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Part 3: Crock-Pot Mashed Potatoes and Gluten-Free Cornbread

Allergy Free Thanksgiving Series

PART 3 of my Ultimate Thanksgiving Prep Series is all about Crock-pot Mashed Potatoes (yes, you read that right) and Gluten-Free Cornbread that you can use both for the stuffing and as a savory muffin to go along with the meal. Another two-for -one day for you.

Okay. I have a confession.  I make my mashed potatoes…in a crock-pot. Now I have a secret to go along with this confession.  They are, by far, some of the best mashed potatoes I have ever had.

And, I am not alone.  There are others like me (I apologize if that sounds a little creepy).  Case in point, Stephanie O’Dea, of the blogA Year of Slow Cooking and author of Make It Fast, Cook It Slow, has the same secret (well, hers is not a secret since she posted her recipe for them a couple of years ago on her blog).  But I am just happy to know that I am in good company.

Now, regardless of whether you make this quintessential Thanksgiving side in the crock-pot or on the stove as you are putting the finishing touches on the rest of your dishes for your meal, there are a few tricks of the trade that will help you whip up (although whipping is not really the preferred method) the perfect mashed potatoes:

* Always start your potatoes in a pot of cold water and then bring them to a simmer, not a boil (boiling will give you water-logged potatoes).

* For good flavor, you can simmer the potatoes with the skin on and then once they are cool enough to handle, peel them.

* Make sure that the ingredients you are adding to the cooked potatoes are warm (i.e. heat your milk, cream, yogurt, cream-cheese, butter, or whatever you are adding).  Cold ingredients will tighten the starches in the potatoes and make them ooey and gluey.

* Use a masher or a ricer, instead of an electric mixer.  A mixer will leave you with gummy potatoes.

Making them in the crock pot using this method, eliminates the need for that well-known Thanksgiving jig called the Last Minute Potato Mash. It frees you up for all of that hectic chaos that usually ensues right before your crew sits down to the Thanksgiving meal (and yes, no matter how organized you are, it still seems that some form of frazzled energy erupts right before you are all about to sit down and give thanks).

And, like I said before, they are really some of the best potatoes I have ever eaten.

Crock Pot Mashed Potatoes

Crock Pot Mashed Potatoes

(Gluten-Free, Nut-Free, Egg-Free.  Adaptions for Dairy-Free)


  • 5 pounds yukon or red potatoes, cut into chunks
  • 6 cloves minced garlic, or more to taste
  • 2 cubes gluten-free vegetable or chicken bouillon cubes
  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened (For Dairy-Free version: use Follow Your Heart Cream Cheese Alternative or Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese)
  • 3/4 cup plain Greek-Style yogurt OR Sour Cream (For Dairy-Free version: use Dairy-free yogurt alternative or Follow Your Heart Sour Cream Alternative or Tofutti Better Than Sour Cream)
  • salt and pepper to taste


1.  Place potatoes, garlic, and bouillon cubes in a large pot of lightly salted water and bring to a simmer.  Cook until potatoes are tender but firm, about 15 minutes. Drain, reserving water.  If you left the skins on during simmering, peel once cool enough to handle (or leave on, to add texture and flavor to your dish).

2.  Put potatoes through a potato ricer or use a masher.  Then mix with the cream cheese (or Dairy-Free alternative) and yogurt or sour cream (or Dairy-Free alternative), adding reserved water as needed until the mixture reaches the desired consistency.

3.  Transfer the potato mixture to a slow cooker, cover with a dish towel, then place lid over the dish towel (to prevent the moisture from dripping off lid and falling into the potatoes).  Cook on Low for 2 to 3 hours. Just before serving, season with salt and pepper to taste.

Gluten-Free Dairy-Free Cornbread Muffins

I also have a special stuffing recipe that I will be sharing with you in my next post this weekend.  Because part of this recipe includes cornbread, and because I also like to serve savory cornbread muffins to go along with our holiday meal, I make a lot of cornbread during the week of Thanksgiving.

One would think that after all of these years, I might be getting tired of cornbread. Umm…one might be right.  And next year, I think I may risk changing it up a bit.  But for this year, I will prevent any family upheavals and will keep with what they love best.  Cornbread.

I use the cornbread recipe below for both the stuffing cubes and, after adding some optional ingredients, for my savory muffins as well.

Gluten-Free Cornbread

(Gluten-free, Nut-free; Easily Dairy-Free, and Egg-Free)


  • 1 cup cornmeal (I use Arrowhead Mill’s Organic Yellow Cornmeal)
  • 3/4 cup white rice flour
  • 1/4 cup sorghum flour
  • 1 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten (For Egg-Free: mix together 3 Tbsp unsweetened applesauce and 1 tsp baking powder)
  • ¾ cup plain yogurt (For Dairy-Free: use dairy-free yogurt alternative)
  • ¼ cup plain milk (For Dairy-Free: use plain rice, oat, soy, or hemp milk)
  • 4 Tbsp butter, melted (For Dairy Free: use organic canola oil, OR Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks, melted instead)

Optional Addition for Muffins to serve with the meal

  • 1/2 Tbsp finely chopped rosemary
  • 1/2 cup fresh corn kernels (or frozen and thawed)
  • ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese (totally optional if avoiding Dairy)
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder


1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.

