T-Day Mashed Potato Help

chase_gwOctober 5, 2012

Any one have any experience holding traditional mashed potatoes in a crock pot?

I'm having 25 for dinner Sunday and need to cut down on last minute prep. I've prepped a lot of the veggie dishes and made the gravy but mashing the potatoes at the last minute is always such a hassle.

I'm not wanting to do any party potatoes type dish. I just want to hold traditional mashed potatoes, cream, butter, salt and pepper, for several hours before dinner...like 4 o 5 !!!!

Suggestions, experiences....warnings!!! Potatoes are very important in this house! LOL

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I've done that several years in a row now, and it works fine. I use the low setting. I haven't stretched it out quite as long as 5 hours but I think that will be fine. I also don't care for the potato casserole recipes. I tried one once and meh. But the recipe I have used for keeping hot in the crock is the Thanksgiving Potatoes from Silver Palate Good Times and it has cream cheese and sour cream. It's the only mashed potato recipe allowed by Alice now. ;)

Makes 8 servings

9 large baking potatoes, peeled and diced
1âÂÂ2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
12 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
3âÂÂ4 cup sour cream
1âÂÂ2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Place the diced potatoes in a large saucepan and add water to cover. Heat to boiling. Reduce heat and simmer over medium heat until tender; drain. Place the potatoes in a mixer bowl. Cut the butter and cream cheese into small pieces and add to the potatoes. Beat with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in the sour cream. Season with the nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately or reheat in a buttered casserole at 300 degrees for 20 minutes.

I add some milk or cream, too. And I don't beat the potatoes. I hand mash them. I also sometimes use Yukon Golds.


    Bookmark   October 5, 2012 at 2:33PM
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Thanks Eileen...Iwould hand mash too. Never had any luck with beating...gluey, gluey mess!!! I'm not keen on adding the cream cheese, does it make the potatoes "thickish"

Also wondering about the cheese sauce for the broccoli and cauliflower....any thought from any one on making that as much as day or two ahead.....which would be today!

    Bookmark   October 5, 2012 at 2:55PM
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My family does this for holidays--just make your regular mashed potatoes recipe, put it in the crock pot on low, ( I think my mom "warms" the crock part with hot water first)and they are fine for serving. Don't know if she's held them for as long as 5 hours but my guess is they will be fine.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2012 at 3:11PM
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A little tediious (especially for a BIG crowd), but like to RICE potatoes. Then stir in plenty of butter and milk/cream till right consistency. Have never held mashed potatoes in crock pot. Can't see why it wouldn't be successful as long as temp could be kept really low.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2012 at 3:11PM
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Potatoes can be mashed an hour ahead, put into a serving bowl ( withOUT gold trim!) and nuked to rewarm.
I have also nuked refrigerated mashed potatoes to rewarm....but they weren't as good as fresh.
The cream cheese added potatoes aren't thick...just rich and yuimmy...I wouldn't do in a crock pot, but just keep warm in an oven.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2012 at 3:40PM
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No oven space available , that's why I mentioned crock pot.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2012 at 3:43PM
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My only concern is over cooking them 5 hours is a long time.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2012 at 3:47PM
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I always mash the potatoes about 1 to 1-1/2 hrs. before serving, put them back in the pot I boiled the potatoes in and replace the lid. Put the pot on the back of the stove and the warmth from the oven keeps them hot. Have never tried 4-5 hrs. though with that method.

Oh, I just remembered one year when there was no room on the stove...I sat the pan over a pot of hot water & they stayed perfect.

Happy Thanksgiving!


    Bookmark   October 5, 2012 at 3:50PM
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OK so 5 hours is a bit much :) I'll do them when I put the other veggies in and take the bird and ham out. At least they'll be out of the way at zero hour!

    Bookmark   October 5, 2012 at 4:17PM
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I always make mine the day before, refrigerate and reheat in a crock pot. I do use lots of butter and warm milk when mashing them (never use a mixer, an old fashion hand masher). i start the crock pot on High and lower it to Low when the potatoes are warm.

The Pioneer Woman has a good recipe.

Here is a link that might be useful: Pioneer Woman make ahead mashed taters

    Bookmark   October 5, 2012 at 6:47PM
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I've also held mashed potatoes in a crockpot, although not for 5 hours. Three was the most I'v tried, but they were fine. and I know what you mean, potatoes are very important in this home too, LOL.

