Are you hosting Thanksgiving dinner this year? If so, the slow cooker is your best friend. If you’ve never done the whole massive turkey dinner thing, you might not realize it, but one of the most difficult things about getting that awesome yumminess on the table is timing.
It may seem like a silly thing to worry about—who cares if dinner is 15 minutes late—but it becomes problematic when dishes start coming off at different times. No one wants cold food, ya heard?
This is where the slow cooker can rock your holiday. Will you be able to fit your 20-pound bird into your slow cooker? No, but the slow cooker can take some of the other dishes off your hands while you focus on the rest of the meal. And the slow cooker can do it with impeccable timing—just set the time you want the dish to be ready to serve, and like magic, it’s ready to roll.
Mashed potatoes are one of my very favorite Thanksgiving day dishes to “hand off” to my beloved slow cooker. It’s not that mashed potatoes are particularly difficult or time-consuming to make the normal way—they aren’t—it’s just that if I let the slow cooker do the work, that’s one less thing I have to think about on turkey day. When it comes to the timing issue, before I started using the slow cooker to do my potatoes, I always seemed to be waiting for my potatoes to boil or over boiling my potatoes or they’d be ready too soon and cold by the time they got to the table. I could just never get the timing right.
Now with the slow cooker? My mashed potatoes are hot, creamy, and ready to go whenever I am. With barely any work or thought on my part. Honestly, I’ve almost forgotten the potatoes multiple times because I spaced I had made them! That’s how hands-off this whole process is.
Now, I’m a bit of a mashed potato snob. I buy good (read: way more expensive than a tuber should be) potatoes. I use real butter, cream, and salt. Because of this, I never thought in a million years I’d like mashed potatoes cooked in a slow cooker made with chicken broth—but oh my gosh, guys, these are the best mashed potatoes ever. I first made them this way a few years back, and it immediately became my favorite way to make mashed potatoes. Cooking the potatoes in broth adds so much flavor, and you still get the creamy, dreamy, smooth texture by adding in cream (on in this case, whole milk, but cream works, too) and butter at the end. I’ve been perfecting the method and recipe so I can share it with you just in time to put on your Thanksgiving Day menu.
A word of warning: because you are slow cooking potatoes in broth, the end result will be darker than the fluffy white clouds you’re used to on your Thanksgiving plate. This is exacerbated by the fact that I like to use Yukon gold potatoes. My mashed potatoes are yellow. And I’m okay with it. And you will be, too, once you take your first bite. If you prefer, you can use all Russet potatoes or a combo of Russet and Yukon Gold.
Side note: the best mashed potatoes I’ve ever had were made using German Butterball potatoes. They’re almost impossible to find in store, but we grew them a few years back, and oh my gosh, they were amazing! Check for them at your farmer’s market.
If you’re planning on making this recipe for a crowd, know that this recipe is pretty much infinitely multipliable (is that a word?). Your only limit is the size of your slow cooker. I use my Crock-Pot® 5-in-1 Multicooker which holds six quarts.
I like to assume around 1/2 pound of raw potatoes per adult at my Thanksgiving dinner. The recipe below calls for five pounds which is enough to serve 10 people and will fit in a standard three-quart slow cooker (like this one from Crock-Pot® brand). If you double the recipe, you’ll have enough to serve upwards of 20 hungry people, and it will still fit in a six quart slow cooker like the one I use.
As far as mashing method goes, you wouldn’t really think it’d make much of a difference, but I’ve done a lot of testing, and I think I’ve narrowed it down to the best way—a manual potato masher followed by a quick whipping with an electric hand mixer.
Potatoes are tricky, because if you mash them too much, they turn into glue. You might be tempted to use a mixer or a blender or a food processor to speed up the mashing process, but unless you’re really careful, those can result in gummy potatoes fast. I highly recommend using good, ole elbow grease to get the job done.
The best tool for this is a potato ricer, but I found that I used one so infrequently, it wasn’t worth precious kitchen space. Instead, I recommend getting a hand masher that has a mashing plate (like this one). It really makes a difference! And then, once there are no lumps, I recommend using a hand mixer (this is the one I have) and whipping the potatoes just until they look nice and fluffy—you don’t want them to go gummy—keep the whipping stage to less than a minute.
I hope you enjoy this recipe, and I hope it helps make your Thanksgiving a little bit easier! To help even more, my friends at Crock-Pot® Brand are offering two awesome deals for you guys.
First up: if you’re needing a new slow cooker for the holidays, you can use this link and get 20% off all Crock-Pot® slow cookers. This discount is only for Wholefully readers, and that link is the only way to get it, so make sure to click, click, click!
Secondly: Crock-Pot® Brand is giving away one Single Hand Cook & Carry™ 6-Quart Oval Slow Cooker. Use the giveaway widget below to get entered!Print
Give yourself a break on Thanksgiving Day, and use your Crock-Pot® to make the Best Ever Slow Cooker Mashed Potatoes!
- 5 pounds Yukon Gold or Russet potatoes (or a mixture), peeled and chopped
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/3 cup sour cream
- 1/2 cup–1 cup whole milk
- Fresh chopped chives, for garnish
- Combine the potatoes, broth, butter, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and garlic in the basin of a slow cooker. Cook on high for 3-4 hours, or low for 4-6, or until the potatoes are very tender. Stir occasionally throughout the cooking time to make sure all the potatoes touch the broth at some point.
- Mash the potatoes using a hand-held potato masher until no lumps remain. Then, mash in additional salt to taste, sour cream, and whole milk, starting with 1/2 cup, and adding more until the potatoes reach your desired consistency.
- Optional: Using an electric hand mixer, fluff the potatoes just for about 20-30 seconds to get that whipped potato texture. Do NOT overmix or you risk your potatoes turning gummy.
- Sprinkle on chopped chives, cover the potatoes, put the slow cooker to warm, and then serve.