From piles of peels to the little bit of leftover mash that always winds up in the fridge, potatoes’ potential for a second use is almost as vast as their wide range of cooking options the first time around. The refined Dauphinoise potatoes (aka scalloped potatoes). The rustic mash. The irresistible French fry.
Potatoes are a staple in the vegetable bin for a reason: they’re easy to cook, versatile, delicious and satisfying. So why waste a bite? Instead, use these potato recipes to cook through your pantry and make use of your spud leftovers too.
(Big fan of sweet potatoes? Many of these ideas work well for the sweet tuber as well.)
Shopping for Potatoes
Potato come in many varieties, each with different flavors and textures, from dry and starchy potatoes like russets (great for light, fluffy, mashed potatoes) to firm, waxy potatoes like German fingerlings (super for salads and soups where you need a potato to hold its shape).
When shopping for potatoes, look for firm spuds with no black, mushy or spongy spots. Take a pass on potatoes with a greenish tinge or ones with eyes that have started to sprout.
How to Store Potatoes
Although potatoes are commonly tossed in the fridge, that temp is actually too cool for root veggies, as it turns their starches into sugar, causing a grittier texture, faster browning during cooking, and some studies have found, increased acrylamide levels (a chemical linked to cancer). To reduce your risk and keep potatoes fresh for as long as possible, keep them in a cool place that has little humidity. Got a root cellar? That’s the perfect place to store potatoes. The next best option is a paper bag or cardboard box (keep it open for ventilation), stored in a cool, dark place such as the kitchen cupboard. Check potatoes often and remove any that are soft or sprouted, which can cause others to spoil. Stored properly, potatoes will keep for 3-5 weeks. If you do store raw potatoes in the fridge, soak in water for 15-30 minutes, then drain well, before cooking, to reduce acrylamide formation during cooking.
Recipes for Using Raw Potatoes:
From the classic Thanksgiving mashed potatoes to the iconic French fries alongside a burger, there are countless ways to cook potatoes. Whole cookbooks have been devoted to the subject! Here are just a few ideas to get you started; if you happen to have a big bag of potatoes to cook through, these recipes are great for using a lot of potatoes.
- Mashed potatoes: Everyone has their favorite mashed potato recipe — suggesting a new one can be fighting words in some families — but if you want an easier version, this hands-off recipe bakes the potatoes instead of boiling, which reduces water content. Plus cooking them ahead of time frees up oven space.
- Scalloped potatoes: Make quick work of a few pounds of potatoes with a scalloped potato recipe. Slice them thin, layer them in a casserole dish with cream sauce and bake until crispy and golden brown. Give the classic version the baked potato treatment by adding in cheese, bacon and chopped chives.
- Roasted potatoes: Whether it’s salt-crusted potatoes, baked potatoes, or the sliced presentation of Hasselback potatoes, it doesn’t get any easier than simply roasting your potatoes. Roast twice as many as you need, then use the ideas below to use the extras.
- Hash brown casserole: Also called cheesy funeral potatoes, church potatoes or party potatoes, this casserole is a classic thanks to its ease: most versions combine canned soup and frozen shredded potatoes. Instead, use a food processor to quickly grate those fresh potatoes and make the casserole from scratch!
- Rosti: This hash brown-like Swiss favorite often calls for a few pounds of potatoes, and is great as a side dish or can be a main meal served with a poached egg and/or side salad. Rosti is delicious plain, but onion, bacon, cheese and other mix-ins can add more flavor and make them more filling.
- Tortilla Espanola: A great way to use extra potatoes and extra eggs, tortilla Espanola is a large Spanish omelet made with thinly sliced potatoes and eggs. Use a large pan to make a tortilla for a group — great for brunch — or cut it into small cubes and serve with toothpicks as an appetizer.
Cooked potato recipes:
- Potato salad: No potluck is complete without a bowl of potato salad. Using leftover baked or boiled potatoes is a great way to quickly make a batch. Skip the mayonnaise base and try an Italian-style potato salad using olive oil and green beans.
- Baked potato soup: Enjoy the flavor of baked potatoes twice by using extra baked potatoes to make the soup, then finish with classic toppings: shredded cheddar, bacon crumbles, chives and a dollop of sour cream.
- Curry potatoes: Puréeing cooked potatoes into soup is an easy classic, but you can also use them to make stews, like the Indian potato curry dish dum aloo. Or use cooked potatoes to make Indian fritters like aloo bonda.
- Twice-baked potatoes: A baked potato can also easily turn into a twice-baked potato: Halve chilled baked potatoes; scoop the filling out, leaving skins intact; combine filling with mix-ins like shredded cheese, spices, herbs and diced, cooked vegetables or meat; re-fill potato skins; and bake until filling is warm and cheese is melted. These are great for parties!
