It’s not even Halloween yet, but it’s never too early to start planning for Thanksgiving, so I’m going to throw you this little tip to save for later. There are so many moving parts that go into making sure a Thanksgiving meal is hot and ready all at the same time, and it’s even more challenging when you’re working with just one stove. Recipes like these Slow Cooker Mashed Potatoes that can be prepared on the side will free up space on your stove top and, because it requires no babysitting, will leave your hands and eyes free to focus on other recipes. Thanksgiving Day boil-over averted. 😅
Originally posted 12-29-2015, updated 10-8-2020.
Why Make Mashed Potatoes in a Slow Cooker?
Using the slow cooker cuts out the “babysitting the boiling pot” step in the process of making mashed potatoes, which can really free you up to concentrate on the rest of your meal. It also eliminates boil overs, draining the potatoes, constantly checking them with a fork to see if they’re tender, using multiple pots and dishes, and gives you another free burner on your stove top. With slow cooker mashed potatoes, you just add everything to the pot and press a button and go. And if you can’t get to them right when the timer goes off, they’ll be okay!
How Do You Flavor Mashed Potatoes?
I flavored my mashed potatoes with garlic, pepper, butter, milk, and cream cheese, but you can use your tried and true favorite mashed potato add-ins with this recipe. The cooking process will stay the same: 3 lbs. potatoes and about 1.5 cups of broth. Then after they’re cooked, add in whatever you’d like! My All-Purpose Garlic Herb Seasoning is a favorite, but other fun seasoning blends include Everything But The Bagel Seasoning, or even ranch seasoning.
What Kind of Potatoes are Best for Mashed Potatoes?
Russet potatoes are my top choice for mashed potatoes because they have a light, fluffy flesh. You can use red potatoes, but they tend to create a more dense mashed potato.
Can I Make Them Vegetarian?
Absolutely! You can swap the chicken broth listed in the recipe below for vegetable broth. Just be aware that vegetable broth is usually a much darker color, so your finished mashed potatoes may look a little more brown.
What Size Slow Cooker Do I Need?
I’m using a 5 quart slow cooker, but it was only about half full, so you could probably get away with using a 3 quart slow cooker for this recipe.
Slow Cooker Mashed Potatoes
- 3 lbs. russet potatoes ($1.80)
- 1.5 cups chicken broth ($0.20)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced ($0.16)
- 1/4 tsp Freshly cracked black pepper ($0.05)
- 4 oz. cream cheese ($0.40)
- 1/2 cup milk ($0.25)
- 1 Tbsp butter ($0.13)
- Wash and peel the potatoes, then dice them into one-inch cubes. Rinse the diced potatoes with cool water in a colander to remove the excess starch.
- Add the cubed potatoes, minced garlic, chicken broth, and some freshly cracked pepper to the slow cooker. Stir briefly to distribute the garlic and pepper.
- Place a lid on the slow cooker and cook on high for three hours, or until the potatoes are fork tender. You can test the tenderness by lifting the lid just long enough to pierce the potatoes with a fork.
- Take the lid off the slow cooker and add the cream cheese, milk, and butter. Stir to combine the ingredients and mash the potatoes. For an extra smooth mashed potato, use a hand mixer to briefly whip the potatoes until smooth.
- Taste the potatoes and add salt or pepper if needed. Serve immediately, or switch the slow cooker to the "warm" setting until ready to serve.
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Instant Pot Instructions:
- Follow steps 1-2 in the recipe above.
- Close the vent, choose the manual setting, and set the cook time to seven minutes.
- Once finished, use the quick pressure release method until the pressure normalizes.
- Follow steps 4-5 in the recipe above.
Try These Other Mashed Potato Recipes:
- Fluffy Garlic Herb Mashed Potatoes
- Dairy-Free Olive Oil Mashed Potatoes
- Spinach and Feta Mashed Potatoes
- Loaded Mashed Potato Bowls
- Balsamic Roasted Mushrooms with Herby Kale Mashed Potatoes
How to Make Slow Cooker Mashed Potatoes – Step by Step Photos
Start by washing and peeling 3 lbs. of russet potatoes. Dice the peeled potatoes into one-inch cubes.
Rinse the cubed potatoes well in a colander. This removes the excess starch which can make your mashed potatoes gluey instead of fluffy.
Add the cubed potatoes to a slow cooker along with 2 cloves of garlic (minced), 1.5 cups of chicken broth, and some freshly cracked pepper. Stir briefly just to distribute the garlic and pepper.
Cover the slow cooker, then cook on high for three hours, or until the potatoes are tender. You can test their tenderness by removing the lid just brief enough to see if a fork can be easily inserted into the potatoes.
Add 4oz. cream cheese, 1 Tbsp butter, and 1/2 cup milk to the hot potatoes. Stir with a spoon to combine the add-ins with the hot potatoes. The potatoes should be so tender that they begin to mash as you stir. You can continue to stir with a spoon for a chunkier mashed potato, or…
Use a hand mixer to briefly whip the potatoes until smooth.
Finally, taste the mashed potatoes and season with salt or pepper if needed. Depending on what kind of broth you use, you may want to add salt.
And that’s it! Soft, silky, flavorful slow cooker mashed potatoes without any “heavy lifting”. You can serve the potatoes right away or switch the slow cooker to the “warm” setting to keep them warm until you’re ready to serve dinner.