How to Boil Potatoes Perfectly Every Time

Boiling potatoes is a basic cooking skill that opens up a world of culinary possibilities. Whether it’s for salads, soups, casseroles, or other dishes, knowing how long to boil potatoes is crucial to achieve the perfect texture and flavor.

The Key to Perfectly Boiled Potatoes

Perfectly boiled potatoes should hold their shape after cooking, with a smooth texture and easily removable skin. The good news is that achieving this doesn’t have to be complicated or time-consuming.

Boiling Potatoes on Stovetop or Microwave

Want to make boiled potatoes faster? You can have them ready in as little as 12 minutes on the stovetop or 6-8 minutes in the microwave. It’s all about the size of your potatoes and your preferred cooking method.

How to Boil Potatoes

To boil potatoes, start by gently scrubbing them under running water to remove any dirt. Then, place the potatoes in a medium-to-large pot and cover them with about an inch of cold water. If you’d like, you can add some optional salt for extra flavor.

Next, bring the water to a boil over high heat and let the potatoes cook for 12-30 minutes, depending on their size. Once they’re done, remove them from the pot and let them cool on a plate for at least 5-10 minutes before using.

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Types of Potatoes for Boiling

Not all potatoes are created equal when it comes to boiling. Different types of potatoes are better suited for specific dishes. Here are some popular options:

  • Baking Potatoes: Russets, Idahos, Purple potatoes, Yams, and Sweet Potatoes are perfect for mashed potatoes due to their floury texture.
  • All-purpose Potatoes: Yukon Gold and Red Gold are medium-starch potatoes that hold their shape well, making them suitable for potato salads, soups, casseroles, and more.
  • Waxy Potatoes: Round White, Round Red (Red Bliss), and Fingerling potatoes are low-starch and retain their shape after boiling. They’re great for potato salads, soups, casseroles, and other dishes.

To Peel or Not to Peel?

Contrary to popular belief, it’s best to boil potatoes with the skin on. This helps them absorb less water, preserving their starch. If you prefer not to eat the skins, you can peel the potatoes after boiling. Just make sure to let them cool down before peeling.

Boiling Whole Potatoes

If you’re boiling whole potatoes, cooking time will vary depending on their size. As a general rule, the bigger the potato, the longer it will take to cook. Follow the table below for approximate boiling times:

Potato Type Potato Size Boil Potatoes Time*
Baby potatoes 1 inch (2.5 cm) 12 minutes
Small potatoes 2 inches (5 cm) 15 minutes
Medium potatoes 3 inches (7.6 cm) 20 minutes
Large potatoes 4 inches (10 cm) 25 minutes
Extra-large potatoes 6 inches (15 cm) 30 minutes

*Note: Times listed reflect once the water has started to boil.

Ways to Use Boiled Potatoes

Boiled potatoes are incredibly versatile. You can enjoy them whole with butter and fresh herbs, or use them to make mashed potatoes, potato salad, potato casserole, mashed potato balls, or potato pancakes. The possibilities are endless!

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Additional Tips for Perfectly Boiled Potatoes

Here are a few extra tips to help you achieve perfection with your boiled potatoes:

  • Use high-quality potatoes that are suited for boiling.
  • Cut the potatoes into evenly sized pieces for even cooking.
  • Start with cold water to ensure even cooking throughout.
  • Don’t overcook the potatoes, as they can become mushy.
  • Test for doneness by piercing them with a fork. They should be tender but not mushy.

Best Potatoes for Mashed Potatoes

If you’re planning to make mashed potatoes, opt for starchy potatoes like Russet or Yukon Gold. They have a high starch content that makes them fluffy and easy to mash. Additionally, their mild flavor allows other ingredients to shine through.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Do you cover potatoes when boiling? In most cases, it’s best to cover potatoes when boiling to speed up the cooking process and prevent them from drying out.
  • Are boiled potatoes healthy? Yes, boiled potatoes are a healthy source of carbs, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Boiling them retains more nutrients compared to frying.
  • Do you add potatoes to cold water to boil? Yes, starting with cold water ensures even cooking.
  • Is it better to boil potatoes whole or cut them? Whole potatoes hold their shape better, while cutting them before boiling helps them cook more quickly and evenly.
  • Can you boil potatoes too long? Yes, overcooked potatoes become mushy and lose their flavor.
  • How long does it take to boil potatoes for potato salad? Boil small to medium-sized potatoes for 15-20 minutes, then rinse with cold water to cool them down.
  • How long does it take to boil sweet potatoes? Boil sweet potatoes for about 20-30 minutes until they are fork-tender.
  • How long does it take to boil red potatoes? Boil red potatoes for 15-20 minutes until they are tender when pierced with a fork.
  • How long does it take to boil potatoes before frying? Boil potatoes for 15-20 minutes before frying to ensure they are cooked through.
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Now that you have all the tips and tricks, go ahead and create delicious dishes with perfectly boiled potatoes. For more culinary inspiration, visit Family Cuisine!

Recipe Tools: Medium pot, Kitchen timer, Paring knife

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