Annie's Practice Thanksgiving

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Since I have the most dinnerware and serving dishes in my family… and the most spacious dining room, I usually host Thanksgiving every year. I like entertaining and having fun with family and friends at the dinner table. I also love creating beautiful tablescapes for my guests.

On the other hand, what I do not like is figuring out the timing of the turkey with the stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, while a well-meaning friend but usually a relative decides to make, wash, chop, toss and mix dressing in my tiny kitchen for a salad at the exact moment I am trying to get all the food on to the table. I thought I was so smart asking a guest to bring the salad to avoid all that in the kitchen at a crucial time!

Mashed potatoes made in a slow cooker is one of my secrets for a successful Thanksgiving. It frees up valuable kitchen real estate to prepare other dishes and saves you time! Below is the recipe:


  • 5 pounds russet potatoes
  • 3 to 4 cloves garlic, optional
  • 1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 3 to 3 1/2 cups milk, or a mixture of milk and cream


  1. Peel and chop the potatoes: Lightly grease the slow cooker insert with butter or cooking spray. Peel the potatoes and chop into small pieces about 1 inch to a side. The smaller the potatoes, the faster they will cook, obviously. Transfer the potatoes to the slow cooker.

  2. Add the seasonings: Smash the garlic cloves, if using, and drop on top of the potatoes. Stir in the salt and a generous quantity of black pepper.

  3. Pour in 1 1/2 cups milk: Pour in 1 1/2 cups milk and stir the potatoes once.

  4. Cook until tender: Cover the slow cooker and cook 4 to 5 hours on HIGH or until the potatoes are very tender and soft. Turn the heat to WARM.

  5. Melt the butter: When the potatoes are done, melt the butter in a saucepan over low heat.

  6. Warm the dairy: Stir 2 cups milk, or a mixture of milk and cream, into the melted butter and warm gently over low heat.

  7. Mash the potatoes: If you used garlic but don't want the potatoes super garlicky, remove the garlic cloves and discard. Use a spoon to scoop out and discard any browned bits on the sides of the pot. Use a potato masher or ricer to mash the potatoes right in the pot.

  8. Slowly stir in the dairy: When the potatoes are as smooth as you like, slowly stir in the warmed dairy and butter. The potatoes will look soupy at first but the potatoes will quickly soak up the liquid. Add an additional 1/2 cup of milk or cream if you want them to be even creamier.

  9. Taste and season: Taste and season with additional salt or pepper if desired.

  10. Keep warm: To keep the potatoes warm, leave in the covered slow cooker on the WARM setting for up to 4 hours.

I started working on my turkey timing by practicing, the way I would learn anything else, by practice. Usually, sometime before Thanksgiving, I would make a turkey with stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy to practice on starving students and their roommates. Generally, I knew them and they served as an eager audience. Santa Cruz has a University of California and a community college so there are always hungry students to invite.

Now is the time to practice if you are going too- or at least the gravy. I have a new kitchen this year and a new oven, which means I will have to practice despite many years of experience.

One thing for sure- a table full of Annieglass delights and excites everyone at the table and of course it tastes better on Annieglass.

- Annie 

The delicious Slow Cooker Mashed Potatoes recipe is from