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How Long Are Leftover Mashed Potatoes Good For? (Best Practices)

Here’s how long leftover mashed potatoes are good for, the best ways to store them, plus 20 creative ideas to use them up!

Mashed potatoes are a popular side dish for Thanksgiving dinner and family meals throughout the year, and they’re incredibly versatile!

You can boil them on the stove, make them in the slow cooker, or pressure cook them in the Instant Pot. Plus, there are endless options for mix-ins like cheese, butter, bacon, chives, and garlic.

But even though most people love mashed potatoes, there are usually leftovers!

After hours of cooking during the holidays, you’ll definitely want to enjoy them again later. But, there’s a relatively short window of time to do so.

All foods have a shelf life. And if you don’t store mashed potatoes properly or wait too long to eat them, they can make you sick.

But don’t worry too much!

There are clear guidelines you can follow to keep you safe.

I’m sharing the best way to store leftover mashed potatoes, how long leftover mashed potatoes are good for, and easy ways to use them up.

How long are leftover mashed potatoes good for?

Large bowl filled with mashed potatoes next to three whole potatoes on table.

Leftover mashed potatoes are good for 3-5 days in the refrigerator and up to 12 months in the freezer.

But, you’ll need to make sure they’re handled and stored properly.

Starchy dishes like mashed potatoes grow microbes and create bacteria when left at room temperature for too long. And these may cause food poisoning, diarrhea, and vomiting.

Bad potatoes may also put you at risk for botulism, a severe form of food poisoning. If you notice any of the symptoms below after eating mashed potatoes that could have gone bad, seek medical attention right away:

  • Vision problems
  • Muscle weakness
  • Droopy eyelids
  • Slurred speech
  • Difficulty breathing

Below, you’ll find instructions on how to properly store potatoes to make sure you enjoy your leftovers safely.

How to Store Leftover Mashed Potatoes

You shouldn’t let mashed potatoes sit for more than 2 hours at room temperature.

However, if you’ve added dairy products like butter, sour cream, or cream cheese, you should store the potatoes as soon as possible.

These add-ins make the potatoes less stable and more likely to breed bacteria quickly.

The “danger zone” for cooked foods is between 40°F and 140°F. So you should try to keep your food hot, or chilled to prevent bacteria growth.

Stick to cold temperatures below 40 degrees in the refrigerator and 0 degrees in the freezer for the best quality and safety.

For the Refrigerator

If you plan to store your potatoes in the refrigerator, use a shallow container so the potatoes cool evenly with no warm spots. Otherwise, your leftovers may go bad quicker.

You should also use a sealed container. Using shallow airtight containers will:

  • Keep the potatoes from absorbing other smells from the fridge
  • Stop them from drying out too quickly
  • Prevent contaminated potatoes from spreading to other foods

Materials like plastic wrap and aluminum foil won’t keep your food as protected. Try to use plastic containers or resealable plastic bags, with as much air removed as possible.

You should also place the potatoes as close to the back of the fridge as possible for best results. This is the coldest spot in the fridge!

For the Freezer

Before putting your leftover mashed potatoes in the freezer, make sure you portion them out. This way, you’ll only have to defrost the amount you need.

Use freezer-safe bags like Ziploc bags to avoid freezer burn and flatten them as much as possible. This will help them fit better on the shelf.

Ensure the potatoes cool to room temperature before putting them in the freezer. Otherwise, they may heat the foods around them.

Tips for Reheating

Mashed potatoes in bowl next to wooden spoon and checkered kitchen towel.

There are a few rules to follow when reheating leftover mashed potatoes.

  1. Make sure you defrost frozen mashed potatoes in the refrigerator before reheating. This will take several hours. So, plan to move them to the refrigerator the night before you need them.
  2. You can reheat leftovers on the stove in a sauce pan over medium heat. And if they’re a little dry you can add in a little bit of liquid. Good options are milk, chicken broth, or cream. Start with 1/4 cup or so, and add more until you reach your desired consistency.
  3. You can also reheat leftover mashed potatoes in the oven at 350 degrees for 20 to 30 minutes. Or, until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. Just be sure to mix with a little bit of liquid before you reheat them in an oven-safe baking dish or casserole dish.

