Extra mashed potatoes? Lucky you. Cold leftover mashed potatoes can be reheated right back to their former hot, creamy, and smooth state. But you can’t just stick them in the microwave and hope for the best. Mashed potatoes, like other starchy dishes that are made with dairy (think: creamy casseroles, macaroni and cheese, scalloped potatoes), can develop a dry, gluey texture when reheated for too long, or at a temperature that’s too high.
For best results, skip the microwave—the high heat tends to suck the moisture out of mashed potatoes—and reheat them on the stovetop or in the oven. Whichever method you choose, you’ll also want to add a little more liquid to the potatoes to keep them from drying out. You can use milk, cream, half-and-half, buttermilk, or chicken or vegetable stock. Start with a ½ cup of liquid for 4 cups of mashed potatoes, and add it gradually so you don’t end up with potato soup.
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Adding extra butter is a good idea, too. One to two tablespoons should be enough; cut the butter into small pieces so that it can melts quickly and distribute throughout the potatoes.
If you’re reheating them over the stovetop, use medium heat and stir the potatoes often to prevent them from sticking to the bottom of the pan. If you are reheating them in the oven, stir in the stock and butter pieces, then spread the potatoes out in a baking dish. Reheat at 350˚F for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the potatoes reach 165˚F.
Another nice thing about leftover mashed potatoes is that you can use them as a blank canvas and add in other ingredients. Stir in some sour cream, grated garlic, and chives, or add a generous amount of grated parmesan and cracked black pepper. With so many different ways to flavor them, you’ll never be bored.