How Far In Advance Can I Make Mashed Potatoes?

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Few comfort food staples beat mashed potatoes. They make for a delicious side dish, and many home chefs will want to add them to several of their meals. Convenience might drive you to wonder, can you make mashed potatoes in advance? How long can they be stored and served at a later date while remaining fresh? Well, we have researched for you and found out the answers down below.

Mashed potatoes can be made up to two days ahead of time if stored correctly. You'll need to make sure to refrigerate them within two hours of cooking them. Store them in tightly sealed containers ensuring that no bacteria-causing moisture gets in and the potatoes don't dry out either. Don't boil your mashed potatoes and wait to mash them. This will cause a super gluey texture. 

There's more detail to prepare and keep your potatoes in their best shape and a lot more information to share. So keep reading down below for our article on mashed potatoes and how to best share them with your hungry family and friends.

Delicious mashed potatoes and other foods on the table, How Far In Advance Can I Make Mashed Potatoes?

Preparing mashed potatoes in advance

As previously mentioned, mashed potatoes can last well up to five days in advance if made properly and stored well. The first key is to make sure to mash them immediately after boiling them. Waiting any significant amount of time between these two steps will make for a gluey and unappetizing meal. Thoroughly prepare the mashed potatoes and place them in a tightly sealable container.

Mashed potato with oreganos and a wooden spatula on the side

Make sure to store your mashed potatoes in a tight container that will keep any undue moisture out. Any additional moisture from outside will allow bacteria to form in the enclosed space of the container. This will lead to spoiled food and potential health concerns quite quickly. Given the high dairy content in most forms of mashed potatoes, this is particularly likely if you allow it.

Keep the potatoes tightly sealed, refrigerate them immediately after finishing the dish, and make sure to mash directly after boiling. Do these things, and your dish will be safe for two days.

Read now on KitchenSeer: Should you wash potatoes before or after peeling?

Can I leave mashed potatoes out?

When it comes to fully realized mashed potato dishes with dairy products, in particular, don't allow your dish to sit at room temperature for longer than two hours. It's not because of anything found in the potatoes themselves.

The dairy that mashed potato dishes tend to include will spoil if left out longer without refrigeration.  Dairy has a high-fat and low water content, which makes it an excellent environment for bacteria. Always be careful with food high in dairy and the potential of food poisoning.

If you haven't added any dairy to your potatoes yet, you can leave them out longer. There isn't anything in potatoes alone that goes bad. That being said, refrigeration is always a solid option if plans include wait time between prep.

How long can potatoes sit in water before cooking for mashed potatoes?

Potatoes can sit in water for up to 24 hours before cooking for a mashed potato dish. This is a recommended way to keep them safe from browning in between prep time. Browning happens due to oxidization, so submerging your potatoes keeps this process from occurring.

Make sure not to take any longer than 24 hours, however. Any longer and the integrity of the potato may begin to get compromised.

To further protect the potatoes, if you plan to take a chunk of time between prep, you can move the potatoes into an airtight container and fill it with water. Submerge the potatoes entirely and store them in the fridge. This will further protect them until it's time for you to remove them and start cooking.

Mashed potato garnished with sliced chives

If letting potatoes sit in water for a time, wash them off again upon removing them from the water. This will rinse off any excess starch that has accumulated on the potatoes. This helps them cook up evenly and deliciously when the time comes.

Is it better to mash potatoes hot or cold?

You're going to want to keep your potatoes and ingredients at a consistent and warm temperature when you mash them. This will help all your ingredients mix evenly, create a smooth, delicious texture for your dish, and keep your potatoes' consistency even.

Few things make a dish of mashed potatoes less appetizing than a chunky or dry texture. Mash your potatoes while they are warm but not hot, and make sure the texture is smooth before refrigeration.

Read now on Kitchenseer: How long to boil potatoes [by dish].

How long can you keep mashed potatoes in the fridge?

With proper refrigeration and storage, mashed potatoes can last in the fridge anywhere from three to five days. This includes before you serve them and their time as leftovers. But make sure that all necessary precautions to keep any dairy from spoiling are taken.

As we mentioned, the risk for potential food poisoning is relatively high with dairies like butter and milk. Even if it feels like a loss, always follow any warning signs that your potatoes have gone bad.

How long can you freeze mashed potatoes?

When preparing food ahead of time, the all-important question is always: Can it be frozen? Nothing saves time and eases worry like a delicious dish safe in the freezer well in advance. The good news is that mashed potatoes last well in the freezer for up to twelve months if prepared properly.

When freezing mashed potatoes, you're going to want to have a dish with a sufficient amount of dairy in it. This will keep your potatoes together and of a good consistency while frozen.

It's a good idea to let your potatoes, like any dish, cool down before putting them in the freezer. This keeps them from inadvertently thawing any other dishes in the freezer with excess heat they put off. The best way to store them is in a freezer-friendly bag or a container lined with tin foil or Glad wrap. Lightly grease the container before use to make sure your potatoes do not stick to the container.

Mashed potatoes will last slightly over the twelve-month window we offered here but will be beyond their peak at this point. Make sure to keep this general time frame in mind when preparing far in advance.

How can you tell if mashed potatoes are bad?

We've mentioned the possibility of potatoes going bad, so how exactly does one tell when their mashed potatoes are ready to be let go? Thankfully, mashed potatoes are pretty easy to detect once they've gone bad.

In terms of optics, the liquid starts separating from the solid of the dish. At first, this liquid tends to be clear and can be mixed back into the dish and used. Eventually, however, the liquid will begin to turn cloudy and opaque, and the potatoes will start to smell sour. At this point, the potatoes have expired, and you should toss them out.

An up close photo of a freshly cooked mashed potato

In Closing

There are a lot of ways you can prepare delicious mashed potatoes ahead of time. This will save you some time and preparation and allow you and your family and friends to enjoy delicious food. You need to take steps to ensure the quality and taste of your meal, and we hope this article helps you enjoy your meals thoroughly.

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