How to Boil Potatoes

Knowing how to boil potatoes is an important skill for any cook. Boiled potatoes are a staple in our house.

boiled potatoes

In the summer, we love to eat boiled nugget-sized new potatoes. They are delicious!

Most varieties of potato taste great boiled.

Is peeling necessary?

No it isn't - unless the potatoes have taken on a greenish tinge from being exposed to too much light. The green is actually a toxin that can cause illness in humans. Cut off the green completely, and the rest of the potato is fine to eat.

If the potato is not green, you can choose to peel it or not. If not, just give it a good scrub with a vegetable brush before cooking it.

How will I know if the potatoes are cooked?

Cooking time will vary, depending on the variety of the potatoes, their freshness, and your altitude - so check the potatoes frequently while they cook.

Take out a piece of potato. Poke it with a fork. If it's still hard, it's not done.

If it can easily be pierced with the fork, it might be done. Cut off a bit and taste it. If it tastes starchy and feels wet, it's not done.

Here is how you'll know that you have a perfectly boiled potato:

  • The potato is creamy and smooth.
  • It feels a bit dry on the inside.
  • It "melts in your mouth".

There is also a degree of personal preference when cooking potatoes. I like my boiled potatoes to be quite soft, while others in my family prefer them much firmer. You'll soon learn how long to boil potatoes to reach your desired result.

Check that you have these staples at home

  • potatoes

Get out your equipment

  • Essential

    • a saucepan
    • a vegetable peeler or vegetable brush
    • a cutting board and sharp knife

  • Nice to have but not necessary

    • a strainer (If not, carefully pour off the boiling water, using the lid of the saucepan to prevent the potatoes from falling into the sink. Be careful! That water is hot!)

How to Boil Potatoes

  • Cut the potatoes into quarters and put them into a pot.

  • Fill the pot with enough cold water to completely cover the potatoes.

  • Bring to a boil.

  • Reduce the heat, and boil gently until the potatoes can easily be pierced with a fork.

  • Check for doneness. (See guidelines above.)

  • Drain well and serve immediately, or keep warm until serving time.

I've boiled the potatoes. Now what?

Boiled potatoes are versatile! I usually make more than I think I'll need so that I'll have leftovers. Here are a few ways to eat boiled potatoes:

Now you know how to boil potatoes!

Return from how to boil potatoes to ways to cook potatoes.

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