How Long Can Mashed Potatoes Sit Out? A Detail Guide

How long can mashed potatoes sit out? Yes, you can but not for a very long time. It is better to make only small amounts of mashed potatoes that you can eat in one sitting. If you happen to make more than you can eat, you should leave them on the counter for more than two hours.

Mashed potatoes are a delicious and healthy side dish. It is especially popular among children who eat them with great zest. However, you have to store leftover mashed potatoes properly in the fridge within two hours of making them. They can also go bad if you leave them in open at or above 40° F.

How Long Can Mashed Potatoes Stay Out?

Can you leave mashed potatoes out? Although mashed potatoes can stay out for a couple of hours yet it is better to refrigerate them as soon as possible. Place them in the fridge when they reach room temperature. There is no need to fully cool them as well.

Never leave mashed potatoes on the counter unnecessarily. It is even more important if you have used ingredients like milk, cream, butter, or other dairy products to make them. Dairy can spoil quite early because it is also vulnerable to all kinds of bacterial growth. However, it is best to put leftover mashed potatoes in the fridge as soon as you can even if they don’t have dairy ingredients.

Mashed potatoes are just like any other food. They should never sit out, particularly between 40° to 140° F. Bacteria thrive and proliferate within this temperature range, making your potatoes bad. You can easily get sick if you eat such food.

You must cool the potatoes quickly if the temperature is above 90° F. Similarly, refrigerate them within 60 minutes of cooking. Mashed potatoes can cause food poisoning if you don’t cool them in time. You must throw them away to avoid any health problems.

Do Mashed Potatoes Need to be Refrigerated?

Yes, you must refrigerate mashed potatoes because they cannot sit out for more than two hours. You must put them in the fridge earlier than that if you want to extend their life.

How Long Can Mashed Potatoes Stay in the Fridge?

Mashed potatoes can last for 3-5 days in the fridge. However, you must store them properly otherwise they will go bad earlier even in the fridge. It is also useless to put mashed potatoes in the fridge if you left them on the counter longer than necessary. It is better to eat them instead of refrigeration them, especially if they also have dairy ingredients.

You must also cool the potatoes down quickly before putting them in the fridge to get the best out of storage. Put the potatoes on a plate and place them in the coolest part of the kitchen. Similarly, spread them out on the plate using a spoon or a fork. Heat disperses more quickly and easily if you spread out the potatoes because they are extremely good insulators.

When you leave potatoes in the open, it is better to put the plate in a bowl of water or ice. It will help heat dissipate easily and thus, quick cooling of potatoes.

How to Store Mashed Potatoes in a Fridge?

Just like any other food, pack mashed potatoes in an airtight container before placing them in a fridge. Make sure that air cannot circulate inside the container otherwise, potatoes will go bad. You should also place the container in the back of the fridge.

Potatoes have a soft and fluffy texture. The airtight container prevents potatoes from drying down and maintaining their natural shape and flavor. Similarly, potatoes can easily absorb the smells of other foods in the fridge because they are quite plain themselves. The airtight container will prevent this from happening as well.

It is not recommended to pick a very large container for your puree. It will facilitate the air to come in contact with potatoes. You should pick the container according to the size of the puree.

Can You Freeze Mashed Tomatoes?

Can you freeze mashed potatoes or how long do mashed potatoes last in the freezer? They will remain edible for up to 12 months if you manage to store them properly in a freezer. However, the more they remain in the freezer, the more they will lose their texture, flavor, and overall quality.

You should eat mashed potatoes earlier than that otherwise they will have no taste or nutritional value.

How to Store Mashed Potatoes in a Freezer?

Let the Mashed Potatoes Cool

You should never try to put hot potatoes in the freezer. Let them cool down before freezing them. The temperature of the freezer decreases whenever you store hot food in it. Therefore, it becomes difficult to flash freeze anything. Condensation can also form in the container in which you are storing hot mashed potatoes.

Line a Baking Sheet with a Parchment Paper

Use parchment paper to line a baking sheet after the mashed potatoes have cooled down. Divide potatoes into smaller portions and freeze them on parchment paper.

Transfer Potatoes into an Airtight Container

Flash freeze the puree for 15 minutes and then transfer it to an airtight zip-bag or container. Freezing the puree in small portions will enable you to defrost only the amount of potatoes you want to eat. It not only expedites the thawing process but also reduces food waste.

How to tell if mashed potatoes are bad?

It is particularly easy to tell if mashed potatoes have gone bad or not. You should regularly check the puree for any signs of spoilage or contamination no matter how long it has been frozen.

Some of the telltale signs of bad mashed potatoes are as below.

Unpleasant smell: the first sign that potatoes have spoiled is the sour smell. Smell your potatoes and immediately throw them away if they have an unpleasant and funky smell.

Change in texture: mashed potatoes will go quite bad even if you keep them in the fridge for a long period. They will become shiny and dry a bit. You may even see some mold development in rare cases.

Chang in taste: mashed potatoes can be bad if they taste and smell good. Take a small bite and discard them if they have a sour taste.

Frozen puree rarely looks bad. Therefore, it is better to defrost and reheat frozen mashed potatoes before checking them for sour smell or taste.

Does Eating Bad Mashed Potatoes Make You Sick?

It depends on the type of bacteria that have made inroads into the mashed potatoes. The consequences of eating bad potatoes can be different for everyone.

In most cases, you will only have to withstand the bad flavor and nothing else will happen. Some light symptoms may appear but they are nothing to worry about.

If you eat mashed potatoes spoiled by pathogenic bacteria, you will suffer from severe symptoms and even food poisoning.

However, you will most probably notice mashed potatoes have gone bad before eating them. Therefore, the chances of getting sick by eating spoiled potatoes are minimal.

Can You Eat Potatoes that were Left Overnight?

As mentioned above, mashed potatoes will start getting bad only after just 2 hours. Therefore, it is not safe to leave them on the counter overnight. Depending on the nature of spoilage, it can cause mild to severe symptoms as well as food poisoning.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long can cooked mashed potatoes sit out?

You cannot keep cooked mashed potatoes out for more than two hours. They no longer remain safe to eat if they have been out longer than that. It is better to discard them even if they don’t look bad.

How long can instant mashed potatoes sit out?

According to USDA, instant mashed potatoes can last on the counter for only two hours. Just like any other food, bacteria are most likely to develop on potatoes from 40°F to 140°F. Therefore, you should avoid eating instant mashed potatoes even if they are out of the fridge for only two hours.

How long are leftover mashed potatoes safe to eat?

Leftover mashed potatoes are safe to eat for only two hours if you leave them out. Refrigerating them will keep them fresh for 3 – 5 days at most. You can eat them for a year if you freeze them. However, they will decline in taste and quality with time.

Is it safe to reheat mashed potatoes?

It is perfectly fine to reheat refrigerated mashed potatoes. However, you must defrost them before reheating them if they have been in a fridge or freezer. Reheating mashed potatoes does not affect their taste and flavor.

Is it OK to eat cold mashed potatoes?

You can eat cold mashed potatoes just like any other cold food. However, cold potatoes will not be as fresh and tasty as freshly made potatoes.

Final Thoughts

So, how long can mashed potatoes sit out? Mashed potatoes can last for two hours on a countertop at room temperature. However, the room has to be reasonably cold. Never leave them out at temperatures from 40°F to 140°F. Eating potatoes left overnight or having a bad smell or taste is deleterious to health. You can also increase their life by refrigeration or freezing but it will have a negative effect on their flavor and quality.

Leave a Comment