Get together for the holidays, and mashed potatoes will definitely make an appearance on the dinner table. This rich, buttery, and creamy side has become a staple in many households.

And, if you’re lucky enough to have any leftovers, you may be wondering, “How long can mashed potatoes sit out?” We’ll cover this and more!

The Short Answer

mashed potato

At room temperature, mashed potatoes can sit for up to 2 hours. Any longer than this, they enter what’s known as the “danger zone.” This involves unsafe temperatures that promote bacteria growth. If the temperature of the space the mashed potatoes are in goes above 90 °F, they can only sit out for 1 hour.

How To Tell Mashed Potatoes Are Bad

mashed potato

Bacteria grows rapidly in temperatures between 41°F and 135°F. Therefore, if the mashed potatoes are exposed to these temperatures for too long, they will go bad.

Signs mashed potatoes have gone bad include:

  • The liquid separates from the solid. If you notice a transparent or milky liquid separating from the solid part of mashed potatoes, they’ve gone bad.
  • An unpleasant odor. Perhaps the clearest sign mashed potatoes have spoiled is a sour odor. If they smell funny, it’s time to throw them out.
  • Mold growth. Seeing spots of mold? Don’t even consider a taste test! Toss them and make yourself a fresh batch.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you reheat mashed potatoes?
Yes, you can reheat mashed potatoes as long as they haven’t sat out for longer than 2 hours. If they’re spoiled, reheating them will not kill the bacteria.

Are mashed potatoes safe to eat if left out overnight?
No. Bacteria will appear if mashed potatoes are left out of the fridge for more than two hours. If they’ve been left out overnight, it’s time to discard them.

Why do mashed potatoes get sticky?
Starch is released when you mash the potatoes. The more starch that’s released, the sticker they’ll be.

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