Potato wedges, oven roasted, close-up overhead shot

The joy of food lies in savoring every last delicious morsel. The not-so-fun part, however, is tidying up afterwards, doing the dishes and putting away the leftovers. If you end up feeling too tired and leave the food sitting out for close to two hours, then it will need to be tossed. Any longer than that, and you’re essentially saying, “Here, bacteria. Grow!”

This goes for potatoes, too ‒ all varieties. Just as you wouldn’t want to leave chicken out overnight, potatoes should also be stored away properly, or else, bacteria can grow. Unsure where to start? Get your spuds in order by learning how to keep cooked potatoes good overnight with these tips.

How to Refrigerate Potatoes

Potatoes make a great addition to any meal ‒ breakfast, lunch and dinner ‒ since they’re so versatile, carb-tastic and, not to mention, super filling. Whether you have leftovers from the morning’s breakfast hash, roasted potatoes from lunch or the fully loaded baked potato you served for dinner, refrigerating potatoes is easy.

Start by letting the cooked potatoes cool down in room temperature ‒ covering food or storing it in the fridge while still hot can lead to the growth of bacteria. On that note, in no way should baked potatoes sit out overnight. If they did, discard them right away as you don’t want to take any chances.

Once the cooked potatoes have cooled down properly (within an hour is best), store them in an airtight container or plastic bag to keep them fresh in the fridge for three to five days. You can reheat any leftovers the next day by using traditional cooking methods, such as the microwave, oven or even the stove. If you’re reheating baked potatoes, use fresh foil to cover the potatoes.

Storing Leftover Baked Potatoes

Storing leftover baked potatoes comes with some very serious rules: namely, removing the foil after making baked potatoes to prevent the growth of bacteria called Clostridium botulinum. This bacteria, if left untreated, can cause an illness called botulism, which can result in paralysis and even death, among other unpleasant symptoms.

Leaving your baked potatoes wrapped in foil after baking creates the perfect low-oxygen environment that botulinum needs to grow.

So, while it’s safe to bake your potatoes in foil, the best course of action is to remove the foil right away afterwards. Then, follow the same process of storing cooked potatoes in the fridge by first letting them cool down and then storing them in an airtight container or bag. When stored in the fridge, they will last three to five days and 10 to 12 months in the freezer.

Storing Uncooked Potatoes

Uncooked potatoes don’t need the same storage methods as cooked potatoes. In fact, the fridge is actually the last place to store uncooked potatoes because of the fridge’s cool temperatures.

Cold air causes the starch of the potatoes to turn into sugar, which completely transforms the taste and texture of what you might love about potatoes in the first place, therefore leaving them inedible.

Instead, store uncooked potatoes in a paper bag in a cool, dark place. You could even use a potato storage jar, which will lengthen the life span of potatoes by providing an ideal storage environment.