Happy Thanksgiving!


    Bookmark   October 5, 2012 at 8:11PM
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Go ahead and make the cheese sauce. It will solidify when it's cold but when you reheat it it will go runny again.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2012 at 1:39PM
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I'd cut a piece of plastic wrap or parchment to put on top of the cheese sauce to help prevent a skim coat from forming in the refrigerator. I do agree with colleenoz though - the cheese sauce will be fine made ahead. Rewarm slowly.


    Bookmark   October 6, 2012 at 1:59PM
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I think you could peel and cut the potatoes 5 hours ahead, as long as you put them in a pot of water. But I agree that trying to hold them for 5 hours in a crock might result in crusty edges or something.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2012 at 5:13PM
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Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes
Makes 12 to 15 servings
Prep time: 20 Mins
oven cook time:40 Mins
crockpot cook time: 3 hrs
I made it in a Nestco Roaster to reheat
15 medium (5 lbs) potatoes, peeled and quartered
8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup sour cream
2 tsp onion powder
Salt and freshly ground black peper to taste
2 egg whites, slightly beaten
4 tbsp butter
1/3 cup chopped chives (optional)
Spray a large casserole dish or crock pot dish with veggie oil cooking spray.
In a large pot of boiling water over medium-high heat, cook potatoes until tender; remove from heat and drain
In the same cooking pan, mash potatos with potato masher until there are no lumps. Never use a blender
Add cream cheese, sour cream, onion powder, salt, pepper, egg whites, and chopped chives
Cook mashed potatoes slightly, cover and then refrigerate.
You can make up to a week in advance.
When ready to heat the potatoes:
Take the prepared mashed potatoes out of refrigerator about 3 1/2 hrs before serving.
Place in crockpot cover and cook on low heat for 3 hours stirring once or twice.
I made them in a Nestco Roaster on 300
After potatoes are cooked (165o) stir and then add some additional dollops of butter just befor serving
I made these for a VFW Post Dinner and everyone loved them.
There were 40 people so I tripled the recipe.


    Bookmark   October 7, 2012 at 1:12PM
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I always mash mine with a potato masher and put in the milk & butter (heated first in the microwave). Then, put the covered pan containing the mashed potatoes into a slightly larger pan with water added to it. Put it on a back burner & let it simmer until dinner. It's kind of like a double boiler & keeps the potatoes nice & moist.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2012 at 10:19PM
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Reporting back..

Well they are finally ALL gone!!!! The weekend went well but I'm exhausted!

My T-Day dinner was soooooo under control I had almost zero to do the 2 hours before dinner!!! It was the least stressful I've ever had even with the numbers and their extended stay..they were all here all weekend!!!

I did the potatoes about 4:30 and dinner was set for 7:30. I mashed them with lots of butter and hot milk and they kept beautifully in the crock pot needing only a 'fluffing" before dinner.

Thanks to your advice I did do the cheese sauce the day before and I had already done the gravy. I prepped all the veggies and boiled and peeled the pearl onions for the peas and caramelized the onions for the sweet potatoes even did the onions and celery for the stuffing Friday.

I really had very little to do T-Day which was good.

For lunches I had prepared soups and chili and Sat dinner was spaghetti with meat sauce, all of which I did last week and froze. That, fresh rolls and salad and everyone seemed happy enough!!!

It was a great weekend but I want my bed......after a well deserved Martini!

    Bookmark   October 8, 2012 at 6:20PM
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Enjoy that Martini and even have a second one...you deserve it! Glad to hear all went well.


    Bookmark   October 8, 2012 at 7:21PM
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I never doubted that it would go perfectly, but I'm glad it did.

You did earn that martini, I hope you had the second one too.

It's kind of nice to have an empty house after a weekend like that, isn't it?


    Bookmark   October 8, 2012 at 8:10PM
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Oh good. Happy Thanksgiving!

    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 8:26AM
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Dang it. I ran back here all excited that I had found some instructions for reheating mashed potatoes in a crock pot. I forgot you were Canadian :-D

Anyhow, congrats, I'm glad it went so well!

    Bookmark   October 26, 2012 at 12:38AM
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And It' probably time for another martini!
Glad all went well!!

    Bookmark   October 26, 2012 at 7:42PM
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