Browned Butter Slow Cooker Mashed Potatoes — Creamy and decadent from the herbed browned butter, these EASY mashed potatoes are a family favorite side dish! Made in the slow cooker to free up stove and oven space. No one will be able to resist these comforting buttery mashed potatoes at Thanksgiving, Christmas, or your next family gathering!
Easiest Slow Cooker Mashed Potatoes Recipe
These browned butter potatoes are rich, elegant, and taste like they could be served in a fancy steakhouse alongside a perfect steak from an overprice a la carte menu.
However, there’s nothing fancy or complicated about the way they’re prepared. In fact, mashed potatoes don’t get any easier than when they’re make in the slow cooker.
After slow cooking, they’re mashed and mixed with cream, sour cream, and luxurious herb-scented browned butter. Not diet food, and not apologizing.
Crock-Pot mashed potatoes with browned butter are a guaranteed comfort food, family favorite side dish recipe that everyone will beg for.
Whether you make them for Thanksgiving, Christmas dinner, New Year’s Eve, Easter, an anniversary night, or a just-because you wanted your carbs type of night, you just need to make them!
Ingredients for Slow Cooker Mashed Potatoes
I made these brown butter mashed potatoes with sour cream for additional moisture and flavor.
For these buttery creamy mashed potatoes, you’ll need the following common fridge and pantry ingredients:
- Russet potatoes
- Half-and-half (or 2% or whole milk), divided
- Low-sodium chicken broth (or water)
- Garlic, divided
- Black pepper
- Sour Cream
- Thyme – fresh or dried
- Rosemary – fresh or dried
- Parsley – fresh recommended
How to Make Slow Cooker Mashed Potatoes
Step 1: Get started with this easy holiday side dish by peeling and cubing the potatoes, and placing them in your slow cooker. I used an 8-quart, although 6- to 7-quart capacity is also fine.
Step 2: Pour in 1/2 cup of the milk or half-and-half, the broth, part of the garlic, salt, and pepper.
Step 3: Cook on high for 3 to 4 hours or until done. They’re done when they’re fork-tender and very soft. If they’re at all hard, they’re not done.
Step 4: In the final moments of cooking, brown the butter in a high-sided skillet over medium heat. Read the following section for more Browning Butter Tips.
Step 5: Add the herbs and remaining garlic to the browned butter so they bloom and become fragrant.
Step 6: Use a potato masher to mash the cooked potatoes.
Step 7: Then pour half the browned butter into mashed potatoes, followed up with the reserved milk, sour cream, and mix to incorporate.
Step 8: Transfer the mashed potatoes into a serving bowl, add the remaining half of the browned butter, garnish with parsley, and invite the family to dig in.
How to Brown Butter for Mashed Potatoes
People tend to make a big deal out of browning butter, and I don’t know why. It’s so easy and fast.
The biggest take-away here is to not burn the butter. It will seem like it isn’t doing anything for 5-ish minutes, and then bam, it goes quickly. Make sure you don’t let it get to the burnt stage, just nicely browned.
Here are the steps to browning butter:
- To a high-sided medium to large pot, add the butter and heat over medium heat to melt, stirring nearly continuously or swirling the pan.
- The butter will melt, foam, turn clear, golden, turn brown, and then will smell nutty.
- As soon at the butter begins to turn brown and there are a few brown specks (but not black), take the pan off the heat, pour butter into a large bowl, and continue to stir for about 1 minute, to ensure carryover heat doesn’t continue to cook and subsequently burn the already browned butter.
What Type of Butter Is Best for Browning?
As for the butter, you can use either salted or unsalted butter. If you’re using salted butter, you can cut down on the amount of salt you add.
Do I Have to Peel Potatoes for Mashed Potatoes?
For mashed potatoes, the skins have to be removed for me and my family.
If you’re somehow trying to keep these “healthier” by including the skin or you just like the texture of the skin in your mashed potatoes, then you can keep them on.
However, for us, no skins are allowed and therefore I peel the potatoes.
What Are the Best Potatoes for Mashed Potatoes?
Mashed potato purists will say that you should use 100% Russet potatoes. The reason for this is that they are really starchy and it’s probably the most traditional. They’re what I used exclusively for the browned butter mashed potatoes.
However, it’s a nice option to mix half Russet potatoes with half Yukon Gold potatoes which are more buttery and a bit waxier. The two combined make a wonderful batch of mashed potatoes.
