How to transform leftover potatoes into shiny new dinners

Think beyond reheating

Published November 26, 2021 4:30PM (EST)

 (Bobbi Lin / Food52)
(Bobbi Lin / Food52)

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As a single person who loves to cook, there are many a week where I eat the same dish over and over (and over) again. But as much as I love leftovers (especially leftover potatoes), I also love variety. To balance affordability and flavor fatigue, I turn to dishes that transform into entirely new meals with just a few extra ingredients.

I hardly need to tell you, but hearty, humble potatoes are leftover superstars. From mashed to bakedroasted to boiled, potatoes transition into solid foundations for salads, soups, patties, and casseroles. With a little bit of planning, potatoes can fill you up all week long. Here are some of my favorite ways to reuse spuds.

What to do with leftover mashed potatoes

Soft, fluffy mashed potatoes taste great with meatloaf or chicken cutlets, but there always seems to be extra once you've finished the main. If you have leftover buttery, creamy potatoes from your Sunday roast chicken or prime rib, you can reheat them in a saucepan and eat them hot with a large spoon. Good, but not exciting. Or, you can turn them into a few entirely new dishes (including one extra sweet surprise).

Mashed Potato Cakes with Broccoli and Cheese

Transforming mashed potatoes from creamy to crispy makes leftovers feel entirely new, and are a great way to breathe new life into leftovers. These cakes from Merrill Stubbs are stuffed with garlicky broccoli and sharp cheddar, then coated with a crunchy panko crust.

Flaky Baked Samosas

For less-fluffy mashes, consider stuffing leftover mashed potatoes into flaky baked samosas. To make the filling, boil some carrots, then combine with cooked onions, peas, cilantro, mint, garam masala, serrano, and salt. Dollop spoonfuls of spuds into squares of puff pastry, fold, crimp, and bake.

Chocolate-Mashed Potato Cake with Ganache

Before you click away, hear us out. We know it sounds weird. But in this fudgy chocolate cake, leftover mashed potatoes are incorporated into the batter along with the usual suspects (sugar, cake flour, butter, and melted chocolate). The spuds make each slice of cake extra fluffy, just the way we like it.

What to do with leftover baked potatoes

The perfect baked potato has a crispy outside and pillowy inside. Sure, you could pop one in the microwave and call it dinner, but the best bake comes from the oven (and is the definition of low-effort, high reward). Bake a batch and top with sour cream, bacon, and/or butter. If you have leftover baked potatoes (these Homemade Celery Salt-Crusted Baked Potatoes are some of our favorites), turn them into extra creamy, extra cheesy twice-baked potatoes or serve them with a rich gravy. Top 'em with kale or a creamy chive pesto. The world is your oyster . . er, tater.

Baked Potatoes with White Pepper Milk Gravy

To shake up your stock of baked potatoes, make milk gravy (aka béchamel) flavored with white pepper, which imparts an earthy flavor and won't discolor your sauce.

Twice-Baked Potatoes with Kale

No one said you had to twice-bake at the same time. If you're looking for another way to recycle baked potatoes, scoop out the center and mix and mash with sour cream, cheese, sautéed kale, salt, and pepper. Put that delicious, creamy mixture back in those skins and bake at 350° F for 25 minutes.

Twice-Baked Potatoes with Creamy Chive Pesto

If you have a fully baked potato, scoop out the flesh and mix the potato innard with garlic, arugula, scallions, chives, and olive oil. Fill the potato skin with the green mash and bake the spuds for another 20 minutes until the filling has browned on top. Take it one step further and dress the potatoes up with an herbaceous pesto.

What to do with leftover boiled potatoes

Basic, boiled potatoes make a substantial base for potluck salads (or mashes, if you want triple transformations). But it's easy to turn the starch into loads of other meals.

3-Ingredient Potato Leek Soup

With leftover boiled potatoes, you already have a third of Posie Harwood's soup ready. For this simple take on a classic vichyssoise, start by softening leeks in a Dutch oven, then add cooked potatoes and water. Purée in the blender (or with an immersion version), and voilà! Dinner is served.

Indian Club Sandwich

This spicy, vegetarian twist on a club sandwich includes thin slices of boiled potatoes. Layer chutney, potatoes, cucumber, beets, and cheese between two slices of buttered bread for a golden grilled meal.

Southern Potato Salad Recipe

Miracle whip, hot sauce, sweet relish, and hard-boiled eggs give this picnic side dish staple Southern flair. The recipe calls for cooking diced russet potatoes but if you already have some leftover boiled taters from last night's dinner (even if they're baby red or fingerling potatoes), use them here!

By Katie Macdonald

MORE FROM Katie Macdonald

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