How Long Do You Boil Potatoes for Potato Salad?

How Long Do You Boil Potatoes for Potato SaladMany people search for how-to potato salad recipes on a daily basis. If you’re anything like me, I try to make potato salads rather frequently. This is mainly because it’s one of the easiest and best side dishes to create, especially since it compliments most types of food very well.

But even though it looks fairly effortless to make at first glance, there’s actually a lot of challenge that goes into the process of boiling the potatoes. In this case, you’d want to make sure that your potatoes are neither too soft nor too hard. Besides, it isn’t always easy to know how long you should boil the potatoes for potato salad since there are also a variety of potatoes to select from when making the recipe itself.

The short answer to this question is that different varieties of boiled potatoes differ in cooking times. For instance, the time you need to boil them can depend on their size or their type. There really isn’t a definite answer to this commonly searched question; however, the most recommended time duration is between 10 to 15 minutes over medium-high heat.

If this is your first time making a potato salad, chances are you’re also among the many people searching on the Internet looking for the best recipe. More than that, you might haven’t got a clue about the length of time or the detailed process that should go into boiling the potatoes. This article will tell you everything you need to know about the process, including some tips you must keep in mind along the way.

Best Potatoes To Use For Your Potato Salad

Since boiled potato varieties are listed as a factor in determining how to boil potatoes for potato salad, it’s best that you know first how to select the best potatoes for your side dish.

There are currently more than 4000 different kinds of potatoes, which is quite a hefty list to choose from. While all of these varieties may not be available in a single store, you can still see at least four types of this in most of them. These potatoes range from baby potatoes to baking, roasting and those that are specifically suited for boiling.

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In general, waxy potatoes are the most recommended ones for potato salad. This is because they have a high content of moisture, meaning they have more flavor to them when cooked or boiled. More than that, they also don’t lose shape easily, nor do you need to peel them before boiling. Waxy potatoes usually have a creamy and smooth texture to them after cooking.

Similarly, they don’t make great options for making any crispy potatoes or if your cooking process involves grilling, frying, or roasting. In most stores, waxy potatoes are also labeled as mashed or boiling potatoes. For some specific recommendations, you might want to choose from potato varieties such as Red Bliss, Russian Banana, Viktoria, Charlotte, Annabelle, New Potatoes, or Jersey Royals.

Factors that Affect the Boiling Time for Potatoes

How long do you boil potato for potato salad? If you haven’t tried making potato salad yourself, then this is an important question you need to keep in mind. While the answers to this vary from one person to another, there’s a distinct factor and consideration that’s essentially set in stone when it comes to this matter.

The main factor that significantly affects how long you need to boil the potatoes for is their size. In this case, you can opt to boil cubed or whole potatoes. Unlike crispy potato food, potato salad doesn’t involve the use of wedged or quartered potatoes. Instead, the recipe usually requires whole potatoes, and these take a longer time to cook compared to cubed ones.

Considering this, whether you choose to use potato cubes or whole potato affects the time you need for boiling. Small whole potatoes consume quicker boiling times than big whole ones. The same goes for one-inch potato cubes as opposed to two-inch cubed potatoes.

How Long Do You Boil Potatoes for Potato Salad?

One thing you should learn from the get-go is that the potatoes you will be using shouldn’t be boiled until they’re mushy. In fact, they should still be able to retain their original shape well but still be soft and creamy enough for the salad. As mentioned above, waxy potatoes are the best choice for this.

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You should also note that the cooking time for your potatoes includes the length of time needed for the water to boil. This essentially means that your 30 minutes for cooking begins once you have already placed the potatoes and cold water over the heat.

As I’ve said earlier, your choice to use either cubed or whole potatoes affects the boiling time. Let’s dive a bit more into detail regarding this.

Boiling Time for Cubed Potatoes

If you prefer to cut your potatoes into one-inch cubes, you can expect to finish boiling in a little over 10 to 13 minutes.

Boiling Time for Whole Potatoes

On the other hand, opting to use unpeeled, big whole potatoes takes roughly 40 to 45 minutes to boil. Your timer starts after placing the potatoes and water on the heat, not once the water begins boiling.

Also, if you need a guide in terms of what classifies as large, these are ones that usually weigh over 0.61 pounds or 277 grams. Meanwhile, medium potatoes are over 0.31 to 0.61 pounds or 140 to 277 grams. Medium potatoes take 25 to about 40 minutes to boil. Small potatoes weigh at least 0.31 pounds or 140 grams (or even less) and take an estimated 15 to 25 minutes to cook.

How to Know if Your Potatoes Are Boiled Properly

The most effective way to know whether your potatoes have already boiled to the right consistency and mushiness is by using a fork. Others also refer to this as fork-tender.

You’ll know that the potatoes are finished boiling once the fork easily penetrates them completely. Take note that they shouldn’t resist the fork nor break apart easily once you pierce the fork. Going for the biggest potato piece first is most recommended. This is because if it’s tender, it’s an indicator that the other potatoes have the same softness as well.