I’m not as big of a fan of using solely Yukon Golds without being mixed with some Russets, but you can experiment of course.
Tip: Make sure to keep your potatoes in small 1/2 to 1-inch cubes so they cook in the 3 to 4 hours called for in the recipe.
What’s the Best Milk for Mashed Potatoes?
I use half-and-half, which is a mixture of half whole milk and half heavy cream. For me, this is the perfect middle ground.
Although I love rich foods, using all heavy cream is just a bit too rich for me but if you’re up for the decadence challenge, go for it.
If you want to lighten up the slow cooker mashed potatoes, you could use 2% or whole milk or possibly a nondairy milk if you’re wanting to keep them dairy-free.
Thicker plant-based milks such as cashew or oat milk may work. I wouldn’t use thinner milk like rice milk.
However, then you have to deal with the butter and sour cream in the recipe if you’re keeping the recipe dairy-free to make sure they are as well.
What’s the Best Way to Mash Potatoes?
I recommend a good old-fashioned potato masher for classic mashed potato consistency and texture. If you prefer smoother mashed potatoes with less texture, then this smooth potato masher is your ticket.
If you want them even smoother, then look for a potato ricer. It’s more work because you have to run the potatoes through it, batch by batch.
I don’t really love the consistency of mashed potatoes pureed down to baby food consistency, but some people do.
Can You Mash Potatoes with a Handheld Mixer?
I do not use a handheld electric mixer or stand mixer to mash them. It will overmix them rapidly and you’ll be left with gummy potatoes.
Now, I do use a handheld electric mixer for mashing sweet potatoes for sweet potato casserole, but sweet potatoes can stand up to the literal beating whereas “white” potatoes can’t, in my opinion.
However, do what you’d like, making sure that if you do mix them with an electric mixer that less is more, very definitely, in this holiday side dish recipe.
Can I Make Crockpot Mashed Potatoes in Advance?
If you want to bring these Crockpot browned butter mashed potatoes over to a Friendsgiving or you’re attending a potluck style Thanksgiving or holiday party, you can most definitely make the recipe from start to finish in your kitchen.
- Transfer the finished potatoes back into your slow cooker.
- Transport it all over to the host or hostess’ house.
- Plug your slow cooker in to keep them warm before serving.
Are Fresh or Dried Herbs Better?
For the thyme and rosemary, you can use either fresh or dried. If you’re already preparing Thanksgiving turkey dinner or a Christmas Eve holiday meal, then chances are you’ll have fresh thyme and rosemary on hand.
I tend to use slightly more fresh than dried herbs since they are technically not quite as strong. A good rule of thumb is that if a recipe is written with dried herbs, double the quantity if using fresh herbs in place of the dried.
Now that can be a little much. For example, I don’t know if I would use 3 teaspoons of a fresh herb is the recipe called for 1 1/2 teaspoons dried, but use your judgment.
If you do have fresh herbs on hand, just throw a sprig or two or rosemary and thyme into the butter and let it sit for a few minutes, and then remove them. Easy-peasy.
For the parsley, I recommend fresh. It’s much prettier and tastes better. Although you can get away with dried if that’s all you have.
One nice optional touch regarding the herbs in the browned butter is that you can pass the butter through a strainer. This will remove the visual aspect of the herbs but their herby flavor will still be imparted.
Aside from the visual, some people don’t want any texture whatsoever in their mashed potatoes, including the tiny flecks of herbs, although for me this is like peeling grapes but I am mentioning it.
How to Store Mashed Potatoes
These slow cooker browned butter mashed potatoes will keep airtight in the fridge for up to a week and in the freezer for up to 4 months.
Can You Freeze Mashed Potatoes?
Yes, slow cooker mashed potatoes freeze incredibly well!
If you plan to freeze them, let them cool completely, then seal in a freezer bag or a freezer-safe container.
When you’re ready to serve them, place them in fridge overnight to thaw or reheat from frozen in the oven, transferring them first to a baking dish.
How to Reheat Mashed Potatoes
For mashed potatoes that have just been in the fridge, I recommend reheating them gently in a pot on the stove over low heat until warm or carefully in the microwave.
You will probably want to add a splash of milk or cream since they’ve probably thickened up and reheating will only cause them to be even thicker.