2. Lightly grease an 8 x 8 inch pan (or for the muffins, line 12 muffin cups or lightly grease)

3. In large bowl, whisk together cornmeal, rice flour, sorghum flour, xanthan gum, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and sugar.

4. In a separate large mixing bowl, combine the eggs (or egg replacement) with the melted butter (or dairy-free replacement) and beat for 1 minute.  Add in yogurt and milk (or dairy-free replacements).

5. Add in the dry ingredients a little at a time and gently mix, just until well incorporated, about one minute. It should be relatively thick.

6. If you choose, at this point gently stir in (by hand) the rosemary, corn, cheddar cheese (optional), and onion.

7.  Pour batter into prepared pan or spoon the batter into the muffin cups (if making muffins).

8. Bake in the center of a pre-heated oven for 23-25 minutes if making pan or about 20 minutes for the muffins. Should feel firm to the touch; and a wooden toothpick inserted into the center should come out clean.

9.  Cool on wire rack.


PART 1: The Menu and The Plan of The Ultimate Thanksgiving Series

PART 2: Cranberry Citrus Cider Sauce AND Green Bean and Shallot Salad with Champagne Vinaigrette.

PART 3: The Gluten-Free Cornbread Recipe for the stuffing (with the Variation to make the Savory Cornbread Rosemary Muffins to go with the meal) and Crock Pot Mashed Potatoes.

PART 4: The Gluten-free Cornbread and Crusty Bread Stuffing I have been promising (and trust me, you will not want to leave out the secret ingredient).

PART 5: Cider Glazed Brined Turkey with Apple Brandy Gravy

PART 6: Toffee Pecan Caramel Apple Streusel (Gluten-free and Egg-free already, but ways to make it Dairy-free and Nut-free as well) and Crustless Pumpkin Streusel Pie.

PART 7: The MASTER Shopping List

  1. On November 13, 2010 Andrea said

    Great method for the mashed potatoes! I have been seeing so many ideas this year to help destress Thanksgiving dinner preparation!
    If you want to change up your cornbread slightly, I have one on my blog (in the bread section) that uses corn meal and corn flour and only a little bit of GF flour mix. My husband says it is the best he has ever had!

    • On November 14, 2010 Cook It Allergy Free said

      Hi Andrea! I will totally have to check out your cornbread recipe on your site. That sounds delicious! It seems like everyone is on the same page about trying to keep from stressing out this Thanksgiving.

  2. On November 14, 2010 Stephanie O'Dea said

    *Thank you* for the simmering potatoes and the leaving the skin on until after tips! I had no idea…

    • On November 14, 2010 Cook It Allergy Free said

      Hey Stephanie! Thanks for letting me share your crock-pot recipe. I was so glad to see that you have a recipe for them too, my friend! 😉

  3. On November 14, 2010 Lexie said

    Super tip on the potatoes (and the dish towel). One less last-minute thing to do. We are potlucking this year and I will be bringing my potatoes in the crockpot! Thanks so much!

    • On November 14, 2010 Cook It Allergy Free said

      This makes it so easy to bring mashed potatoes as a side without having to worry about them getting yucky. But I think the dishtowel is really key because all of that moisture drips back into the potatoes otherwise! 😉

  4. On November 14, 2010 Hope Hill said

    LOVE the mashed potato idea. Will free up my stove-top for Thanksgiving. Can’t wait to try!

    • On November 14, 2010 Cook It Allergy Free said

      Hi Hope! Glad you like the idea. I know that some people are really set on doing it at the last minute, but it is just so nice not to have to do this part of the meal at the last minute!

  5. On November 14, 2010 Maggie said

    Another great post Kim! We like to leave our skins on too – but we don’t take them off. We love them in the mashed potatoes. Great tips! I didn’t know potatoes could get water-logged! We love eating cornbread. Yum, and cornbread muffins sound divine! Let’s be honest though, I’m counting down until the streusel 🙂

    • On November 14, 2010 Cook It Allergy Free said

      Hey Maggie!! I actually always leave the skin on when I am using red potatoes, especially when I just make them for day-to-day dinner. But at Thanksgiving, for some reason, I always end up taking them off. But maybe this year i will leave them on. LOL And we made the streusel tonight to give it another run! Oh my goodness. So darn good. 😉

  6. On November 15, 2010 Alisa Cooks said

    Great tips Kim! Especially the part about not using a mixer. I always mash by hand, but didn’t realize mixing would make it gummy!

    • On November 15, 2010 Cook It Allergy Free said

      Alisa, that was one of the tips my Mom always gave me and now I have researched it, and, of course, she was right! By the way, my Mom just told me she got your sweet thank you card! She said thank you, thank you!! 😉

  7. On November 15, 2010 Tia said

    Post number three. (Sam is putting Max to bed.)

