Why You Should Try Baking Your Mashed Potatoes

Ah, mashed potatoes — a dish so delicious they even named a dance after it. As good as the baked potato or a side of roasted taters can be, there's something magical about the fluffy combo of butter, milk, and boiled spuds. It goes well with steak, meatloaf, or even a roasted chicken — and what would Thanksgiving be without the mashed potatoes? That'd be more like No-thanks-giving.

But while mashed potatoes are pretty simple to prepare, they're notoriously tricky to make ahead of time, tending to go gluey or become scorched if you make them in advance of your meal and then need to reheat them (via Kitchn). And since we often prepare mashers in bulk for holiday meals, which are full of other dishes that need to be served warm, too, the timing of getting a hot bowl of the dish on the table can be challenging, to say the least.

Baked mashed potatoes can be made ahead of time and easily kept warm

If you've experienced the challenge of making mashed potatoes in advance and ensuring they're still warm once they hit the table, then it's time to look into baked mashed potatoes. Also known as mashed potato casserole (via the New York Times), baked mashed potatoes are pretty much what they sound like: Potatoes that are prepared, folded with additional ingredients such as shredded cheese, smoothed into a buttered baking dish, baked until hot, and typically broiled at the end to achieve a burnished top crust (via Kitchn).

According to Kitchn, the advantage of baking up a dish of mashed potatoes as opposed to stirring together the stovetop variety is that the casserole can be made ahead of time — a full day in advance, the outlet notes — and then popped into a hot oven for just 20 minutes before serving, making it easier to juggle a variety of dishes and still manage to serve warm mashed potatoes. Kitchn states that because recipes for baked mashed potatoes typically contain extra fat in the form of grated cheese and, in their recipe, sour cream, that additional fat coats the potatoes and keeps them from drying out — both in the refrigerator and once they're reheated in the oven. So the next time you need to prepare mashed potatoes ahead of time, go for mashed potato casserole and save yourself the headache of reheating the stovetop kind.