Mashed potatoes are a food that is loved by almost everyone, and an iconic fixture of holiday and family meals.
Given how popular they are, it may seem impossible to make too many mashed potatoes, but if you do, they can easily be saved and served later.
Let’s find out how.
Can You Freeze Mashed Potatoes?
While potatoes themselves can be finicky about being frozen, mashed potatoes, when they are made with plenty of butter and milk, actually freeze very well.
Freezing mashed potatoes is a great option for preserving leftovers, making ahead of holiday events and parties, and large-scale meal prep to eat later.
They will last in the freezer for up to 6 months.
The Best Mashed Potatoes for Freezing
Most mashed potatoes freeze and thaw well, but if you want the best make-ahead mashed potatoes, that taste just like fresh, here are some things to keep in mind.
You can freeze mashed potatoes made with any kind of potato, although as a general rule waxy potatoes freeze slightly better than floury potatoes, while floury potatoes are often preferred for mashing.
A great compromise for this recipe is an all-purpose potato, like a Yukon Gold, that has the thin skin and reduced moisture of a waxy potato, but the fluffy texture of a starchy potato.
Mashed potato ingredients
What makes mashed potatoes freeze well is a healthy coating of fat. Mashed potatoes made with lots of butter and cream have had a lot of the water content of the potato cooked off and replaced with dairy fats.
This preserves the texture of the mashed potatoes, by reducing the damaging ice crystals that would naturally form, and also preserves the color of the potatoes by protecting them from oxygen.
In other words, in order to successfully freeze your mashed potatoes, you need to use a lot of fat in your recipe.
If your mashed potato recipe relies on herbs and broth, with little to no fat, it won’t freeze as well.
How to Freeze and Thaw Mashed Potatoes
First, make your mashed potatoes as you normally would. As mentioned above, it’s best to use a recipe with a lot of fat in it, and Yukon Golds are a slightly better variety for this purpose.
How you freeze your mashed potatoes can save a lot of time when heating and serving, so here are some options:
Portion your potatoes
You may want to form your mashed potatoes into patties, scoop them into mounds, or place them into muffin cups before freezing.
Pre-portioning allows you to defrost only small amounts at a time or gives you a head start on frying potato cakes and other recipes
Place them in a casserole
Placing your mashed potatoes in a casserole dish before freezing may make them easier to heat and serve a crowd all at once.
And remember that almost any potato dish with a lot of fat can be frozen in a casserole: you can make and freeze mashed potatoes, potatoes au gratin, and scalloped potatoes as well
Use a freezer bag
Freezer bags are, of course, incredibly useful and versatile, and take up a lot less space in your freezer than muffin tins or casserole dishes
Whatever method you choose, make sure that your mashed potatoes are cooled to room temperature and then sealed air-tight before being frozen.
There are two great ways to defrost frozen mashed potatoes.
The easy way to thaw frozen mashed potatoes
About 24 hours before you want to use them, move the mashed potatoes from the freezer to the refrigerator.
After they thaw, they may look a little bit lost, but they will come back when stirred, and they can be heated and served as normal
The fast way to thaw frozen mashed potatoes
Put them into a microwave-safe container, and microwave them for 30-90 seconds at a time, stirring in between until they are hot.
This method works best if you plan on getting the mashed potatoes hot and serving them immediately
How long can you freeze mashed potatoes?
Mashed potatoes will stay good in the freezer for up to 6 months.
Can you freeze cooked potatoes for later use?
You can, and cooked potatoes freeze well.
Mashed potatoes made with butter and cream last best in the freezer, but cooked potatoes and make-ahead potato dishes are all good options for freezing.
Do potatoes freeze well?
Cooked potatoes freeze much better than raw potatoes, and cooked potato dishes, like mashed potatoes, scalloped potatoes, potatoes au gratin, and the like, freeze best of all.
How do you store leftover mashed potatoes?
You can put leftover mashed potatoes in an airtight container and keep them in the fridge for 3-5 days.
Or you can put them in an airtight container and freeze them for up to 6 months.