The Best Ways To Reheat Mashed Potatoes

There are few kitchen staples more delicious — and reliable — than potatoes. Whether the starchy spuds take the form of french fries, potato salad, roasted potatoes, potato pancakes, as the base of a hash, or so many more tasty examples, we certainly wouldn't want to find ourselves in a potato-less kitchen.

And of all the classic potato recipes, there might not be one more classic than mashed potatoes. Typically a simple yet irresistible combination of boiled potatoes, butter, and milk or cream, the holiday-appropriate side dish can be made smooth and creamy or in a chunkier style. Common mashed potato variations include those enriched with ingredients like sour cream, bacon, and cheeses such as cheddar.

Often, when we whip up a batch of mashed potatoes, it's a big batch — fit for the groaning tables of holidays such as Thanksgiving and Christmas. And while pretty much everyone loves a good mash, leftover mashed potatoes are a common occurrence, too. Mashed potatoes can be a tricky item to reheat, prone to getting scorched or gluey, according to The Kitchn. So how best to reheat them to their creamy glory? Read on to find out.

On the stovetop

As Martha Stewart notes, mashed potatoes, like other leftover starchy dishes, can go dry and sticky as they sit in the fridge. But there's a remedy for that, and, according to the outlet, it's reheating the taters on the stovetop. But don't just grab the same pot you made the potatoes in: Martha Stewart suggests storing the potatoes in a heatproof bowl, then placing the bowl over a pot of simmering water in a double-boiler method of reheating.

To keep the potatoes from drying out? Add an extra splash of cream or milk, another pat of butter, and stir them a few times until they're warmed through. Just don't stir too often, or you'll risk them going gummy. Juggling a bunch of dishes — including mashed potatoes — on Thanksgiving or Christmas Day? Keep the potatoes on the stove. "You can also keep them warm over the stove like this," Martha Stewart associate food editor Riley Wofford explains, adding that this method works "if you reheated them too soon before everything else was ready, or you made them the day of."

In the oven

The Kitchn also cites the risk of gluey mashed potatoes when reheating, a phenomenon caused by overworking the starch in the potatoes. But the site takes a different approach when it comes to reheating, turning to that old standby: the oven. A method that avoids mashed potatoes scorching on the bottom of the pan or getting over-stirred, fates that can befall stovetop-reheated mashed potatoes, this one starts by preheating the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

The Kitchn suggests spreading the leftover mashed potatoes into an oven-safe dish, then adding more cream and butter (or broth and butter). Once done, cover the dish tightly with foil and reheat slowly in the oven until warmed through. The experts over at Pioneer Woman, meanwhile, also suggest reheating mashed potatoes in the oven and recommend leaving them to warm for about 15 to 20 minutes.

Another hot tip from The Kitchn? Turkey that needs reheating will take about the same amount of time as the potatoes, so it's a handy trick to keep in mind if the mashers you're reheating are the Thanksgiving variety. And if you're working with a smaller amount of leftover mashed potatoes, the toaster oven will work fine, too: The instructions are the same as the traditional oven.

In the microwave

Though the microwave often gets flak for reheating items unevenly and causing them to dry out (via CNET), this handy kitchen appliance does do some food items justice — and mashed potatoes is one of those items. According to The Spruce Eats, one of the secrets to turning out reheated mashed potatoes that are just as smooth and creamy as when they were first made is to avoid overheating them, which can gelatinize the starch in the potatoes and cause that gumminess that many of us remember from the lunch line at school when we were kids.

And though microwaves can certainly get foods very hot, the outlet's method calls for short bursts of nuking at only half the power — with stirring in between — to make sure the potatoes warm through without ever getting too hot. To reheat mashed potatoes in the microwave, add them to a microwave-safe bowl along with some additional milk or cream, and cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap. Microwave the potatoes at 50% power for 60 seconds, unwrap the potatoes and stir them, then give them a taste to see how hot they are. Repeat as necessary until the mashed potatoes are nice and warm.

In the Instant Pot

Of all the appliances that have graced our kitchen counters over the past few years, few could argue against the importance of the Instant Pot — the combination slow cooker, pressure cooker, rice maker, and steamer that comes in one compact machine (via The Kitchn). Since it debuted on the U.S. market back in 2010, the Instant Pot has become immensely popular, with an estimated 21% of American adults owning one as of 2019, according to an Instapot Life survey.

And if you count yourself among that 21%, then you're in luck: According to the Sunday Supper Movement, the appliance can be used to reheat mashed potatoes. To do so, pour a cup of water into the pot, then place the trivet inside. Fluff up the potatoes, add them to the inner pot, and then set the "steam" function. Your leftover mashed potatoes will be hot and ready to eat in just five minutes.