Mashed potatoes are a staple in many homes and we’re pretty sure this is the case in yours!
Instant mashed potatoes are a convenient and practical choice when we need to host lunch or dinner for family and guests.
Instant mashed potatoes are yummy, easy, and quick to prepare and make an excellent side dish.
And, although these three reasons seem pretty enough to reach for a pack of instant mashed potatoes the next time you’re in the store, there’s another one you’ll love.
If you’re someone who does a lot of meal prepping, whether for get-togethers or you’re packing lunch for your loved ones, instant mashed potatoes are a must on that list. And, even better: you can make it in advance and freeze it for later.
Keep reading to learn all the do’s and don’ts about freezing instant mashed potatoes!
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For maximum safety, you should store the mashed potatoes in the freezer within two hours of cooking them.
This is to avert the spread of bacteria associated with food-borne diseases. Before you put them in the freezer, you need to pack the mashed potatoes properly.
It’s best to choose a freezer-safe container or a freezer bag. If you have a bigger batch, divide the amount into desired portions before freezing them. In this way, the mashed potatoes will thaw quicker and you’ll be thawing only the wanted portion.
Awesome, isn’t it?!
When you’re freezing food, it’s essential to prevent freezer burn. In the case of mashed potatoes, it’s best to reduce the air in the container as much as possible to prevent this. If you’re using a bag, squeeze the surplus air out of it before you close it.
If you’re using a container, make sure you fill the container to the top or put a parchment paper piece over the potatoes before you close the container.
These are two effective ways to freeze instant mashed potatoes depending on the later use:
- Flash freeze them
This option is chosen by cooling the food down fast to speed up the freezing and maintain freshness.
Or, you can pick this method if you don’t want food to stick together and divide portions easily.
To do it, you should place a cup of the mashed potatoes onto baking paper.
Put the paper into the freezer for 10 to 15 minutes or until the amount is firm when you touch it.
Once the portions are ready, transfer them into a proper container or a freezer bag. The portions won’t stick to each other while freezing!
- Whole freeze them
This method is the easiest and fastest way to prepare mashed potatoes for the freezer.
You transfer the whole amount into a bag or a container and remove as much surplus air inside as possible.
However, in this case, the entire amount will freeze together so you won’t be able to take out portions until you defrost them.
The US Department of Health & Human Services notes that frozen mashed potatoes should be consumed within two months. But, it’s best to consume them within a month.
This is because the longer they remain in the freezer, the higher the likelihood of their consistency changing.
You can easily check if the mashed potatoes have gone bad once they’ve thawed. If there’s a sour smell being released, the potatoes aren’t safe for consumption.
Also, if the liquid and solid have divided and don’t combine when you stir them, the mashed potatoes have gone bad.
To thaw the mashed potatoes, it’s best to put them in the fridge overnight. This will ensure they heat up quicker and cook evenly.
However, if you’re in a rush, you can always reheat them right from the freezer using some of the methods offered in the next paragraph!
When you want to reheat frozen instant mashed potatoes, you have plenty of options to choose from.
Below, check out the most common ones:
- In the microwave
Transfer the mashed potatoes into a microwave-safe bowl and cover them with a lid or a paper towel. Microwave them at 50 percent power in one-minute sessions until warm.
- In the oven
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Transfer the mashed potatoes into a suitable pan or a bowl for the oven and cover them with aluminum foil.
Cook the mashed potatoes for up to 20 minutes.
At the 10-minute mark, open the oven and stir the potatoes to ensure equal heating.
Serve while warm and enjoy!
- On the stove
Put the potatoes in a small pot and place them on medium-low heat. Combine the mashed potatoes with cream, milk, or half and half.
Stir all the time to prevent the mashed potatoes from burning on the bottom of the pan.
One of the most effective ways to ensure the instant mashed potatoes freeze well and tasty yummy after thawing is to include a source of fat when preparing them (butter, oil, or milk).
When it comes to mashed potatoes, the instant one isn’t the only freezer-friendly option you have.
Actually, you can freeze any type of mashed potatoes, including mashed potatoes made from scratch at home or ready-made mashed potatoes bought from a restaurant.
What you need to do is follow the same procedure as you would with leftover instant mashed potatoes. Pick the right container or bag and remove surplus air as recommended.
You can keep these leftovers or prepped meals in the freezer for up to two months, although it’s always best to consume frozen mashed potatoes within a month.
This will ensure maximum consistency and optimal taste!
Instant mashed potatoes make a great individual dish and a convenient side dish. And, the good news is that any leftovers can be frozen for up to two months and enjoyed later.
You can freeze them easily, in a freezer-safe bag or a container, and thaw them in the fridge once you want to use them. When it comes to reheating, you can choose between various options, including the microwave, the oven, or the stovetop.
Whichever method for reheating you choose, make sure you prepare the mashed potatoes with a bit of milk or cream to ensure better consistency and freezing.
These methods can be used for other types of mashed potatoes, including store-bought or homemade, not just instant mashed potatoes!