I consider myself to be an honorary Idahoan. This is because Idaho is famous for its potatoes and I absolutely love every type of potato dish out there, from mashed potatoes, baked potatoes, french fries, etc.
However, one of the best potato dishes is scalloped potatoes, or otherwise known as potatoes au gratin. This dish is particularly good because it’s so rich and can have a diverse range of flavors depending on what you add to it, which can include (but isn’t limited to) ham, bacon, onions, or breadcrumbs. Plus, there is of course cheese. And cheese is usually a great addition to just about anything!
However, what do you do if your potato gratin recipe was too big and you won’t be able to eat everything that you baked? Can you freeze au gratin potatoes? Yes, you can freeze au gratin potatoes. However, there are some important things to keep in mind – like how long they can be frozen for – when you freeze au gratin potatoes.
Read on to learn everything you need to know about freezing au gratin potatoes. I’ll also explain how to properly defrost and use them for best results.
Can Au Gratin Potatoes Be Frozen?
Yes, au grain potatoes can be frozen, however, you should follow some specific steps when freezing them. Additionally, they don’t last very long in the freezer compared to other foods that you can freeze. You should only keep them frozen for about two weeks.
This is because of the combination of dairy products usually found in au gratin potatoes, as well as the potatoes themselves. The high water content in cooked potatoes can have quite a strong negative impact on the texture due to ice crystals forming inside the potatoes.
But, it may be a bit surprising that you have to be quite careful when freezing au gratin potatoes if you’ve ever taken a look in the frozen foods section. There, usually, you can find any number of brands that sell frozen casseroles like potatoes au gratin.
However, replicating industrial food processes in a home kitchen is usually nearly impossible. But, it’s not impossible to still get decent results by closely following the steps below.
How to Freeze Au Gratin Potatoes
If you decide to try your hand at freezing au gratin potatoes, make sure to closely follow the instructions below because of the fragile nature of the dish when you freeze it. You can expect the taste and (most notably) the texture to slightly change after you freeze potatoes.
But, if you follow the steps you should be able to minimize the reduction in quality and be able to enjoy the au gratin potatoes later on.
- First, cook the scalloped potatoes according to the package directions or recipe. Bake the potatoes in the oven, keeping a close eye on them.
- When the potatoes are almost soft but not entirely cooked, remove them from the oven. When they turn a light brown tint instead of a deep golden brown, it’s time to take them out.
- Refrigerate the baking dish to allow it to cool rapidly.
- Choose the number of portions you plan on freezing and place the potatoes into the freezer-safe containers. Smaller portions freeze faster, which can potentially lead to better results.
- Lastly, label the containers and then place them in the freezer. Store the potatoes au gratin in the freezer for up to two weeks.
Alternatively, you can also freeze an entire dish of potatoes au gratin. This can be a good option if you want to cook it for a weekday meal without the prep.
- Simply cover the au gratin potatoes with wax paper cut to the exact size of the casserole dish (or whatever dish you baked them in). Place the wax paper directly on top of the potatoes.
- Then, cover the casserole dish or baking dish with aluminum foil. By adding two layers of protection, you can help to prevent freezer burn.
- Place the baking dish in the freezer. Again, use them within two weeks.
While the potatoes au gratin will be safe to eat after two weeks, the quality will degrade. In fact, the sooner you can eat them, the better.
How to Defrost Au Gratin Potatoes
Before reheating the frozen potatoes, you need to first defrost them. The best way to defrost them is by letting them sit in the fridge until they’re defrosted. However, since au gratin potatoes are so dense, it can take over one day for them to be fully defrosted.
If you would like to speed up the process, you can defrost the au gratin potato in the microwave as well. However, the results won’t be as good. To do it you simply use the microwave defrost settings. Make sure to remove any aluminum foil before placing it in the microwave, though. You should also cover it with a layer of plastic wrap but leave a corner open for venting.
Can You Refreeze Au Gratin Potatoes?
No, you shouldn’t refreeze au gratin potatoes. Freezing them once will already have a negative impact on the potatoes. If you refreeze them, the changes to the taste and texture will only be exaggerated, leaving you with an undesirable end product.
What to Do With Leftover Au Gratin Potatoes
There is no shortage of things that you can do with leftover au gratin potatoes. You can keep them in the same form, but reheat them with a different method. Or, conversely, you can completely repurpose them into an entirely new dish. Here are some of my favorite ways to use leftover au gratin potato.
Reheat using a skillet
This is the simplest way to use leftover au gratin potatoes. By reheating them in a skillet, you can add an extra crispy layer to the bottom of the potatoes. Simply add them to a nonstick skillet over medium to medium-high heat. Heat them until they have a nice crust on the bottom.
Make a Creamy Potato soup
If you’re in the mood for a soup, you can transform the au gratin potatoes into a cheesy creamy potato soup. You can find a lovely (and simple!) recipe here.
Fill a Butterflied Chicken Breast for a Hearty Dinner
If you would like to add a bit of extra protein, then this one is for you. Simply butterfly a large chicken breast (or breasts) and stuff each one with a generous portion of leftover au gratin potato and some chopped spinach. Then bake until the chicken is fully cooked.