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Editor’s note: At the Table with the Gabels features tasty recipes and tips from Vanessa Gabel and her daughter, Kaitlyn, of Danville.

Kaitlyn: Since Covid has officially taken over everyone’s lives, we were in need of a recipe to make Thanksgiving a little normal.

These molten mashed potato balls were quite delicious and perfect for Thanksgiving this year. They were a little difficult to make and a bit time-consuming, but they are perfect to make with lots of time on hand.

It got five stars by every member of the family, with few alterations in mind. Some people aren’t a fan of gravy in our family so instead, we could add butter as a substitute or just nothing. Another ingredient you could add is corn.

We usually mix corn into our mashed potatoes, but adding them on the inside would be delicious. These were more than filling for everyone with plenty of leftovers for us.

We chose to make our mashed potatoes from scratch, but you could also make them from the box if you please. I’m excited to make this more, considering I am a huge fan of mashed potatoes and now we can make them in a fun, different way.

Vanessa: Who doesn’t love a spin on holiday favorite foods?

I’m the kind of person who makes a mountain of the mashed potatoes and stuffing, then smothers the heap in gravy.

If you are like me, this recipe pulls it all together into a unique addition to your Thanksgiving table. Upon some reflection of this recipe, we have decided that the next time we make this, we will spread the assembly process over a couple of days.

Our suggestion would be to freeze the mashed potato balls overnight if it seems to be taking too long or make the balls smaller to decrease freezing time.

You could also make them ahead, except the frying, and freeze until ready.

Then defrost and fry/air fry. Ours ended up being about 9 tablespoons of mashed potatoes each, which resulted in a big serving. You could easily get 12 servings out of this recipe by making them smaller.

We decided to air fry the mashed potato balls as the healthier option. I’m not sure if we should have spritzed a little oil on the outside of the stuffing to keep it a little more moist during the cooking process.

Otherwise, a little more gravy over the top will take care of that.

Like Kaitlyn mentioned, we will be brainstorming how to incorporate corn into the center of these mashed potato balls. Overall, you’re already probably planning to serve each of these dishes on Thanksgiving, why not mix it up?

It’s not like anything about 2020 has been normal anyway. Your family may just discover a new favorite.

Molten Mashed

Potato Balls

3/4 cup beef gravy (either from a jar or 2 brown gravy mix packets, prepared)

Mashed potatoes

2 lbs potatoes, cut into chunks

salt and pepper

3 tbsp butter

1/2 to 3/4 cup milk


1 cup all-purpose flour

2 large eggs

6 oz. stuffing mix, finely crushed

Oil for frying or spritzing

Divide the gravy into compartments of an ice cube tray. Freeze until solid, at least 3 hours.

Prepare mashed potatoes. If using a pressure cooker, add 1 cup of water, then place the potato chunks into a basket and insert into the pressure cooker. Cook on high pressure for 5 minutes, then do a quick release of the pressure.

In a bowl, mash the potatoes and add the butter and milk. Stir until smooth, then season with salt and pepper. Separate the potatoes into 8 balls and place either on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, or into the wells of a muffin tray. Freeze until firm, or about 45 minutes to an hour.

Pop the frozen gravy cubes out of the tray. Flatten a mashed potato ball in the palm of your hand and press a gravy cube in the center. Press the potatoes around the gravy to encase it completely and reshape into a ball. Repeat with the remaining gravy and potatoes.

Spread the flour in a shallow bowl. Add the eggs to a second shallow bowl and beat with a pinch of salt. Spread the stuffing crumbs in a third bowl. Roll each ball in the flour, then the egg, then the stuffing crumbs. Return to the baking sheet and refrigerate to firm up, about 15 minutes.

Air Fryer method: spritz the tray with oil before placing the mashed potato ball on it. Air fry for 7 minutes.

Frying method: heat 2 inches of oil in a pan with high sides to 325 degrees. Fry the mashed potato balls until deep golden brown, about 7 minutes. Drain on paper towels.

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