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How long to boil potatoes

How long to boil potatoes

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oiling potatoes is neither exciting nor particularly sexy, as far as cooking skills go, but it is quite handy! All our favorite dishes from potato salad for a summer cookout to mashed potatoes for the Thanksgiving table start with — oh yes! — boiling a pot of potatoes.

How long to boil potatoes

Whether you’re boiling your first potato tonight or wonder if you’ve been doing it right, here’s a step-by-step guide showing you exactly how to boil potatoes.
How long to boil potatoes

Why Boil Potatoes?

Besides “because your recipe said so!” you might boil potatoes if you don’t want them to dry out (as they do in the oven). Generally, you boil potatoes when you plan to mash them or toss them into a salad, though boiled potatoes can also make a quick side dish. Boiling also cooks potatoes very evenly all the way through and usually only takes 10 to 20 minutes.

Which Potatoes to Boil?

Waxy or all-purpose potatoes are the best candidates for boiling. They hold their shape when boiled and have a nice creamy texture once cooked. They are also usually smaller — usually no bigger than your fist — and thin-skinned, so they cook more quickly. Waxy and all-purpose potatoes might be red or golden or purple; take a look at this guide for Sixteen Kinds of Potatoes to see what kind you’re dealing with.

You can also boil starchy potatoes like Russets — I have friends who swear by mashed potatoes made with Russets! Starchy potatoes tend to fall apart or become water-logged when boiled, so I recommend boiling them whole instead of cubed.

University of Illinois Extension educator, Mary Liz Wright, demonstrates how to prepare and cook boiled potatoes.

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How long to boil potatoes for potato salad

The potatoes should be cooked so they’re soft, tender, and creamy. Cook them until they are just tender when pierced with a fork. Depending on the type of potato and size of the potato cubes, this will take between eight and 12 minutes.

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