Last Updated on December 1, 2023 by Shari Mason
While mashed potatoes may not be the healthiest food on the menu, it is one of the most popular side dishes. And that explains why people frequently ask, “how do restaurants keep mashed potatoes warm?”
Let’s unravel the secret through this article.
Top 4 Ways Restaurants Keep Their Mashed Potatoes Warm
1. They Use a Warming Drawer
One of the most effective ways to keep mashed potatoes warm is by storing them in a warming drawer. It helps to retain heat while preventing the mashed potato from cooling down fast.
Additionally, some restaurants top mashed potatoes with hot gravy or other warm sauces to keep the top warm.
Usually, mashed potatoes stay warm inside the drawer for up to two hours on average.
2. Insulated Container Helps
Another strategy for keeping mashed potatoes warm for long periods is using insulated containers.
The insulated containers help keep mash stay soft. If you want to cook this ahead of time for a dinner party or any gathering, you can store them in an insulated container like most restaurants do to keep them hot and serve them warm to guests.
3. Covered Double Boiler Technique
Doing the covered double boiler technique is another secret to reheating mashed potatoes.
Some restaurants use a metal bowl covered with a foil or lid and set it over a pot or pan of barely simmering water so it stays soft.
If you want to try this at home, just set your potato over a pan of simmering  water and then cover it with plastic wrap (if no foil or lid is available). Stir it for five minutes to keep the potatoes well-heated.
Recipe notes: You can add a bit of water, milk, extra cream and butter, olive oil, and even broth to keep the potatoes soft and moist when cooking or reheating.
4. Restaurants Have Crockpot
Most restaurants serving mashed potatoes have a crockpot in place to keep its heat. But how long mashed potatoes can be kept in a crockpot depends on some factors. It includes the temperature setting, the type of crockpot, and the time needed to keep the food heated.
Usually, restaurants reheat mashed potatoes inside the crockpot for several hours.
If you also want to try using this method at home, be mindful of signs of spoilage such as changes in texture or color when keeping it for long hours. Also, check the temperature setting when you reheat the dish to avoid overheating.
Ideal Temperature to Keep Mashed Potatoes Warm
The ideal temperature to keep mash potatoes warm is 300 degrees Fahrenheit, especially when you’re using an oven or crock pot. But, to keep it warm without overcooking, make sure to put it in a pan or bowl covered with foil before placing it inside the oven.
You can put little butter on top before covering it with foil to prevent the potatoes from drying out. You can keep it hot with a low temperature without continuing to cook them as they might dry out.
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Do Restaurants Make Mashed Potatoes Ahead of Time?
Yes, most restaurants make mashed potatoes ahead of time, saving time preparing the dish. Usually, mashed potatoes are ready to serve.
When customers order potatoes, the kitchen staff will get out some bowl of mashed potatoes from their slow cooker, crock pot , oven, or any cooking and heating device they use. Before serving, some may even add cream or butter to make the dish more creamy.
As we’ve mentioned above, restaurants have different ways to keep their mashed potatoes warm.
If the restaurant does not have a slow cooker, using insulated containers, a warming drawer, or setting the bowl of potatoes in the oven with medium-low heat are alternative ways to keep it warm. But how much does an average potato really weigh?
How Long Does It Have to Be Kept Warm?
How long can mashed potatoes should be kept heated depends on several factors– temperature, warming device used, and when to serve the potatoes.
Mashed potatoes can be kept heated for several hours until overnight when using a crock pot. If you plan on using a warming drawer, you can keep the potatoes warm for about 3 hours (before dinner or lunch).
Use the same time frame or maybe lesser when you use insulated containers to warm potatoes.
But generally, mashed potatoes can be kept warm for a couple of hours or overnight without any problem.
How do restaurants keep mashed potatoes warm for 3 hours?
Restaurants keep their mashed potatoes hot for 3 hours using warming drawers or insulated containers.
Also, they use warming elements like adding boiling cream, gravy, or the combination thereof to make the potato heated over long hours.
Can you heat mashed potatoes on the stove?
Yes, you can heat mashed potatoes on the stove if you don’t have a slow cooker, oven, double broiler, or warming drawer.
Heat your non-stick skillet, melt butter (add salt if you like) in a pan, and then add potatoes. Stir frequently (just how you cook it) until heated according to your liking.
There are many ways restaurants keep mashed potatoes warm and ready to serve. Aside from using a slow cooker, they use a warming drawer, insulated containers, crock pot, and the covered double broiler method.
If you want to try these methods at home, you must know that mashed potatoes can be stowed warm for a couple of hours until overnight only.
The ideal temperature should be 300 degrees Fahrenheit to avoid overcooking. And it should be consumed within the set time frame to prevent spoilage.
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