Freezing Potatoes: Frugal Frozen French Fries and Hash Browns

by Reader Contributors

Frugal Ways to Freeze Potatoes photo

Don’t let those potatoes go to waste. Use these tips from our frugal readers for freezing potatoes and make your own frozen french fries and hash browns so you can stop paying for the pricey premade frozen potatoes.

Dear Dollar Stretcher,
I grow potatoes in my garden. Does anyone have instructions on how to freeze them as homemade hash browns, french fries, etc.? We eat on the go quite frequently and these foods would be handy to have in the freezer without having the expense associated with convenience foods.

Plus, I think it would be a good way to use up our excess potatoes. I hate for them to go bad when we have an abundance.
Cathy B.

Freezing Homemade Hash Browns

You should grate the potatoes in a food processor. Then rinse for several minutes with massive amounts of cold water to wash off the starch that could oxidize and give that ugly brownish-black dead look. Then spread the grated potatoes about 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick on a waxed-paper lined cookie or cake roll pan.

I like to add a lot of melted butter. You can also mix in chopped onion, garlic, bacon bits, or any other seasonings you like.

I found it very helpful to put “crease lines” in the tray of potatoes before freezing, marking off the individual patties in whatever size you want. After they’re frozen, you can just snap them apart — like a perforated line. After freezing on the tray, you can break or cut them into individual servings, stack with waxed paper between them, and store compactly.

When you take out the number you want to fix for a meal, just put them in the frying pan. Be sure to leave them alone until they are nicely browned on the bottom before you flip them over. Some beaten eggs mixed in before freezing can help them hold their shape.

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Freezing Partially Cooked Potatoes

Make and partially cook fries, homefries, and whatever other style first. Then freeze in portions (big or small – size doesn’t matter). The real “trick” to freezing potatoes is cooking or partially cooking them first. Raw or new potatoes just don’t freeze well. I think it has something to do with their water content – they turn mushy!

Though it takes a little time to cook before freezing, you make up the difference on the other end, and, in my experience, don’t loose any flavor. Certainly better and less expansive than commercial products.

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Freezing Homemade Hash Browns and French Fries

The secret to good frozen, homemade hash browns is cooking it all in advance. Boil the potatoes until they’re cooked, shred them with your cheese grater, and then put them into individual freezer bags (the kind that locks shut). Do this neatly — don’t just clump a whole bunch in each bag or you’ll end up with a ball. Shut them almost all the way, then suck the rest of the air out of the bag and seal. This keeps air out and really stretches the freezing time for you.

Set aside a whole day to do the preparation, or a day a week, or some time during a favorite television show, to do the prep work en masse. This time invested will pay off big time for you later.

I have not done the french fries, but I would do them the same way. Wash all the potatoes, cut into thick strips, take a food storage bag and pour in 1/2 cup olive oil, 1-tsp. salt, and 1/2 tsp. pepper. You can add more or less salt/pepper depending on your taste. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. After you cut the potatoes into strips, put them in the bag, hold the top shut, and roll the potatoes over and over in the bag, making sure they are thoroughly coated. Empty them onto a baking pan, bake for an hour, or until they’re a nice brown. Take out; let cool.

Fill bags, suck out air, and freeze. Shouldn’t take more than 20 minutes for them to re-warm when it’s time!

Freezing Mashed Potatoes

If you love real mashed potatoes, those flakes just don’t cut it, but it takes time to make the real thing. I’ve found that I can make a big batch at once and freeze portions that are perfect for my wife and me. I take the frozen potatoes and pop them in the microwave. They taste like I just made them!

Handy Breakfast Potatoes

I cook my potatoes whole in my double-deck vegetable steamer. When done, I cube them and put them in large zipper bags in one layer. As I am filling the bags, I stack them all on a cookie sheet. Then I put them in the freezer. When frozen, I remove the cookie sheet.

This way my potatoes are loose and easy to put into a pan or, as I prefer, an oblong glass dish to make oven potatoes for breakfast or dinner. Seasonings are added when they go in the oven. My potatoes taste just fine and I do this all the time.
Ann in California

No More Potato Waste

If I have potatoes that I am afraid may go bad, I bake them in the oven in foil and then throw them in the freezer. When I want a baked potato, I unwrap it and throw it in the microwave. It has that great oven-baked potato taste, and all my potatoes are used before they begin to sprout. This is also a good way to use a large bag (10 pounds or more) economically when you either live alone or have a small family.
Janet M.

Twice-Baked Potatoes and Fries

A few months ago, my husband and I found that we had too many potatoes for just the two of us. Knowing that they would be going bad if we didn’t find a way to do something with them, I researched several ways to prepare them and freeze them.

We picked through and found the best baking potatoes and baked them. We then made them into twice-baked potatoes and wrapped them individually for easy heating in the microwave. Use your favorite recipe, but make them extra wet as they tend to dry out some while frozen. They are great, and for unexpected company, they are the best.

I also made a large batch of French fries. I cooked them until done but not brown. Then, I drained them and placed them into a resealable bag in the freezer. When we were ready to eat them, we deep-fried them for the second time until brown, but we didn’t thaw
them first. They were delicious!

With the remaining surplus, I made garlic mashed potatoes and placed them in freezer containers that would make two servings. When reheated in the microwave, they’ll make another quick and easy meal.
Caye H.

Reviewed August 2022

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