Mashed potatoes are the most versatile side dish and almost everyone loves them. But it is easy to make more potato puree that you can eat in one sitting. Luckily, you can save the leftovers for later.
But how long are mashed potatoes good for? Mashed potatoes left at room temperature are good for only two hours. Stored in the fridge, potato puree may keep well for up to 5 days. You can freeze mashed potatoes to make them last longer.
In this article, you will learn how to store mashed potatoes in the fridge, what are the signs of bad mashed potatoes, what to do with leftover potatoes, and more.
How Long Do Mashed Potatoes Last In The Fridge?
Mashed potatoes stored properly in the fridge will last 2-5 days. To enjoy the best flavor and texture of leftover potatoes, reheat and eat them as soon as possible.
If you have added milk or cream to your mashed potatoes, make sure to check their expiration dates too.
If the dairy product you have added into the mash is good for only 3 days, then the mashed potatoes should be consumed within 3 days too.
To get the most out of your mashed potatoes and make them last as long as possible in the fridge, don’t add any butter or milk to them.
These ingredients are high in fats and proteins and may speed up the deterioration process of the puree, especially if you reheat it multiple times.
What Is The Best Way To Store Mashed Potatoes?
It is best to store leftover mashed potatoes in the fridge and consume them within a couple of days. Here’s how to store mashed potatoes in the fridge to maintain their flavor and texture as much as possible:
- First off, allow the mashed potatoes to cool completely.
- Then, pick an airtight container and transfer the puree into it. Try not to pick a container that is too big for the amount of mashed potatoes you are storing to minimize the contact of the puree with air.
- Cover the container with the lid. This step is essential for storing mashed potatoes as it protects the puree from absorbing odors from the fridge. Covering the container with an airtight lid also protects the puree from drying out.
When storing potato leftovers, we highly recommend you keep them separate from other leftovers you have.
Reheating mashed potatoes mixed with meat or other foods is not a good idea as the puree will go bad sooner than it would if you stored it separately.
How Long Can Mashed Potatoes Sit Out?
Freshly made or reheated mashed potatoes shouldn’t sit at room temperature longer than 2 hours. After the two-hour mark, there is a high chance of bacteria developing in the mashed potatoes.
It is especially important to not leave mashed potatoes at room temperature for longer than two hours if they contain milk or other dairy products.
Dairy products are highly perishable and bacteria can start to grow in them if you leave them out for longer than 2 hours.
If it is hot where you live, the potato puree made with dairy will spoil even quicker. As a result of the dairy in the puree going bad, the mash will have a sour flavor.
How Can You Make Mashed Potatoes Last Longer?
The only way to make your mashed potatoes last longer is to store them in the freezer.
If you have made a big batch of mashed potatoes and know you won’t be eating all of it within the next few days, freeze some of it right away when the potatoes have cooled.
There is no point in storing the potatoes in the fridge, waiting for a few days, and only then transferring them into the freezer.
How Long Do Mashed Potatoes Last In The Freezer?
So long as you store mashed potatoes in the fridge properly, they will remain safe for consumption for up to 1 year.
But the sooner you eat them the better as the flavor and texture of the potato puree stored in the freezer gradually deteriorate.
How To Store Mashed Potatoes In The Freezer
Storing mashed potatoes in the freezer will only work well if you take your time to prepare the puree for the freezer properly.
Here’s how to freeze mashed potatoes.
- Wait for the mashed potatoes to cool. Trying to freeze hot potatoes is not a good idea. The hot puree will lower the temperature of the freezer if you try to flash freeze it. And if you transfer the hot puree into a container and put it in the freeze, condensation will form in the container.
- When the puree has cooled, line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Divide the puree into portions and flash freeze it on the parchment paper.
- After leaving the dollops of mash in the freezer for around 15 minutes, take them out and transfer them into airtight containers or zip-top bags. Freezing mashed potatoes in small portions will ease the thawing process and eliminate food waste in cases when you need to defrost only a small amount of potato puree.
- Label the containers and bags with the date and transfer them into the freezer.
How Long Are Instant Mashed Potatoes Good For?
Instant mashed potatoes are an easy way to get creamy potato puree with minimal effort.
As instant mashed potatoes are dehydrated cooked potato mash, all you need to do is to add hot water or milk to turn it into a smooth and fluffy puree.
Potato flakes come in boxes and resealable packages and are typically good for 12-18 months. For the maximum shelf life, you should keep potato flakes in a dry and cool place.
After opening, instant mashed potatoes can still be good for up to 12 months so long as you store them in proper conditions.
If the original packaging is not airtight, we recommend you transfer the flakes into a zip-top bag after you have opened it.
With this said, we recommend that you always check the “best by” date on the box. But remember that this is only the manufacturer’s estimation of how long the potato flakes will maintain their best quality.
While the potato flakes will remain safe for consumption past the “best by” date too, you will know when to use them for the best flavor and texture.
Discard your bag of instant mashed potatoes if you notice any signs of spoilage, such as changes in the appearance of the flakes, an off-putting smell, and mold.
How Long Are Cooked Instant Mashed Potatoes Good For?
Similar to regular mashed potatoes that you make from fresh potatoes, prepared instant mashed potatoes are good for 3-5 days. Store them in an airtight container in the fridge.