- Crispy parmesan potatoes: Boiled potatoes are a bit boring, we admit it. Make them irresistible by making crispy potatoes. This recipe only calls for 2 ingredients, and potatoes is one of them! Did you hear we said irresistible?
- Poutine: Good on you for saving the French fries from last night’s takeout. But yeah, those fries are looking pretty sad. Revive them with the Montreal favorite poutine. The original recipe combines crispy fries with cheese curds topped with gravy, but adventurous home cooks can get very creative with those leftover fries.
- Burritos: Extra roasted, grilled and cooked potatoes are great fillings for burritos, tacos and other similar preparations. Try Mexican crispy potato tacos, or Taquitos Dorados de Papa: fill corn tortillas with smashed potatoes, seal the tortillas shut with toothpicks, and shallow fry tortillas until golden. Served with salsa and cotija cheese, they are a great vegetarian option.
Mashed potato recipes:
- Potato casserole: If you can’t get enough mashed potatoes (who can, really?), turn them into casserole for a second way to enjoy them. There are a lot of approaches, but the basic technique is mixing mashed spuds with cheese, spices and other flavorings, then baking in a casserole dish until golden. Scallions, sour cream, grated cheese, chopped bacon, diced ham and cooked sausage are all great add-ins.
- Duchess potatoes: Give your leftover mashed potatoes an impressive look by adding some egg yolks to the mixture, then piping rounds onto a rimmed baking sheet and baking until golden brown. Use a star tip in your piping bag to add even more flourish to duchess potatoes.
- Potato cups: Use mashed potatoes to make “cups” by pressing them into cups of a greased muffin pan, making a divot in the center of each cup. Fill potato cups with whatever you’d like: a raw egg, cheese, meat-cheese mixture, stuffing, etc. Bake until filling is properly heated or cooked through. Make them mini for a one-bite app.
- Colcannon: The iconic Irish dish colcannon traditionally combines mashed potatoes with cabbage or kale. Some versions also include onions, shallots, leeks, heavy cream or butter to add more luscious flavor. Serve it as a side dish.
- Gnocchi: It might not be the classic Italian method, but using extra mashed spuds to make gnocchi is a good way to clear out your fridge. Use leftover vegetables to make the sauce and turn the meal completely #wastefree.
- Shepherd’s pie: Shepherd’s pie may be a traditional British dish, but think beyond the classic lamb-veggie filling, and it becomes the ultimate use-it-up dish. Toss leftover vegetables and meat into the base, then use those mashed potatoes to top the pie. Don’t have enough to make an entire pie? Use a loaf pan or smaller ramekin instead.
- Mashed potato bread: King Arthur Flour (a bonafide superstar in the world of baking) describes this potato bread recipe as “the most flavorful “white” bread we’ve ever had.” That sounds like a really good way to use leftover mashed potatoes to us. (The recipe also calls for potato cooking water, so make sure to save some!)
Potato peel recipes:
How to Preserve Potatoes:
If you can’t use them right away, there are also a few methods for preserving potatoes.
- Freeze: To freeze potatoes, first cut them to your preferred size (chunks, shredded, sliced), then blanch. Drain well and freeze in a single layer on a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet. Transfer to airtight containers and freeze up to 6 months. You can also freeze mashed potatoes in an airtight container for up to 3 months.
- Dehydrate: Thinly slice potatoes, blanch and dry in a dehydrator or low-oven until crisp, around 12 hours or overnight. Stored in an airtight container in a dark area, dehydrated potatoes can keep up to 1 year.
Recipe: Potato Peel Chips
Sherri Brooks Vinton
Skipped the bagged chips — these DIY ones are delicious and you can flavor them however you want. Try chili powder, curry powder, your favorite rub or seafood seasoning or just keep it simple with a sprinkle of salt and freshly ground black pepper.
3-4 cups potato peels
2 tablespoons neutral oil such as canola, safflower or grapeseed
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1-2 teaspoons spices, such as chili powder, curry powder or cayenne (optional)
- Preheat oven to 400F.
- Dry peels well on paper towels to remove excess moisture. Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet and toss with oil, salt and spices, if using.
- Transfer baking sheet to oven and bake until peels are golden and crispy, about 30 minutes, stirring halfway through roasting. Serve immediately.
Cook’s Note: The texture of the chips depends on how you peel them. If you use a peeler, the skins will be thin and wispy — great on a salad or as a fun garnish. If you want a thicker dip chip, use a mandoline or carefully peel the potatoes with a knife to keep the peels thick and wide.