How to Boil Potatoes Perfectly Every Time
There are so many different ways that we can enjoy potatoes; from delicious roast potatoes to creamy mash potato. However, most of these dishes begin with boiling potatoes. Boiling a potato is not a complicated art. However, it is a good idea to perfect your approach. While it is simple; it’s not just a case of throwing potatoes into a pan of hot water. A few careful tips and tricks can go a long way to create luxurious, tasty potatoes, no matter how you’re intending to serve them in the end.
As mentioned, it’s not like boiling potatoes is a difficult task. However, as far as basic cooking skills go, this is a good one to master. After all, it is likely that you will find yourself boiling potatoes on a fairly regular basis. They are one of the most widely loved and versatile foods out there. From potato salad to dauphinoise potatoes; there are so many tasty dishes you can make after your potatoes have been boiled.
What Are the Best Potatoes for Boiling?
Before you can begin the process of boiling your potatoes, you first need to figure out what sort of potatoes you should purchase. Some are better for boiling than others because of the different levels of starch content found in potatoes. The type of potato you select will depend on what you’re aiming to make from the dish. So, let’s give you a bit of a better understanding regarding this…
- Low-starch potatoes
Firstly, we have low-starch potatoes, such as New Potatoes, Round White, and Round Red Potatoes. These potatoes are often referred to as waxy potatoes. They keep their shape much better when compared with the otherpotatoes when they are boiled. This makes them ideal for tossing in seasoned butter and serving as a side dish or for making a potato salad.
- Medium-starch potatoes
This includes varieties like Yukon Gold and Yellow Finn. these potatoes contain more moisture than high-starch, yet less than low-starch. This makes them a good all-rounder. They are great for creating mashed potato. They also work well if you are adding to a casserole or soup.
- High-starch potatoes
This includes potatoes like the Idaho or Russet potatoes. They have a very light texture, which makes them perfect for mashed potato. They fall apart quite easily, so it’s worth keeping this in mind!
Some Delicious Boiled Potato Recipe Ideas
There are lots of great boiled potato recipe ideas online. You can keep it simple, with some melted butter. Or, why not mix in some chives with the butter? Another delicious recipe is to boil potatoes Greek-style, serving them with garlic, lemon, and feta cheese.
The Different Ways to Boil Potatoes
There are a number of different ways you can boil potatoes, so let’s take a look at them in further detail. We would always recommend boiling your potatoes in water on the stove as the preferred option. However, if you are short on time or short on space, there are some other methods you can use too.
Boiling Potatoes on the Stove
Of course, the most obvious and preferred method for boiling potatoes is doing so using a pot of water on the stove. If you want to add some more flavor to your potatoes, you can boil them in a mixture of water and broth, or simply broth.
Here are the steps that you should follow when you are going to be boiling potatoes in this way…
- Prepare your potatoes
The first thing you need to do is prepare the potatoes you are going to be cooking. You should use a clean produce to brush the potatoes and remove any dirt. Once you have done this, rinse the potatoes. If needed, use a paring knife or vegetable peeler to peel the potatoes, cutting away from your hand. Use the tip of a potato peeler to remove any green areas or sprouts. There is a lot of debate regarding whether or not you should peel potatoes before boiling. Really, it comes down to preference.
- Cut the potatoes into smaller pieces
Before you begin to boil the potatoes, you should cut them up into smaller pieces in order to speed up the process. Again, this all depends on what you are cooking. If you are aiming to make mashed potato, you should cut the potatoes up into very small cubes. If you are prepping now yet you are not going to be cooking until later, make sure you submerge the potatoes in a bowl of water and put them inside of the refrigerator. If you leave potatoes out at room temperature, they will go brown very quickly.
- Put the potatoes into a large pan or saucepan
You will then need to add the potatoes to a large pan, covering them with water. Make sure you add enough cold water so that the tops are covered. You should then add between a half and a full teaspoon of salt to the water. Turn the heat to high until the water is brought to the boil. Once it is boiling, you can reduce the heat to low or to medium-low. Use a lid to cover the pot and then cook the potatoes gently until their are tender. The length of time it will take depends on the size of the potatoes and the type. To see if your potatoes are tender enough, simply use a fork to test them.
- Drain potatoes in a colander
Pour the potatoes into a colander in order to remove the potato pieces from the hot water and then put them into a large bowl. If you have large pieces of potato, you could also used a slotted spoon. If the recipe you are falling calls for cooled potatoes, submerge them into a bowl of ice or run them under cold water.
Boiling Potatoes in the Microwave
Another option is to boil your potatoes in the microwave. This is recommended if you are pressed for time. It is best suited to small batches of potatoes. Here are the steps to follow…
- Follow the same directions as above in terms of preparing the potatoes
- Cut the potatoes up and put them inside a microwave-safe bowl
You should add a dash of salt and enough water to cover the potatoes. Use plastic wrap to cover the bowl, poking holes into the wrap in order to act as a vent.
- Microwave the potatoes for five minutes on high heat
Once this is done, you should stir, and then you can use the plastic wrap to cover the potatoes again, cooking them for another five minutes or until tender.
- Use a colander to drain the potatoes
How to Boil Potatoes in a Slow Cooker
Another option for cooking boiled potatoes is to use the slow cooker. This is one of the easiest options. It is ideal if you want to work on other dishes so you don’t want your potatoes taking up space on the stove or in the microwave. Or, you can go down this route if you are doing other household tasks at the same time, or even if you simply want to chill on the sofa and watch a movie.
A slow cooker will not technically ‘boil’ your potatoes. However, the impact is very much the same. If you are planning to make mashed potato from the cooked spuds, you can even mash the potatoes in the slow cooker and serve them straight from the dish. This is a good way to save yourself on the washing up!
Cooking potatoes in the slow cooker is really easy. You simply need to follow two easy steps. These are as follows…
- Put your potatoes inside of the slow cooker
You should add broth or water; basically, any cup of suitable cooking liquid. Most of the liquid is either going to be absorbed by the potatoes or it will be cooked off during the cooking process. Because of this, you won’t need to do any draining, making it much more straightforward then the other two approaches (and they were very straightforward!).
- Cover the potatoes and cook for six to eight hours on a low heat or until tender
So there you have it: the complete guide to boiling potatoes perfectly every time. As you can see, there are many different ways that you can boil potatoes. Hopefully, you have found something that suits your kitchen and cooking preferences. Make sure you use the advice regarding what type of potato to use as well, as this will make it a lot easier for you to perfect the dish.