Do you want to find out more about how to cook potatoes? This article is your answer! You’ll also get my 20 best potato recipes to try as a bonus!
It’s a well-known fact already that potatoes are one of my favorite things in the Universe. And I’m not even exaggerating. They’re absolutely delicious, extremely versatile, and yes, very easy to cook with!
There are various methods of cooking potatoes and I’m sure all of them are at least a bit familiar to you. But if you want to know more about the process, some healthy ways to cook potatoes, and my awesome tips & tricks, I invite you to read my guide below:
How to prepare potatoes for cooking
First thing first: preparing the potato. In case you’re not baking a whole potato with its skin on, then you’ll have to follow the classic process: peel your potatoes. Wash them. Cut them (cubes, fries, your choice). Soak them in a bowl filled with cold water (10 minutes are more than enough) in order to get rid of the excess starch. Starch can stop potatoes from cooking evenly. After soaking, make sure to rinse them properly under cold water. Your potatoes are now ready!
How to boil potatoes
You have two main choices here: you can either boil the potatoes with their skin on or without. It is said that boiling potatoes with their peel on is an easy and effective way of preserving their precious nutrients, so I totally recommend you do it. BUT! If you’re in a rush, I advise you to peel and cut your potatoes into medium-sized cubes. This will decrease the boiling time considerably! I always do this when I make mashed potatoes and it’s really an amazing trick.
As for the process itself, nothing could be easier: wash your potatoes, peel and chop them if you prefer and then put them in a pot. Cover with cold water (at least 3 cm above their level), add 1 teaspoon of salt, and boil. The potatoes are fully cooked when a fork can easily pass through them. Cubed potatoes will usually take 15-20 minutes to boil; whole potatoes will take longer – about 30 minutes.
You can serve your boiled potatoes as they are, with some fresh herbs and butter. Or you can make mashed potatoes or even gnocchi. If you’re making a soup, you don’t need to follow this process of boiling the potatoes individually, as you’ll be boiling them into the soup pot with the rest of the ingredients.
TIP: Using cold water is important because it will ensure that your potatoes will cook evenly; pouring warm or hot water over them right from the beginning means that the outer part might cook faster and become mushier by the end of the boiling process.
How to bake a potato
Ah, baking potatoes is such an amazing process with delicious results!
As I mentioned above when I was talking about boiling potatoes, you must start with a decision: do you want to bake your potato with or without its skin on? The answer really depends on what you want to make, of course. If you’re making Hasselback potatoes or if you’re planning on baking a whole potato that you’ll later fill with cheese and other ingredients, then it makes all the sense in the world to keep the peel on when baking. This has two benefits: the taste will be 10 times better and the nutrients will still be inside your potato at the end.
All you need to do is thoroughly wash and scrub your potatoes under running cold water, pat them dry and then place them in a tray covered with parchment paper. Easy peasy! Whole potatoes usually take 50 minutes to 1 hour to be fully baked.
If you’re making baked potatoes for a side dish, drizzled with some olive oil and served with dried or fresh herbs such as thyme or oregano, then I recommend peeling and chopping your potatoes into equally-sized cubes. This will also minimize the baking time – around 25-30 minutes, depending on size and oven temperature.
How to make French fries
Fries are one of the most beloved dishes in the entire world. Kids love them. Adults love them. Even old people are fans! The only downside to French fries is that they’re not as healthy as, let’s say, a side of baked potatoes.
You can, of course, make the classic version of the French fries which implies cutting the potatoes into slices and then into fries, then fry them in a pan with some vegetable oil or you can deep-fry them.
TIP: If you want to make the healthier version of French fries, I recommend using an air fryer. If you don’t have one (I don’t), you can cut your potatoes into very thin rounds and bake them with some olive oil and a dash of salt. They’ll end up super crispy and delicious! Alternatively, if you prefer sweet potatoes instead, you can use a similar method and make these Garlicky Smashed Sweet Potatoes.
How to make mashed potatoes
Mashed potatoes are definitely one of my favorite side dishes in the world. There was a time when I used to eat falafel with a side of mashed potatoes on a daily basis. Then I switched my obsession to veggie meatballs with a side of mashed potatoes. Yes, I think I’m addicted!
My way of making mashed potatoes is super easy and it doesn’t take as long as you’d think. My trick is to wash, peel, and then cut the potatoes into equally-sized cubes. Then I boil them and in 15 minutes they’re done and ready to be mashed. You can then add some veggie milk or vegan butter and, of course, as much salt as you’d like. I don’t like to exaggerate with the milk or butter because I prefer my mashed potatoes to be more on the traditional side than on the soft, silky side.
Healthiest way to cook potatoes
What is the healthiest way to cook potatoes? Although I don’t like to get super drastic with analyzing food and giving diet advice (because I believe that quantity is more important than avoiding fried foods forever, for example), I must admit that one of the healthiest methods to cook potatoes is to bake them whole, with their skin on. This will preserve most of their nutrients, compared to frying or cutting them.
How do you cook potatoes fast?
Cooking potatoes requires a bit of patience and there’s no way to avoid that. Potatoes can’t compare to broccoli or asparagus which can be steamed in 3 minutes. Cooking potatoes takes at least 15-20 minutes regardless of your chosen method. The ONLY way to cook potatoes fast is to cut them into smaller cubes instead of using the whole potato. This can decrease the cooking time to half, which is pretty amazing!
All right, this was just a quick, informative round-up on how to cook potatoes. There are other amazing things you can make with potatoes other than the basic methods I mentioned above. I’m talking about potato salads, gnocchi, casseroles, stews, and everything in-between. If I made you curious, take a look at my list below!
I selected 20 of my BEST (vegan) potato recipes in order to offer you a big dose of inspiration. All of them are super delicious and, if I may add, some of them are quite surprising too, such as my Hasselback casserole. You’ll see what I’m talking about!
Choose your favorite and get cooking!