Fact: cooking time is very limited on Thanksgiving. You’ve got to somehow fit a turkey in your oven, make mashed potatoes and gravy, serve a pie and put the other amazing sides on the table. How will you do it?!
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Don’t worry, I’ve got a solution: amazing mashed potatoes made right in your slow cooker! It’s a game changer and frankly, I was shocked when they came out exactly the way I wanted them to: creamy, smooth, delicious and full of flavor.
This recipe was inspired by my mother in law, who is known for making the most creamy delicious mashed potatoes during Thanksgiving. She always does something a little different, but my most favorite is when she adds just a little butter and sour cream and then mashes them to perfection.
I tried my best to replicate her recipe on the blog, but kept it lightened up, and I believe they’re well worth trying. So creamy, so delicious!
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Ingredients for slow cooker mashed potatoes
These easy crock pot mashed potatoes use minimal ingredients but turn out so creamy and delicious. You’ll need:
- Yukon gold potatoes: I think gold potatoes give the best, buttery texture and flavor, but you could also use russet potatoes. Looking for a sweet potato option? Try my Brown Butter Mashed Sweet Potatoes.
- Garlic: get all of that savory, delicious flavor from 6 cloves of garlic. Yes, six!
- Butter: what are mashed potatoes without plenty of butter?! Feel free to use salted or unsalted butter, and even vegan butter.
- Broth or water: add the perfect amount of moisture with chicken broth, vegetable broth or water.
- Milk: I also like to add creaminess with unsweetened almond milk, but feel free to use any milk you’d like. If you’re finding that your mashed potatoes are too thick after cooking or sitting for a bit, feel free to add more!
- Sour cream or greek yogurt: the secret ingredient for silky crock pot mashed potatoes is sour cream or greek yogurt.
- Seasonings: don’t forget to add plenty of salt and pepper to taste. I also like to garnish with fresh thyme sprigs or even chives!
How to make mashed potatoes in the slow cooker
In order to simplify the process and save a little time on Thanksgiving day I decided to take my mother in law’s mashed potato recipe and make it in the slow cooker for ease! They came out magnificently flavorful and silky smooth in just a few easy steps and with some simple tips:
- Combine potatoes, garlic & broth. You’ll start by adding your diced, raw potatoes to your slow cooker with the minced garlic and a little broth. No need to boil the potatoes beforehand! Turn your slow cooker to high to cook the potatoes. The broth will prevent the potatoes from sticking to the bowl of the slow cooker and allows the potatoes to steam while they cook.
- Add creamy elements. After the potatoes have been cooking in your crock pot and are very fork tender (4 hours on high was perfect for mine!) add in the sour cream or greek yogurt, butter, a little milk to start, salt & pepper.
- Mash ’em up. You’ll then want to mash everything together with a potato masher. I don’t recommend using an electric mixture because there are a lot of potatoes and they might go everywhere.
- Adjust flavors & textures. Everyone enjoys their potatoes a little differently, so you can really adjust here as you see fit. Add additional milk to make the potatoes creamier or feel free to add in more butter and use whole milk for richer, ultra creamy mashed potatoes.
- Remember to have fun & enjoy! This recipe is easy and pretty impossible to mess up. Don’t stress too much about it. When all done and your potatoes are creamy and taste delicious, simply scoop into a warm bowl right before serving, then garnish with a pat of butter and freshly ground black pepper on top. YUM.
Lighten them up to perfection
To make healthy crock pot mashed potatoes, I recommend using unsweetened almond milk and whole milk greek yogurt in this recipe. You can also use vegan butter! Trust me, they’re still going to be incredibly flavorful, silky and delicious. If you can also feel free to use skim or 2% milk!
Peeling vs not peeling potatoes
In this recipe, you can either decide to peel your potatoes or leave the skins on. It just depends on how you like your mashed potato texture. I also like to keep the skin on the potatoes, since I think it adds a nice texture, but feel free to peel them if you want an even smoother, creamier version.
Tips for making the BEST mashed potatoes
- Be sure to generously season your mashed potatoes with salt and pepper and then mix again and taste a bite or two before serving.
- Add additional milk to make the potatoes creamier or feel free to add in more butter and use whole milk for richer, ultra creamy mashed potatoes.
- It’s important to taste as you go, adding more of this and that where needed. Experiencing is what cooking is all about, learning to trust yourself and adjusting flavors.
- If you like chunkier mashed potatoes, simply hold back on mashing them too much and leave some more chunks!
- Looking to use sweet potatoes? Try my brown butter mashed sweet potato recipe here!
Keeping mashed potatoes warm in the slow cooker
Once your mashed potatoes are done cooking in the slow cooker and you have mashed them, you can turn the slow cooker to warm and keep on warm for up to 3 hours. Before serving, I recommend tasting them again and stirring in a little more milk to keep them creamy, if necessary.
Make them ahead of time
Yes, you can even make these easy crock pot mashed potatoes ahead of time! You can either:
- Cube up your potatoes one day ahead of time and store them in the fridge in a bowl of cold water until you’re ready to cook.
- Or fully cook the slow cooker mashed potatoes 1-2 days ahead of time and store them in an airtight container in the fridge. Then simply add them back to the slow cooker to reheat — adding more milk as needed.
More Thanksgiving recipes to try
Feel free to check out our Thanksgiving recipes here. Here are some of my other personal favorites:
I hope you love these creamy slow cooker mashed potatoes. They’re easy, so GOOD and a wonderful way to save both time and space during Thanksgiving. Let me know if you make this recipe by rating the recipe and leaving a comment below — xo!
The Best Creamy Slow Cooker Mashed Potatoes
Total Time 4 hours 15 minutes
The BEST creamy slow cooker mashed potatoes infused with garlic. This healthy, lightened up version will be your family’s new favorite mashed potato recipe!
gold potatoes, diced (peeled or unpeeled, your choice)
chicken broth or vegetarian broth
softened butter (or vegan butter)
sour cream or whole milk greek yogurt
unsweetened almond milk, plus more to thin potatoes out if necessary (can also use skim milk or 2% milk)
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- To garnish:
- Extra butter
- Fresh thyme spigs
- Freshly ground black pepper
In a large 5 or 6 quart slow cooker add diced potatoes, minced garlic and broth. Cook on high for 3-4 hours until potatoes are very fork tender.
Once potatoes are done cooking, place slow cooker on warm setting and add in butter, sour cream and 1/2 cup of milk to start. Use a potato masher to mash potatoes until they reach your desired consistency. I happen to like my potatoes super creamy, so I mash them until they’re completely smooth.
If you want your potatoes creamier, add in ½ cup-1 cup more milk. Finally, a generous amount of salt and pepper, then mix again. Taste, and add more salt and pepper if necessary.
Transfer to a large warm casserole dish for serving, add a pat of butter, a sprinkle of fresh thyme, and a little freshly ground black pepper. Serves 10.
If you want a richer, very silky smooth version, you can use a ½ cup of butter and whole milk.
If you don’t like potato skins, feel free to peel your potatoes before dicing and placing in the slow cooker. They’re delicious!
If you’re keeping the potatoes warm in your slow cooker you may need to add more milk before serving to keep their silky smooth texture. Mashed potatoes can be kept warm in the slow cooker for up to 3 hours.
Check out the full post to see how to make them 1-2 days ahead of time!
Servings: 10 servings
Serving size: 1 serving
Saturated fat: 4.5g
Recipe by: Monique Volz // Ambitious Kitchen | Photography by: Eat Love Eats
This post was originally published on November 23, 2020, and republished on November 23, 2021.