Don’t let the instant mashed potatoes sit at room temperature for longer than two hours. Transfer them into the fridge when they have completely cooled.
How Can You Tell If Mashed Potatoes Are Bad?
No matter how long you have had your mashed potatoes in the fridge, always check them for any signs of spoilage before eating.
Here are the signs of spoilage to look out for.
- Off-putting smell. The unpleasant smell is one of the main signs of bad mashed potatoes. Give the leftover potatoes a sniff. And if you notice a funky fermented smell, discard them.
- Changes in appearance. Mashed potatoes that have been sitting in the fridge for too long may start looking rather bad. They may dry out or look shiny in some parts. In rare cases, you may see mold in the container with mashed potatoes.
- Flavor changes. If the mashed potatoes smell and look good, give them a try as they are most likely still good. But if your potato puree looks good but tastes sour, discard it.
As for frozen mashed potatoes, it might be helpful to defrost and reheat them first and only then inspect their smell and flavor unless the frozen puree looks bad right off the bat.
What Happens If You Eat Bad Mashed Potatoes?
Depending on what type of bacteria has spread in the spoiled potato mash, the consequences of eating bad mashed potatoes may be different.
In the majority of the cases, nothing will happen if you eat bad mashed potatoes other than experiencing bad flavor. Or, you may suffer some light symptoms.
But if you eat bad mashed potatoes that have developed pathogenic bacteria, you may suffer heavier consequences and food poisoning.
With this said, the chances are low that you will eat bad mashed potatoes without noticing it. You will probably eat a small amount and discard the puree noticing the off-putting flavor and smell.
What To Do With Leftover Mashed Potatoes
Many don’t like the flavor and texture of reheated mashed potatoes. And while there are ways to make reheated mashed potatoes taste better, you may be better off trying different recipes that call for mashed potatoes as an ingredient.
Using leftover mashed potatoes to make other dishes is also a good idea if you have a lot of it in your fridge and know you won’t manage to eat it all up within 5 days.
Surprisingly enough, there is a lot you can do with leftover mashed potatoes. But whatever you choose to do with them, make sure to eat it while the potato puree is still good.
If you are using 5-day-old mashed potatoes to make another dish, eat the prepared food on the same day.
Here are a few things you can do with mashed potatoes!
The easiest thing to make with leftover mashed potatoes are crispy potato patties that everyone loves.
Add an egg into the potato puree along with some flour and grated cheese. You should achieve a consistency that allows you to form patties without them falling apart.
Fry the patties in the pan and serve with your favorite sauce.
Mashed Potato Casserole
Reheated plain mashed potatoes may not taste as good as freshly made potato puree. But they will certainly taste better if you add more ingredients into the puree and bake it.
You can add bacon bits into the mashed potatoes, as well as chopped scallions and shredded cheese. When you have transferred the mixture into a casserole dish, sprinkle it with more cheese and breadcrumbs for a delicious crust.
Bubble And Squeak
Bubble and squeak is a traditional British breakfast dish that you can make with leftover mashed potatoes.
Despite its peculiar name, this dish contains a few simple ingredients and is very easy to make.
Simply combine your leftover mashed potatoes with shredded cabbage and fry the mixture in a pan. You can also add chopped onions and other leftover veggies into the mixture.
Press and fry the mixture on both sides, and serve with a fried or poached egg on top.
If you enjoy baking, use your leftover potato puree to bake potato bread. This way you will use up the leftover potatoes as well as get bread that is healthier than white bread.
You can pair potato bread with meat roasts as well as slice it and make grilled cheese sandwiches.
Speaking of baking, it is also a good idea to use mashed potatoes for gluten-free baking. Mixing the potato mash with gluten-free flour makes a perfect base for lemon and orange cakes.
Shepherd’s pie is a type of pie consisting of minced meat topped with potato mash.
Making Shepherd’s pie is not very difficult. But when you have leftover mashed potatoes in the fridge, it is even easier to make this hearty pie for dinner.
You can use your favorite protein to make this pie—lamb, mutton, beef, pork, and even chicken for the base layer of shepherd’s pie.
Mashed Potato Croquettes
If deep-fried food is your thing, then you should certainly try making croquettes with your leftover mashed potatoes. In fact, croquettes are good to make with all kinds of leftovers, including ham, turkey, rice, and veggies.
For mashed potato croquettes, add eggs, flour, shredded cheeses, and chopped herbs into the potato mash. Mix well and form golf-ball-size balls.
Then dredge the potato balls in egg wash and then coat them with breadcrumbs. Fry until golden brown and enjoy.
Most people think of gnocchi as something that is difficult to make.
The process of making gnocchi at home does have some tricky parts, such as getting the right texture and cooking the gnocchi without them sticking to each other. However, with a little practice, you can perfect your homemade gnocchi.
Making gnocchi using leftover mashed potatoes is a great way to improve your gnocchi skills. All you need to do is to mix the cold mashed potatoes with some all-purpose flour and a pinch of salt.
You should also add an egg to the mixture for the proper consistency of the gnocchi dough.
Then form your gnocchi, and cook them in boiling water. Once cooked, serve with your favorite sauce and some parmesan cheese.
Here’s a great video from the folks over at Babish Culinary Universe covering how to make gnocchi!