Leftover mashed potatoes can be stored in the fridge for a few days, or in the freezer for up to six months. Storing mashed potatoes in an airtight container or in a sealed ziplock bag prolongs the potatoes’ fridge life and prevents them from going bad after a day or two.
How Long Do Mashed Potatoes Last?
Mashed potatoes last for four to five days in the fridge, provided that they are not exposed to air. At room temperature, mashed potatoes start going bad after two to three hours because bacteria begin to multiply as the mashed potatoes cool down.
If mashed potatoes contain eggs or dairy ingredients like milk, cream, or butter, the mash goes bad more quickly because protein and fats in these ingredients are susceptible to rapid bacterial growth.
Mashed potatoes that have been left out uncovered start going bad more quickly than when covered, because microbes in the air settle on the potatoes and begin multiplying rapidly. The warmer the weather, the sooner bacteria take hold and the more rapidly they multiply.
How Long Can Mashed Potatoes Be Refrigerated?
Mashed potatoes can be refrigerated for up to five days. Store mashed potatoes in a sealed, airtight container or a sealed, ziplock bag to make the potatoes last longer in the fridge.
Prolong the fridge life of mashed potatoes by placing them in the fridge as soon as they’ve cooled — don’t wait longer than two hours after serving. Don’t put warm mashed potatoes in the fridge, since bacteria thrive and multiply quickly in a warm environment. Use a cooling paddle to cool mashed potatoes quickly before storing them in the fridge.
Place a dated sticker on the storage container, or write the date on the ziplock bag, to remind yourself how long the potatoes have been in the fridge.
Can You Freeze Mashed Potatoes?
You can freeze mashed potatoes for up to six months, but freezing them alters the consistency, giving them a grainy texture. To combat this problem, avoid defrosting mashed potatoes in the microwave.
Thaw frozen mashed potatoes overnight in the fridge, and add a little milk or butter when reheating the potatoes in a pot on the stove. Stir gently as the mash heats up to restore a smooth consistency.
Discard any leftover mashed potatoes that remain after freezing and reheating. Storing and reheating for a second time encourages bacterial growth, making the potatoes dangerous to consume.
Do Mashed Potatoes Go Bad?
Mashed potatoes start to go bad after more than two hours on the counter at room temperature and after five days in the fridge. Eating mashed potatoes that have gone bad can make you sick because the bacteria in the mashed potatoes affect your gut.
If you eat bad mashed potatoes, you could suffer from symptoms ranging from mild nausea and cramping for a few hours, to full-blown food poisoning with diarrhea and vomiting.
The severity of the symptoms depends on how long the mashed potatoes stayed on the counter or in the fridge. The longer the potatoes are left out, or the older they are, the greater chance that the mash will cause severe food poisoning.
Look out for the following signs that mashed potatoes have spoiled:
- The mashed potatoes look strange: Mashed potatoes that are going bad often develop a sheen on the surface. If the potatoes look like they have a fine layer of oil on the surface, avoid eating them.
Look out for dark spots on the potatoes, which are the beginning of mold and a sure sign the potatoes have spoiled. Eating moldy food is dangerous because the mold spores can continue multiplying in your gut.
Any change in color is an indicator that mashed potatoes are going bad. A slight yellowish-brownish-greenish tinge tells you not to eat the potatoes.
If the edges or surface of the mash look dry, don’t eat it. Once mashed potatoes start drying out, they start to deteriorate.
- The mashed potatoes feel slimy: Run a fingertip along the surface of the mash. Discard it if it feels slimy because this is a sign of deterioration, and eating the potatoes isn’t safe.
- The mashed potatoes smell bad: Mashed potatoes should have a pleasant, appetizing smell. A foul odor is the result of the gasses given off by bacterial growth, and an indication that you shouldn’t eat the food.
- The mashed potatoes taste sour: Eating food that you suspect is spoiled isn’t a good idea, but if you’re not sure whether mashed potatoes are still okay to eat, taste a tiny amount. A sour or unpleasant taste is a sign that the mash is bad and you shouldn’t eat it.
How Long Can You Keep Mashed Potatoes?
The best way to store mashed potatoes is in an airtight container or ziplock bag, either in the fridge or freezer. Eat refrigerated mashed potatoes within five days and frozen potatoes within six months.