There’s nothing unusual about having leftover mashed potatoes. Properly storing them in the fridge will allow you to enjoy them reheated but one question remains: how long are mashed potatoes good for? Stick around! We’ll discuss the shelf life of mashed potatoes, storage information, signs of spoilage, how to reheat, and more!
Let’s be honest: the versatile spuds are the essential ingredient for tons of satisfying dishes, and mashed potatoes are definitely on that list!
Ending up with leftover mashed potatoes is extremely easy. Let’s see what can be done to keep mashed potatoes fresh for as long as possible and how long they stay safe to eat.
How Long Are Mashed Potatoes Good For?
Mashed potatoes stay safe to eat for 3-5 days if kept in the fridge and stored properly.
Cooked and mashed potatoes also contain milk, and butter which can easily go bad if left out for too long.
As per USDA’s recommendations, you shouldn’t leave any cooked food at room temperature for more than 2 hours (or 1 hour if the temperatures are over 90°F).
The range of temperatures between 40°F and 140°F, is known as “the danger zone“ because it allows bacteria to grow rapidly.
I recommend you transfer the mashed potato leftovers to the fridge as soon as possible after cooking.
Can You Freeze Mashed Potatoes?
Yes, mashed potatoes freeze well, especially when they contain a generous amount of butter and cream. These two ingredients ensure your potatoes keep their smooth texture when thawed and reheated.
You’re probably wondering how long mashed potatoes last in the freezer. When stored properly in an airtight freezer bag or container, frozen mashed potatoes can last up to 1 year.
If you don’t have any immediate plans of consuming your mashed potato leftovers, freezing them is the best option.
How Long Do Instant Mashed Potatoes Last?
In dry form, instant potatoes have a long shelf life and can last for years. They don’t contain water and in most cases, preservatives have been added to keep them fresh for longer.
Once you cook instant mashed potatoes, they will last for 3-5 days in the fridge, the same as regular mashed potatoes.
How To Tell If Mashed Potatoes Are Bad
Spoiled mashed potatoes can bring unpleasant food poisoning symptoms. There’s also the risk of developing botulism, a severe form of food poisoning that can cause muscle weakness, difficulty breathing, impaired vision, slurred speech, and droopy eyelids.
If you notice any of these symptoms after eating leftover mashed potatoes, seek medical help right away.
Not sure if your mashed potatoes are still safe to eat? Here’s what to look out for:
- Color – Fresh mashed potatoes should have a light or bright yellow color. If you notice them turning darker, or even gray, that’s a sign they have gone bad.
- Smell – Mashed potatoes can look good but if they smell off, you shouldn’t eat them. If you also used milk or cream in the recipe, they can have a sour smell, similar to spoiled milk.
- Texture – Slimy or dry patches are also an indication your mashed potatoes should not be consumed.
- Mold – If you spot moldy areas on the mashed potatoes, that’s a clear indication they’re spoiled. Mold spreads before it becomes visible to the naked eye, so removing the affected areas won’t make them safe to eat.
- Taste – Mashed potatoes that have gone bad won’t have an appealing taste. It can be sour if they contain dairy, but in general, if the taste is weird or off-putting, they should be discarded.
I don’t recommend the taste test, but if the other signs were not present and you unknowingly took a bite, stop eating them right away.
How To Store Leftovers
For mashed potatoes to stay fresh, you’ll need to take some precautions when storing them. The fridge and freezer are both good options, and we’ll discuss both!
To refrigerate mashed potatoes, make sure they have cooled to room temperature. You can speed up the process by placing the mashed potatoes in a shallow container.
Avoiding exposure to oxygen is key for keeping mashed potato leftovers fresh.
The best way to store mashed potatoes in the fridge is in airtight containers or sealable bags. Ideally, you should place them in the coldest part of the fridge, which is usually in the back.
Also, don’t forget to write the date on your bags or containers. This takes out the guesswork when you’re looking for something to eat in the fridge!
Freezing mashed potatoes is much easier if you divide them into portions. This way you won’t thaw more potatoes than you need and avoid waste.
For space-saving reasons, use shallow airtight containers or ziplock bags you can flatten and stack.
Never store warm potatoes (or any other food) in the freezer. Make sure they have cooled to room temperature before freezing to avoid them heating the surrounding food.
Last but not least, label the containers or bags before you place them in the freezer. Don’t skip this step, especially important for long-term storage.
Tip: Use our free printable freezer food storage chart to keep track of all your frozen foods and label them accordingly!
How To Thaw
As always, the best method to thaw mashed potatoes also takes the longest time. Leaving them overnight in the fridge is ideal.
If you didn’t plan ahead and you’re in a rush, you can place the bag of frozen potatoes in a bowl of cold water and change it every 30 minutes.
How To Reheat
If you can remove the frozen potatoes from the original container, they can be reheated without thawing just like you would if they were simply refrigerated.
On the stovetop, reheat frozen, thawed, or refrigerated mashed potatoes in a pot, over low to medium heat. Stir occasionally until they’re heated through. If needed, add more butter, milk, and/or seasonings.
To reheat frozen or thawed potatoes in the oven, transfer them to a covered dish and bake them at 350°F for 15-20 minutes or until they’re warmed through.
The microwave is excellent for reheating potatoes. Place the frozen or thawed leftover mashed potatoes in a microwave dish equipped with a lid. Reheat at half power in intervals and give them a good stir in between.
Butter and seasonings can be added once they’re cooked through.
The slow cooker is also an option but it works best if the potatoes have been thawed or refrigerated. Transfer the potatoes to the slow cooker and add a bit of milk and/or butter if needed. Reheat them on medium-low and give them a good stir every 15 minutes until they are hot.
What To Serve With Mashed Potatoes
Mashed potatoes go well with so many dishes from cuisines all over the world. Beef, chicken, pork, seafood, and even vegetarian mains pair wonderfully with mashed potatoes.
Instant pot ribs and mashed potatoes make the perfect couple and they’re always met with excitement in my family!
If you need more inspiration, check out these main dishes that go well with mashed potatoes. The creamy spuds are even more enjoyable when paired with new and exciting mains!
No. Cooked, mashed potatoes can last 3-5 days in the fridge, if stored correctly. Even if there are no visible signs of spoilage, after 7 days, they’re no longer safe to eat.
If you want to store mashed potatoes for more than 5 days, freezing them is the best option.
Mashed potatoes with sour cream will last for 3-5 days in the fridge, just like mashed potatoes made with milk and butter.
If they smell sour, that’s a sign of spoilage and should be discarded.
Raw, peeled potatoes can be stored in the fridge, in a bowl of water for up to 24 hours.
Make sure there’s enough water in the bowl so the potatoes are fully submerged to prevent oxidation.
The process of thawing can release some liquid as the mashed potatoes thaw. If your mashed potatoes are runny after reheating, simply cook them a little longer until the extra moisture evaporates.
Unless you added too much sour cream and they tasted sour when fresh, it’s a clear sign they have gone bad.
Milk and dairy products develop a sour smell and taste when they go bad. Mashed potatoes containing dairy will get this sour flavor when they are spoiled.
In this case, the safest option is to throw them away.