Recipes, Sides, Vegetarian
Comments 20

Easy mashed yams in the slow cooker

Mashed yams

If you love yams and sweet potatoes, you don’t have to wait for the holidays to make them. Take advantage of their brilliant color, sweetness and health benefits all winter long. Here at Chez Grace, we like mashed yams best. A side of these alongside a crunchy autumn salad with chunks of romaine, baby kale, lightly steamed Brussels sprouts and walnuts makes for an easy supper any day.

The good news: They’re hardly any trouble at all if you have a slow cooker and a stick blender handy. Early in the day, scrub your yams, peel them if you like, chunk them, throw them in your slow cooker, drizzle a little olive oil over them, and by lunch time, they’ll practically mash themselves.

Scrubbed yams, ready to peel and chunk

Scrubbed yams, ready to peel and chunk

Easy side dish for your holiday guests who don’t enjoy candied yams

Most of our gang loves candied yams, dripping with syrup and topped with golden-crusted marshmallows. Some of us? Not so much. Once I discovered I wasn’t the only one, I volunteered to bring the un-candied yams. They are always a hit, even with the folks who so eagerly take big helpings of that gooey alternative.

Slow cooking your yams and sweet potatoes makes your holiday planning just a little quicker and easier, especially if you have to map out your oven time and cooking space days in advance to be sure everything comes out hot and perfectly done when you all sit down to dine.

Peeled or unpeeled, just as tasty either way

Sometimes I peel them, sometimes not, but if I don’t, it takes less than 5 minutes to fill my 1-1/12 quart slow cooker with chunked yams like these. The skins give us extra fiber and, to my mind, add a little subtle, earthy flavor that jibes nicely with the sweetness.

Unpeeled yams in slow cooker crock

Unpeeled yams in slow cooker crock

Peeled yams in slow cooker crock

Peeled yams in slow cooker crock

If the skins are tough or extra pocked, I peel my yams. Either way, I toss the chunks with a little olive oil, pop them in the cooker, set it and walk away.

Use a powerful stick blender to make quick work of the mashing

You could almost mash these sweet potatoes with a fork, they come out so tender, but my Breville stick blender gets them super smooth in about one minute. Can’t beat that! (Unintended pun, but think I’ll keep it.) See my review of this blender on HubPages: The Breville Stick blender, one of my most-used kitchen tools.

Easy mashed yams in the slow cooker recipe

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

This dish is delicious plain, and that’s our favorite way to eat them, but I have fun tinkering too. Sometimes I add a dash of cinnamon, curry powder, or garam marsala when mashing, to give the goodies a little extra oomph. Give them a try, then tell me what you think in the comments at the end of this page.

Yams in slow cooker, temperature set to high

Yams in slow cooker, temperature set to high

My small slow cooker, the one I use for just the two of us, is old and quite basic. No fancy doo-dahs. I set the temperature to high for the first hour to assure the yams reach a safe temperature as quickly as possible. After that first hour, I turn the dial to “low,” and wait for the heat and moisture to do its magic, about two more hours in this cooker. Cooking times vary according to pots, so adjust to suit yours.


  • 1 -1/2 to 2 lbs Yams or sweet potatoes, washed, peeled and chunked
  • 1/2 C cold tap water
  • 1 T Extra virgin olive oil
  • Pinch Salt (optional)


  1. Fill 1-1/2 quart slow-cooker with chunks, leaving just enough room for lid to rest snugly.
  2. Add ½ C cold tap water.
  3. Drizzle olive oil over top.
  4. Cover & set slow cooker to high for one hour to assure it reaches safe cooking temperature quickly, then reduce to low and cook for 2-3 hours till fork tender.
  5. Turn off crock pot and let cool just enough to handle pot safely.
  6. Pour cooked yams into large bowl.
  7. Sprinkle salt over all to taste (optional).
  8. Mash and serve plain, or garnish with a dollop of fresh butter or Greek yogurt.

For a light supper with complementary textures and color, serve with a crisp and crunchy green salad made with romaine, baby kale, lightly steamed baby Brussels sprouts and toasted walnuts tossed in a light mustard vinaigrette.

A YayYay's Kitchen Recipe

This is a YayYay’s Kitchen original recipe. Please link back to this page if you base a recipe of your own on this one.

Candied or plain?

Are you a candied yam fan? Or do you gag like I do? (It’s embarrassing, isn’t it?) What’s your favorite way to eat yams and sweet potatoes?

♥  ♥  ♥

Dear Readers: If you think you’ve seen this recipe before, you may well have. In November 2013, as a writer on the now-defunct site Squidoo, I first published this recipe under the user name graceonline. In August 2014, HubPages, where I am known as ecogranny, bought Squidoo. I opted to have my Squidoo pages, including this recipe, transferred to the new site. Now, in February 2017, I’ve brought it home–to YayYay’s Kitchen.

