The Right And Wrong Way To Reheat Mashed Potatoes In The Microwave

Spoiler alert: every version of mashed potatoes reheats well ... yes, even in the microwave. Reheating and food safety seem to be on every home chef's mind these days. Reheated Rice Syndrome (known to some as Fried Rice Syndrome) is a hot topic for every leftover lover internet-wide, so naturally, we're starting to examine all our favorite dishes' reheatability. Enter: mashed potatoes. A holiday staple and a wintertime hold-over, it seems that every household has a tried-and-true recipe or a secret ingredient to make their mashed potatoes perfect. Heck, this side can even transform into a number of different meals, like spongy homemade bread.

To reheat mashed potatoes properly, you'll need a pad of butter, a cup of milk, a covered microwavable container, and some salt and pepper. But hold up: Before you throw that creamy treat in a microwave-safe bowl, let's talk tips, as folks tend to make some common mistakes when reheating quickly.

First off, it's recommended you only keep your mashed potatoes in the fridge for three to five days (assuming you "fridged it" in an airtight container within two hours of serving the dish at room temperature). Want it to last longer? No problem: It'll keep for up to a year in the freezer. Remember that if you're reheating frozen mashed potatoes, you'll want to thaw them before starting the process.

Avoid grainy textures with some flavor enhancers

The best part of any version of mashed potatoes is that creamy consistency. It's decadent, delicate, and hard to recreate the next day. To ensure you're not left with a mouthful of mush, melt down a pad of butter and warm a cup of milk before you start on the potatoes. No milk? Heat some cream in its place. Resist the urge to use milk and butter straight from the fridge: cold ingredients make for a colder dish, and that's pretty much the opposite of our goal.

Side note: an overzealous, super-hungry person might skip the butter-and-milk step and go directly to the microwave (we get it; that tummy's a' rumblin'), but the addition of these kitchen staples brings some punch back to the dish's flavor and keeps the potatoes from losing too much moisture in the process. If you'd like to get fancy, you can heat up a splash of broth to add back some of that heartiness. 

Heat your mashed potatoes in increments

Get to understand your microwave's voltage prior to heating your potatoes. If you have a microwave with a voltage of 600-800 watts, you'll want to use 45-second increments. For those working with 800+ watts, 30-second sessions are ideal. Make sure to put a lid or cover on your potatoes before they go in. Add small amounts of your melted concoction and thoroughly mix everything in between each heating round. This could take between two and eight rounds, depending on your volume of potatoes and the amount of liquid you've made.

After those taters are nice and warm, add salt and pepper to taste. If your mash needs a bit more pizzazz — may we suggest chives? They're a perfect complement to any mashed potato recipe – chop up some fresh additions to top off your reheated treat!

Microwaves get a bad rap in the leftovers world, but they can be just as effective as your stovetop or oven. Though it's easy to make mistakes when reheating mashed potatoes, a little attention to detail goes a long way in making these cold-weather comforts just as delicious as the day before.