Monica's favorite gear
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Slow Cooker Mashed Potatoes
I love my slow cooker! This model is the #1 recommendation of Cooks Illustrated. It heats evenly and automatically switches to a warm setting when the food is done.
This gadget is an easy way to get smooth, light mashed potatoes. It comes with disks for fine or coarse and is dishwasher safe.

Slow Cooker Mashed Potatoes

Free up your stove top with this stress-busting method!


Slow Cooker Mashed Potatoes

By Monica              Makes 7 cups
Slow Cooker Mashed Potatoes

This delicious recipe frees up stove top space and can be made early and kept warm until serving time. Great for holiday cooking.

Ingredients
  • 5 lbs. Yukon gold or russet potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1" cubes
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup low sodium chicken broth (substitute vegetable broth for vegetarian version)
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 12-oz. can evaporated milk
  • OPTIONAL FOR MAKE-AHEAD:
  • 6 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 8 ounces sour cream

Directions
Soak the peeled, chopped potatoes in water for at least 30 min. to leech out some of the starch and avoid gluey potatoes.* Spray 6 quart (or larger) slow cooker with cooking spray. Add drained and rinsed potatoes, water, and broth. Cover and cook on high for 4-6 hours (slow cooker temperatures may vary), or until potatoes come apart easily when pierced with a fork. Drain potatoes and return to slow cooker. Add salt, pepper and butter. Use electric mixer or potato masher to mash potatoes in slow cooker bowl. Gradually add evaporated milk until desired consistency.** Taste and adjust seasonings. Serve right away or cover and keep warm on low setting for up to 2 hours.

* PREP THE POTATOES AHEAD: You can peel, chop, and soak your potatoes in water in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours in advance.

**TO PREPARE MASHED POTATOES 1-2 DAYS AHEAD AND REHEAT: Along with the milk, mix in cream cheese and sour cream (this maintains good texture when reheated). Cover and store in fridge.  On the day they'll be eaten, remove them from the fridge and reheat in the slow cooker on low for approximately 4 hours (time may vary with different slow cookers).

VARIATIONS:
--For "smashed" potatoes, don't peel the potatoes. Chop them and proceed with the same directions; except mash them less so that they are very chunky and have lots of texture.
--For cheesy potatoes--mix in grated Parmesan or other cheese.
--Vegetarian mashed potatoes--replace the chicken broth with water or vegetable stock.
--Many additional herbs and seasonings can be added (although if serving them with gravy, I'd stick with salt and pepper). Try mixing in roasted garlic, minced chives, or any favorite chopped herb like thyme, rosemary, dill or tarragon. Get creative!


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I often run into two challenges when I'm cooking a big meal:

  • timing everything so that it is all finished at the same time and everything is hot without being overcooked.
  • juggling the stove top burners and oven space so there is enough room to cook everything.

Using the slower cooker can help with both of those challenges. It is especially a lifesaver on occasions like Thanksgiving when you're cooking for more people than usual and the kitchen tends to get way too hectic before meal time.

This slower cooker mashed potatoes recipe is delicious, something you can start early in the day, and can be completed long before the rest of the meal. These stay warm in the slow cooker for a least 2 hours after they've been cooked and mashed. No last minute panic when it comes to the mashed potatoes. Oh, what a relief it is!

Here are some general tips for making better mashed potatoes:

1.  Choose the right potatoes. Yukon gold or russets are recommended. Other varieties don't have the right combination of texture and starch to make them as suitable for mashing. I'm partial to Yukon golds because of their richer flavor. However, the russets give you a fluffier result.

2. Avoid gluey mashed potatoes. This is a common problem. It helps to soak the peeled, chopped potatoes in water for at least 30 minutes before cooking them. This leeches out some of the starch, and if there's too much starch that can make them gluey. Soak, drain, and rinse your raw potatoes before cooking them. Do this 1-3 times. This makes a huge difference. Over mixing the potatoes can also make them gluey.

