How Do You Know When Potatoes Are Done Boiling?

How Do You Know When Potatoes Are Done Boiling?
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Boiled potatoes are the base for many dishes, such as mashed potatoes, croquettes, potato bread, and many others. Some would say they are “boring as boiled potatoes,” but boiled potatoes can easily become something very interesting and delicious. So, knowing when they are done, although seemingly trivial, is very important if you want your dish to taste good. So, how do you know when potatoes are done boiling? 

There are two main ways of checking if potatoes have boiled: tracking time and checking softness. However, the color is not a very accurate indicator of whether or not the potatoes are done boiling, but sticking them with a fork is by far the method that gives the most accurate results.

Seemingly simple, boiling potatoes can be very tricky. You can easily overcook them or undercook them, as the color doesn’t change much. However, there are other signs you can track and methods you can use to know if potatoes are done boiling, so in the following paragraphs, I will explain to you how to know when your potatoes are sufficiently boiled. 

How to Know If Potatoes Are Done? 

Usually, potatoes need from 30 to 40 minutes to cook completely, so you can always assume they are ready after this period has passed. However, it is always safer to use several methods to check this. 

Whether you boil potatoes with or without skin, the color won’t change much, but it will get a little lighter, which may mean that they are ready. Nevertheless, the best and most accurate method to find out if your potatoes are done boiling is to poke them with a fork or cut them with a knife. 

If you don’t want to remove a sample potato from the pot, take a fork and poke it with it. If it is done, the fork should slide down the potato without any resistance. The more resistance there is, the longer the potatoes need boiling. 

If you don’t mind making a bit of a mess, remove on potato from the pot and cut it in half with a knife. This way, you will see the inside of the potato and have the clearest picture of the condition of your potatoes. If your knife cuts the potato easily, it means that your potatoes are ready to go. 

If cutting your potato feels similar to cutting an apple, pop your potato back into the pot and continue boiling for another ten minutes. 

If you check your potatoes too early, they will be underdone, so do your initial check after a minimum of half an hour. 

How Do You Know When Potatoes Are Done Boiling

How Long to Boil Potato Cubes? 

Cubed potatoes take considerably less time to boil. The smaller the cubes, the shorter the boiling time. Since the potato isn’t whole, it isn’t as dense, which is the main reason potatoes need longer to boil. 

So, on average, cubed potatoes would need somewhere around 20 to 25 minutes to boil. However, this is only a rough estimate, as it also depends on the type of potato. If the potatoes are a denser variety, they may need longer, but not over 30 minutes, to boil. 

How Long to Boil Potatoes With Skin On? 

Whether you boil your potatoes with the skin on or boil they peeled won’t change much with the boiling time. The skin is very soft and thin, so it doesn’t make much of a difference. The time needed to boil potatoes with the skin on is marginally longer, something like up to five minutes if that. 

Therefore if it takes about 30 to 40 minutes to boil peeled potatoes, it would take about 35 to 45 minutes to boil potatoes with the skin on. 

How Do You Know When Potatoes Are Done Boiling

Do You Boil Potatoes Covered or Uncovered? 

You can boil potatoes both covered and uncovered. However, if you boil the potatoes covered, they may get overly soggy, as the steam will get reabsorbed in the potatoes. Boiled potatoes should be very soft, but overly moist potatoes will be watery, ruining their structure. 

Therefore it is better to boil potatoes uncovered. If you decide to cover them to prevent lint from getting inside the water, make sure you use a lid with a small hole so that the steam has an escape space. You can also cover the pot leaving a small uncovered spot, again to let the steam out. 

How to Boil Potatoes Without Them Falling Apart? 

Boiling is a process that may cause your potatoes to split apart, and there is no way to control it. Nevertheless, there are some things you can do to minimize the chances of it happening. It is crucial to put the potatoes in cold water instead of boiling them. 

The potatoes need to be gradually rising instead of shocking them from room temperature to boiling hot. Sometimes you may want to speed up the boiling process and have the water boil before you put the potatoes inside. 

This will not only make the process develop faster, but it will also cause your potatoes to split due to the temperature shock. 

Another thing to do is to reduce the boiling period. So, if you boil your potatoes for over 40 minutes, just to be sure they are done, check them off the stove after 30 minutes and either continue boiling or take them out of the water. 

Overcooking your potatoes “just in case” isn’t good, and it will undoubtedly cause them to split. Lastly, boil your potatoes with the skin on. Although thin, the potato skin is a protective layer and sack that keeps them whole. 


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What Causes Watery Potatoes?

Two things cause watery potatoes; leaving them in water after they have cooked thoroughly and overcooked them. To prevent this from happening, remove your potatoes from the pot the instant they are ready. 

To prevent them from overcooking, track the time and don’t cook them over 40 minutes. Cooking your potatoes with the lid on can also make them watery, so either uses a lid with a whole or cover them partially if you insist on using a lid. 

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