8 Freezer Tricks For Better Potato Dishes
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8 Freezer Tricks For Better Potato Dishes

Oct 21, 2023

Potatoes are a ubiquitous ingredient in many cultures around the world. Their popularity makes sense as they're easy to grow and affordable, while also being nutritious and versatile. One caveat to these starchy tubers is that they can take a long time to cook. Of course, it depends on the recipe, cooking method, and potato variety, but even the most inventive time-saver can't perform miracles. When you're too busy balancing work and life to put the kitchen to use, there are some fun freezer tricks for better potato dishes.

Whether transforming tater-tots into comfort food or putting a twist on traditional toast, you'll find that with the right approach, frozen potato products can be just as enjoyable as the fresh kind. What frozen potatoes lack in freshness, they make up for in speed and ease of use. The preparation is simple, there are many styles available, and cooking takes only a fraction of the time.

If that doesn't get you excited to learn what new tricks you can put up your sleeve, wait until you learn how to use the freezer to manipulate the texture and consistency of potatoes. Here are some clever ways to cook up next-level potato dishes.

There's an ongoing debate over whether tater tots are superior to regular french fries. As far as fried potato foods go, those tiny tots are definitely high-ranking — although, some would argue that they aren't fries at all. History has it that tater tots were actually made from leftover fry scraps. As a result, tater tots have a distinct potato-y consistency that makes them munch-ably delicious.

Aside from being one of America's favorite sauce dippers, tater tots are surprisingly versatile. Whether from your favorite burger joint or the chilly confines of your freezer, they're easily one of the tastiest potato styles. One unique freezer trick is to use frozen tater tots to make mini latkes. Crispy and savory, latkes are potato-based fritters made with onions and seasoning that are typically enjoyed during Hanukkah. Latke actually means "pancake" in Yiddish, and is similarly flat-shaped.

Unlike pancakes, most latke recipes are savory. There are many flavors to choose from nowadays, some of which include artichokes, zucchini, and even eggs. To turn frozen tater tots into latkes, we recommend using a brand that has onions in it. That way, you don't have to add them yourself. Simply smash the tots flat until they resemble mini potato pancakes, and whip out the air-fryer to cook them. You'll know that they're ready when they become golden brown. Sprinkle some salt to taste and dig in.

From a simple side to a casserole, potatoes are endlessly versatile ingredients. Get cozy with a savory bowl of potato soup. It's creamy, affordable, and nutritious; three key qualities that make it a classic comfort food. It's also a great way to use potatoes that have been sitting around. There is a downside though, and that's the cooking time. Thankfully, by using frozen hash browns, you can save time without sacrificing flavor. When you elevate potato soup with frozen hash browns, the comfort level goes from cozy to dreamy.

Potato soup is easy to make and can feed a lot of people. The ingredients include cream or milk, butter, salt and pepper, and, of course, potatoes. When swapping fresh potatoes for frozen hash browns, measure them according to the number of cups that the recipe says to use. Everything else about the recipe can stay the same. Frozen hash browns add a touch of texture and can even be turned into a creamy purée. This freezer trick for elevated potato soup takes no time and will be ready to eat before you have a chance to walk out of the kitchen.

The aroma of freshly toasted bread is one of the best wake-up alarms. What better way to seize the day than with the crispy, charred taste of sourdough bread topped with a savory scramble? Well, we've got the perfect answer: Swapping your usual bread slices with hash brown toast. It's one of those "why didn't I think of that?" ideas that are hidden in plain sight, but after you try this toast upgrade, we're convinced that you'll see the light. Similar to latkes or fritters, hash brown patties are perfectly shaped to hold tasty toppings like mashed avocado, cheese, or simply butter.

They're crispy on the outside with a potato-y consistency that's sure to be a welcome change from traditional toast. We recommend using hash brown patties, which should take no longer than 25 minutes to cook. Like homemade hash browns, you can cook them right in the pan, or bake them in the oven.

That said, the time you'll save using frozen hash browns doesn't quite compensate for the quality of the real thing. Homemade hash browns can be cooked to a more crispier consistency than frozen, which is pre-cooked. It depends on your personal preference and the time you have available. However you hash it out, it's a toast substitute worth trying.

An extra fluffy consistency is a sign of a perfectly baked potato. That said, baking potatoes can be a tricky process. Impatience can lead to undercooking and uneven flavor distribution. The delicious aroma that emits from the oven is nearly impossible to ignore, so we understand that a little impatience is natural. Once it hits your nose, your appetite activates and foodie fantasies flood the mind. From using aluminum foil to poking holes with a fork, there are several methods of achieving the ideal fluffy flesh. In fact, we've got a clever freezer trick to make your baked taters cloud-like.