3. Peel, chop, and soak the day before.  This is a convenient make-ahead tip. You can peel, chop, and soak your potatoes in water in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours in advance. This can be a big time saver on cooking day, since the peeling and chopping take the most preparation time. Plus, you've already taken care of the soaking in #2 above.

4. Add cream cheese & sour cream if making these ahead. This isn't necessary if they'll be eating the potatoes the same day they're prepared. But if you prefer to cook and mash your potatoes a day or two ahead so they're ready to reheat when you need them, their texture won't hold up as well without these additional ingredients.

Slow Cookers are not all the same: 
They come in many shapes and sizes, and the temperatures at different settings can vary.

  • A HIGH setting can vary by 20 or more degrees in different slow cookers. Many newer units heat at higher temperature than older units due to concerns about food safety. 
  • The size of your slow cooker also effects cooking time. Your slow cooker should be 1/2 to 3/4 full for most efficient cooking. 
  • The shape of your slow cooker can effect cooking times. The traditional Crock Pot that is tall and round heats from the bottom and sides provides even heat. Some of the newer slow cookers sit on bases that only heat from the bottom, requiring periodic stirring and longer cooking times in order to cook food evenly. 
  • The beginning temperature of your food will also effect cooking times. It is best to always start with room temperature food in order to achieve consistent cooking times. If you're adding food straight from the refrigerator, you should build in extra cooking time.

The first time you make these mashed potatoes, be sure to build in enough time so that your potatoes are sure to be done by mealtime. Some trial and error may be necessary to find the right cooking time for your particular slow cooker.

click here for Amazon link to the 6-1/2 qt Crock Pot I use
(rated #1 by Cook's Illustrated)

Keep a lid on it!
Did you know that it adds 30 minutes to the cooking time every time you lift the lid of the slow cooker? So, don't be tempted to lift the lid numerous times while they're cooking. Wait until you think they should be finished to lift the lid and check for doneness.

 

Step-by-step photos for making Slower Cooker Mashed Potatoes.

 

Step 1. Assemble your ingredients: Potatoes (I used Yukon golds), chicken broth (optional--use water or vegetable broth for a vegetarian version), evaporated milk, butter, salt, and pepper.

  • Additional make ahead ingredients: If you want to cook these a day or two early, I also recommend adding 6 oz of cream cheese and 8 ounces of sour cream. This helps them keep their texture and creaminess when they are reaheated.

ingredients

 

Step 2. Peel the potatoes and chop them into 1" cubes.

Step 3. Soak the potatoes in water for at least 30 minutes to leech out some of the starch and avoid gluey potatoes. Drain and rinse.

soaking potatoes2

 

Step 4. Add drained potatoes to slow cooker that has been sprayed with cooking oil. I use a 6-quart slower cooker. Add water and chicken broth.

Step 5. Cook on high for approx. 4-6 hours. Pierce a few of the potatoes (on top and in the bottom) and make sure they are very tender--they should break apart easily. (Slow cooker times can vary, so make sure you give yourself enough time to be sure your potatoes are done.)


slower cooker 1  slower cooker 2

 

Step 6. Drain the potatoes in a colander and return them to slow cooker. 

Step 7. Add butter, salt and pepper. 

NOTE: If you're counting calories, you may omit or reduce the butter. It sure does make them taste good, though. I added 3 tablespoons--less than most recipes call for, but enough to add delicious flavor.

slower cooker 3  slower cooker 4

 

Step 8. With a potato masher, ricer, or electric mixer, mash the potatoes. You can mash them right in the slower cooker bowl. For the smoothest potatoes with a light texture, use a potato ricer.

Step. 9. Gradually add evaporated milk. You may or may not need the whole can to get the consistency you like. I used a whole can in mine. If the potatoes are too dry, add water or chicken broth in small amounts until they're right. Mash or beat them until they're the way you like them--completely smooth or chunky. Suit your fancy. Mine are a little bit chunky. Don't over mix them--that can also lead to gluey potatoes. 

  • Make ahead adjustment: If you're making these a day or two ahead, also add cream cheese and sour cream and mix it in. This way you'll maintain a good consistency for reheating.

mixing potatoes  mixed 2

 

Step. 10. Taste and adjust seasonings.