♥  ♥  ♥

This post is shared on Seeking Joyful Simplicity | Blog hop #42.


  1. Sounds wonderful. I still use my crock pot from 1975 when my daughter was born. We understand each other about the definitions of low and high.(come to think of it, the we refers to both my crock pot and me and my daughter and me.)😜

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh, yes indeed. i keep all the manuals and have to check every now and then to be sure I’m using the right setting or timing. I sometimes wonder whether the people who design the appliances have ever really used them. For instance, my coffee maker has so many sticking up pieces I think no designer (probably a man?) has ever tried to clean out the grounds that get stuck in the corners.They should include a brush with the machine! But what would I do without it?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I get that! My daughter’s 12-cup coffee maker has far too small a basket to make a decent 12-cup pot of coffee. They fill it a little higher than they dare sometimes, and it overflows. Grounds and wet mess everywhere. SO hard to clean up.


  3. How lovely! I don’t think we are as keen on sweet potatoes in UK as you are, but they are getting more popular. I’m definitely going to try this. I have no idea what candied yams are, though…….

    Liked by 1 person

  4. What a great idea! I will have to wait until I’m reunited with my slow cooker in spring (can I buy sweet potatoes in spring? I don’t even remember!). I love, love, love sweet potatoes, and that’s before I even consider how healthful they are.

    I’ve never had candied yams, but just the idea of adding syrup or marshmallows to the already sweet tubers makes my teeth hurt!

    p.s. I’ve learned something about this wonderful veggie. The Maori brought their beloved kumari (sweet potato) to New Zealand from their Pacific Island homes, and the veg is still a favourite here today.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Leah. Here in California we can get them year round, but not always locally grown. You’ll have to come back and tell me when you get home, yes? Thanks for the interesting tidbit of the sweet potato’s introduction to New Zealand. I know they were grown in many so-called primitive cultures in the islands, the Amazon and Africa, probably because of their relative high-caloric value, and I believe also because they grew well in the rather thin, high-iron soils of those regions. I’m harking way back to my Geology and Anthropology 101 classes for that. Hope memory serves!


      • I will, indeed, report back! I also have a mental note to try the home-made grainy mustard (which I planned to make after LAST winter’s trip!).

        Another tidbit, I just bought a kumari yesterday and it is a ‘red’ variety. I am curious to see how different it is from the ones I’m used to.

        (I always wanted to audit an Anthropology class – maybe someday)

        Liked by 1 person

        • I’ll hold you to that report! : ) If you like spicy mustard, do use the black mustard seeds as I do. I love it but not all my friends and family members care for the heat, so I’m looking for a bulk source of yellow mustard seeds, which I understand are milder.

          I had to look up “kumari” and found something about the worship of pre-pubescent goddesses (!) in Nepal but no reference to food. Can you enlighten me please? Oh, and I think you would love an anthropology course–esp if you get a professor who’s in love with her subject. I’ve always wanted to take more.


          • Oh, brother, I’m sorry. Kumara! The sweet potatoes. On the other hand, you’re very welcome for the new-found Nepalese knowledge (rolling my eyes at myself).

            I remember your original post about the black seeds! I think I’ll start with yellow and see how that goes. It’s good to know about the different levels of heat, though. You never know, I might get brave down the road.

            Liked by 1 person

            • Thanks Leah. “Kumara” turns up a totally different search result! Well, I learned something new that day, and that’s always a good thing, even though it was a little creepy. : ) Good luck with the mustard, when you get to it.

              Liked by 1 person

  5. Love sweet potatoes; and they don’t need any more sweetning. I didn’t know I could fill the slow cooker up to the top. I will certainly try it. Thanks, Grace.
    By the way, my favorite side dish these days is sweet potato fries. I don’t make them at home but often indulge when at a restaurant. Sooo yummy.

    Liked by 2 people

    • psst: sweet potato fries are super easy to make at home (in the oven). Slice ’em, toss with a bit of oil and salt, slap them in a hot oven, turn them once in a while. Once they are getting just a little bit burnie looking, pull those bad boys out and enjoy. Yum! Great dipped in BBQ, by the way!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oh yes! I’ve had wonderful crispy, home-baked sweet potato fries. Delicious! But I have failed at every no-fail, guaranteed extra crispy recipe I’ve tried. I’ll keep working on it though, because we love them.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Barb, I can fill my slow cooker nearly to the top with something like chunked sweet potatoes, though I wouldn’t with something more wet. Do check your appliance instruction manual before filling yours. Every appliance seems to have different instructions. Have you found that to be true as well?


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