    Learned a lot about potatoes. I knew about the masher. My grandma taught me that one. She had one just for that and applesauce. But I had no idea about the waterlogged potatoes or how to do it in a crockpot. (My iPad tried to correct that to crackpot.) And the towel. I’m going to have to try that. Maybe I can talk the in-laws into ding them that way this year. I’ve got a long grocery list for when I get there.


    • On November 16, 2010 Cook It Allergy Free said

      Wow, woman! You are on a roll. 3 comments in one night? You are rocking!
      I cannot wait to hear how your Thanksgiving meal goes! I hope you can convince them of a few dishes done your way! 😉

  8. On November 16, 2010 Miriam said

    I definitely agree that pre-heating the ingredients that you add to the potatoes makes a huge difference. The mash is just never as good if you add cold milk.

    • On November 16, 2010 Cook It Allergy Free said

      Hi Miriam! So glad you second the heating of the ingredients. It really does make a big difference!!

  9. On November 17, 2010 InTolerantChef said

    Great idea for saving some time and stove top space!

    • On November 21, 2010 Cook It Allergy Free said

      Thanks so much, Intolerant Chef!! Just helps to take one thing off of your plate at the last minute when you do the potatoes in the crockpot! 😉

  10. On November 18, 2010 Kimberly said

    I LOVE this mashed potatos idea! I’ll be linking it to my blog, with your permission, of course! This is amazing! Thank you! I was looking to possibly avoid the “mashed potato jig” for my daughters class– it looks like I have a great alternative for her needed dairy free potatos at her Thanksgiving Feast for the class! 🙂 Stumbled on your blog twice the last week, and I am incredibly impressed. I’ll likely be a regular– provided I’m not in the kitchen cooking the few recipes I can’t pull myself away from!

    • On November 21, 2010 Cook It Allergy Free said

      Hi Kimberly!! Thanks so much! Feel free to link these potatoes to your blog. I’d be honored. Thank you so much for coming by and not leaving! LOL! So glad you like it here! And I look forward to your being a regular! Hope you enjoy the potatoes! 😉

  11. On November 10, 2012 Jennie said

    Just made the mashed potatoes and they turned out great! The kids love them! Thanks so much for the great recipe and wonderful tips!


    • On November 11, 2012 Kim-Cook It Allergy Free said

      YAY!! Jennie, thanks so much for coming back and reporting! I am so so happy that you all liked the potatoes! Reviews like these make my day.. 😀 Have a great rest of your weekend!

  12. On November 19, 2012 Elaine said

    I found out a year ago that I have a Gluten Allergy. It only took the Doctors 20 years to figure it out! I am wading through the recipes and life change to my former diet. I am thrilled that this information is available and will enjoy following all the info. If anyone has a “really good homemade pasta recipe” please pass it on. I lived in Bologna, Italy and learned to make homemade pasta….but now I can’t eat it! I miss the luxurious taste of fresh pasta. I am disappointed with the manufactured ones on the market. I have tried a number of flour mixtures for the homemade but can’t get what I’m looking for. If I come up with the “ONE”, I will post it.

    Happy Thanksgiving to everyone and keep the information flowing.

  13. On November 20, 2012 Mrs.S. said

    I just make the cornbread, but it is very dry. The recipe says it should be thick, but I could not pour mine in. I even added a tad more milk, but it didn’t help much. Any ideas?

  14. On November 20, 2012 Mrs.S. said

    FIY, I used the recommendation for egg-free; apple sauce and baking powder. Don’t know if they makes much difference. Thanks.

    • On November 20, 2012 Kim-Cook It Allergy Free said

      Hi Mrs S. A couple of things I can think of are that you may have needed slightly more liquid if yours seemed that thick. My batter is usually fairly pourable. It could have also cooked a bit longer or hotter than it needed (especially if your oven is not totally calibrated – I know my oven has been cooking really hot lately and I have had to adjust my cooking times because of it). And without the eggs, it will definitely have a more crumbly consistency, unfortunately. So sorry it did not totally turn out for you. 🙁

  15. On November 20, 2013 Heather said

    Thank you soooo much for these wonderful recipes! Would it be possible to substitute chicken bone broth for the boullion cubes in the mashed potato recipe? I make multiple batches of concentrated broth every season and freeze it to use in future recipes or as a soup base. Could I just cook the potatoes in a half broth, half water solution instead of the water and boullion?
    This will be my first Thanksgiving where I haven’t had to miss-out on the traditional fare because I have proven to my family that gluten-free/allergy-friendly does not have to mean flavor-free or cardboard. 🙂

    • On November 20, 2013 Kim-Cook It Allergy Free said

      Hi Heather! You absolutely can use your bone broth in place of the boullion. I use my bone broth all of the time in it. 😉 I truly wish you and your family an amazing AND delicious Thanksgiving meal! I look forward to hearing how everything goes!

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