You could reheat them in a slow cooker but it will take much, much longer and isn’t my preferred option.
What Goes with Mashed Potatoes?
Here are a few of my favorites:
- Honey Baked Ham
- Waldorf Salad
- Green Bean Casserole
- Classic Thanksgiving Stuffing
- Roasted Carrots
- Parker House Rolls
Pin This Recipe
- 3 pounds Russet potatoes, peeled and diced into 1/2 to 1-inch cubes* (See Notes)
- 1 1/2 cups half-and-half, 2% or whole milk, divided
- 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth (or water)
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic, divided
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, or as desired
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or as desired
- 1/2 cup salted butter (or unsalted and add additional salt)
- 3/4 cup sour cream
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme (or 2 teaspoons fresh)
- 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary (or 1 teaspoon fresh)
- 1 teaspoon fresh parsley, finely minced for garnishing (or 1/2 teaspoon dried although fresh is preferred)
- Peel and cube the potatoes, place them in a 6 to 8-quart slow cooker, add 1/2 cup of the half-and-half or milk, broth, 1 teaspoon of the minced garlic, salt, pepper, stir to combine and coat, cover the slow cooker, and cook for 3 to 4 hours on HIGH. The potatoes are done when they’re fork-tender and very soft. If they’re at all hard, they’re not done. I don't recommend using the LOW setting unless you have at least 6 to 8 hours.
- In the final moments of cooking, brown the butter in a high-sided skillet over medium heat.
- To brown butter, add the butter to a high-sided (it will splatter, so use high sides) medium to large pot, and heat over medium heat to melt, stirring nearly continuously or swirling the pan. The butter will melt, foam, turn clear, golden, turn brown, and then will smell nutty. As soon at the butter begins to turn brown and there are a few brown specks (but not black), take the pan off the heat, pour butter into a large bowl, and continue to stir for about 1 minute, to ensure carryover heat doesn’t continue to cook and subsequently burn the already browned butter.
- Add the thyme and rosemary; set aside. Tip - Read blog post section about fresh vs. dried herbs, and optionally straining the herbs from the butter. While the butter rests with the herbs infusing in it, mash the potatoes.
- Use a potato masher to mash the cooked potatoes. You can do this right in the basin/black canister of the slow cooker.
- Add half the browned butter (reserve the other half), the remaining 1 cup milk, all of the sour cream, and mix into the potatoes until smooth and blended.** (See Notes on Mashing)
- Transfer to a serving bowl or serve right out of the black slow cooker canister, evenly drizzle the remaining half of the browned butter, evenly sprinkle with parsley, and serve.
- Potatoes will keep airtight in the fridge for up to 1 week or in the freezer for up to 4 months. Tip - Read the How To Store and Reheat Leftover Crock-Pot Mashed Potatoes section of the blog post for more specific info.
*Potatoes: Mashed potato purists will say that you should use 100% Russet potatoes. The reason for this is that they are really starchy and it’s probably the most traditional. They're what I used exclusively for the browned butter mashed potatoes.
However, it’s a nice option to mix half Russet potatoes with half Yukon Gold potatoes which are more buttery and a bit waxier. The two combined make a wonderful batch of mashed potatoes. I’m not as big of a fan of using solely Yukon Golds without being mixed with some Russets, but you can experiment of course.
Make sure to keep your potatoes in small 1/2 to 1-inch cubes so they cook in the 3 to 4 hours called for in the recipe.
**Mashing - I recommend a good old-fashioned potato masher for classic mashed potato consistency and texture. If you prefer smoother mashed potatoes with less texture, then this smooth potato masher is your ticket.
If you want them even smoother, then look for a potato ricer. It’s more work because you have to run the potatoes through it, batch by batch, and I don’t really love the consistency of mashed potatoes pureed down to baby food consistency, but some people do.
I do not use a handheld electric mixer or stand mixer to mash them. It will overmix them rapidly and you’ll be left with gummy potatoes. However, I do use a handheld electric mixer for mashing sweet potatoes for sweet potato casserole, but sweet potatoes can stand up to the literal beating whereas “white” potatoes can’t, in my opinion.
Do what you’d like, making sure that if you do mix them with an electric mixer that less is more in this recipe.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 311Total Fat: 17gSaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 50mgSodium: 240mgCarbohydrates: 34gFiber: 3gSugar: 5gProtein: 6g
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