How Long Does It Take To Boil Potatoes On The Stove?

Potatoes are a versatile and widely used ingredient in cooking. Boiling potatoes is a common way to prepare them, whether for mashed potatoes, potato salads, or stews. However, the cooking time required to boil potatoes on the stove can vary depending on various factors such as the size, type, and quantity of potatoes being boiled.

Many home cooks wonder how long it takes to boil potatoes on the stove and often end up overcooking or undercooking them. In this article, we will explore the factors that affect the cooking time of potatoes and provide you with a comprehensive guide on how long it takes to boil potatoes on the stove.

Key Takeaway
It typically takes around 20-30 minutes to boil potatoes on the stove, depending on the size and type of potato. A good way to check if they’re ready is to pierce them with a fork – if they’re tender all the way through, they’re ready to be drained and used for mashed potatoes or other recipes.

Factors that Affect Potatoes’ Boiling Time

Boiling potatoes on the stove is a simple task, but the time required for it varies based on a few factors. The size and type of potatoes are important considerations. If the potatoes are cut into small pieces, they can be cooked faster than when they are left whole. Similarly, the type of potatoes also matters. Starchy potatoes like Russet Potatoes take less time to boil than waxy potatoes like Red Bliss Potatoes.

The altitude and temperature of the cooking environment are other impacting factors. If you cook on high altitudes, the boiling point of water decreases, leading to longer boiling times. Moreover, cooking in colder temperatures or large pots may result in longer boiling times as they take longer to bring the water to boil. By considering these factors, you can get an approximate idea of the time you’ll need to boil your potatoes on the stove.

Boiling Times for Different Potato Varieties

Potatoes are a staple ingredient in many households around the world. Depending on the variety of potatoes, boiling times can vary significantly. The cooking time also depends on the size and freshness of the potatoes. Generally, smaller potatoes cook more quickly than larger ones.

New potatoes, which have a thin skin and are harvested before they mature, take around 15-20 minutes to cook. Baby potatoes and fingerling potatoes, which are small in size and have a waxy texture, will cook in about 15 to 20 minutes. On the other hand, larger varieties like Russet or Idaho potatoes may take up to 30-40 minutes to boil completely. It is important to note that overcooking potatoes can lead to them turning mushy, so it’s always best to check for doneness in the last few minutes of cooking time.

The Best Water Temperature for Boiling Potatoes

When it comes to boiling potatoes on the stove, the temperature of the water you use can make a significant difference in the overall quality of your finished dish. Ideally, you should aim to use cold water when boiling potatoes. Starting with cold water allows the potatoes to cook through evenly, preventing the outer layers from becoming mushy or overcooked before the centers are fully cooked. Additionally, starting with cold water can help you achieve a slightly firmer texture, which is perfect for recipes that require diced or cubed potatoes.

Avoid starting with hot or warm water when boiling potatoes, as this can lead to uneven cooking and mushy potatoes. Some cooks prefer to add salt to the water, while others avoid it to prevent the potatoes from getting too salty. Ultimately, the best water temperature will depend on your preferences and the recipe you’re making. Experiment with different temperatures and techniques to find the perfect balance for your favorite potato dishes.

Importance of Proper Preparation and Cutting Techniques

The preparation of potatoes is crucial in determining the time it takes to cook them. Before boiling, ensure to wash the potatoes thoroughly to remove any dirt or debris. Then, peel the potatoes and cut them into cubes of equal size to ensure they cook uniformly. The size of the cubes will also determine the cooking time required.

Additionally, avoid cutting the potatoes too small as they may overcook and become mushy before they are well boiled. It is also essential to start cooking the potatoes in cold salted water to ensure they cook evenly. Proper preparation and cutting techniques are vital in determining the cooking time for potatoes and also affects the taste and texture of the boiled potatoes. Therefore, invest some time in correctly preparing and cutting the potatoes to achieve a delicious outcome.

How to Tell if Potatoes are Done Boiling

After boiling potatoes on the stove, it is important to know when they are ready to be taken off the heat. The easiest way to determine if the potatoes are cooked is to insert a fork or a skewer into the center of the potato and pull it out. If the fork goes in smoothly without resistance and the potato slides easily off the end of the fork, then they are cooked.

Another way to tell if the potatoes are done is by taste. Simply cut into a potato and taste it for texture and flavor. The texture should be soft but not mushy, and the flavor should be fully developed. A fork and taste test combined are the best way to ensure that your potatoes are cooked to perfection and ready to be eaten or used in your favorite recipe. By following these simple steps, you can be sure that your potatoes are cooked just right every time.

Creative Ways to Use Boiled Potatoes

Boiled potatoes are a versatile ingredient that can be used in a variety of dishes. One creative way to use boiled potatoes is to make a potato salad. Simply dice the boiled potatoes and mix them with other ingredients like chopped onions, celery, and mayonnaise. Add some salt and pepper for flavor, and chill in the refrigerator before serving.

Another creative way to use boiled potatoes is to make mashed potatoes. Simply peel the boiled potatoes and mash them with butter, milk, and salt to taste. You can mix in other ingredients like grated cheese or chopped chives for added flavor. Mashed potatoes are a great side dish for any meal, and are particularly popular during the holidays. With just a few simple ingredients, boiled potatoes can transform into a variety of delicious dishes!

How to Store Boiled Potatoes for Later Use

Once you have perfectly boiled your potatoes, you can store them for later use in a few simple steps. Firstly, make sure to cool the potatoes in running cold water before storing them. This halts the cooking process and prevents them from becoming overcooked. After cooling, place the potatoes in an airtight container or a plastic bag. You can also add a tablespoon of olive oil or butter to prevent them from sticking together.

Store the potatoes in the refrigerator for a maximum of four days. If you want to store them for longer than four days, freeze them. To freeze boiled potatoes, place them in a single layer on a baking sheet and freeze them for an hour. Once frozen, transfer them to an airtight container or a Ziploc bag. Frozen potatoes will last for up to six months. When you want to use them again, thaw them in the refrigerator overnight or for a few hours at room temperature.


Boiling potatoes on the stove is a simple and easy method of cooking them. The time it takes to boil potatoes can vary depending on factors such as the type and size of potatoes, altitude and temperature of the water. In general, it takes about 20-30 minutes to boil potatoes on the stove. To save time, it is always advisable to cut the potatoes into smaller pieces to speed up the cooking time.

In summary, boiling potatoes on the stove is an efficient and inexpensive cooking method. The more you do it, the better you will become at knowing the right amount of time it takes to cook your potatoes perfectly. Whether you are making mashed potatoes, potato salad, or any other potato-based dish, boiling potatoes on the stove is a great option to use. So next time you’re in the kitchen, grab a pot, fill it up with water, and get ready to cook some delicious, tender potatoes.

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