Creamy and comforting, mashed potatoes are a side-dish dream. But reheated the next day? They’re kind of meh. Instead of settling for second-rate leftovers, the best ways to use mashed potatoes are repurposing them in a totally new dish (and we don’t just mean post-Thanksgiving turkey sandwiches). From fried potato fritters to cheese-filled croquettes and loaded mashed potato waffles, here are 21 leftover mashed potato recipes that won’t disappoint.

RELATED: What to Make with Leftover Pork Chops: 21 Recipes That Taste Totally Gourmet

1. Mashed Potato Fritters with Smoked Salmon and Chives

A helping of Parm in the fritters adds richness, while the crème fraiche and smoked salmon take things totally over the top.

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2. Loaded Mashed Potato Cakes

Serve them as a side dish or a light lunch, just don’t skip the fixings. You can choose any combination of mix-ins—sun-dried tomatoes and mozzarella, anyone?

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3. Shepherd’s Pie

If you’re dealing with a hefty amount of leftover mashed potatoes, repurpose them into the topping for this traditional, hearty casserole. We added goat cheese, because why not?

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4. Cheesy Potato Balls

They're like mozzarella sticks but better because, well, potatoes. Panko bread crumbs are the key to a light, crispy crust.

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5. Mashed Potato Cakes with Cheese and Bacon

Think of these potato cakes like the cool cousin of loaded potato skins. We’re partial to bacon, but you can make them with another protein (like tuna or chicken) if you want.

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6. Loaded Mashed Potato Casserole

This comforting dish would be a welcome addition to any holiday spread, but we like it enough to make it on any old weeknight too.

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7. Mashed Potato Pancakes

These golden, savory pancakes can be made gluten-free or paleo, if desired. Pair them with a dollop of sour cream or a poached egg if you’re fancy.

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8. Cheesy Leftover Mashed Potato Cakes

The white cheddar has two purposes: It makes the outside crisp and golden-brown, and the inside melty and gooey. (Oh, and it tastes amazing.)

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9. Loaded Mashed Potato Balls

They’re crispy yet creamy and practically melt in your mouth (aka everything we want in an appetizer).

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10. Leftover Mashed Potato Gnocchi

Traditional gnocchi doesn’t contain heavy cream or butter, but when did either of those ingredients make anything worse?

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11. Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie

All the creamy, saucy comfort food, with none of the meat.

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12. Mashed Potato Casserole with Sour Cream and Chives

Parmesan bread crumbs have a way of transforming anything they touch into something magical. (Psst: This can be made up to three days ahead.)

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13. Broccoli Cheddar Potato Pierogi

Pierogi ruskie contain a mix of mashed potatoes and cheese. The addition of broccoli isn’t traditional, but it sure is delicious.

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14. Thanksgiving Croquettes

They have turkey, stuffing and mashed potatoes—like a mini feast in a single bite.

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15. Mashed Potato Waffles and Creamy Avocado Basil Sauce

Um, is there anything a waffle maker can’t do? The creamy avocado sauce is vegan, but you wouldn’t know it by taste alone.

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16. Ham Mashed Potato Cakes

Ham on its own? Eh, it's OK. But mix it in with some mozz and buttery potatoes, and now you’re talking.

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17. Bacon Blue Cheese Mashed Potato Waffles

If you’re not a blue cheese fan, you could swap in another cheese (cheddar or Gruyère, perhaps?). Bonus points if you serve these with a runny fried egg on top.

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18. Potato Rings with Homemade Buttermilk Ranch

It looks like your homemade onion rings have a bit of competition. The secret to keeping their shape in the hot oil is to freeze everything before you fry.

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19. Loaded Irish Cheddar Mashed Potato Pancakes

These pancakes have “breakfast for dinner” written all over them. You could even add sautéed greens into the mix (you know, for your health).

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20. Korokke (Japanese Meat and Potato Croquettes)

Behold, your next runaway appetizer hit. These crispy cuties are packed with peas, onion, garlic and ground beef, and served with a savory katsu sauce.

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21. Tortillas de Papa en Caldillo (Potato Fritters in Broth)

Make this dish a main course by serving it with tomato salsa, beans, rice and tortillas. We can hear those fritters sizzling now.

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RELATED: The 47 Best Potato Side Dishes for Every Occasion

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