How Long Can Mashed Potatoes Stay Out

In the United States, mashed potatoes are a staple cuisine and frequent the dinner table at Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter, and other special occasions.

Mashed potatoes offer a healthy dose of carbs in their silky texture, and everyone loves them. The issue comes with adding this creamy texture, and you could wonder, how long are mashed potatoes good for?

Storing leftover mashed potatoes is not as simple as you may think, as dumping them in the fridge doesn’t offer the best results. When mashed potatoes are placed in an airtight container and put inside within two hours of cooking, they can survive up to four days in the refrigerator.

Mashed potatoes life span

However, before this, you need to consider how long your potatoes sit on the counter as you make your dinners. How long do potatoes last here can have a different result. For example, how long can mashed potatoes sit out at room temperature?

It takes around two hours to find out the solution, and from this moment, you run the risk of harmful bacteria forming, as other dishes also do, unless they are stored correctly.

To avoid this, you can use our guide to learn more about how long do mashed potatoes last. By the end, you’ll have more information on how to deal with just mashed potatoes and how to leave mashed potatoes ready for a Thanksgiving dinner.

Ultimately, you’ll know how to eat mashed potatoes left, or if you can freeze mashed potatoes for future use. (Read Can I Make Kraft Mac And Cheese Without Butter)

Are Mashed Potatoes Okay If Left Out Overnight?

According to the Food Safety Council, cooked foods that have been left at room temperature for over two hours can become harmful.

The microorganisms Bacillus Cereus is colorless, odorless, and tasteless microbe. This microorganism thrives in starchy foods such as mashed potatoes and can lead to diarrhea and vomiting.

Temperatures between 40- and 140-degrees F are the most prone to grow germs in starchy meals where they attract dangerous germs, which can multiply swiftly as mashed potatoes sit on a counter.

The warmth of the food mixed with the wetness of milk can create a single bacterium that can split every half hour, producing bacteria. Over 10 hours or overnight, you can end up with millions of additional bacteria, and these toxic microbes can quickly spread across your dining table and onto your hands when exposed for a long period.

Staphylococcus Aureus is a species of bacteria that spreads quickly with improper food preparation and lives on our skin and inside our nose and throat, according to the US Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service.

Unfortunately, this bacteria produces toxins targeting the intestines, causing stomach cramps and unpleasant diarrhea via mild food poisoning. You often see such issues when you mix dairy products with your cooked mashed potatoes.

Why Dairy Products Spoil Mashed Potatoes?

Most dairy products are high in fat and low in water. As a result, bacteria can flourish and reproduce because these properties promote bacterial growth.

Therefore, opened milk and butter packs and cartons must be kept in the refrigerator. The cool temperature preserves its freshness. However, failure to do so exposes the milk to bacteria that convert lactose to glucose and galactose, resulting in lactic acid production.

Lactic acid generates casein, which forms a curd in the milk and causes it to curdle for 24 hours. Therefore, this item is spoiled and must be discarded.

In soft, unpasteurized cheeses, listeria monocytogenes can persist even in freezing temperatures and multiply continuously.

Although some people may be immune to these bacteria, pregnant women and the elderly are vulnerable. It can induce miscarriages in pregnant women and severe poisoning in the elderly.

So think twice about reheating leftover mashed potatoes or other potato meals because starchy dishes can cause food poisoning, which isn’t fun. (Read How Long Does Tuna Salad Stay Good)

Tips in making Mashed Potatoes last

Make Mashed Potatoes Last Longer

When throwing a party or a celebration, keep track of how long your mashed potatoes have been exposed to the table. This holds true for any food. Make sure they aren’t left out for longer than two hours.

After 2 hours of cooking, refrigerate cooked potatoes, such as mashed potatoes, to extend their shelf life and prevent the spread of bacteria. Clean, airtight containers or resealable plastic bags are ideal for storing them in cold temperatures.

You could ask, how long mashed potatoes in fridge last? Mashed potatoes or potato dishes can last up to 3 to 5 days in the fridge if appropriately refrigerated. You may also freeze it because mashed potatoes, unlike boiled potatoes, freeze nicely, and you can keep them for up to 12 months.

You may keep frozen mashed potatoes in the refrigerator for 3-4 days after they’ve been thawed. When freezing mashed potatoes, once you thaw them, they should be consumed right away, and leftovers must be discarded if there are bacteria present.

How Do You Know When Mashed Potatoes Are Bad?

There are a few things to know about bad mashed potatoes and telling if they are safe, or you would eat bad mashed potatoes without realizing.

If you have any, smell your leftovers and throw them out right away if they smell or appear nasty. Those spoiling get runny where liquid begins to separate from the solids. They can have an off smell with a white liquid on the surface.

Don’t consume them if you’re not sure if they’re safe to eat. It’s not worth the danger of becoming ill from food poisoning and the harmful toxins that they may contain.

If storing mashed potatoes at room temperature, spoiled food can smell sour, especially if they contain dairy products. It is tempting to do a taste test, yet foods left on the countertop are breeding grounds for bacteria and can lead to terrible poisoning.

Mashed Potato in Refrigerator

To begin, it must be done within the first two hours of cooking. Anything outside of that, and you’ll be transferring microorganisms on our mashed potato into your fridge. Set the fridge’s temperature to the coldest setting to help with speedier cooling to limit bacterial growth.

Place the mashed potato in shallow containers or Ziploc bags with a depth of only 3 inches. Make sure open containers are covered in plastic wrap and wrapped tightly to stop any air getting in or bacteria getting out.

Using the sink cooling method to cool the mashed potatoes faster than the two-hour time limit. Fill a quarter of the sink with icy water and place the small container with the food inside the iced water.

Only move the bottom of the container, not the entire container with its contents! Then, using a ladle or spoon, constantly swirl the mashed potatoes to release heat quicker until the temperature reaches or falls below 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

Finally, transfer everything except the seal area to Ziploc bags. Alternatively, you can cool mashed potatoes in a shallow container with a cooling paddle.

Store mashed potatoes in the refrigerator for only 4 days but monitor them and discard them if you detect the food growing mold in the fridge or the potato smelling before the four days are over.

Freezing Mashed Potatoes

When frozen, mashed potatoes last indefinitely if kept below 0°F; however, the food will lose some quality with time.

You must also follow the two-hour guideline while storing mashed potatoes in the freezer. First, cool them following the methods mentioned above for refrigeration, then place them into a Ziploc bag and flatten them out for storage.

Store leftover mashed potatoes in blocks, then put one on top of the other to save space. They also need to be wrapped sufficiently to prevent freezer burn.

Reheat Mashed Potatoes

Knowing how to keep leftover mashed potatoes is one thing; it is quite another to reheat them properly. So always reheat mashed potatoes from frozen, and make sure it’s done on the stovetop.

Don’t use the microwave to make mashed potatoes that have been frozen for a long time and have lost water, as this causes a dry texture and a gluey texture from overheating or high-temperature heating. (Learn How To Warm Up Pastrami)

To reheat, thaw frozen mashed potatoes overnight (or for six hours) in the refrigerator, depending on how thickly you packed them in the Ziploc bag. Transfer to a stovetop pan that has been heated evenly over medium heat.

To invigorate the dish and prevent drying, add milk, half-and-half, or butter. Start with 1/2 cups for every 4 cups of mashed potatoes and add more until you reach the desired consistency.

To prepare for the oven, combine the liquids and distribute the mashed potatoes in a baking dish. Reheat at 350°F for 20 to 30 minutes, or until potatoes reach an internal temperature of 165°F.

How Long Can Mashed Potatoes Stay Out

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