Potatoes have been a staple in kitchens around the world for centuries. In their many forms, these versatile tubers can steal the spotlight on any dinner table. If you're a fan of the creamy comfort of mashed potatoes but crave something with a little more pizzazz, then the mashed potato casserole might just be your new go-to dish. This instructional post will walk you through the simple steps to creating a rich, comforting side that's as perfect for a family dinner as it is for a holiday feast. Whether you’re looking to up your culinary game or simply want to add a hearty dish to your repertoire, read on to master the art of the mashed potato casserole.

Mashed Potato Casserole

Ingredients You'll Need

To start off, here are the ingredients you'll need to create a basic mashed potato casserole. Feel free to make adjustments according to your taste and dietary preferences.

  • 5 lbs of russet or Yukon gold potatoes
  • 1 cup of unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 cup of milk or heavy cream
  • 1 cup of sour cream
  • 2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Optional add-ins:

  • Cooked and crumbled bacon
  • Chopped chives
  • Minced garlic
  • Diced green onions
  • Additional shredded cheese, such as mozzarella or Gruyère

Step-by-Step Instructions

Step 1: Preparing the Potatoes

  1. Peel the potatoes and cut them into chunks of roughly equal size to ensure they cook evenly. Aim for 1 to 2 inches in diameter.
  2. In a large pot, cover the potatoes with cold water. Add a generous pinch of salt to the water to season the potatoes as they cook.
  3. Bring the water to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to maintain a gentle boil. Cook the potatoes until they are fork-tender, usually about 15-20 minutes.
  4. Drain the potatoes in a colander and return them to the pot.

Step 2: Mashing the Potatoes

  1. Using a potato masher, a large fork, or an electric mixer, mash the potatoes until smooth. It's important to do this while the potatoes are still hot, as they will be easier to mash and will absorb the dairy better.
  2. Add in 1/2 cup of butter, the milk or cream, and the sour cream. Stir or beat until well combined and the potatoes are creamy. Add more liquid, as needed, to reach your desired consistency.
  3. Season the mashed potatoes generously with salt and pepper to taste.

Step 3: Preheat and Layer

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C).
  2. Lightly grease a 9x13 inch (23x33 cm) casserole dish with butter or cooking spray.
  3. Spread half of the mashed potatoes in an even layer on the bottom of the dish.
  4. Sprinkle a layer of shredded cheddar cheese on top of the potatoes.
  5. Add optional ingredients like bacon, chives, or any other choice of mix-ins on top of the cheese.
  6. Spread the remaining mashed potatoes over the cheese and optional ingredients, creating a smooth upper layer.

Step 4: The Baking Process

  1. Top the casserole with the remaining cheese, ensuring that it's covered evenly.
  2. Cut the remaining 1/2 cup of butter into small pieces and scatter them over the top of the casserole.
  3. Bake the casserole in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes or until the top is golden and the inside is hot and bubbling.
  4. If the top is not as golden as you'd like, you can broil it for a few minutes—but watch it closely to avoid burning!

Customization Tips

The beauty of the mashed potato casserole lies in its adaptability. Here are a few ideas for customizing your own:

  • Use Different Vegetables: Mix in cooked peas or steamed carrots for a pop of color and added nutrition.
  • Explore Cheese Varieties: Experiment with different kinds of cheese, like blue cheese for a tangy twist or pepper jack for a spicy kick.
  • Crunchy Topping: For a delightful contrast, sprinkle breadcrumbs mixed with melted butter on the top before baking.
  • Make It Vegan: Substitute the dairy ingredients with plant-based alternatives, and consider using vegan cheese or nutritional yeast for a cheesy flavor.

Serving and Storing Your Mashed Potato Casserole

Serve the mashed potato casserole piping hot, straight from the oven. This dish is perfect as a side for roasted meats, such as turkey, ham, or roast chicken.

Storing leftovers is simple. Allow the casserole to cool to room temperature, then cover it tightly with foil or transfer it to an airtight container. It will keep well in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

To reheat, you can either microwave individual servings or warm the casserole in the oven at 350°F (175°C) until heated through, typically about 20-30 minutes. If the top starts to brown too quickly, cover it with foil.


Mashed potato casserole is a sumptuous and delicious take on a classic side dish, and it's incredibly simple to make. With just a little pre-planning, you can create a side that's sure to impress your guests. Whether you're preparing a cozy family meal or hosting a festive occasion, don't hesitate to make this recipe your own with personal touches. Don’t forget to share your own twists and culinary adventures with us as well. Enjoy your potato masterpiece!

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