It seems like every time I make mashed potatoes I always end up with so much left over. If you also find yourself with heaping piles left in the pot, and wonder how long mashed potatoes last, don’t worry. Just follow these tips to save leftover mashed potatoes for meals to come.
Leftover Mashed Potatoes
The great thing about mashed potatoes is that they make fantastic leftovers. Because they’re so versatile, they can go with pretty much any entree.
This makes it easy to use up those leftovers because chances are, mashed potatoes will go with whatever main course you plan to cook.
Another great reason I love storing leftover mashed potatoes is that they can easily be turned into a main dish!
If I get tired of pairing my meals with a side of mashed potatoes, I can easily incorporate those leftovers into gnocchi or dumpling recipes.
Though they are great leftovers, mashed potatoes won’t last forever, so it’s important to store them properly. Most mashed potatoes contain milk and butter, meaning they will only last a few days.
You can keep leftover mashed potatoes in the fridge for up to a week in the fridge and up to 12 months in the freezer.
Always use your judgment, though, when it’s time to reheat. Freezer burn or an odd smell are good signs it’s time to say goodbye to those leftovers.
Whether you refrigerate or freeze your leftovers, make sure they are in an airtight container for greater longevity.
To ensure you get the most out of that delicious mound of mashed potatoes, follow along for the best tips and tricks for leftovers.
How long do mashed potatoes last in the fridge?
If stored correctly in plastic containers, leftover mashed potatoes can last 3 to 5 days in the fridge.
Just make sure the leftovers are stored in a sealed container. An airtight container will keep the moisture inside the container and keep the potatoes from drying out.
If your potatoes do spoil, an airtight container will also keep them from contaminating other foods in the fridge and vice versa. If another food goes bad, an airtight container keeps the contamination out.
Storing the leftovers in shallow airtight containers will also prolong freshness. A shallow container will help the mashed potatoes cool evenly.
How long can you freeze mashed potatoes?
Frozen mashed potatoes can last for up to twelve months if stored in an airtight freezer safe bag.
Making sure the reusable plastic bags are sealed airtight will help avoid freezer burn. If you made your mashed potatoes with dairy, the fats in the milk products act as another protective barrier from freezer burn.
For best results, make sure the potatoes have cooled down, so they freeze as quickly as possible. Make sure not to leave them to cool down for more than 2 hours, though.
It is also a good idea to separate the potatoes into portion sizes in multiple ziploc bags. When it is time to defrost the leftovers, you can take out as many servings as you need rather than defrosting the entire bag.
Avoiding defrosting and refreezing helps the mashed potatoes keep longer in the freezer.
A great storage tip is to place them in plastic bags. Press all the air out and press them flat. That way, when you store the potatoes in the freezer, they don’t take up too much space. You can even stack them!
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How do I defrost them?
If you know in advance you’ll be eating those frozen leftover mashed potatoes, you can transfer the servings you need into the fridge to thaw overnight.
If you’re in a pinch, you can soak the bag of frozen potatoes in a bowl of hot water.
Once they start to become pliable again, transfer the potatoes to a pan. On medium heat, stir the potatoes and add ½ cup of liquid (such as milk, broth, or cream) for every 4 cups of mashed potatoes.
When the liquid is fully incorporated, and the mashed potatoes have come back to life, they are ready to serve!
How long do instant mashed potatoes last?
Instant potatoes last the same amount of time as freshly made mashed potatoes.
Even though the instant or boxed potatoes maintain freshness with preservatives, once they are prepared, they have the same longevity.
Can I store them at room temperature?
No, boiled potatoes should stay out no longer than two hours to ensure the best quality. If you plan to store the potatoes as leftovers, this should be done within the first 2 hours after cooking.
If they sit out after cooking, bacteria grow, making the potatoes go bad more quickly. Cold temperatures stop the rapid growth of bacteria, which is why storing leftovers in a fridge or freezer is important.
Be even more cautious if your recipe contains dairy since that will spoil even quicker.
Can I make them ahead of time?
Yes, you can make mashed potatoes and store them in the fridge for 3-5 days before serving, but I don’t recommend it. Their shelf life is short and can dry out.
Maybe you’re getting ready for a big party or thanksgiving dinner and don’t have time to prepare them the day of. In that case, making them in advance might be a good route to go as long as it’s done properly.
At the very least, the reheated mashed potatoes will need some TLC, such as some more milk or butter, to revive them. With making ahead of time and storing, you run the risk of the potatoes going bad.
You wouldn’t want to give your friends food poisoning or have to make them over again the day of!
If you do have to make them ahead of time, I would suggest only making them 1-2 days before serving. This lessens the risk of them going bad.
For best results, make sure they have completely cooled to room temperature before storing and that they are in a shallow airtight container.
How to tell if mashed potatoes are bad:
There are a few signs of spoilage when it comes to spuds:
- Smell: Even if they still look fresh, if they smell bad, don’t eat them. If they have dairy products in them, they may smell sour like spoilt milk.
- Mold: If the potatoes have moldy patches or look glossy, they have gone bad. Mold is a sign that bacteria have contaminated your potatoes and are no longer safe to eat.
- Taste: I don’t recommend a taste test as an initial indicator because of the risks, but if they taste abnormal, don’t keep eating them. Especially if they contain dairy, if the mashed potatoes taste sour, you should throw them away immediately.
How can I use leftover mashed potatoes?
The reason why leftovers are so great is because they can be used in so many different ways!
The easiest and best way to use your leftovers is to pair them as a side dish for that week’s dinner. They pair well with a delicious steak, a Creamy Garlic Chicken, or even made into a Mashed Potato Gratin!
Feel free to experiment with spices like paprika when you reheat the potatoes to put a new spin on the plain leftovers. Cheese is another great way to make the leftovers feel like a new dish.
Potato pancakes are another easy way to create a new potato dish out of your leftovers. You can bake these on a baking sheet or aluminum foil in the oven or right on the stovetop.
Serve the pancakes with either sour cream or cream cheese.
You can also use them as a potato salad. It just won’t be as chunky as you are used to.
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