How To Boil Potatoes

Boiling potatoes is one of the simplest cooking techniques. It is a basic skill that every cook should have in their arsenal. Boiling potatoes is not only easy, but it is also versatile. You can use boiled potatoes to make mashed potatoes, potato salads, soups, and stews. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to boil potatoes.

Step 1: Choose Your Potatoes

To boil potatoes, you’ll need to select the right type of potatoes. Waxy potatoes, such as red potatoes or new potatoes, hold their shape well when boiled. They are perfect for making potato salads and stews. Starchy potatoes, like russets, tend to fall apart when boiled. They make great mashed potatoes.

Step 2: Wash and Peel Your Potatoes

Clean your potatoes thoroughly with running water to remove any dirt or debris. After washing your potatoes, you can choose to peel them or leave the skin on. The skin contains many of the potato’s nutrients, so leaving it on can give you an extra nutritional boost.

Step 3: Cut Your Potatoes

Cut your potatoes into even-sized pieces to ensure that they cook evenly. Try to keep each piece about the same size. Smaller pieces will cook faster, while larger pieces take longer. You can cut your potatoes into cubes, chunks, or slices, depending on your preference.

Step 4: Boil Your Potatoes

Place your potatoes in a pot, add enough water to cover them, and season with salt. Bring the water to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-high and let the potatoes boil for around 15-20 minutes or until a knife easily pierces through the center. The cooking time will vary depending on the size of your potato pieces.

Step 5: Drain and Cool Your Potatoes

Once the potatoes are fully cooked, drain the water from the pot and let your potatoes sit for a few minutes to cool off. You can cool your potatoes in the fridge or at room temperature. Cooling your potatoes gives them a chance to absorb any dressing or seasoning you might want to add.

Step 6: Add Dressing or Seasonings

After your potatoes are done boiling and cooling off, you can add any dressing or seasonings that you want. Some popular options include:

– Butter
– Sour cream
– Salt and pepper
– Chopped herbs, such as parsley, thyme, and rosemary
– Garlic
– Lemon juice


Q: Do I have to peel my potatoes before boiling?
A: No, you do not have to peel your potatoes before boiling. However, if you leave the skin on, make sure to wash them thoroughly to remove any dirt or debris.

Q: Can I boil potatoes with the skin on?
A: Yes, you can boil potatoes with the skin on. The skin contains many of the potato’s nutrients, so leaving it on can give you an extra nutritional boost. Just make sure to wash the potatoes thoroughly before boiling.

Q: How long should I boil potatoes?
A: Potatoes take around 15-20 minutes to boil, depending on the size of your potato pieces. Test for doneness by inserting a knife into the center of a piece. It should slide through easily with no resistance.

Q: Can I boil potatoes ahead of time?
A: Absolutely! Boiled potatoes can be stored in the fridge for up to 3-4 days. You can reheat them in the microwave or on the stovetop when you’re ready to eat.

Q: Can I freeze boiled potatoes?
A: Yes, you can freeze boiled potatoes. Place them in an airtight container or freezer bag and store in the freezer for up to 6 months. The texture may change slightly when thawed, but they will still be safe to eat.

In conclusion, boiling potatoes is an easy and versatile cooking technique that every cook should know how to do. Remember to choose the right type of potatoes, cut them into even-sized pieces, and boil them until they are fully cooked. You can add any dressing or seasonings that you want to your boiled potatoes, such as butter, sour cream, salt, pepper, herbs, garlic, or lemon juice. With a little practice, you’ll be boiling perfect potatoes every time!

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