Should you refrigerate baked potatoes?

Baked potatoes are a delicious and versatile staple that can be enjoyed as a side dish or light meal. They’re easy to prepare – simply rub the potato with oil, prick it with a fork, and bake until tender. But what’s the best way to store any leftovers?

Quick Answer

Yes, you should refrigerate leftover baked potatoes. Properly storing baked potatoes is important for food safety.

Can You Refrigerate Baked Potatoes?

Yes, it’s perfectly safe to refrigerate baked potatoes. In fact, you should refrigerate any leftover baked potatoes within 2 hours of cooking. Storing them properly in the fridge will help prevent bacterial growth.

As a general rule, the USDA recommends refrigerating all leftovers within 2 hours of cooking. After this point, bacteria starts multiplying quickly at room temperature. Refrigeration essentially pauses this growth.

How Long Do Baked Potatoes Last In The Fridge?

In the refrigerator, baked potatoes will usually last 3-5 days when properly stored in an airtight container. Make sure they reach refrigerator temperature (below 40°F) within 2 hours of cooking.

The potatoes will last longer if you remove any toppings first. Things like butter, cheese, sour cream, and bacon don’t have as long of a shelf life. After 3-5 days, it’s best to discard the potatoes as they could develop an off taste or texture.

What’s The Best Way To Store Leftover Baked Potatoes?

Here are some tips for storing leftover baked potatoes:

  • Allow potatoes to cool completely first – don’t refrigerate them while still hot.
  • Wrap each potato individually in aluminum foil or place in an airtight container.
  • Refrigerate within 2 hours of cooking.
  • Use within 3-5 days.
  • Reheat thoroughly to 165°F before eating.

Proper storage helps prevent moisture loss and keeps your potatoes from drying out in the fridge.

Can You Freeze Baked Potatoes?

Freezing cooked potatoes is an option too. To freeze:

  • Allow potatoes to cool completely first.
  • Wrap each potato tightly in plastic wrap and aluminum foil.
  • Place in freezer bags or airtight containers.
  • Freeze for up to 3 months.

When ready to eat, reheat frozen potatoes directly from frozen, either in the oven or microwave.

Note that potatoes are best frozen plain without toppings. The toppings can become soggy when thawed.

Why Refrigerate Baked Potatoes?

Refrigerating leftover baked potatoes is important for a few reasons:

Prevent Foodborne Illness

One of the main concerns with potatoes is a bacteria called Bacillus cereus. It produces toxins that can cause vomiting and diarrhea. The bacteria thrive and produce these toxins when starchy foods like potatoes are left between 40-140°F.

Refrigerating below 40°F prevents toxin production. If you leave baked potatoes out too long at room temperature, the bacteria could multiply to dangerous levels.

Prevent Spoilage

Refrigeration also slows down chemical changes in the potatoes that lead to spoilage. Potatoes will dry out, get slimy, and develop an off taste and texture when stored at room temperature too long.

Retain Moisture

Exposure to air causes baked potatoes to dry out. Wrapping or storing them in an airtight container helps retain moisture and prevents them from drying into tough, shriveled potatoes in the fridge.

Can You Eat a Baked Potato That’s Been Left Out Overnight?

It’s not recommended to eat a baked potato that’s been left out overnight. Again, the 2 hour window after cooking is critical.

Overnight is too long at room temperature and results in an unsafe level of bacterial growth. The bacteria that multiply can lead to food poisoning, even if the potato still smells and looks fine.

If it’s been more than 2 hours since the potatoes were cooked, it’s best to throw them out.

Signs a Baked Potato Has Gone Bad

A spoiled, rotten baked potato usually shows certain signs. Check your potatoes and throw them out if you notice any of the following:

  • Shriveled, wrinkled skin
  • Dry, rubbery flesh
  • Slimy or mushy texture
  • Grey, dark blotches
  • Off smell
  • Visible mold

Any changes in color, texture, or smell means the potato should be discarded. Don’t taste or eat potatoes that show signs of spoilage.

How To Tell If a Baked Potato Is Still Good

A fresh, unspoiled baked potato should have:

  • Firm, smooth skin
  • Moist, fluffy interior
  • No off or sour odor
  • No mold growth

If refrigerated properly within 2 hours of cooking, baked potatoes can still be good for 3-5 days. But they’re best when fresh.


For food safety, it’s important to refrigerate any leftover baked potatoes within 2 hours of cooking. They will last 3-5 days in the fridge before spoiling. Make sure to store them in an airtight container. Freezing is another long-term option. Refrigerating prevents bacterial growth that could lead to foodborne illness. Check potatoes for any signs of spoilage like off-colors, smells, or textures before eating them.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you eat baked potatoes that have been refrigerated?

Yes, baked potatoes stored properly in the refrigerator are still safe to eat. Make sure to reheat them thoroughly until steaming hot all the way through before eating.

