Love Your Leftovers: Mashed Potatoes 5 Ways

Turn your delicious remains of the day into new dishes from appetizers to soup
Leftover Potato Muffins

Photo: Idaho Potato Commission, Anushree Shetty

Potatoes in any form are ultimate comfort food. Mashed potatoes with gravy certainly top the list as my favorite dish at the Thanksgiving dinner table. If there are any leftover mashed potatoes from your holiday dinner—or any other time—they can easily be used in a range of dishes from potato pancakes specked with bacon and easy appetizers to soup. Check out these recipes, courtesy of the Idaho Potato Commission, and whip up some unexpected options.

Leftover Potato Muffins

Makes 12 | Recipe from the Idaho Potato Commission by Anushree Shetty

Wondering what to do with those leftover mashed potatoes? Turn them into cheesy potato muffins effortlessly. They freeze really well making these muffins perfect for busy weekday mornings, too.

Cooking spray, as needed
2 large eggs
1 cup spinach, finely chopped
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
¼ cup green onions, finely chopped
Salt, as needed
¼ teaspoon black pepper
3½ cups leftover mashed Idaho potatoes
¼ cup mozzarella or sharp cheddar, shredded
Sour cream for topping, optional

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Grease the muffin pan with cooking spray or butter. Set aside.
  2. Beat the eggs till the egg whites and yolks are well combined.
  3. Add the eggs along with chopped spinach, cheddar cheese, green onions, salt and pepper to the mashed potatoes. Mix until well combined.
  4. Scoop the potato-egg mixture into the prepared muffin tins filling the cups a little over 3/4 full. Smooth out the top using a spoon.
  5. Bake 25 to 35 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  6. Remove the muffins from the oven and sprinkle each with a cheese topping of your choice.
  7. Return muffins to oven and continue to bake for 2 minutes, or until the cheese melts.
  8. Remove from the oven and let cool in the pan for 5 to 10 minutes before carefully removing them.
  9. Serve with a dollop of sour cream and finely chopped green onions.

 Notes: Variations

  • I love using spinach, it makes the dish taste almost like a quiche. You can add shredded carrots too.
  • If you don’t have leftover mashed potatoes, you can replace it with 2 medium-sized Idaho potatoes. To make mashed potatoes:
    • Chop the potatoes into cubes and place them in the steel insert of an Instant Pot along with a teaspoon of salt. Add water until the potatoes are completely immersed. Close the lid.
    • Pressure cook them for 5 minutes on high. Do a quick release (i.e move the steam valve from the sealing to venting position).
    • Drain the water. Use the back of your ladle or a potato masher to mash until no chunks remain.

• It is very important that you grease the muffin pans properly otherwise the muffins will stick.
• The muffins take anywhere between 25 to 35 minutes to cook. Keep a close eye around the 25-minute mark. When the sides begin to brown, insert a toothpick in the center. If it comes out clean, it is done!

Potato Pancakes 3 Ways

Photo: Idaho Potato Commission, Coryanne Ettiene

Potato Pancakes 3 Ways

Recipe from the Idaho Potato Commission by Coryanne Ettiene

6 cups chilled leftover mashed potatoes
A) 2/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese + 1/3 cup bacon
B) 2/3 cup of shredded cabbage + 1/3 cup chorizo
C) 2/3 cup pinto beans + green chilies + 1/3 cup cilantro
3 eggs, lightly beaten
6 tablespoons plus ½ cup all-purpose flour for dusting
grape seed oil, for pan-frying

  1. In a large bowl, stir together 2 cups of mashed potatoes, 1 egg lightly beaten and 3 tablespoons flour until combined. Then add your variety (A, B, or C) of ingredients.
  2. Using your hands, roll each portion into a palm-sized ball, and then flatten it into a pancake about a ½-inch-thick.
  3. Repeat this process for each variety (A, B, C) using a separate bowl.
  4. Place the remaining ½ cup of flour in a shallow dish and carefully dredge each pancake in the flour.
  5. Heat 3 to 4 tablespoons vegetable oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Fry the pancakes, in batches, until they’re golden brown and crispy on both sides, 3 to 4 minutes. Add more oil to the pan as needed between batches. (Do not overcrowd the pan and do not flip the pancakes too soon or they won’t develop a crisp crust.) Transfer the pancakes to a paper towel-lined plate and serve immediately.


Leftover Mashed Idaho Potato Curry Puff

Photo: Idaho Potato Commission, Maggie Zhu

Leftover Mashed Idaho Potato Curry Puff

Makes 18 | Recipe from the Idaho Potato Commission by Maggie Zhu

Turn your Thanksgiving leftovers of mashed potatoes into this classic Chinese dim sum dish—really easy!

For the Curry Mix
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
½ teaspoon sugar
½ teaspoon black pepper powder

For the Puff
2 tablespoons peanut oil (or vegetable oil)
1 white onion, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
¼ cup chicken stock (or vegetable stock)
1½ cups leftover mashed potato
1 (17.25-ounce) package frozen puff pastry, thawed in fridge
1 egg

