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How To Tell If Potatoes Are Done Boiling? #1 Best Answer

The humble baked potato can serve as the star in many delicious dishes. You can soften them up to create creamy mashed potatoes, add them to a salad, or even serve them as is.

Boiling a potato is easy enough, but you can mess it up if you don’t know how to check for doneness. Use the tips in this article so you can accurately assess the doneness of your boiled potatoes. You should also stick around if you want to learn more about the different types of potatoes that suit specific preparations.

How to Tell if Potatoes Are Done Boiling?

Potatoes are properly boiled if you are met with little resistance when you stick a knife or skewer into them. Aim for the center of the potato since that’s the part that takes the longest to cook. Recommended boiling times differ based on the size of the potato. Small potatoes are often done boiling after 10 minutes while large potatoes may need double the amount of cooking time.

How To Tell If Potatoes Are Done Boiling?
How To Tell If Potatoes Are Done Boiling?

How Can You Tell if You Have Properly Boiled Potatoes?

A perfectly boiled potato is a genuine treat.

Boiled potatoes are blank canvases in terms of flavor. You can pair them with butter to create a rich side dish or use strong spices to create an interesting combination.

When a boiled potato is cooked just right, it will be tender. It offers just enough exterior texture to contrast its fluffy contents.

So, how can you check if your potatoes have been boiled properly? The preferred method of testing the potato’s doneness involves using some kind of sharp object.

Grab a small knife or skewer and stick that into the boiled potato. When you do, make sure you aim for the center of the potato since that requires the most cooking.

You can tell right away that a boiled potato is ready if the knife or skewer you inserted meets little resistance. At that point, the boiled potato should be good enough to eat although you can still prepare it further if you so choose.

Boiled potatoes are done when you are met with little resistance when they are poked with a skewer or a knife.
Boiled potatoes are done when you are met with little resistance when they are poked with a skewer or a knife.

How Long Do You Need to Boil Potatoes?

There is one other way to tell if your potatoes are done boiling. That involves following recommended cooking times.

It’s important to stress here that boiling times for potatoes are influenced by different factors. Those factors include the type of potato, whether it was cut before boiling, and its size.

Let’s focus mainly on size here.

Small potatoes boil relatively quickly. The entire process of boiling small spuds may take right around 10 minutes.

Large potatoes are going to need more time. You should let them boil for about 20 minutes at least.

What Potatoes Are Best for Boiling?

Technically, you can boil just about any type of potato and it will turn out fine. However, certain types of boiled potatoes are better suited for specific applications.

Highlighted below are specific uses for boiled potatoes and the type of spuds that work best for them.

Boiled potatoes are blank canvases in terms of flavor, and can be used in a variety of recipes.
Boiled potatoes are blank canvases in terms of flavor, and can be used in a variety of recipes.

Best Boiled Potatoes for Mashed Potatoes

Do you want to make some mashed potatoes after boiling your taters? If so, Taste of Home suggests using Russet potatoes.

Russet potatoes are great for mashing because they develop a soft texture after they are boiled. They also feature a slightly mealy texture that works well for this application.

Best Boiled Potatoes for Serving Solo

Boiled potatoes can also taste great even if you just serve them as is. Or at least they can taste great if you picked the right potatoes.

In this instance, you want a potato with a good amount of starch but it should also feature relatively high moisture content. Yukon Gold potatoes are the ones you’re looking for.

Once they’re done boiling, simply cool them down before serving. Add a little salt and butter on top so they become more flavorful.

Best Boiled Potatoes for Salads

Potato salad is a popular picnic or barbeque dish. Good potato salad can provide some nice contrast to fatty meats and other rich delicacies.

To ensure that your potato salad is a hit, go ahead and use some of those red potatoes. Red potatoes make a lot of sense for salads because they are small and retain their shape well.

You don’t even have to spend a lot of time slicing red potatoes. Simply halve them and toss them in your salad.

Those red potatoes will hold dressing well and they will also add some body to your dish.

Red potatoes are great for salads because they are smaller and holds dressings well.
Red potatoes are great for salads because they are smaller and holds dressings well.

Best Boiled Potatoes for Stews

Lastly, boiled potatoes are also delicious in stews. Potatoes can soak up all the flavors in your stew and almost act like additional cuts of meat.

Since stews take a long time to cook, you will need potatoes that don’t fall apart. Pick up some Yellow Finn potatoes at the store because they are perfect for your stew.

How Do You Boil Potatoes?

The process of boiling potatoes is fairly straightforward.

Start by scrubbing the skins of the potatoes so they don’t end up gritty. After that, throw them into a pot and submerge them in water.

Turn on your stove and let the water reach a full boil. You can also sprinkle some salt onto the potatoes at this point.

Now, you just have to wait until the potatoes are done. Drain the water after the potatoes have been boiled completely and let them cool down before handling.

There is no need to remove skin prior to boiling potatoes, as long as you scrub them properly beforehand.
There is no need to remove skin prior to boiling potatoes, as long as you scrub them properly beforehand.

Conclusion to How To Tell If Potatoes Are Done Boiling?

The secret to getting perfectly boiled potatoes consistently involves a simple test that can be performed with a knife or skewer. Rely on that test if you want to make sure that your boiled potatoes always turn out nicely.

Frequently Asked Questions about How to Tell if Potatoes Are Done Boiling

Can You Boil Potatoes in a Microwave?

Boiling potatoes in a microwave is possible, but you will need a microwave-safe bowl and some plastic wrap. Put the potatoes in the bowl, wrap them with plastic, and poke holes into the plastic so the steam can escape. Set your microwave to high for five minutes to completely boil the potatoes.

Do You Need to Peel Potatoes before Boiling Them?

Peeling potatoes before boiling is unnecessary as long as you clean the skin. Some cooks even recommend leaving the skin on because they offer plenty of nutrients.

Author Bio

Daniel Iseli (Head Chef)

Hi, my name is Daniel and I am passionate about cooking. I have been cooking for the past 20 years and am happy to share my best recipes and cooking-related knowledge with you.