Can You Peel and Cut Potatoes Ahead of Time?

Yes! But you have to follow these specific steps. 

If you're here, you'll probably be glad to know that yes, you can peel and cut potatoes the day before you plan to serve them — and that it's super easy! All you have to do is submerge the bare potato pieces in water and refrigerate (more on that later).

Whether you're planning an elaborate Thanksgiving menu or just planning ahead for tomorrow's dinner, this quick and easy potato hack will simplify your meal prep in a big way.

Peeled and refrigerated potatoes that aren't soaked will still be safe to eat the next day, but the chemical reaction caused by exposure to oxygen will turn your spuds a weird pinkish/brown color. Not that there's anything necessarily wrong with that, but most people prefer their mashed potatoes white and fluffy.

Here's everything you need to know about prepping potatoes in advance.

When to Prep Potatoes Early — And When to Wait

Raw sliced potatoes background
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While you can prepare peeled potatoes ahead of time, it's important to realize there are some caveats. For instance, this process works exceptionally well for whole or larger cubed potatoes — but not so well for shredded or finely cut potatoes. The larger the potato pieces, the longer they can hang out in water. The smaller the pieces get, the less time they can withstand soaking. If you're working with latkes, hash browns, or any recipe that requires the potatoes to be finely diced, sliced, or shredded, you'll be better off if you do all your prep the same day.

You also should avoid prepping the potatoes ahead of time if you intend to fry them, as hot oil and wet veggies don't mix well. In the same vein, if your recipe requires the finished potatoes to be extra crispy, avoid soaking them at all.

The best use of this easy little hack is mashed potatoes. Since the potatoes will be boiled when it's time to cook them anyway, the outcome of the recipe won't really be affected at all. It also works nicely for dishes where the potatoes get parboiled first or for baked dishes like potato gratin (try soaking whole and slicing when you're ready to assemble). For better results with this shortcut, use larger potato varieties like russets or Yukon Golds.

How to Store Peeled Potatoes

Potatoes in a saucepan
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Storing peeled potatoes overnight is as easy as 1-2-3:

  1. Peel potatoes using a vegetable peeler. It's best to leave them whole, but you can go ahead and cube or dice them if you want — just don't slice them too thin.
  2. Fill a bowl with cool water, submerge the potatoes, then cover with plastic wrap. Store in the refrigerator overnight.
  3. When it's time to start working with the potatoes, drain them well in a colander and get cooking.
Raw potatoes next to peeled potatoes
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Some things to keep in mind:

  • We've said it before, and we'll say it again: Don't try this with thinly sliced, diced, or shredded potatoes. They just won't stand up to an overnight soak, so don't do it.
  • The larger the potato pieces, the longer they'll last in water. If you're prepping with smaller pieces, don't soak for more than 12 hours.
  • This trick is handy, but it'll only work for about 24 hours — so don't prep too far in advance. After too long they'll start to take on water and may lose their structure when you go to cook them.
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