Potatoes are one of the most versatile vegetables. They can be baked, fried, mashed, and broiled. The unfortunate thing about raw potatoes is that they cannot be frozen because they contain too much water—so unless you plan to eat a five-pound bag of potatoes in under a month, you’re faced with limited options.
This leads to the common question, can you freeze cooked potatoes? The answer is yes, although you’ll witness minor texture changes. Here’s everything you need to know about freezing cooked potatoes.
How to Freeze Cooked Potatoes
By following the steps correctly, you’ll be able to pull potatoes out of the freezer and have them on the dinner table in record time.
Freezing French Fries:
To freeze french fries:
- Prepare the potatoes. Peel if desired, and cut them into the desired shape.
- Blanch the fries for 2 minutes in a pot of boiling water. Adjust the time if you’re blanching a small or larger amount of potatoes.
- After blanching the potatoes, submerge them into an ice bath to halt the cooking process.
- Drain the potatoes and let them dry completely before continuing onto the next step. This is important to the quality of the fries when you finally cook them.
- Add approximately half of a tablespoon of vegetable oil for each pound of potatoes.
- Lay the fries flat on a parchment or baking sheet and freeze until solid, then transfer them to an airtight freezer bag.
The best thing about this freezing method is that you can pull the frozen fries out of the freezer and pop them into the oven or fryer with little to no preparation beforehand, saving you lots of time to focus on other foods. Try to use the fries within six months of freezing to ensure freshness and avoid food poisoning.
Freezing Mashed Potatoes:
Freezing mashed potatoes is simple.
- Prepare your mashed potatoes according to the recipe.
- Let the mashed potatoes cool completely to room or fridge temperature before spooning them into an airtight bag.
- Place into the freezer and eat it within six months.
The most important step to follow with mashed potatoes is to make sure that you thaw them in the refrigerator and not at room temperature, especially because there are typically rich dairy-based ingredients in mashed potatoes.
Extreme temperature changes to food (such as freezer to countertop) can cause the rapid growth of bacteria and result in food poisoning. This is also why you should let the mashed potatoes cool completely before freezing.
If preferred, you can also freeze the mashed potatoes in individual portions instead of a large batch.
Freezing Hash Browns:
Follow these steps to correctly freeze hash browns:
- Shred the potatoes and place them in a bowl of cold water until you’ve reached the desired amount of hash browns.
- Drain the potatoes and blanch them in a pot of boiling water for about three minutes.
- Drain them again and submerge into an ice bath to stop the cooking process.
- Spread flat on a parchment or baking sheet and pat dry using a paper towel.
- Place hash browns into an airtight bag and place in the freezer.
It’s essential to completely dry out the hash browns because when potatoes are sliced or shredded into smaller pieces, the starch inside the potatoes begins to oxidize, and this can ruin your hash browns by turning them grey and “gummy.” Frozen hash browns will last up to a year.
Freezing Twice-Baked Potatoes:
Twice-baked potatoes are an American favorite. The name already suggests that they’re baked twice, so will they be able to withstand another bake? The answer is yes.
- Prepared the twice-baked potatoes according to your recipe, including baking them for the second time.
- Let them cool completely.
- Wrap the potatoes individually in aluminum foil or plastic wrap, then place in an airtight bag and place in the freezer. Frozen twice-baked potatoes should be eaten within three months of freezing.
- To eat, thaw them in the refrigerator (not the countertop) and heat up using the oven or microwave.
If your twice-baked potato recipe involves green onion, leave these out for freezing because their texture changes after being at a low temperature for an extended amount of time. You can re-add them to the potatoes after pulling them out of the freezer.
Considerations When Freezing Cooked Potatoes
The amount of time your potatoes will last also depends on the quality of the raw potato. If they’ve been sitting in your cupboard for over a month and are just on the verge of sprouting, the quality will diminish much faster than if you use fresh potatoes. You will also notice a deterioration in their texture when reheated.
Additionally, make sure that you follow all necessary temperature requirements. All cooked potatoes will need to be defrosted in the refrigerator prior to reheating, except for french fries. The shock of being transferred to room temperature from the freezer can inhibit rapid, harmful bacteria growth.
Lastly, if the steps above require you to dry the potatoes completely, you should do so. The unnecessary liquid can ruin your potatoes even if they’re frozen and cause you to waste an unnecessary amount of time and food.
Can You Freeze Cooked Potatoes?
Any potato recipe that contains dairy-based ingredients like heavy cream and milk will react well to the freeze and have minimal texture changes once reheated.
Freezing cooked potatoes is a great way to save time, especially on the holidays, when you’re focused on other dishes and cycling pots and pans through the oven constantly.
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