Slow Cooker Mashed Potatoes make an easy holiday side dish. Your slow cooker does most of the work for you! (Other than peeling the potatoes, of course.)
Why You’ll Love Them
They taste amazing. Instead of using fresh garlic or onions, which you would have to saute in a separate pan first, this recipe calls for onion and garlic powder to create a similar flavor. This makes a convenient alternative (no extra chopping required!) and the resulting potatoes are still totally delicious.
They are made in one bowl. The potatoes, spices, and liquid cook together, and then you’ll mash them all in the same pot! There no need to drain the potatoes when they are done cooking, so your hands are free to work on the rest of your Thanksgiving dinner.
They are customizable. This recipe keeps things simple, but feel free to add in any extras you love, such as sour cream, cream cheese, Parmesan, or cheddar cheese. You can load up crockpot mashed potatoes any way you like with this easy base recipe!
They’re so easy! Instead of waiting for potatoes to boil on the stove top, you can press a button and walk away for hours. It doesn’t get much easier than that.
Ingredients You’ll Need
What do you need for mashed potatoes?
- Russet potatoes
- Water (or chicken broth)
- Onion powder
- Garlic powder
- Salt & Pepper
- Milk of choice
In case you’re wondering, russet potatoes are the best type of potato to use when making traditional mashed potatoes. Yukon golds won’t create the same texture, so if you are starting with those, you may want to use less liquid. (In general, they won’t turn out as “fluffy” as russet potatoes.)
This recipe calls for water as the base, because you only need 1 cup for cooking. It seems silly to ask you to open a box of vegetable broth or chicken broth for this purpose, but you can certainly use one of those, if you prefer. In that case, you may not need to season the potatoes with as much salt, since broth often already contains sodium.
How to Make Slow Cooker Mashed Potatoes
1. Peel & Cut the Potatoes
Scrub the potatoes under running water, and dry them off with a towel. Use a vegetable peeler to remove the potato peels, then cut the potatoes into roughly 1-inch chunks.
This is by far the most time-consuming aspect of the entire recipe, but it’s worth it! The potatoes will have a creamier, smoother texture this way.
(If you are using Yukon Gold potatoes, their skin isn’t quite as noticeable as the Russet potato skins, FYI. But, I still recommend peeling them if you’re making this for a fancy holiday meal.)
Spray the sides of your slow cooker with cooking spray, so the potatoes will be less likely to stick to the sides.
Transfer the potato chunks to the bottom of the slow cooker, and sprinkle them with the onion powder, garlic powder, 1 teaspoon of salt, and a 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Pour the water over the top, then add the lid.
Cook on high for 3 to 4 hours, until the potatoes are fork tender.
Tip: The potatoes that are not submerged in water will start to brown against the sides of your slow cooker. To help prevent this, give the potatoes a stir if you are nearby, about once per hour. This will help you to avoid any random browned bits in your final mashed potatoes, but it’s not necessary if you aren’t able to check on them.
When the potatoes are tender, remove the lid and use a potato masher to start mashing the potatoes. For extra creaminess, add in a 1/2 cup of milk (any variety you like) and a few tablespoons of butter.
Adjust the seasoning to taste, adding a little extra salt, as needed. I usually add a 1/2 teaspoon at a time for this amount of potatoes, and you can add extra milk or water, as needed to reach your desired consistency.
This is also the time to add in any extras you love, such as sour cream or freshly chopped chives.
4. Serve warm.
The slow cooker’s warm setting will keep your mashed potatoes warm until you are ready to serve them.
Just before serving, be sure to check the texture again, and add a little more liquid, if needed. Mashed potatoes tend to firm-up as they sit, but stirring in a little extra milk or water will fix that quickly.
Garnish the potatoes with freshly chopped parsley or chives, and serve with your favorite gravy.
Leftover crock pot mashed potatoes can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Reheating Tips: While re-heated mashed potatoes are not quite as perfect as freshly mashed potatoes, you can reheat these on the stove top by adding an extra splash of milk as you warm them up over medium-high heat.
If you know you won’t be serving these potatoes right away, don’t add the milk that this recipe calls for until you plan on reheating them, so you won’t risk adding too much liquid.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I use a hand mixer to mash potatoes? Yes, you can use a hand mixer or stand mixer to whip up ultra-smooth mashed potatoes. I would recommend that you still use a potato masher (or potato ricer) first, to help break down the potatoes a bit, but then you can use the electric mixer to make the potatoes turn into creamy perfection.
Can I use the Instant Pot, instead? I’ve already got you covered with Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes. They cook in just an 8-minute cooking cycle!
Slow Cooker Mashed Potatoes
- 5 pounds Russet potatoes , peeled & cubed
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- 1 ½ teaspoons fine sea salt , plus more to taste
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 cup water
- 4 tablespoons butter (optional)
- ½ cup milk of choice , plus more as needed
- In the bowl of a 6-quart to 8-quart slow cooker, add the potatoes, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and black pepper. Pour the water over the top, then cover with the lid.
- Cook on high heat for 3 to 4 hours, until the potatoes are easily pierced with a fork. (Even at low heat, the potatoes are usually done within 4 hours.) Stir the potatoes once per hour, if possible, to prevent the pieces that are not submerged in water from browning against the sides of the pot. If you can't do this, it's okay, but you may see a few browned pieces in the final mashed potatoes. (The browned parts are still delicious!)
- When the potatoes are fork tender, use a potato masher to mash them. Add in the butter, if using, and milk, and continue mashing until they are smooth. You may need to add in an extra cup of milk, and I also add in an extra ½ to 1 teaspoon of salt. (Start with just a ½ teaspoon at a time.)
- Once the potatoes are seasoned to your liking, they are ready to serve right away. The slow cooker will keep them warm for up to 3 hours, but they will firm up as they sit, so be sure to add an extra splash of water or milk, and stir until they are fluffy again right before serving.
- Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. You can reheat mashed potatoes in a large skillet, with an extra splash of water or milk, and stir until they are heated through again.
If you try this slow cooker mashed potato recipe, please leave a comment and star rating below letting me know how you like them.