  1. Mix curry powder, cumin powder, turmeric powder, sea salt, sugar and black pepper in a small bowl.
  2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat until warm. Add white onion. Cook and stir until the translucent and the edges are slightly brown, 8 to 15 minutes. Add garlic. Cook another minute until softened.
  3. Add the curry mix. Cook for a minute or so, until fragrant but not burned. Add chicken stock. Cook and bring to a boil.
  4. Place leftover mashed potato in a large bowl and pour in the curry mixture. Mix with a spatula until the liquid is absorbed. Let cool completely.
  5. To make egg wash, beat the egg with 1 tablespoon water in a small bowl.
  6. Unfold puff pastry. Cut the sheet into 9 squares. Place about 2 to 3 tablespoons of the filling in the center of each square, fold diagonally to form a triangle. Press the edges together and press with a fork to seal. Transfer the pieces onto a baking sheet, two fingers apart between each. Place the puff pastries into the fridge to let cook for at least 15 minutes.
  7. Heat oven to 400°F while cooling the puffs.
  8. When the puffs are ready to cook, gently brush a thin layer of egg wash over each one and then place into the oven. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, or until golden brown. Let cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes and then transfer onto a wire rack.
Potato and Vegetable Nuggets

Photo: Idaho Potato Commission, Stacey Doyle

Potato and Vegetable Nuggets

Makes 36 nuggets (6 servings) | Recipe from the Idaho Potato Commission by Stacey Doyle

Potato nuggets are easy to make and totally kid friendly. Great as snacks, appetizers and perfect for tailgating.

4 cups Idaho potatoes, cooked and mashed
4 ounces mild cheddar cheese, shredded
½ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1 cup broccoli, cooked and “riced” (diced fine)
1 cup fine breadcrumbs, divided
salt and pepper, to taste
2 eggs, lightly whisked
canola oil

  1. In a large bowl, combine the mashed potatoes, cheeses, finely diced broccoli, ½ cup of the breadcrumbs, and the salt and pepper.
  2. Quickly give it a taste, adjust seasoning if needed, then add in the lightly whisked eggs and mix until well combined.
  3. Place the remaining ½ cup of the bread crumbs in a shallow dish.
  4. In a heavy-duty skillet, or Dutch oven, heat 2-3 inches of oil over medium-high heat. Using a 1-inch scoop, shape potato mixture into balls and gently roll each one in the breadcrumbs to lightly coat.
  1. Add the potato nugget balls in batches to the oil, cook 2 to 3 minutes on each side until golden brown. Allow to drain on a paper towel-lined dish. Repeat with remaining potato balls. Serve with your favorite dips, such as ketchup, mustard or ranch dressing.

Notes: Other great substitutions for the broccoli are riced cauliflower, finely diced zucchini or yellow squash, and carrots.

Cheddar Potato Soup with Broccoli

Photo: Idaho Potato Commission, Anushree Shetty

Cheddar Potato Soup with Broccoli

Makes 6 servings | Recipe from the Idaho Potato Commission by Anushree Shetty

Made from leftover mashed potatoes, there are good reasons to love this broccoli cheddar soup recipe that you can make in an Instant Pot or on the stovetop.

2 tablespoons olive oil or butter
1 bay leaf, optional
1 cup onions, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 cups broccoli florets
1 cup carrots, julienned or shredded
2½ to 3 cups vegetable broth [see note]
2 cups leftover mashed Idaho® potatoes
2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
½ teaspoon salt or as needed
Ground black pepper as needed
Green onions, as a garnish

In an Instant Pot:

  1. Set the Instant Pot to ‘Sauté’ mode and adjust the setting to ’Normal.’ When the display reads ‘Hot,’ add oil.
  2. Add bay leaves, followed by chopped onions and minced garlic. Sauté until the onions are soft and translucent.
  3. Add broccoli florets and carrots. Mix well.
  4. Add vegetable broth and stir.
  5. Put the lid on, move the vent to ‘Sealing’ and pressure cook on high for 5 minutes. When the cooking cycle is complete, do a quick release (i.e. move the steam valve to ‘Venting’).
  6. Open the lid. Set the Instant Pot to use the ‘Sauté’ function and set it on ‘Less.’
  7. Add mashed potatoes to the soup and mix until well combined.
  8. Add cheese ¼ cup at a time so that it doesn’t become one clumpy mess.
  9. Taste and add salt and pepper if needed.
  10. To garnish, use green onions or any green herbs of your choice.

 On the Stovetop: 

  1. Add oil to a large saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Add bay leaves, followed by chopped onions and minced garlic. Sauté until the onions are soft and translucent.
  3. Add broccoli florets and shredded carrots. Mix well.
  4. Stir in vegetable broth. Continue to cook until the broccoli florets have softened.
  5. Add mashed potatoes and mix until well combined. Reduce the heat to a simmer.
  6. Add cheese ¼ cup at a time so that it doesn’t become one clumpy mess.
  7. Taste and add salt and pepper if needed.
  8. To garnish, use green onions or any green herbs of your choice.

• I used 3 cups of vegetable broth in all. I would recommend starting with 2.5 cups broth and adding more as needed.
• Use store-bought julienned carrots to save time instead of shredding carrots at home.
• This soup can be stored in the refrigerator for 4 to 5 days and up to a month in the freezer.

• This recipe calls for fresh broccoli but you can substitute frozen. Reduce the pressure-cooking time to 2 minutes.
• If you don’t have leftover mashed potatoes, you can replace it with 2 medium-sized Idaho® potatoes. Dice them into cubes and add it along with the shredded carrots and broccoli. They will soften when pressure cooked for 5 minutes. Use the back of your ladle to mush them.
• I have used sharp cheddar cheese in this recipe. Feel free to experiment with others like white cheddar or Parmesan.
• You can purée the soup or leave it chunky based on your preference.


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Mary Subialka is the editor of Real Food and Drinks magazines, covering the flavorful world of food, wine and spirits. She rarely meets a chicken she doesn’t like, and hopes that her school-age son, who used to eat beets and Indian food, will one day again think of real food as more than a means to a treat—and later share this with his younger brother.