Your potatoes are ready to eat! You can chow down now, or put the slower cooker on a low or warm setting and hold them for up to 2 hours. Give them a stir before serving. You can add a little liquid if they've dried out; although mine were still perfect after 2 hours and a quick stir. These can be served directly from the slow cooker bowl, or you can transfer them to another serving piece.

  • Refrigerating and reheating if they're made ahead. Once your potatoes are mixed and seasoned, keep them in the slow cooker insert and put them in the fridge for up to 2 days. On the day they'll be eaten, remove them from the fridge heat them in the slow cooker on low for approximately 4 hours. Ready to serve!

potatoes mixed

Got leftovers? Read my post about How to Freeze Mashed Potatoes. Or make my potato soup recipe with your leftover mashed potatoes--easy and delicious!

Need gravy? You've gotta soak these potatoes in gravy. Check out this post:

 Make-Ahead Turkey Gravy

IMG_8249thumbnailresize_1.jpg

Variations to try:

  • For "smashed" potatoes, don't peel the potatoes. Chop them with the skin on and proceed with the same directions; except mash them less so that they are very chunky and have lots of texture.
  • For cheesy potatoes--mix in grated Parmesan or another favorite cheese.
  • For vegetarian mashed potatoes--replace the chicken broth with water or vegetable stock.
  • Many additional herbs and seasonings can be added (although if serving them with gravy, I'd stick with salt and pepper). Try mixing in roasted garlic, minced chives, or any favorite chopped herb like thyme, rosemary, dill or tarragon. Get creative!

Hope you like this recipe as much as I do. These taste fantastic and take some of the stress out of preparing a big meal. They're finished way ahead of time, free up stove top space for other things, and are hot and ready when it's time to eat.

in bowl

Are you a smooth or chunky mashed potato fan?

Make it a Yummy day!
Monica 

Other posts that may interest you:

Link directly to this recipe Print this recipe
Slow Cooker Mashed Potatoes
By Monica              Servings: Makes 7 cups
Ingredients
  • 5 lbs. Yukon gold or russet potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1" cubes
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup low sodium chicken broth (substitute vegetable broth for vegetarian version)
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 12-oz. can evaporated milk
  • OPTIONAL FOR MAKE-AHEAD:
  • 6 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 8 ounces sour cream
Directions
Soak the peeled, chopped potatoes in water for at least 30 min. to leech out some of the starch and avoid gluey potatoes.* Spray 6 quart (or larger) slow cooker with cooking spray. Add drained and rinsed potatoes, water, and broth. Cover and cook on high for 4-6 hours (slow cooker temperatures may vary), or until potatoes come apart easily when pierced with a fork. Drain potatoes and return to slow cooker. Add salt, pepper and butter. Use electric mixer or potato masher to mash potatoes in slow cooker bowl. Gradually add evaporated milk until desired consistency.** Taste and adjust seasonings. Serve right away or cover and keep warm on low setting for up to 2 hours.

* PREP THE POTATOES AHEAD: You can peel, chop, and soak your potatoes in water in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours in advance.

**TO PREPARE MASHED POTATOES 1-2 DAYS AHEAD AND REHEAT: Along with the milk, mix in cream cheese and sour cream (this maintains good texture when reheated). Cover and store in fridge.  On the day they'll be eaten, remove them from the fridge and reheat in the slow cooker on low for approximately 4 hours (time may vary with different slow cookers).

VARIATIONS:
--For "smashed" potatoes, don't peel the potatoes. Chop them and proceed with the same directions; except mash them less so that they are very chunky and have lots of texture.
--For cheesy potatoes--mix in grated Parmesan or other cheese.
--Vegetarian mashed potatoes--replace the chicken broth with water or vegetable stock.
--Many additional herbs and seasonings can be added (although if serving them with gravy, I'd stick with salt and pepper). Try mixing in roasted garlic, minced chives, or any favorite chopped herb like thyme, rosemary, dill or tarragon. Get creative!
Print this Recipe   Share this Recipe



Posted on Friday, November 19th, 2010








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