20-30 minutes, until the top has developed a layer that is as crispy as you like it. 
  • Serve immediately.

Make ahead:

  • Follow instructions through step 12 (put the potatoes in the casserole dish and top with seasoning). Cover tightly and refrigerate for up to 24 hours. When you are ready to bake, remove the cover and bake at 400 for 30-45 minutes, until hot and the top has become crispy. 


I got the idea for this recipe from a reader comment on these Mashed Potatoes. Thanks, Snarkie! :)


Calories: 365kcal | Carbohydrates: 56g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 34mg | Sodium: 401mg | Potassium: 1294mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 377IU | Vitamin C: 18mg | Calcium: 150mg | Iron: 3mg
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American, Italian
Calories: 365
Keyword: italian, make ahead, mashed potatoes
Did you make this? I'd love to see it!Mention @thefoodcharlatan or tag #thefoodcharlatan!

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  1. Hi.. your recipe seems very delicious but I’m vegetarian so cannyou please give substitute for chicken base.
    And if possible please send vegetarian recipes also.

  2. I love your recipes! What do you do when your family doesn’t like to try something new? I would love to make these potatoes but I know everyone but my mom would turn there noses up. Is there a way to make a smaller amount so i can maybe get them to try and not have a ton of leftovers?

    1. Hi Sharon! Thanks I’m so glad you’re enjoying the recipes! I don’t know if I’m the best person to ask about picky eaters, because I’m pretty ruthless, haha. My kids are 8, 6, and 3, and I don’t make them special meals. They all know by now that if they don’t want to eat what I made, they don’t eat, haha! As for these potatoes though, I would definitely make half the recipe in an 8×8 inch pan. Hopefully that won’t be too much! Let me know how it goes!

  3. I absolutely adore you, Karen! I get so excited when I see you have a new blog post, and you never disappoint! Between your stories and wonderful recipes, I know I’m in for a treat, and you didn’t disappoint today! LOL about the slippers! We have been in Santa Cruz for three weeks, and this rain……😫. We are transplanting 25 rose plants from S.C. to Sacramento on Sunday, and I’m really hoping the rain holds off for a few days. These potatoes seem like an excellent idea to eat after the transplanting is completed. I think I’ll be needing warm comfort food! Thanks for another great recipe!

    1. Thank you so much for reading Collette!! I love hearing from you! What are you transplanting roses for?? Sounds like an adventure!

      1. We transplanted 25 roses from my mother-in-law’s garden to my brother-in-law’s garden. My sweet mother-in-law passed away 11 months ago, and her house just sold. Her rose garden was her pride and joy……well, behind her dog and kids, and we jokingly say it was in that order. I’m so thankful the weather cooperated and provided just the right weather during the transplanting. We just finished transplanting the roses so are going to stay in Sacramento tonight, so I’m going to go to the grocery store and look for the Marques Brothers sauce you used in your Cafe Rio recipe and the curry sauce you used in a recipe not too long ago. I looked for the items in the small town we live in, but couldn’t find either, so I’ve been waiting to look while here.
        I hope Valentine’s pink eye is better. She is so cute, and oh my goodness is she growing up quickly!
        Take care, and be easy on yourself in terms of juggling motherhood with your blog. I read a quote right after my MIL passed away, and it said, “The days are long, but the years are short.” (I read it in an article about being a caregiver). It really made me think about how true that is. When you are caring for children or an aging parent, the days can seem so long and overwhelming at times, but before we know it, years have passed and that phase of our lives is over. Okay……I just hopped off my soapbox and am going to take a shower and head out to get supplies for making some awesome Food Charlatan recipes! 😘

        1. Wow moving 25 rosebushes sounds like quite the task! I’m glad everything went as planned! I’m sorry to hear about your mother in law. They have a really special place in our hearts. And it is so true, the days are long but the years are short! That describes it perfectly. I hope you have/had fun cooking and that everything turned out!!

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