Freezing mashed potatoes is a smart make-ahead strategy when you need to save time in the kitchen during a busy holiday season, or simply want to stash some mashers for quick dinners. Here's how to freeze and reheat mashed potatoes so they're fluffy and delicious when you serve them up.
How to Freeze and Reheat Mashed Potatoes
Choose the Right Potatoes
For this make-and-freeze scheme to work well, you should use potatoes that are lower in starch. Choose waxy varieties such as red potatoes and Yukon Golds. You could use high-starch potatoes such as Russets or baking potatoes in a pinch, but they can become grainy when you thaw and reheat them. Learn more about choosing the right potato for your recipe.
Choose the Right Recipe
It's true that raw potatoes don't freeze well, but mashed potatoes survive the chill if they're protected by plenty of butter and cream. That means you should choose mashed potato recipes that don't skimp on the dairy fat. On the other hand, recipes that rely on solely on broth and oil will lose texture when you freeze and reheat them. So, consider this permission to treat yourself to the most rich and indulgent mashed potatoes you can make. You're doing it for the best reasons, right?
Try this recipe: Holiday ONLY Mashed Potatoes
The Big Freeze
Cook and mash your potatoes, adding plenty of butter and cream. You can toss in extras like snipped herbs, bacon, and roasted garlic now, or later after they thaw. Either way will work, although chives and parsley might lose their bright green color in the freezer. You can always add more after thawing. Let the prepped potatoes cool thoroughly, then freeze them using either of these methods:
• For single servings. Place scoops of mashed potato on a parchment-lined baking sheet and freeze until solid. Place frozen scoops in a freezer-safe bag, squeezing out as much air as possible.
• For group servings. Place 2 cups of mashed potatoes in a quart-size freezer-safe bag and squeeze out extra air. Lay the bag flat and pat it out so the potatoes can freeze in an even layer. Repeat until you use up all the mashed potatoes.
Be sure to label the bags with the date and amount of potatoes in each one. To ensure the best texture and flavor, eat the potatoes within a month.
Thawing and Reheating Frozen Mashed Potatoes
You can thaw mashed potatoes overnight in the fridge if you're a plan-ahead kind of cook, or reheat frozen mashed potatoes.
• Stovetop: Warm frozen or thawed potatoes slowly over low heat in a covered saucepan, stirring occasionally, until heated through. Add milk, cream, or butter as needed if potatoes start to dry out.
• Microwave: Remove frozen potatoes from the bag and place in a microwave-safe dish. Cover the dish to keep in some of the steam, and heat them on 50 percent power for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Thawed potatoes can be heated the same way, but using less time.
• Oven: Place frozen or thawed potatoes in a covered oven-safe dish and heat in a 350º F oven for 20 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until heated through.
• Slow cooker: Thaw potatoes in the fridge, then heat in your slow cooker on low for 2 hours or more. This works well when you need to heat a large batch of mashed potatoes for a crowd.
Troubleshooting the 'Taters
If your thawed and heated mashed potatoes turn out a bit watery (it happens), whip in generous spoonfuls of sour cream or cream cheese to bring the texture back together. Your potatoes will be creamy rather than fluffy, but that's not a bad thing. Top off with minced herbs and another swirl of butter to make them picture-perfect. Here's another clever fix for watery mashed potatoes.