Whether it’s because I’m a redhead or the tasty natural sugars, I can’t help but love eating potatoes. Boil ’em, fry them, or put them in a stew – and I’m all about the potatoes. Of course, once dinner is over is a whole other subject. Can you store boiled potatoes in the fridge?
Boiled potatoes, once cool, can be safely stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three to four days. Refrigeration may cause the boiled potatoes to develop an off-flavor. As such, it may be best to eat boiled potatoes fresh rather than store leftovers in the fridge.
Ready to eat and store some boiled potatoes? Let’s get down to the nitty, gritty deliciousness that is taters.
How to Store Boiled Potatoes (Safely) in the Fridge
Boiled potatoes can be easily and safely stored in the fridge. The trick is to make sure they’re cool first. How cool? Room temperature is a good guideline.
However, just leaving potatoes out at room temperature to cool for a few hours isn’t safe. In fact, general food safety guidelines per the FDA make it abundantly clear that even sitting out for 1-2 hours can be too much. A couple of hours out won’t be visibly dangerous. Still, it’s enough time for the bacteria that cause foodborne illness to grow to a sufficient-sized colony (not visible to normal eyesight) that it could make humans sick.
So make sure that you’re being smart about how you cool any hot foods down, boiled potatoes included. Try to cool them down in less than an hour. And faster is better!
- Once done boiling, remove the potatoes from the water. Put them in a serving bowl into a single layer. During the course of dinner, they should cool down enough to then put into the fridge safely.
- If the potatoes don’t cool down enough during the course of the meal, consider cooling them down in one of various ways.
- If it’s cold outside, use that to your advantage. Put the potatoes outside (but in a container) for a little bit to speed up the cooling-down process.
- If it’s not cold outside, put the boiled potatoes in an airtight container. Add cold water (and maybe some ice) to the sink. Put the container into the ice bath to help speed up the cooling-off process.
- Don’t forget the airtight container! Using anything else will lead to a problem. Potatoes left outside and unprotected will get eaten. Potatoes in an ice bath that get waterlogged get soggy.
Now, here’s a great perk to already having put our boiled potatoes into an airtight container (like a Tupperware or a Ziploc baggie) to cool them down. Once cooled down, you can move that same container (still full of cooled-down boiled potatoes) straight into the fridge!
Just be sure to dry the container off first after the ice bath. Or, if it was outside, make sure you remove any visible dirt, water, or grime. We don’t want to get the rest of our food or the fridge dirty.
Once safely stored in the fridge, boiled potatoes (in their airtight container) can store well for 3-5 days. Five days really is the longest possible amount of time for storing boiled potatoes in the fridge. Anything more than that and the potatoes develop a strange flavor. We’ll talk about that in a moment, so make sure you keep reading and get to that part of the article!
Other (and better) Ways to Store Boiled Potatoes
Now, if you aren’t going to be able to revisit those stored, boiled potatoes within a handful of days, here are a few more ways to store your boiled potatoes. The great thing about these other methods is that you can lengthen the storage time up to months or even years!
Freezing Boiled Potatoes
Freezing boiled potatoes is a great way to store potatoes for up to about 6 months.
Here’s how you do it.
- Cool off the boiled potatoes like you would if you were going to store them in the fridge.
- Once they’re cooled to fridge temperature, get out a cookie tray (baking half sheet) and cover it with a parchment paper or a silicone mat.
- Lay out the boiled potatoes on the tray. Keep them to a single layer.
- Cover the tray with some saran wrap to keep the potatoes from absorbing any extra odors or tastes.
- Put the tray in the freezer.
- Once frozen, move the boiled potatoes into an airtight container or freezer-safe plastic bag.
- Store in the freezer for up to 6 months.
Now, a little bit of full disclosure. I hate using plastic wrap. So I often skip that step. I find that as long as I get the potatoes from the tray and into an airtight bag as soon as they’re frozen it’s usually fine.
However, if you want to be able to forget about them for a few days? Then you don’t want to skip the plastic wrap.
Dehydrating Boiled Potatoes
While dehydrating boiled potatoes is certainly a possibility, it’s not my favorite way to store boiled potatoes. Dehydrated boiled potatoes isn’t easy, either.
Potatoes dehydrate best when sliced, and slicing boiled potatoes isn’t exactly easy. Even so, if you want to try it, here are the steps.
- Cool the potatoes like you would for fridge storage. They’re easier to handle and slice when cooled.
- Slice the boiled potatoes.
- Line your dehydrator’s trays with the boiled potato slices.
