Potato soup is a favorite dish for many—it’s comforting and sturdy as well as delicious. But how long does potato soup last in the fridge? Is there any way to increase its shelf life?
Potato soup lasts for three to four days in the fridge. However, you can extend its shelf life to four to six months by storing it in an airtight container in the freezer. If you want your potato soup to store well, store it in an airtight container and use cured meats such as bacon or ham.
In this article, I’ll explain how long potato soup lasts in the fridge and why. I’ll cover how ingredients affect spoilage time and whether you should store it in the freezer instead. Lastly, I’ll go over how to store it properly and how to tell if it’s gone bad.
How Long Does Potato Soup Last?
Potato soups last for two to three hours on the counter, three to four days in the fridge, and four to six months in the freezer. The only difference between store-bought soup and homemade soup is that store-bought varieties can last for four to five hours on the counter instead.
(Source: US Food and Drug Administration)
Store-bought soups contain preservatives that slightly increase their shelf-life after cooking, but they matter much less once you’re storing your soup. The ingredients used in your soup can also affect how fast it spoils.
Why Potato Soup’s Ingredients Matter for Storage
It’s not only about where you got it from—what you put in your soup affects how fast it spoils.
Your soup’s ingredients matter for two reasons. The first is that cured meats like bacon and ham are resistant to spoilage and can help keep your soup good for longer. The second is that some ingredients, such as potatoes, break down quicker than others and create unappealing textures.
Cured meats like bacon and ham are prepared using salts and other preservatives. When you use them in your soups, these substances mix with your soup and can help it resist spoiling early. While some people don’t like preservatives in their food, using cured meats can help give you some peace of mind.
As for ingredients breaking down, this is part of the cooling process. Little frost or ice crystals can form when you chill or freeze your food. These crystals break down the molecular structure of your food, causing softer ingredients to become mushy.
This is especially true when you put your soup—which contains lots of moisture—in the freezer.
Should You Store Your Potato Soup in the Freezer?
You may be wondering, should you store your potato soup in the freezer? Will it keep it from spoiling prematurely? Is it worth the extra hassle?
You should store your potato soup in the freezer if you want to keep it for longer than a few days. When stored properly in an airtight container, using your freezer can increase your soup’s shelf life to four to six months.
Freezing your soup keeps it at a more consistent temperature than keeping it in the fridge. The colder temperatures keep any bacterial growth or other organisms in your food dormant. All in all, it’s a more reliable way to store your soup.
How Do You Store Your Potato Soup Properly?
What counts as “proper” storage when it comes to potato soup?
You can store your potato soup properly by letting it cool down to room temperature, spooning it into a bag or flexible airtight plastic container, and then squeezing all the air out. This prevents your soup from separating due to the heat and prevents freezer burn.
You don’t have to cool your food before putting it in the fridge to be safe. (Source: Washington State Department of Health) However, not doing so causes condensation. This extra moisture can separate your soup, causing it to form layers.
Unless you don’t think you’ll come back to your cooling food within two hours, you should let it cool before storing it.
However, leaving air in your bag or container with soup is a well-proven cause of freezer burn. Freezer burn will damage your ingredients’ texture and leave them with a musty, unpleasant taste. Even if you’re putting it in the fridge, it can cause smells to leech into your food, so if at all possible, try to avoid leaving air in your soup’s container.
Whether you’re putting your soup in the fridge or the freezer, it’s the same process. Let cool, spoon it into a bag or container, and squeeze out the air. It’s hard to mess up.
How To Tell If Your Potato Soup Has Gone Bad
But you may be wondering: what if you mess up? How do you tell if your potato soup has gone bad or spoiled?
If your potato soup develops mold, smells or tastes bad, or is discolored, it’s gone bad and you should throw it out. There’s no tried-and-true test for spoiled food, so being observant is your best chance at avoiding food poisoning.
Mold can look like fuzzy growths, or it could just be a black, blue, or green film in your food. An unpleasant smell and taste will likely accompany it, which can’t be overcome, unlike in cheese. Keep an eye out for anything in your delicious potato soup that might make you sick.
All in all, fresh potato soup lasts three to four days in the fridge and four to six months in the freezer. You can store your soup by letting it cool, spooning it into a bag, and then squeezing out all the air.