I saw your post about DIY baked potato bar. After you cook the potato the night before do you put it in the fridge or leave it out wrapped in foil?

Mike Zoller


Susan W. December 11, 2014
I would refrigerate the potato overnight. I would only use the foil if you are lucky enough to have an oven or toaster oven at work to reheat the potato. If you are going to use a microwave, there is no need for the foil.
Greenstuff December 11, 2014
Baked potatoes left overnight at room temperature in foil can be a danger, so no, be sure to refrigerate them. Here' a little info from the Journal of Infectious Diseases:


It seems you can get food poisoning from just about anything these days. Even a simple baked potato. Though not a common source, potatoes can harbor Clostridium botulinum, the bacterium whose toxin causes dreaded botulism. The illness causes skeletal and respiratory paralysis and if not treated early, is fatal.

Though rare, most foodborne botulism in the U.S. is from improper home canning. But according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, potatoes baked in aluminum foil and left at room temperature can also cause botulism. Here's why.

As a common soil-dwelling organism, C. botulinum can easily contaminate potatoes or any other crop that comes in direct contact with soil. Thorough cooking usually kills the organism's spores, the source of the deadly toxin. But a foil-wrapped potato holds in moisture, sometimes preventing its surface from reaching a high enough temperature to kill spores. Paradoxically, the heat kills off competing bacteria, making it easier for C. botulinum to grow. Moreover, at room temperature, foil-wrapped potatoes provide the oxygen-free environment needed for toxins to form.

Advice? If you bake potatoes in foil, do not leave them out for any significant period of time, even unwrapped. As with any food, eat it soon after cooking or refrigerate it promptly.
Susan W. December 11, 2014
In the article, the potatoes are not baked in foil. That is where the rare possibility of botulinum growing could happen according to them. The foil in the article is to be used after the potato is baked and cooled. It's there for reheating the potato in a toaster oven.
Greenstuff December 11, 2014
Thanks, Susan W, I didn't know what article Mike Zoller was talking about. I see it's this one, https://food52.com/blog/11581-a-diy-baked-potato-bar-at-your-desk#xEfleg:IM0 Looks delicious.

I'd still refrigerate the potato(es) overnight, especially if I were serving them to others. Botulism poisoning is incredibly rare; but it's just that word "fatal."
Susan W. December 11, 2014
I agree. I never bake potatoes ahead of time, but if I did, I would refrigerate them.
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