I often run into two challenges when I'm cooking a big meal:
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.
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
(highly rated by Cooks Illustrated's test kitchen)
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.
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.
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.)
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.
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. For chunkier potatoes, use a potato masher.
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.
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.
Need gravy? You've gotta soak these potatoes in gravy. Check out this post:
Variations to try:
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.
Are you a smooth or chunky mashed potato fan?
Make it a Yummy day!
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