There's an actual science behind fluffiness. Fluff occurs as starches absorb water, which causes them to rupture and release steam. When steam escapes, it changes the consistency of the flesh. That's why you should always poke holes in potatoes. Like steam, freezing also causes potato starch to expand and rupture. From the freezer to the oven, the process essentially ruptures starch crystals twice, which makes the potato flesh doubly fluffy. To give this freezer trick a try, we suggest leaving your potatoes on-chill for at least an hour. Starch-heavy potato varieties like Idaho and russet, which contain less water, are most suitable for baked potatoes.

With endless varieties of potatoes to try, there's no wonder it's one of the world's most popular foods. Frozen baby potatoes, for example, are bite-sized, delicious, and, unlike larger varieties, take considerably less time to cook. Potato perks aside, they can sometimes be flavorless and often turn mushy when cooked wrong. Convenience may be one of the reasons why you chose frozen over fresh, but with a little patience and preparation, you'll find that these starchy babies are full of potential.

One trick to cooking with frozen baby potatoes is adding them to a flavorful broth or marinade. All you need is a slow cooker and the flavoring agent of your choice. This method infuses the spuds with the concentrated kick of broth, coaxing out the mouthwatering possibilities. It's easy; just add the baby potatoes to the broth or marinade, set the slow cooker to low, and let the magic happen. Slowly cooking the potatoes allows the seasoning blend to distribute evenly. You can use this method for homemade and store-bought broths and marinades.

Your freezer is useful in all sorts of fun ways, it can even level your snack game all the way up. Devoted snackers will love this next trick for making better potato dishes: Freeze your potato chips. There are a couple of reasons why. Firstly, the shelf life of potato chips can leave something to be desired. Most chips can last up to two weeks at room temperature after being opened, so long as they're kept in a sealed container. Whereas, if you mistakenly leave the bag exposed to air, the chips can go stale much more quickly.

This little-known freezer trick is surprisingly simple. Rather than turning chips into popsicles, storing them in the freezer actually extends the expiration date from days to months, and gives them a crispier consistency. The chips must be properly stored in an air-tight container, though. Those who live in more humid and hot places will find this method especially useful. What's even more impressive is that, unlike other foods stored in the freezer, potato chips are virtually moisture-less, which means that they won't become soggy when thawed.

A certified creamy classic, potato salad is a must-have at barbecues, picnics, and large gatherings. Whether you're a purist who prefers it traditional or someone who suspiciously enjoys adding raisins, you can't deny its tastiness. The original recipe consists of mayo, vinegar, salt and black pepper, sugar, thinly sliced celery, chopped onion, and hard-boiled eggs. Like all undeniable classics, it's inspired many variations over the years, some of which include Southern-style, Amish-style, and even Buttermilk Ranch potato salad. Preparing this summertime staple can take a while, though.

Along with pre-cooking the potatoes, you also have to prepare the ingredients that go into the mayo mixture. Of course, whenever time permits, making potato salad from scratch is always the preferred method. For many of us with busy lives, it's more convenient to use frozen potatoes — the homestyle variety in particular. Making the switch is simple, you'll need to boil the potatoes for three to four minutes until partially cooked. The consistency should still be firm so that the potato salad is tender yet still has a bite. For crispier spuds, you can cook them in a skillet with a little oil. There are so many potato salad recipes to try and we recommend experimenting with as many flavors as possible.

This next freezer trick will forever change your sporting event get-togethers. With cheeseburger nachos, the name alone causes hunger pangs to stir. How can you beat the incredible pairing of a cheeseburger and nachos? Believe it or not, frozen fries are the key to accessing munchie heaven. Substitute tortilla chips for fries and prepare to be impressed.

To pull off this crave-able recipe, you'll need to prep the ingredients separately first. Start by preparing the ingredients for your cheeseburger toppings. In the meantime, you can cook the frozen fries, which typically take around 20 minutes. While they bake, season and cook the hamburger meat. Use salt, black pepper, and Worcestershire sauce for a classic American-style taste, but also feel free to use the seasoning blend of your choice. Once ready, make at least two layers of fries, hamburger, and cheese to ensure that everything is evenly distributed.

Add your favorite toppings to make it even more mind-blowingly delicious. Spice lovers can elevate the experience with jalapeños or cayenne pepper. Or, you can skip the spice and try zesty pickles or other pickled veggies too. Don't overthink it, just let your cravings spark your creativity.

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