- Run the dehydrator according to its settings and parameters.
- Once done, check the boiled potato slices for dryness. Then, move the dehydrated boiled potato chips into an airtight container (usually a plastic bag) for storage.
- Dehydrated potato slices can store on a shelf for between 6 months and 2 years, depending on dryness and storage conditions.
In my experience, dehydrated boiled potatoes can almost be eaten like potato chips. Almost.
Freeze-Drying Boiled Potatoes
Boiled potatoes, as long as they don’t have any extras like butter or oil, can be freeze-dried well. Once freeze-dried, boiled potatoes can be stored for as long as 25 years without any issues.
Here’s how to do it.
- Cool off the boiled potatoes like you would for fridge storage.
- Next, we’re going to freeze the boiled potatoes in a single layer on a cookie tray (half sheet baking pan). Don’t forget to line the tray with either a parchment paper or a silicone mat!
- Cover the tray with some plastic wrap and pre-freeze the potatoes.
- While the boiled potatoes are freezing, pre-freeze the freeze-dryer.
- Once the freeze-dryer is well below your freezer’s temperature (we use -80F as our mark), move the boiled potatoes onto the freeze dryer trays.
- Run the cycle as you normally would.
- End the freeze-drying cycle on a warming phase. This will prevent any condensation from accidentally shortening shelf life.
- Store the freeze-dried boiled potatoes in an airtight plastic bag for a couple of days in a cool, dry place. This will help you test for any moisture.
- Once certain that your potatoes are totally dry, store them in a Mylar bag with an oxygen absorber. Don’t forget to label the bag!
- Freeze-dried boiled potatoes are shelf-stable and can be stored for up to 25 years.
What if your boiled potatoes did get buttered, or had other ingredients added to them? Most spices shouldn’t affect the process or the overall storage timeframe. However, fats (like oils and butter) will shorten the shelf life.
Using Reheated Boiled Potatoes
Once you’re ready to use your stored boiled potatoes, it’s time to reheat them and enjoy them! However, how you use and reheat them will affect the overall process. So let’s go through all of them in general, and then we’ll get into specifics by how they were processed and stored.
- Reheating boiled potatoes in the oven is the way to go, whether you’re wanting reheated boiled potatoes, mashed potatoes, or even to slice them up. You can heat them up inside of the oven using a cookie tray or by wrapping them individually with aluminum foil.
- You can reheat boiled potatoes in the microwave if you nuke it like it was a fresh potato. Poke a fork into it and then cover it with a slightly damp paper towel. Cook it until warm. It can get really mushy this way.
- Re-boiling boiled potatoes makes them fall apart, which is a great option if you’re going for a stew. So if you’re going to go for a stew, go ahead and throw them in when the recipe says to. You may want to shorten the overall cooking time of the recipe, though.
- Slicing and frying the boiled potato (in either an oil or air fryer) could help you make some fries or chips. However, please know that they will have a slightly different taste and texture than fresh fries. This is also true for oil-drizzled slices of reheated boiled potato baked in the oven a la baked fries.
- Putting reheated boiled potatoes into a crockpot or an instant pot is another great way to use them. Just know that they’ll be more fall-apart-y than a fresh potato would be.
Those are by no means the only ways to use reheated boiled potatoes – those are just the ways we’ve tried it.
Reheating Frozen Boiled Potatoes
For frozen boiled potatoes, there’s no need to thaw them before cooking them. Doing so will actually make them mushier. Go ahead and just cook them like they weren’t frozen. Just know you’ll need to add a little bit of extra time to the overall cooking process.
Using Dehydrated Boiled Potatoes
Most dehydrated foods don’t rehydrate well just in water. They can rehydrate decently well if cooked directly into a meal during the cooking process. However, there’s often an extra “crunch” associated with re-hydrated foods.
So don’t expect that you’ll be able to rehydrate boiled potatoes into a side of boiled potatoes. Instead, think about how you can use them in soups, stews, mashed potatoes, or leave them dehydrated. They could make a cool novelty side dish that way.
Using Freeze-dried Boiled Potatoes
Freeze-dried boiled potatoes are super versatile. You can use them exactly like they were fresh – simply add them to the recipe when called for.
However, keep an eye on the dish’s liquid. Adding freeze-dried ingredients may mean that you need to add some extra liquid. However, that’s not always the case, especially if the recipe has a ton of liquid or liquid-filled ingredients. So keep an eye on things and adjust as needed.
