how to: slow cook potatoes

Baked potatoes are amazing, right? They’re yummy, filling, super inexpensive, and a blank slate for whatever flavors you want to add. The only problem is that they take forever to cook and I never want to heat up my whole oven for just a few potatoes.

Enter the slow cooker.

I’ve seen the slow cooker technique around the internet for a while, but hadn’t gotten around to trying it out… Until this weekend when I got an email from Monica raving about how awesome it is to have potatoes ready and waiting for her when she gets home from work (thanks Monica!). I knew it was time to try it out and share the knowledge.

So, I did a little research to get the tips and tricks from those who had tried it before, and I set to work. I cooked four potatoes, about 1/2 pound each in my 6 quart (I think) slow cooker. I probably could have fit six potatoes, but from what I’ve read you don’t want to over fill the cooker or the potatoes on top won’t cook as fast. I was a little short on time, so I opted for cooking for four hours on high instead of 8 hours on low. My potatoes were fantastic and probably would have been just fine with an extra hour of cooking.

The cooking time needed will depend on the size of your potatoes and the strength of your particular slow cooker, but the general guidelines are as follows: 4-5 hours on high or 8-10 hours on low. Have them cooking while you’re out and about taking care of other things and then dinner is just a hop, skip, and a jump away when you get home! Love it!

slow cooked potatoes

how to: slow cook potatoes

wash potatoes
First wash the potatoes well. Dry them off with a clean cloth or paper towel.

prick potatoes
As with any cooking method, you’ll want to prick holes in the potato skins to allow the steam to escape as they cook. Just take a fork and stab them each several times all over.

oil and salt
Take a little bit of olive oil and rub it all over the potato skins, then sprinkle on some salt. This helps give the skins a really great texture. It’s hard to explain the texture of the skin after cooking, but they weren’t dry and leathery. The skin almost burst when I opened the potatoes… kind of like how sausage skins snap when you bit into them. It was great.

wrap potatoes
Wrap each potato in a piece of foil. This will encapsulate each potato with steam, which will help it cook. Nestle the potatoes down into the slow cooker, place the lid on top, and then cook on high for 4-5 hours or on low for 8-10.

slow cooker potato
And then when it’s done, unwrap your little earth nugget like it’s the best Christmas present you’ve ever received. Yes, I was almost that excited (except that this was on Cinco de Mayo and I was more excited about chips, salsa, and margaritas).

open potato
Slice the potato down the middle and then push each end in towards the center to make it pop open. Now it’s ready for any toppings that your heart desires! I sprinkled on a little salt, smoked paprika, and added a pat of butter. Delicious simplicity!

Of course there’s always the BBQ Beef Stuffed Potatoes. YUM.

What are your favorite baked potato toppings?

15 Comments

  1. great idea!

  2. Susan says:

    I only recently learned about a similar technique for roasting beets, and I love it! It’s so great to have roasted beets for salads without having to cook the beets in a high oven for an hour.

  3. Alyse says:

    What do you think the timing would be for sweet potatoes? Same? Longer?

    • I think it depends mostly on the size and since they’re usually a bit larger, I’d guess they’ll take longer… but I haven’t tried sweet potatoes yet. YET, I do plan to ;)

  4. Glenda says:

    You don’t put any liquid in the slow cooker?? I’m surprised it doesn’t crack.

    • Nope, it worked just fine :) I guess the thick ceramic liner in the slow cooker distributed the heat evenly without cracking.

  5. Tony says:

    As a big fan of slow cookers & baked potatoes, this is def a winning combo!

  6. alli says:

    If I am worried about the time and heat being too much when cooking without liquid in my slow cooker, I sometimes put a small glass, ceramic or stoneware plate face down to lift the foods off the slow cooker bottom.
    This also works with thick pork or beef pieces that started on the grill but need more cooking time. I wrap it in foil, set it on the inverted plate and don’t worry that food may burn on the bottom.

  7. FYI I have done sweet potatoes in the slow cooker successfully! Awesome tip to know if I don’t feel like turning on my oven … making sweet potato burgers tonight yum!

  8. Mary Kay says:

    Why did mine turn a weird orangy-brown color? They tasted OK, not great, but looked awful.

    • Hmm, I think the longer they cook the darker they get, although I don’t have a TON of experience cooking them this way. You may need to adjust the cooking time depending on the size of the potatoes and strength/size of your slow cooker.

  9. Vanessa Pritchard (@Vernasta) says:

    Mine also came out a bit of a dingy brown color. The texture was perfect, however. I wrapped four potatoes in one large piece of parchment paper instead of foil, and set it seam-side-down so that some of the liquid would escape as steam and keep the pot from cracking. No problems there. I will definitely use this method again, adjust the cooking time, and see if the color is more pleasant.

  10. RosesNMoonlight says:

    I’d never heard or thought about the crock pot cracking without liquid. I’ve made the potatoes before with no trouble and they turned out great. I was wondering if maybe adding a tiny amount of water to the crock pot, crumpling some foil and placing it in, over the water and then placing the potatoes, un-wrapped on top of the foil would be helpful in keeping the crock pot from cracking. And it would keep the potatoes from becoming mushy from the water. You would still have the ease of crock pot baked potatoes.

  11. I never thought that a crock pot would crack. That’s why they have a thermostat. The manufacture would prevent the unit reaching such a violent heat level…think of the results with nobody home!!!

  12. Amanda says:

    Anyone try this with red potatoes? Same amount of time or less?

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