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Can you keep instant mashed potatoes warm in a crock pot?

Yes, you can keep instant mashed potatoes warm in a crock pot for a period of time. Crock pots are designed to keep food warm by heating it gently and evenly over a long period. This makes them a great option for keeping mashed potatoes warm and ready to serve at potlucks, holiday dinners or other events.

How to Keep Mashed Potatoes Warm in a Crock Pot

Here are some tips for keeping instant mashed potatoes warm in a crock pot:

  • Prepare the mashed potatoes according to package directions. Allow them to cool slightly before transferring to the crock pot.
  • Spray the inside of the crock pot with non-stick cooking spray before adding the mashed potatoes. This will prevent them from sticking.
  • Transfer the cooked mashed potatoes to the crock pot and spread evenly in the pot.
  • Cover and set the crock pot to the warm setting. Most crock pots have a “keep warm” or “warm” setting perfect for this task.
  • Stir the potatoes occasionally if possible to prevent sticking and ensure even heating. Use a spatula to scrape along the sides and bottom of the crock as you stir.
  • Check the temperature occasionally with a food thermometer. The potatoes should maintain a safe serving temperature of 140°F or above.
  • Replace the lid quickly after checking to retain heat.
  • Avoid opening the lid frequently, as this will cause the temperature to drop.

How Long Can Mashed Potatoes be Kept Warm?

Mashed potatoes can typically be held warm in a crock pot for:

  • 2-4 hours on the warm setting
  • 6-8 hours on the low setting

However, potatoes may start to dry out, get soggy or develop a skin after several hours. For best quality, try to serve mashed potatoes within 2-3 hours of putting them in the crock pot.

Tips for Best Results

Follow these tips for keeping instant mashed potatoes warm and delicious in the crock pot:

  • Don’t fill crock more than 2/3 full to allow proper circulation and evenly distributed heat.
  • Use a spatula to stir and scrape sides/bottom of crock pot every hour or so.
  • Add a little milk, broth or gravy if potatoes start to dry out.
  • Top with pats of butter to help prevent skin from forming.
  • Check temperature regularly and adjust crock pot heat setting as needed.
  • Discard potatoes if they smell or look spoiled.
  • Refrigerate leftovers promptly.

Serving Ideas

Warm mashed potatoes straight from the crock pot are ready to enjoy! Here are some serving ideas:

  • Top with grated cheese, crumbled bacon, chives, etc.
  • Serve alongside pot roasts, meatloaf, chicken and other entrees.
  • Offer with gravy, beef or chicken broth for added moisture.
  • Make loaded mashed potato bowls with any favorite toppings.
  • Use as a base for shepherd’s pie or cottage pie.
  • Spoon into halved acorn or butternut squash for a tasty side.
  • Top with chili con carne or pulled pork for twist on potato bowls.

Food Safety Tips

To keep mashed potatoes safe when warming in a crock pot:

  • Start with freshly made instant mashed potatoes, not leftovers.
  • Use a food thermometer and ensure temperature stays 140°F or above.
  • Don’t let time between prep and serving exceed 2 hours total.
  • Never add already reheated potatoes back to crock pot.
  • Don’t allow any utensils or crock itself touch raw meats.
  • Discard potatoes left out over 2 hours or kept below 140°F.
  • Refrigerate within 2 hours and reheat gently before serving leftovers.


Using a crock pot is an easy, hands-free way to keep instant mashed potatoes piping hot and ready to serve for a party or dinner. Prepare the potatoes according to package instructions, transfer to your crock set on warm, and stir occasionally. With some care and attention, you can keep mashed potatoes appetizing for up to 2-4 hours. Top with extra flavors and gravies, or use them as a base for creative loaded potato dishes straight from the crock pot!