How can you keep baked potatoes from turning brown in the fridge?

To prevent oxidation that causes browning, store the potatoes in an airtight container or seal tightly with plastic wrap. You can also rub the potato’s flesh with lemon juice or toss them in water with a little lemon juice or vinegar which helps inhibit browning.

Why do my baked potatoes turn green in the fridge?

A greenish tint on baked potatoes is usually caused by solanine. It’s a natural toxin found in potatoes that increases with exposure to light. Be sure to store the potatoes in a dark refrigerator away from light to prevent this.

Can you reheat baked potatoes in the microwave?

Yes, you can reheat leftover baked potatoes in the microwave. Microwave each potato on high for 1-2 minutes until hot throughout. Check the internal temperature with a food thermometer to ensure they reach 165°F.

How do you make baked potatoes last longer?

To extend their shelf life, store baked potatoes properly in the refrigerator within 2 hours of cooking. Keeping them in an airtight container helps retain moisture. Potatoes also last longer in the freezer – up to 3 months when frozen.

Nutrition Facts

Here is the nutrition information for a medium baked potato (5.3 oz or 148g) according to the USDA:

Nutrient Amount % Daily Value
Calories 161 8%
Total Fat 0.2g 0%
Sodium 17mg 1%
Total Carbs 37g 13%
Dietary Fiber 3.8g 14%
Sugar 3g
Protein 4.3g
Vitamin C 25%
Iron 10%
Potassium 27%

Baked potatoes are high in vitamin C, potassium, and fiber. The majority of their calories come from carbohydrates. They make a nutritious side dish or light meal.

Comparison With Other Cooking Methods

Here’s how the nutrition of a baked potato compares to a potato cooked using other methods, according to data from the USDA:

Cooking Method (1 medium potato) Calories Total Fat Carbs Protein
Baked 161 0.2g 37g 4.3g
Microwaved 162 0.2g 37g 4.3g
Boiled 154 0.1g 35g 3.8g
Roasted 152 0.2g 34g 3.4g

As you can see, the different cooking methods produce potatoes with very similar nutritional profiles. Microwaving, baking, boiling, and roasting don’t significantly alter the calories, fat, carbs, or protein.

Ways to Use Leftover Baked Potatoes

Don’t let leftover baked potatoes go to waste! Here are some delicious ways to use them up:

Breakfast Ideas

  • Make a breakfast bowl – top potatoes with eggs, cheese, bacon or ham
  • Cut into wedges and make potato pancakes or hash browns
  • Prepare a breakfast burrito with potatoes inside

Lunch/Dinner Ideas

  • Chop up potatoes for potato salad
  • Make twice-baked potatoes – scoop out insides and mix with cheese, bacon, etc. Stuff back into skins
  • Prepare loaded mashed potato cakes – mash potatoes and combine with cheese, scallions, etc. then pan fry into cakes
  • Make a shepard’s pie or potato gratin
  • Cut into cubes and roast with olive oil, herbs, and garlic

Soups and Sides

  • Make a loaded baked potato soup
  • Saute chunks in a skillet to make home fries
  • Make a cheesy scalloped potato dish
  • Prepare a potato, bacon, and cheddar quiche

With a little creativity, leftover baked potatoes can be turned into tasty new dishes!

Common Questions about Baked Potatoes

What is the best potato for baking?

Russet potatoes, also sometimes called Idaho potatoes, make the best baked potatoes. They have a fluffy texture and thicker skin that holds up well to baking.

How long do you bake a potato?

Baking times can vary based on the size of the potato. A good guide:

  • Small = 45-60 minutes at 400°F
  • Medium = 60-75 minutes at 400°F
  • Large = 75-90 minutes at 400°F

Use a fork to test if the inside is soft when squeezed. If not, bake for longer.

Should you wrap a baked potato in foil?

Wrapping in foil helps steam the potato which makes it extra soft on the inside. For a crisper skin, bake the potato directly on the oven rack without foil.

What are some healthy baked potato toppings?

Some healthy baked potato topper ideas include:

  • Chili
  • Broccoli
  • Black beans
  • Salsa
  • Greek yogurt
  • Chicken
  • Avocado
  • Veggies like peppers, tomatoes, or spinach
  • Cottage cheese

Can you eat the potato skin?

Yes, baked potato skins are edible and full of fiber and nutrients. Choose potatoes with darker skins for the most antioxidants.


Leftover baked potatoes should always be refrigerated within 2 hours of cooking to prevent bacterial growth. They will keep in the fridge for 3-5 days in an airtight container. Make sure potatoes don’t show any signs of spoilage before eating them. Refrigerating helps retain moisture and extends shelf life. There are also many creative ways to use up leftover baked potatoes in tasty new recipes.

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