The beloved side dish is easier to reheat than you may think.

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There's no denying that mashed potatoes are one of the most beloved side dishes around. We look forward to them on Thanksgiving, and we love them just as much the day after, but a common conundrum many people face is how best to reheat them. Like other starch-based dishes, mashed potatoes can develop a dry, sticky texture after sitting in the fridge. However, there are a few easy reheating methods that can restore the dish to its previously perfectly creamy state. Whether you're warming up leftovers from last night's dinner or you made them ahead of time for a big event like Thanksgiving, we talked to the experts to get the scoop on how best to reheat your mashed potatoes. 

mashed potatoes with cream cheese
Credit: Johnny Miller

Reheat on the Stovetop

For a special occasion like Thanksgiving when there's a bunch of mains, sides, and desserts to juggle, you'll want to make-ahead as many dishes as possible. "I almost always make my mashed potatoes for Thanksgiving the day ahead because they're actually very easy to reheat," says Riley Wofford, our associate food editor. Riley's go-to method is reheating the side dish on the stovetop. She says to store them in a heatproof bowl after cooking; when it's time to warm them up, place the bowl over a pot of simmering water. Add an extra splash of cream or milk, and another pat of butter to ensure the mashed potatoes don't dry out. Stir them a few times until everything is warmed through (don't over stir or the mashed potatoes can assume a gummy texture!). "You can also keep them warm over the stove like this—say if you reheated them too soon before everything else was ready, or you made them the day of," Riley explains. "I just cover them loosely with some beeswax wrap once they're warm."

Reheat in the Oven

Whether they're made with just potatoes, milk, butter, and salt or jazzed up with ingredients like sour cream or garlic, mashed potatoes will heat up wonderfully in the oven. JeanMarie Brownson, recipe developer and owner of JMB Culinary Consulting, says she likes to make her mashed potatoes a few days early and store them in a soufflé or casserole dish, then bake them when it's time to serve. One benefit of using this method is that the baking dish allows the potatoes to be reheated in an even layer which keeps them from drying out (opposed to the mashed potatoes being clumped together in a pot or bowl on the stovetop). To further avoid dryness, Brownson says not to skimp on butter and other dairy products. Add a dash of cream or milk, and some more butter to the dish before baking. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and reheat the potatoes until they're warm throughout—the potatoes should reach 165 degrees before serving. "After reheating, check for seasonings, they may need a little more salt and pepper—especially if you've added more cream," Brownson says.

Use Your Microwave 

If you're in a pinch, you can use a microwave to reheat your mashed potatoes. To do so, King Phojanakong, chef at the Institute of Culinary Education, says to scoop the potatoes into a microwave safe dish and cover with plastic wrap or a wet paper towel. Then heat the mashed potatoes in two-minute increments, mixing after each one. Repeat the process until the potatoes are heated through and have reached a safe internal temperature of 165 degrees. Phojanakong says you can add more cream or stock if the potatoes begin to dry out during the reheating process.

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