Potatoes are an incredibly versatile food. We eat them boiled, baked, fried, roasted, microwaved, sautéed, and even grilled.
If you’re ambitious, you could bake them twice, or mash them, slice them, gratin them, salad them, soup them, and hash them.
But can you freeze them? Let’s find out.
Can You Freeze Potatoes?
Potatoes often show up on the “do not freeze” lists of various food experts, for good reason.
They have a high water content, so freezing them damages the texture and leaves you with a watery potato.
But, because there are so many different kinds of potatoes and so many different preparation methods, it may be easier to freeze potatoes than you think.
Here’s a quick reference table.
|Kind of Potato||Store in a Cool Pantry||Store in the Fridge||Store in the Freezer|
|Whole, raw, with skin – waxy potatoes like new potatoes, fingerlings, and red potatoes||1-2 months||Not recommended||Not recommended|
|Whole, raw, with skin – starchy potatoes like russets, Idaho, and white potatoes||2-3 months||Not recommended||Not recommended|
|Sliced or chopped raw potatoes – waxy||Not recommended||Less than 24 hours||Blanch or fry, then store in the freezer for 2-3 months|
|Sliced or chopped raw potatoes – starchy||Not recommended||Less than 24 hours||Blanch or fry, then store in the freezer for 2-3 months|
|Cooked potatoes with no other ingredients||2-4 hours||3-5 days in an airtight container||10-12 months in an airtight container|
|Cooked potato dishes without any dairy products, like roasted potatoes, hash browns, etc.||2-4 hours||5-7 days||2-3 weeks|
|Cooked potato dishes with dairy products, like mashed potatoes, scalloped potatoes, potatoes au gratin, etc.||1-2 hours||3-5 days||3-4 weeks|
How to Blanch and Freeze Potatoes
As you can see from the table, the best way to make potatoes last as long as possible is to blanch or pre-cook them before freezing them.
Blanching stops the enzymes in potatoes that make them go bad while preserving their color, texture, and vitamin content for later.
If you are making french-fries, you can even pre-fry them, freeze them, and then reheat them later.
Here’s how to freeze potatoes.
- Clean the potatoes thoroughly. Wash and scrub your potatoes
- Peel or cut starchy potatoes. If you want to keep the clean skins on thin-skinned varieties, you can, but it may reduce the effectiveness of blanching. For thick-skinned, starchy potatoes like russets, it’s best to peel them before blanching.
Tip: If you are making French fries, cut your potatoes into fry shapes now. If you are preparing a lot of potatoes at once, keep your peeled or sliced potatoes in a bowl of cold water to prevent browning while you work.
- Bring a large pot of water to a fast boil. You should have about one gallon of boiling water to every pound of potatoes. If you are preparing a lot of potatoes, you may need to do them in batches.
- Add a single layer of potatoes to the bottom of the pot of boiling water. Adding too many potatoes at once reduces the water temperature too much – the water should return to a rapid boil within about a minute.
- Boil your potatoes. Small whole potatoes should cook for 3-5 minutes, while large potatoes may take 8-10 minutes. Sliced or chopped potatoes may take only 2-3 minutes. They are done when a fork or knife easily penetrates all the way through the potatoes.
- Put the potatoes in an ice bath. The moment the potatoes are cooked, use a slotted spoon to remove them from the boiling water and drop them into a large bowl of ice water. This stops the cooking process and preserves their texture. They need to cool for as long as they cooked, so 3-5 minutes for small potatoes and 8-10 minutes for large ones.
Tip: If you are making French fries, remove them from the ice water after cooling and pat them dry with a paper towel. Then gently toss them in a tablespoon of vegetable oil before freezing, so they are ready to fry or bake without thawing.
- Freeze your potatoes. Once your potatoes are completely cool, they can be placed in an airtight container and frozen.
Make-Ahead Potato Dishes
Another great way to make potatoes last as long as possible is simply to make your potato dishes ahead of time.
For potato dishes with dairy, like mashed or scalloped potatoes, you can simply make them a day or two ahead of time, and then bake or reheat them and add a little milk to loosen them if necessary.
Potato dishes with dairy in them will last in the fridge for a few days, so you can easily plan and cook ahead for parties and get-togethers.
Cooked potato dishes without dairy are even easier to keep in the fridge and reheat before serving.
As a rule, potatoes are preserved for longest by either being stored whole and raw in a cool cellar, or being fully prepared, cooked, and then frozen.
They don’t last as long in between.
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Can you freeze raw potatoes without blanching?
You can, but the thawed potatoes may be watery or mushy, and the skins won’t crisp. Freezing without blanching harms the flavor and texture of potatoes.
What is the best way to freeze potatoes?
The best way to freeze potatoes is to blanch or cook them before freezing, to preserve the flavor and texture.
Do potatoes turn black when frozen?
Often potatoes don’t turn black in the freezer but turn black when thawed after being frozen.
This is typically caused by exposure to oxygen and can be prevented by keeping fresh sliced or peeled potatoes submerged in water, and by blanching them before freezing.
Are potatoes still good if they freeze?
If you have accidentally frozen some potatoes, they are probably lost.
You may try to salvage them by cleaning, peeling, and boiling them without thawing them first.
Making mashed potatoes out of them may mask some of the unpleasant texture of frozen potatoes.
Depending on the kind of potatoes and how long they were frozen, they may turn out okay, and then the mashed potatoes can be formed into patties and frozen if you want.
Can you thaw frozen potatoes?
You can thaw frozen potatoes, but for most dishes, you don’t need to.
If you are boiling, baking, or roasting potatoes, you can simply use the frozen potatoes and adjust the cooking time to be a little longer.
For fried potatoes or potato dishes where you want an especially crispy skin or crust, it’s best to thaw them first.
Thawing them and then patting away excess moisture allows the potatoes to get crispy during cooking.
Potatoes can be thawed on low in the microwave, left in the fridge overnight, or simply placed on the kitchen counter.