How Long to Boil Potatoes?

How Long to Boil Potatoes

Potatoes are such a versatile and complimentary side dish to any meal or occasion. Even though we are a huge fan of baked potatoes loaded with bacon, cheese, and sour cream, sometimes I don’t have time to wait! I’m sure you know the feeling too. Did you know it’s actually possible to boil potatoes and get that same great taste and flavor? I think it makes it a little easier to eat too.

Today, I will share with you my method on how I boil potatoes to get that same “baked potato” consistency. Your boiled potatoes will come out soft and tender, melt in your mouth, and delicious!

So, if you’d like to learn more, please keep reading.

So, how long will it take to boil some potatoes?

Before I tell you how long it’s going to take you to boil your potatoes, there’s a few questions you need to ask yourself!

  • Are you going to boil whole potatoes or chunks of potatoes?
  • How many total potatoes will you need to boil
  • Do you like to boil potatoes with or without the peel on? I can tell you my kids like it off!
  • How do you like your potatoes? Tender and soft or somewhat firm?

I have put together a quick and easy reference guide so you will know how long to boil potatoes! Every time.

How Long to Boil Potatoes

  • 1 to 2 potatoes with peel- 20 to 30 minutes
  • 3 to 4 potatoes without peel- 30 to 45 minutes
  • 1 to 2 potatoes (in 1-to-2-inch chunks)- 15 to 20 minutes
  • 3 to 4 potatoes (in 1-to-2-inch chunks)- 25 to 30 minutes

If you’re like me and like your potatoes soft and tender, use the maximum time listed. If you like them more on the firm side, use the minimum time listed!

Step by Step Guide on How to Boil Potatoes

Follow my step-by-step guide below on boiling potatoes, the right way! Just choose which method works best for your needs.

Method 1: Boiling Whole Potatoes (Skin or Skin off)

Step 1: Get the water boiling. Grab a large pot. it needs to be big enough to put the whole potatoes in and submerge them, leaving at least an inch of water at the top. Ad some salt and butter to the water to further soften them up and bring out the flavor.

Step 2 Optional: Peel the Potatoes. This is optional but you can peel the potato prior to boiling. Cut the ends off and use a peeler to peel the skin away. If you do not peel the skin off, make sure you rinse the potato off under cool running water to get the dirt off. It may have a lot since it’s a vegetable that grows underground!

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Step 3: Add potatoes to the boiling water. When you start to notice the water start to boil, add in your potatoes. Refer to my times below on how long to boil with and without the skin! Remember, the lower time is if you prefer firm potatoes and the higher time is for those of us who like potatoes a little on the softer side! Reduce the heat to medium and cover.

  • 1 to 2 potatoes with skin- 20 to 30 minutes
  • 3 to 4 potatoes without skin- 30 to 45 minutes

Step 4: Check for firmness or softness. Remove one of the potatoes from the water. Take a sharp knife and make a small incision to the center. How well does it cut through? The easier it is the softer the potato is. Boil an additional 2 minutes until desired softness is reached.

Step 5: Drain the water. You’ll know your potatoes are ready when they have reached your desired level of softness. Now you’ll need to drain the water and find a large bowl to put the potatoes in.

Step 5: Season if desired. Add some salt and pepper, some butter, and additional toppings like cheese and bacon!

Step 6: Eat and enjoy! It’s time to eat and enjoy the potatoes you’ve just boiled!

Method 2: Boiling Chunks of Potatoes

I prefer this method. It take less time and the potatoes cook more evenly!

Step 1: Get the water boiling. Grab a large pot. it needs to be big enough to put the whole potatoes in and submerge them, leaving at least an inch of water at the top. Ad some salt and butter to the water to further soften them up and bring out the flavor.

Step 2 Optional: Peel the Potatoes. This is optional but you can peel the potato prior to boiling. Cut the ends off and use a peeler to peel the skin away. If you do not peel the skin off, make sure you rinse the potato off under cool running water to get the dirt off. It may have a lot since it’s a vegetable that grows underground! slice the potatoes into 1 to 2 inch chunks.

Step 3: Add the chunks of potato to the boiling water. Once the water has started to boil, add in your potato chunks following the below times. Reduce the heat to a medium and cover.

  • 1 to 2 potatoes (in 1-to-2-inch chunks)- 15 to 20 minutes
  • 3 to 4 potatoes (in 1-to-2-inch chunks)- 25 to 30 minutes

Step 4: Check for firmness or softness. Remove one of the potatoes from the water. Take a sharp knife and make a small incision to the center. How well does it cut through? The easier it is the softer the potato is. Boil an additional 2 minutes until desired softness is reached.

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Step 5: Drain the water. Drain the water and place the potato chunks in a large bowl.

Step 6: Season if desired. Add some salt and pepper, some butter, and additional toppings like cheese and bacon!

Step 7: Eat and enjoy! It’s time to eat and enjoy the potatoes you’ve just boiled!

Tips for Boiling the Perfect Potatoes

  • Know your boiling times. It’s very possible to over or underboil a potato. Follow the times I have listed in this post! I have tested them for several years. If you like your potatoes softer, boil for the longer time. If you like them more firm, boil on the shorter side.
  • Wash your potatoes prior to boiling! Potatoes are a root vegetable so they are naturally very dirty! Wash them thoroughly by rinsing them off under cool running water.

You Now Have Boiled Potatoes, Now What?

Now that you have boiled potatoes, you may be wondering the different ways you can make them into side dishes. Here’s a few that I like to do.

  • Season it and eat it! Salt, pepper, butter, herb and garlic, seem to do the trick.
  • Make some mashed potatoes with butter, bacon, and sour cream!
  • Make some potato fries! After boiling, put in the skillet for a few minutes to crispen them up.

Wrapping Up

Now all you have to do is decide how you’re going to boil your next round of potatoes. Are you going to boil the whole potato or boil it in chunks? You try it one way first, and the other way later and decide what you like best! Regardless of what you choose, it’s really easy and you’ll be left with a tasty side dish for dinner!

It may help you to bookmark this page so you can easily reference it the next you’re boiling potatoes. But a good rule of thumb is this: boil longer for soft potatoes and less for firm potatoes.

Don’t forget to drop a comment below and let me know which method you try out next when boiling potatoes!