Potatoes are such a versatile vegetable. You can make so many endless dishes with them. You have french fries, tater tots, hash browns, and home fries. Then there’s baked potato, roast potato, stuffed potato, mashed potato, potato au gratin…so many options! Personally, anything with cheese on a potato really sells me.
In the United States, there are more than 200 types of potatoes, including the most popular ones like russet potato, fingerling, sweet potatoes, and colorful ones such as blue/purple, red, yellow, gold, and white. So, you really can’t go wrong with a potato feast.
This underground vegetable actually has deep roots in Peru, as that’s where the potato was first discovered. The Inca Indians there were the first to grow potatoes around 8,000 B.C. to 5,000 B.C. In 1536, Spanish Conquistadors conquered Peru and discovered the flavors of Peru, then carrying them over to Europe.
In time, agriculturalists in Europe found potatoes easier to grow and cultivate, and it was beneficial in vitamins needed for sustenance, and they could be provided to nearly 10 people per acre of land cultivated.
Of course, potatoes were eventually brought to the Colonies in 1621 and expanded their benefits all over the United States, making Idaho the present-day largest producer of the spuds.
With all these interesting potato facts, we want to get down to what happens after we cook them. Can you freeze cooked potatoes? The answer is, yes you can! And thank goodness for that, because with how much you can make with them, we never want the potato to go to waste!
The Quick Answer – Can You Freeze Cooked Potatoes?
Cooked potatoes freeze very well. In fact, it is the preferred method when freezing potatoes as opposed to uncooked.
However, some cooked potatoes freeze better than other types.
For example, red Yukon gold, and russet potato varieties freeze better. Mashed potato also tends to freeze well because the fats (such as butter and cream) used in making them help to keep their texture.
Can You Freeze Cooked Potatoes With Skin On?
Sometimes, the skin helps take the potato dish to a whole new level, and other times having the skin on it is a necessity and can’t be peeled off (like with a traditional baked potato, for instance).
With that being said, if you prefer freezing potatoes with the skin on them, you can do so.
The best method, if possible, is to cut potatoes before you freeze them. This way, they’ll be easier to use and you won’t run the risk of trying to cut frozen or dry potato skin later on. It’ll probably save you some prep time in the long run.
Freezing Cooked vs. Uncooked Potatoes
As I briefly stated before, freezing cooked, or even partially cooked, potatoes is the preferred method compared to freezing raw potato.
Raw potatoes contain a lot of water. When frozen, that water freezes. Then when you thaw it, the potato becomes mushy and grainy; losing all its texture and delightfulness that comes in a potato.
If they’re cooked before freezing, potatoes also will not become discolored in the process, meaning you can enjoy the potato in both flavor and looks.
How to Freeze Cooked Potatoes
Freshly Cooked or Boiled Potatoes
For freshly cooked or boiled potatoes, rinse and drain them, and either keep them whole or cut them into cubes. Proceed to plunge them into a bowl of ice water to ensure the potatoes stop cooking. Drain them again from the ice water and let them cool completely.
When that’s done, spread the cooked potato out in an even layer on a baking sheet, making sure they are not touching. Freeze them on the tray from anywhere between 6-12 hours, or until potatoes are solid.
Transfer those potatoes to an airtight freezer bag or container and stick them in the freezer. There you go, frozen potatoes!
French Fries, Roast Potatoes or Hash Browns
If you’re looking to freeze french fries, roast potatoes, or hash browns, you can prepare them to freeze similarly to boiled potatoes.
Lay each fry or hash brown patty on a parchment-lined baking sheet and let them freeze for at least 4 hours. Then, when frozen solid, you can transfer them into freezer-safe containers.
If you’ve taken your anger out and mashed some potatoes, you will prep similarly, but also a little differently. Make sure the mashed potato has cooled completely, and then you can decide if you want to scoop it into portions or freeze the entire container.
If you’re scooping, you will place each scoop apart from one another on parchment paper and freeze for up to four hours. Then you will transfer them into freezer bags or containers for easy separation later.
If you’re not separating, you can just go ahead and stick the mashed potatoes in a tightly sealed container and store them in the freezer.
The moral of the story is that whatever variety you have when you freeze potatoes you should store them in tightly sealed freezer bags in containers to provide secure freezing.
How Long Can You Freeze Cooked Potatoes For?
As with most food products, potatoes will be at their peak freshness for about the first three months. However, frozen potatoes will stay in quality shape for about a year.
As long as the potatoes are stored properly by keeping them in an airtight freezer bag or container, then you will not have any problems with freezing them or taking them out to defrost.
There may be a slight chance of your potatoes turning black. If this is the case, don’t panic! Because you put them in the freezer, the cell structure hasn’t broken down. So even if it looks bad, they are most likely still safe to eat.
How to Defrost Frozen Cooked Potatoes
Defrosting frozen cooked potatoes is just as easy as freezing them…maybe even easier, giving you a short amount of wait time to devour your leftover potatoes.
If you have boiled your potatoes whole, take the container out of the freezer and transfer it into the fridge where you’ll leave it to thaw for several hours or up to overnight.
To shorten your wait time, you can also bake the frozen potato for about 30 minutes or by using your microwave’s defrost cycle.
Once thawed, you should be able to cook your potato as normal.
You can do the same things for previously cut potatoes. However, if you’ve cut the pieces small enough, they could be cooked immediately. Since they’re smaller, they thaw just as quickly as they cook.
Mashed potatoes can be defrosted in different ways because their consistency is different. You can move them into the fridge for several hours. Or, if you just need the mashed potatoes ASAP, you can also microwave them.
Place the mashed potatoes in a microwave-safe dish, cover the dish to keep in some of the steam, and heat for five minutes, stirring occasionally. Then before you know it, you’ll have a delicious bowl of mashed potatoes.
How to Use Frozen Potatoes
Once your potato-ey goodness is thawed and ready to be cooked, you have some options on how to use them.
Just like if you freshly cut the potatoes, you can cook them just the same. You can fry them, boil, or microwave them until they’re fork-tender. You’ll have fries, mashed potato, or crispy roasted potatoes in minutes!
If you want to change it up, you can even incorporate your thawed potatoes into soups and stews. Since they are previously cooked, you have to remember to not let them overcook and disintegrate in the soup. But the flavor will be spot on.
Another potential method is to use your potatoes in breakfast casseroles. To prepare, cook the frozen hash browns you are using from frozen to ensure all the excess moisture cooks out of them before you bake them into the casserole.
Since there are endless possibilities, one other way is to turn the frozen potatoes into a classic potato salad.
And with that, I now feel like cutting up some fresh potatoes and frying them in oil and seasoning with salt to make some homemade fries just how my mom does it.