With sour cream and cream cheese mixed in, these Crock Pot mashed potatoes are delicious, rich, and creamy. Thanks to the slow cooker, they are easy to make ahead and simply heat on the holiday morning - couldn't be easier!
You will not ever make creamier mashed potatoes than these. The sour cream and cream cheese make them smooth and creamy.
The very first time we ever made this recipe (on Thanksgiving day - always try the recipe before the holiday!), we made a giant mistake: we didn't pre-cook the onion, thinking that it would cook in the slow cooker. Unfortunately, that meant that our rich and creamy slow cooker mashed potatoes had crunchy raw onion in them.
Mashed potato fail.
We learned our lesson that Thanksgiving and always sauté the onions ahead of time.
And our onion-hating kids don't even know that these have onions in them because the onions sort of disappear.
What you'll need to make slow cooker mashed potatoes
You will need standard kitchen equipment for this recipe, including a sharp knife and cutting board, a small skillet, and a 6-quart Crockpot or other slow cooker. You'll also need a potato masher, of course.
- Yukon Gold potatoes - I prefer yellow potatoes because they are creamier than white potatoes.
- Cream cheese - You'll soften this before you use it, so it would be okay to leave it out on the counter for a couple of hours before you need it.
- Sour cream or Greek yogurt - Greek yogurt tastes almost exactly the same as sour cream, so I go with the lower calorie and lower fat yogurt.
- Evaporated skim milk - This is half of a small can.
- 1 small onion - You want to dice this onion as small as possible (mince it even, if you can), and you will also pre-cook it in some butter before adding it to the potatoes.
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Milk & butter - This is to thin the potatoes after they've been in the slow cooker for a few hours.
How to use the slow cooker for mashed potatoes
You have two options here, make the potatoes on the stovetop and use the slow cooker to keep them warm or to make the potatoes entirely in the Crockpot.
It doesn't matter which way you go. Both work really well. This mashed potatoes recipe is so awesome that you can't go wrong either way.
To make the mashed potatoes on the stovetop and use the slow cooker to keep them warm
- Add the diced potatoes to a large pot of water. Bring to a boil and cook until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain and mash.
- In the meantime, sauté the diced onion in 2 tablespoons of butter in a small skillet until onion is translucent and beginning to brown. If you skip this step, the onions will be crunchy in your finished potatoes, and nobody wants crunchy potatoes.
- In a medium bowl, combine cream cheese, sour cream, evaporated milk, cooked onion, salt, and pepper until blended. Add to mashed potatoes and mix well.
- Transfer mashed potato mixture to the crock pot. We use a 6-quart crock pot, and the potatoes half fill it.
- Can be cooked on low up to 4 hours or on the keep warm setting for longer. Re-moisten with milk and butter if needed.
To make the mashed potatoes directly in the Crockpot
- Add the potatoes to the slow cooker with plenty of water to cover them.
- Cook on high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours.
- Drain the water from the potatoes and mash right in the crockpot.
- Sauté the diced onion in 2 tablespoons of butter in a small skillet until onion is translucent and beginning to brown. If you skip this step, the onions will be crunchy in your finished potatoes, and nobody wants crunchy potatoes.
- In a medium bowl, combine cream cheese, sour cream, evaporated milk, cooked onion, salt, and pepper until blended. Add to mashed potatoes in the slow cooker and mix well.
- Can be cooked on low an additional 4 hours or use the keep warm setting for longer. Re-moisten with milk and butter as needed.
One additional note about using the CrockPot for mashed potatoes
When you put mashed potatoes in the CrockPot, they tend to get thick. Be prepared to thin them back out with heavy cream or half and half (whole milk will work in a pinch) and melted butter.
What kind of potatoes should you use for Crockpot mashed potatoes?
I love Yukon Gold potatoes, and that's what I use for mashed potatoes any time I make them. You can certainly use russets or another type of potato, although I don't think red potatoes or fingerling potatoes would mash as well. You can peel Yukon golds if you want to, but I wash mine thoroughly and leave the skins on. If you're using russets, make sure to peel them.
Tips for the best Crockpot mashed potatoes
Make sure all of the potato pieces are cut the same size. When they are different sizes, they will cook at different rates, and some will end up being overcooked while others may be undercooked. Keeping them all the same size ensures even cooking.
Stick to the potato masher for smashing the potatoes. You can do this right in your Crockpot.
Can this recipe be made ahead?
Absolutely! You can make these mashed potatoes up to 3 days ahead of time. Simply store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator and toss them back into the Crockpot about 4 hours before it's time to serve. As I've said above, you will likely need to thin them with milk and melted butter as mashed potatoes get thicker when they sit.
You can also freeze mashed potatoes. Again, store them in an airtight container, and they should stay fresh for 2-3 months. To serve, you'll need to let them thaw in the refrigerator overnight, and then you can heat on the stovetop or in the slow cooker (again, on low for 4 hours).
Can you use an electric mixer to whip the potatoes?
I guess you technically can, but it's going to make your potatoes gummy and weird. Yukon gold potatoes get nice and soft after cooking, and they are not hard to mash with a regular potato masher like this one.
How do you store leftover Crockpot mashed potatoes?
You can keep these potatoes in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. You will most likely need to add additional milk and/or melted butter to thin them when you want to reheat. Mashed potatoes get kind of thick and clumpy when they're kept in the refrigerator. This can't be helped.
Slow cooker mashed potato variations
I love this recipe just the way it is, but you can also doctor it up a bit.
Garlic mashed potatoes - Add 6 cloves of garlic to the potatoes when you first put them into the Crockpot. Mash the cooked garlic with the cooked potatoes, and stir well to ensure the garlic is evenly distribtued.
Loaded mashed potatoes - Top the potatoes with shredded cheddar, crumbled cooked bacon, and chives.
Mix-ins - You can stir in any number of different goodies: crumbled bacon, shredded cheddar cheese, chives, or cubed ham.
Add herbs - You can add fresh parsley, dill, or chives to the mashed potatoes or simply sprinkle one or more over the the top when you serve.
Try these other delicious holiday dishes while you're here:
- Traditional Green Bean Casserole
- Slow Cooker Sweet Potato Casserole
- Homemade Candied Sweet Potatoes with Orange Juice and Marshmallows
- Fluffy Cranberry Fruit Salad with Pineapple
- Homemade Orange Cranberry Sauce
- Praline Pumpkin Pecan Pie
- The Worlds' Best Pecan Pie
- Crustless Gluten-Free Pecan Pie
- Couldn't Be Easier Cherry Pie