Freeze-dried boiled potatoes can make a fun way to make easy-to-go mashed potatoes, too. It’s not quite the right flavor or texture, but they’re a great way to bring a sense of familiarity to the crazy in an emergency. And most of the flavor issue can be fixed by adding the right set of ingredients anyway.
What About Boiled Potatoes and Acrylamide?
Acrylamide is an organic, naturally derived compound that forms from natural sugars in food. Per the FDA’s website, acrylamide is still being studied, as it may be problematic and might even cause cancer.
Acrylamide is a compound that can be found in potatoes, depending on how you store and cook them. In any case, here are the two instances when potatoes have acrylamide.
- Potatoes that are “cold sweetened” can develop extra free sugars and acrylamide. Cold sweetening most often happens when you store potatoes in a fridge or an environment below 6 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Cooking potatoes in high heat results in higher acrylamide concentrations in the potatoes. Frying, roasting, and baking potatoes are common ways of high-temperature cooking potatoes. Boiling or steaming potatoes doesn’t usually result in acrylamide.
So boiled potatoes shouldn’t have as much acrylamide unless you stored it in the fridge before you boiled them. Even then, they won’t have as much of that particular compound as fried or roasted potatoes will. And they’ll have far less acrylamide than potatoes that were both cold sweetened and cooked at a high temperature.
Oh, and just in case you’re wondering about cold sweetening, here’s what the FDA recommends to avoid it: store your potatoes in a cool, dry, and light-controlled environment.
In other words, a pantry is a great place to store your potatoes. My in-laws keep their potatoes in a box in their pantry. It’s an idea we’ve borrowed. That way, your potatoes aren’t cold sweetened – whether you boil them or cook them some other way.
Boiled Potatoes Stored in the Fridge Develop an Off-Flavor
Boiled potatoes stored in the fridge definitely develop a weird taste. It’s been described as almost like what cardboard would taste like, if I’d ever tasted cardboard.
In any case, I dug through several scientific studies that confirmed the off-flavor of fridge-stored boiled potatoes.
Those studies even gave some great descriptions of the compounds that may cause the cardboard-like flavor. I won’t list them all here because of the papers listed more than 50 possible contributing compounds (things like 2-pentenal, pentanal, 2-hexenal, nonanal, 2-decenal, and 2-pentylfuran). And the point of this article isn’t to discuss those compounds – merely the fact that they are a known and real thing.
Studies have also been done to see if treating the boiled potatoes with citrate (and other food-safe preservatives) helped prevent the off flavoring of stored, boiled potatoes. To date, only potassium meta-bisulphite helped prevent the known off-flavoring issue, but it created another bad taste. So it’s not really of any use, either.
So once your boiled potatoes have developed the off-flavor from being in the fridge, there’s not much you can do except to add them to your compost bin – as long as they’re safe to do so. But that’s a topic for a whole other article – this one I wrote on composting cooked veggies, in case you’re wondering what to read next.
Do Raw Potatoes Last Longer if Stored in the Fridge? Raw potatoes store best when in a cool, dry, non-fridge location. Potatoes stored in the fridge will “cold-sweeten,” which can develop higher levels of the compound acrylamide depending on how the potatoes are cooked.
What’s the Best Way to Store Raw-Cut Sweet Potatoes? Raw sweet potatoes can be stored the same way as regular potatoes. Raw-cut sweet potatoes should be refrigerated in a cool, dry space for up to two months. Read more about how to store raw-cut sweet potatoes in my article here.
Can You Store Potatoes Outside in the Winter? While some foods may be safe in-ground during the winter, harvested potatoes (or any other food) should not be stored outside during the winter. Storing food outside can cause be dangerous due to thaw and freezing cycles leaving food in the “danger” zone. For more information, read my article on storing food outside during the winter.
- “Acrylamide.” Food Standards Agency, 2018, www.food.gov.uk/safety-hygiene/acrylamide.
- Blanda, Giampaolo, et al. “Investigation of off-Odour and off-Flavour Development in Boiled Potatoes.” Food Chemistry, Elsevier, 10 May 2009, www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0308814609005949.
- Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. Acrylamide and Diet, Food Storage, and Food Preparation. 2017, www.fda.gov/food/chemicals/acrylamide-and-diet-food-storage-and-food-preparation.
- “How Long Can You Store Cooked Potatoes?” AskUSDA, 2019, ask.usda.gov/s/article/How-long-can-you-store-cooked-potatoes.
- Petersen, Mikael Agerlin, et al. “Identification of Compounds Contributing to Boiled Potato Off-Flavour (‘POF’).” LWT – Food Science and Technology, Academic Press, 25 May 2002, www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0023643898905060.