NOTE: Once you reheat mashed potatoes you shouldn’t store them again!

How to Tell When They’ve Gone Bad

Always inspect your potatoes before reheating them!

Even if it hasn’t been the full 3-5 days, your potatoes may go bad. So, if the potatoes have an unpleasant smell or you notice a sour taste, stop eating them and throw them away.

You should also look out for other signs of spoilage like moldy patches, dry patches, or glossy-looking areas.

Ways to Use up Leftovers

If you don’t want to reuse your leftover mashed potatoes as a side dish, you can repurpose the leftover potatoes into another dish.

Here are some delicious Pinterest recipes to try:

  • Potato pancakes or fritters
  • Slow cooker potato soup
  • Mashed potato nuggets
  • Twice-baked potato cups (in a muffin tin)
  • Mashed potato waffles
  • Mashed potato casserole
  • Fried mashed potato balls
  • Potato croquettes
  • Mashed potato flatbread
  • Mashed potato cinnamon rolls
  • Shepherd’s pie
  • Mashed potato cake
  • Pierogi lasagna
  • Mashed potato puffs
  • Polish potato dumplings
  • Salmon mashed potato patties
  • Mashed potato fries
  • Loaded potato egg rolls

Another great way to use up potato leftovers is refrigerator mashed potato rolls. The potatoes make the rolls extra fluffy and moist. And there are 3 different versions you can try!

Three different shaped mashed potato rolls on green plate next to pan and bowl of rolls.

You can also make potato gnocchi and use them for one of my signature pasta dishes, creamy gnocchi with tomatoes and spinach. This dish takes less than 30 minutes to make and it has the most delicious Italian sauce!

Large skillet of creamy gnocchi with tomatoes surrounding by wooden spoon and plates on white table.


How long do mashed potatoes last in the fridge?

Mashed potatoes stored in an airtight container last 3-5 days in the refrigerator. But, keep in mind, that recipes with added dairy like butter, milk, or sour cream may go bad more quickly than plain potatoes. And be sure to store them towards the back of the refrigerator for best results.

Can you freeze mashed potatoes?

Yes. You can store leftover mashed potatoes in the freezer. Before storing, portion the mashed potatoes into freezer-safe bags to avoid freezer burn. And remove as much air as possible.

Be sure to cool the potatoes to room temperature before placing them in the freezer. But, you shouldn’t let them sit for longer than 2 hours at room temperature. And you should also ensure your refrigerator temperature is set to 0 degrees.

How long can mashed potatoes stay in the freezer?

Mashed potatoes stored in freezer-safe bags last up to 12 months. Be sure to cool them to room temperature before adding them to your freezer, remove as much air as possible from the bags, and store them flat. And the freezer temperature should be set to 0 degrees. To thaw, place them in your refrigerator overnight.

How long do KFC mashed potatoes last in the fridge?

Even though KFC’s popular instant potatoes have additives and preservatives added, you’ll still only want to keep them in the fridge for 3-5 days. But you can freeze them just like you would homemade mashed potatoes

One Redditor suggests reheating frozen KFC mashed potatoes in the microwave at 50% power for double the time you normally would to soak up the excess moisture.

Easy Recipes to Serve with Mashed Potatoes

And here are some delicious recipes that pair perfectly with mashed potatoes. You can use these as a main course the first time around, or enjoy them with your leftovers!

Crock Pot Italian Pot Roast

White platter of Italian pot roast in tomato sauce on top of gray towel.

Cream of Mushroom Meatloaf Without Breadcrumbs

Pieces of meatloaf without breadcrumbs with mashed potatoes and green beans on dinner plate.

The Easiest Chicken Pillows Ever

Two chicken pillows with white gravy and mashed potatoes on blue plate surrounded by other dishes with food.

3 Ingredient Crock Pot Pork Chops

3 ingredient Crock Pot pork chops over egg noodles on white plates.

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