Baked potatoes are a great meal if you are looking for something quick, tasty, and inexpensive. They can be popped in the oven, or even microwave, to be baked to perfect tenderness and topped with butter, sour cream, or whatever else you love to pair it with.
Making a baked potato ahead of time can save you some trouble when you need a quick meal.
But is it safe to keep a baked potato in the fridge? Yes, it can be safe to keep a baked potato in the fridge, as long as you prepare and store it properly. You need to make sure to store the baked potato properly and to keep it within a good temperature range to ensure that it is protected from illness-causing bacteria.
Read on to learn how to safely refrigerate baked potatoes.
Safely Refrigerating Baked Potatoes
What you store your baked potatoes in when refrigerated will play a big role in how safe they will be to eat within the best-before time. Along with temperature regulation, proper packaging will ensure your potato is safe to eat.
The right packaging or wrapping will protect the potato from bacteria that can cause illness, as well as protect the baked potato from picking up odors from other foods in the fridge.
Potatoes are notorious for picking up odors from food around them, as they are porous, and easily absorb flavors and smells.
So, to seal them well you’ll either want to use some high quality large double-sealed freezer bags (these are the ones I use), or get some airtight freezer-safe containers (These are the best I’ve found).
Or, you can use organic reusable beeswax food-wraps like I do. The best ones I’ve found by far are these ones from Etee.
It is so important to keep the baked potato at the right temperature, and the temperature within a fridge should be safe.
The reason for this is that bacteria grow rapidly at temperatures between 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Keeping the potatoes below 40 degrees Fahrenheit will inhibit the growth of illness-causing bacteria.
You need to be careful about how you store the baked potato in the fridge, as some packaging protects the potato more from bacteria.
The right storage will keep harmful bacteria from spreading in the potato, and therefore protect you from illness.
Plastic storage – It is safe to package baked potatoes in plastic bags or containers. These need to be moisture-vapor-resistant to prevent any moisture or odors coming into contact with the potato. Both resealable plastic bags (like these ones) and plastic containers which have air-tight lids are good to use. Being moisture-vapor-resistant, the plastic containers or bags will protect the potatoes from oxygen, which might discolor the potatoes and encourage the growth of bacteria.
Reusable Food Wrap – This is my preferred method for refrigerating baked potatoes. If you have a good quality wrap it will properly seal the potato and keep air out, while also not altering the flavor at all. I use these organic beeswax wraps from Etee.
If the baked potatoes have a sauce or butter, it is a good idea to use a rigid plastic container as it can be difficult to pour the sauce or butter out of a plastic bag.
Aluminum foil – While many people choose to bake potatoes in aluminum foil, it is not the best idea to store them in the fridge wrapped in foil. Potatoes wrapped in foil and left in the fridge have been linked to botulism, as these botulism spores can survive through the cooking process. Wrapped in foil, potatoes run a higher risk of growing botulism, which can cause serious illness in people.
When cooked, you should remove the foil from the baked potatoes, cool the potatoes quickly, and place them in plastic storage. Place the potatoes in the fridge right away to inhibit the growth of botulism.
Quick Cool Potatoes
When the potatoes are cooked, you will need to quickly cool them to be put into the refrigerator. Placing a hot potato in the fridge or freezer will raise the temperature of food nearby, which increases their chances of being in the danger zone of 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit.
You can either place the potato in an ice-filled sink to cool it quickly or divide larger portions of potato onto smaller portions to cool quicker.
How Long Does A Baked Potato Last?
Depending on the type of potato, and uncooked spud can last anywhere between 3 to 5 weeks in the pantry. Sweet potatoes can last up to five weeks, whereas Yukon gold potatoes can only last up to 3 weeks.
When baked, potatoes can last in the refrigerator between 3 to 5 days if they are stored correctly in the right packaging. If frozen, a potato can last up to 6 months.
Being so versatile, and with a considerably lengthy shelf-life, potatoes do hold their place as an important kitchen ingredient in many homes.
Reheating A Baked Potato
Knowing how to store a baked potato safely is one thing, but you should also know how to reheat it safely as well.
- Remove the potato from the fridge and remove any plastic wrapping. You can either reheat the baked potato on its own or wrapped in foil.
- Place the baked potato in an oven preheated to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and allow the baked potato to reach 165 degrees Fahrenheit to ensure it is safe to consume.
- You can also reheat the baked potato in the microwave, but it will need to be free of any aluminum foil wrapping.
- Place the baked potato in the microwave on full heat for 1 minute, bring it out to check, and place it back in 30-second intervals if it needs further heating.
How To Ensure Your Baked Potato Is Safe To Eat
- Do not let the baked potato sit out at room temperature for over 2 hours, regardless of whether it is wrapped in aluminum foil or not. Botulinum bacteria can grow on the potato if it is left out at room temperature for an extended period, whether it is wrapped in aluminum foil or not.
- Do store the baked potato immediately after being cooked, or place the potato in the fridge immediately to keep it at a safe temperature. If you have used aluminum foil to bake the potato, make sure to remove it before placing the potato in the fridge.
- Do not place the baked potato in the fridge still wrapped in aluminum foil. The baked potato will still need to cool down through the danger temperature zones, and being wrapped in aluminum foil does heighten the risk of botulism rapidly growing, which could cause serious illness.
- Do not reheat the baked potato if it has already been reheated once after being placed in the fridge. The baked potato should only be heated twice, once when cooked, and one more time when reheated from the fridge. Reheating it anymore after this will only increase the risk of illness-causing bacteria growing on and in the potato.
- Eat a refrigerated baked potato within 5 days of being kept safely in the fridge. Before eating the refrigerated baked potato, make sure to look for any signs that the baked potato might have spoiled. The right storage and temperature should keep the potato in good quality for up to 5 days, but it is always better to be safe.
How long can baked potatoes be left at room temperature?
As bacteria can grow rapidly between 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit, all cooked potatoes should be refrigerated within 2 hours of being cooked. If the potato has been left out for longer than 2 hours, it should be discarded off.
Freezing baked potatoes is not a good option, and should be avoided if possible. Whole baked potatoes will more than likely be watery when thawed after being frozen.
Can you freeze mashed, scalloped or frozen potatoes?
Mashed, scalloped and roasted potatoes freeze well and can be thawed easily, nearly back to their original state. These should be frozen in airtight containers or placed inside heavy-duty freezer bags for freezing.
How long can a baked potato last in the freezer?
While you should not ideally freeze baked potatoes, they can last in the freezer with the best quality for up to 6 months, but they remain safe beyond that period of time.
How long will a baked potato last after being frozen and thawed?
All types of potatoes, baked, roasted, scalloped or mashed which have been thawed in the fridge can be left in the fridge for up to 4 days after being thawed, before being reheated. If you thaw and reheat your potato, it should be eaten immediately and any leftovers should be discarded.
How can you tell if a potato has gone bad?
The best way to tell if a potato has gone bad is to smell it. If it has a strange smell, it should be discarded. You can also visually inspect the potato, if it has a strange or off appearance, you should throw it away.
Refrigerating Baked Potatoes
It is perfectly fine to refrigerate a baked potato, but you need to make sure you are doing it safely. Avoid placing the baked potato in the fridge if it is still wrapped in aluminum foil, as this could cause the growth of a food-borne illness.
Instead, remove the aluminum foil from the potato and place the baked potato in an airtight container, or a sealable, heavy-duty plastic bag.
Reheat your potato when it is time to be eaten and discard any leftovers!