» Boiled Potatoes

How to Boil Potatoes and Mash them the Right Way

How to boil potatoes? Boiling potatoes is probably one of the easiest ways to cook and it is also the first step to prepare a classic meal. You should not underestimate the importance of doing this the right way as it can make or break a recipe you desire to create. Potatoes can be boiled with or without the skin. Both ways have their benefits and disadvantages but at home I tend to boil the potatoes after they are peeled.

According to several studies, the potato skin has minerals and nutrients. You may also notice that in many cooking TV shows, they are cooked and eaten with the skin. That is a matter of personal taste, of course, but with or without skin the flavor is always good and tasty.

The 4 Step Method for Boiling Potatoes

Step 1 - Choosing

Choose about 2 or 3 medium size potatoes per person (that should be enough unless someone is really hungry). The Yukon gold and Russet varieties are the most recommended for boiling in this specific case. 

Rinse each potato under running water and scrub them, gently, with a vegetable brush.

Check for green spots in the skin, if they do have throw them away. 

Also if you find potatoes with sprouts you MUST remove them by cutting them off. Sprouts (see the picture below) can be toxic and once you cut them off, the potato is ready to be cooked.

Russet potato with sprouts


Step 2 - Peeling

Now, to understand how to boil potatoes the way I like to do it, peel them and cut them in small pieces. They tend to cook faster this way.

If you want to peel them in just a few seconds you can use an electric potato peeler.

When peeling them, check for any shade of green color below the skin. 

If you find some with green spots just use another one. Why? Because the green color is the result of a chemical reaction that happens when the potato skin reacts to light. This produces a poisonous substance called solanine, which you definitely do not want to consume.

At this point you probably want to ask: How long before cooking can you peel potatoes?

You can peel and cut them the day before cooking them as long as you put them in a container and cover them entirely with cold water. 

If you do this, it is wise to store them in the refrigerator to prevent spoiling.

Step 3 - Cooking

When adding the potatoes to the pot make sure that the water covers all of them. I like to add a little bit of salt before they begin to boil. Boil them until they are tender. Carefully poke them with a fork to make sure they are completely done. If they get pierced without effort the potatoes are ready.

Many people ask the following: how long to boil potatoes until tender? They are usually ready between 30 to 40 minutes.

Potatoes ready to be boiled

Should you cover the potatoes when boiling?

Do not cover the pot while they are cooking (when boiling) to avoid any water spills, unless you are going to be right next to it and use a pot or deep saucepan.

- No time for boiled potatoes? Use some instant potatoes for your meal.

Step 4 - Preparing

Recipe for Mashed Potatoes

Now that your boiled potatoes are done remove the pot from the heat and drain. 

You can mash them with a potato masher or use a potato ricer. If you want a smoother texture, you can just use both (ricer first and then use the masher). If you decide to use both you will have unbelievable soft creamy mashed potatoes (yeah, they are that good).

Potato masher

Buy a Potato Masher - If you like to make mashed potatoes you will use it quite frequently.

You could just use a fork or another kitchen utensil as well, although the ricer and masher can deliver much better results. Add butter (one tablespoon of butter for each 2 potatoes), if you like, you can also season with a little bit of salt. 

Also, you could use regular butter, natural butter spread or extra virgin olive oil.

When adding your milk of choice (regular, rice or potato milk - among others), you can heat the milk for a couple of minutes to make the potatoes even creamier. Mix all the ingredients until the mashed potatoes have a soft consistency. The more milk and butter you add, the softer they will get. After learning how to boil potatoes the right way you can make a variety of tasty meals. And you can freeze some as well.

Mashed potatoes with scallions


Check out the following recipes:

How to Make Homemade Mashed Potatoes

Cream Cheese Potatoes

Garlic Potatoes

Cauliflower Potatoes

Chive Potatoes

Sour Cream Potatoes

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Potatoes with Sausage

Ground Beef Potatoes

Potato Pancakes

Basic Dumplings

Spaetzle Recipe


Cod Fish Potatoes

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