Slow cooker mashed potatoes are such a great shortcut to know about for when you’re preparing a big holiday meal or even for regular weeknight dinners!
One thing that every single home cook needs to know how to make is a nice big batch of mashed potatoes. They’re the perfect accompaniment to so many classic main dishes like roast beef or chicken and they’re a comfort food staple at just about every big family holiday meal that I’ve ever seen! Luckily, they’re really easy to make and pretty hard to mess up for most people. The problem with mashed potatoes isn’t so much that they’re challenging to prepare, it’s more that they always seem to need to be prepared at the exact wrong time. Not to worry! Slow cooker mashed potatoes to the rescue!
Preparing Slow Cooker Mashed Potatoes
I’ve always loved the tip passed down from “back in the day” that suggests doing all your peeling and chopping of the potatoes earlier in the day, and then covering them with cold water and putting them in the fridge, rather than trying to do all that prep work at dinner time. But then of course, you still need to boil the potatoes, mash them, and then add in all of your seasonings. If you like to fuss over your mashed potatoes until they’re just right like I do, then that process can take a bit of time. And it always seems to need to be done right as the roast needs to be sliced, or the veggies need to be steamed. So this method that I’m about to tell you is just way better. It just is. 🙂
I’ve been doing this for the last year or so and it really just saves me a ton of time and hassle. I had actually stopped making mashed potatoes for awhile because dinner time is pretty hectic at my place, like it is for many families, and anything that makes it more so is out the window! A life without mashed potatoes and gravy every once in awhile is just sad though! 🙂
So now I make them this way when I know I’m going to be making a mashed-potato-friendly meal and my dinner is half-done before I even walk in the door from doing the school-pickup rounds!
So, of course, start out with some lovely potatoes.
Wash them, peel them, and then chop them up into pieces that are about one inch across, then drop them into your crock pot!
Cooking Slow Cooker Mashed Potatoes
I have one of these smaller crock pots (I think mine’s about 4 or 5 quarts) that I like to use for side-dish stuff like this. It’s the perfect size if you’re only cooking something simple like chicken for 2 people too. I have to admit that I have my eye on something like this too, for when I really feel like going all out with my slow-cookery! I just discovered that these fancy high-powered slow cookers exist a few days ago and I’m pretty excited about it. Add that to the Christmas list for sure. 🙂
Anyway. Back to the potatoes!
Toss all of the chopped up potatoes into the crock pot and fill it up with water until the potatoes are just covered.
I’ll turn the crock pot on with the potatoes in the morning and leave them to cook on low all day so I just don’t really have to worry about them at all. The only issue is that slow-boiling potatoes all day creates kind of an… interesting aroma. They taste fine in the end, but part of the joy of crock potting is that you get to enjoy the smells of success and that feeling of having dinner taken care of all day while things are cooking. So here’s what I do for that.
To my potato boiling water, I’ll add about a teaspoon of onion powder, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and then a pinch of dried rosemary. And that’s all it takes to get that nice home-cooked scent. Actually, it really does flavor the potatoes nicely and make the seasoning process after they’ve been mashed much quicker too!
Finishing Up the Slow Cooker Mashed Potatoes
Now, the good thing about slow-cooking is that it’s slow. So, at some point during the day, about mid-afternoon or so if it fits into my schedule that day, I like to drain the potatoes, mash them and season them, and then leave the crock pot on low until we’re ready to eat dinner. At dinner time, they still taste like they’ve just been freshly-mashed and you don’t get any of the drying-out that you can get sometimes if you leave things to stay warm in the oven.
By the way, if you’re in the market for a potato masher, try to find one of these zig-zag ones, rather than one with little squares or channels. So much easier to clean! If I’m really feeling fancy, I’ll also get out my immersion blender to whip the potatoes up really well. The immersion blender is perfect for this potato short cut because you really just need to rinse it off quickly when you’re done. So still no extra dishes!
So that’s my slow cooker mashed potato method! That’s all there is to it!
If you’re a busy mashed-potato fan like I am, you may never go back to stove-top potatoes again!
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Courtenay Hartford is the author of creeklinehouse.com, a blog based on her adventures renovating a 120-year-old farmhouse in rural Ontario, Canada. On her blog, Courtenay shares interior design tips based on her own farmhouse and her work as founder and stylist of the interior photography firm Art & Spaces. She also writes about her farmhouse garden, plant-based recipes, family travel, and homekeeping best practices. Courtenay is the author of the book The Cleaning Ninja and has been featured in numerous magazines including Country Sampler Farmhouse Style, Better Homes and Gardens, Parents Magazine, Real Simple, and Our Homes.