How to Put Leftover Mashed Potatoes to Great Use

Having too much leftover mashed potatoes is a common occurrence. Luckily, turning them into a new dish can be a snap! Here we’ll share our favorite way to make baked potato soup, mashed potato waffles, and a potato pancake from leftover mashed potatoes.

  • By Jess Dang
  • November 16, 2021

We don’t know about you, but when we make mashed potatoes, we tend to go overboard. What’s not to love about pillowy mounds of salty, creamy potato soaking up the juices of whatever meats, roasted vegetables, and sauces it’s served with? 

But sometimes, plain ol’ leftover mashed potatoes can get boring. Somewhere between the second and fourth serving of mashed potatoes, the magic is just … gone. 

And let’s be honest: We’re most likely to have tons of leftover mashed potatoes because we were cooking for a crowd, such as at Thanksgiving or Christmas, so the idea of more cooking to transform those mashed potatoes into an entirely new dish is not super appealing. Pierogies, gnocchi, and potato bread may sound delicious, but who has the energy?!

If this is where you are right now, we’ve got you covered. We’ve rounded up the absolute easiest ways to turn leftover mashed potatoes into something new and fun. Low time, low effort, high reward. 

Ready? Let’s go!

1. Mashed Potato Pancakes

Making a potato pancake from mashed potatoes may be the most popular way to use leftover mashed potatoes. It’s also extremely easy! For each cup of mashed potato you have, mix in approximately one egg and two tablespoons of flour. Add salt and pepper, along with any other seasonings you prefer, such as:

  • Garlic 
  • Diced shallot
  • Diced onion (or onion powder)
  • Chives
  • Green onions
  • Chopped sun-dried tomatoes
  • Cheese

Heat a skillet over medium-high heat, then spread some cooking oil on the surface and pour some of your potato pancake batter onto the skillet. Fry until golden brown before flipping. Make sure they’re cooked through before removing from the heat!

Serve these mashed potato pancakes with your favorite condiment, such as sour cream, applesauce, ketchup, or Sriracha.

2. Baked Potato Soup

Making baked potato soup from leftover mashed potatoes saves a few steps, making this one of the easiest and most satisfying ways to use leftover mashed potatoes. Start by finely chopping onion, then sauté it in butter in a large pot until it starts to brown. Add the mashed potatoes with a little bit of stock, and break up the chunks of potato as the mixture heats (a whisk may be useful here), then add more stock. You’ll use about one cup of stock per one cup of leftover mashed potatoes in total.

As the soup simmers, it’ll start to thicken thanks to the potato. Keep it simmering until it’s thick to your liking, then pour in some milk or cream and take it off the heat. Serve the soup with your favorite toppings, such as:

  • Shredded cheddar
  • Chives
  • Green onions
  • Bacon bits
  • Parsley
  • Croutons
  • Sour cream

Variations: Feel free to add chopped leftover turkey to your soup along with any vegetables you like. Hard raw veggies (such as broccoli, zucchini, or sweet potato) can be added along with the mashed potatoes, and leftover cooked veggies, greens (such as spinach, kale, or chard), and cooked turkey can be added toward the end of cooking, so they just warm through.

3. Mashed Potato Waffles Sandwich 

Transform soft, texture-less mashed potatoes into crispy-crunchy mashed potato waffles that can be used to form a mind-blowing sandwich with the help of a common kitchen tool — the waffle maker, of course! Mashed potato waffle sandwiches work great with a variety of fillings, but we recommend using a regular waffle maker, not a Belgian waffle maker. Belgian waffle makers produce thicker waffles, so stacking two together can be quite a mouthful!

Here’s how to make these delicious treats: Start by preheating your waffle maker and spraying it generously with cooking spray, or brushing thoroughly with cooking oil on both sides. The recipe for mashed potato waffles starts out a lot like the recipe for mashed potato pancakes, but with slightly different ratios. Mix cold leftover mashed potatoes with eggs and flour at a ratio of approximately 1 egg and ¼ cup flour per cup of mashed potatoes. For particularly wet mashed potatoes, you may need more flour. Add any additional flavors you like; we recommend garlic powder and herbs. 

Add about ¼ to ½ cup of the mixture to your waffle maker in an even layer, then press down firmly with the top iron. Don’t peek until the timer dings! Cook until the outsides of your mashed potato waffles are golden brown and the egg is cooked through. 

Now is when the magic happens! Layer on cheese, deli turkey, and lettuce, and finish with a second waffle on top. We’re also fond of the BLT version of this meal, which can be made easily with leftover strips of cooked bacon and a ripe tomato. If you prefer not to make a sandwich (or only have a Belgian waffle maker), mashed potato waffles make a great base for crispy baked chicken or leftover fried chicken as a fun take on chicken and waffles … just skip the syrup for this version!

If these easy ways to use leftover mashed potatoes are useful to you, stay tuned for more infographics and how-to articles by signing up for our weekly email below. Or sign up for a free 14-day trial of our meal plan service for a variety of other delicious, fresh, and healthy dinner recipes!


Our Podcast: Strategies to become a smarter cook


Try our award winning meal plan service for free

Share the love!

Join our community

Enjoy free tips in your inbox

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

How can we help you in the kitchen?

Join our community

Enjoy free tips in your inbox

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Sign up for the Cook Smarts Newsletter

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.


Privacy Policy: We hate SPAM & promise to keep your email address safe.

Skip to content