How Long To Boil Potatoes?

Potatoes are easily one of the best vegetables to ever exist. These vegetables are amazing because they are incredibly versatile, so you can serve one potato seven different ways.

How Long To Boil Potatoes?

With potatoes, you will never grow bored simply because there are so many different ways to enjoy them.

From baked potatoes to fried potatoes and mashed potatoes, there are tons of different ways to enjoy these vegetables. That’s without even mentioning transforming them into fries.

In order to mash your potatoes, you will first need to boil them. But if you haven’t done this before, it can be a little intimidating. 

In this nice and simple guide, we’ve told you absolutely everything that you need to know about how to boil potatoes. We’ve also included how long you need to boil potatoes to ensure that they are soft and delicious to eat. 

If you want to find out more, keep on reading! 

How Long Should You Boil Potatoes For?

First things first, let’s take a look at how long you should boil potatoes for. Ultimately, how long you should boil your potatoes for will depend on a number of factors, mainly depending on how you plan on consuming the potatoes. 

To prepare your potatoes in a couple of different ways, you will need to begin by boiling them. The end result that you are aiming for will impact how long you should boil your potatoes for. 

If you are planning to serve boiled potatoes as part of a roast dinner, then you will boil your potatoes whole – including the skin.

Generally, you will use smaller varieties of potatoes for this job, and it will take around 30 minutes for the whole potato to boil. If you end up using a larger variety of potatoes, then it might take slightly longer. 

In contrast, if you are boiling your potatoes in order to make mashed potatoes, you won’t need to boil them for as long. You will generally chop the potatoes into smaller squares when you plan on serving them in this fashion, so they will cook much quicker.

After around 15 minutes, the potato chunks will usually be boiled and ready to mash. 

It is important to remember that the time that it will take to boil your potatoes thoroughly will differ depending on the size of the potatoes.

If you’re unsure if your potatoes are cooked through, stab them with a knife. If the knife penetrates the potato smoothly, without any resistance, then the potatoes are boiled and ready to eat. 

Reasons You Might Boil Potatoes

There are tons of different reasons why you might boil potatoes, which is why it is a good idea to become familiar with this method. 

How Long To Boil Potatoes?

If you are making mashed potatoes from scratch, then you will need to boil the potatoes to ensure that they remain moist and soft.

These qualities are essential if you want to create delicious mashed potatoes that will leave your guests wanting more. You may also do this when making any pies that include potatoes.

Likewise, if you are making a potato salad, then boiling the potatoes is the first step toward this. Boiled potatoes won’t dry out, and this is essential when creating dishes such as potato salad. 

Finally, you might decide to boil smaller varieties of potatoes if you want to serve boiled potatoes as a side dish. Boiled potatoes are totally delicious, and really easy to make too. With that in mind, let’s take a look at how to boil potatoes. 

How To Boil Potatoes?

It is incredibly easy to boil potatoes. But if you haven’t done this before, it is understandable that you might be a little nervous about doing this. There is very little prep required for this, and before you know it you’ll be boiling your potatoes. 

To do this, you need to begin by cleaning your potatoes. It is a good idea to do this regardless of whether you are chopping the potatoes or serving them whole.

Once clean, dry them off and peel the skin (if you are chopping the potatoes before cooking). If chopping the potatoes, cut them into chunks about 2 inches in size. 

Add your potatoes to a large saucepan, and cover with water, there should be around 1 inch of water above the potatoes. Place on the hob until the water begins to boil then add a pinch of salt. Once boiling, reduce the heat to just a simmer. 

The amount of time that it takes for the potatoes to boil will differ depending on the style of potatoes that you are cooking.

Chopped potatoes will be boiled for around 15 minutes until cooked, while whole potatoes will take anywhere between 15 and 30 minutes to cook. 

Check the progress of your potatoes by piercing them with a knife or fork. Once the utensil pierces the potatoes easily, the potatoes are cooked through. Then all that’s left to do is serve them, or mash them depending on your preference! 


In short, boiling potatoes is actually incredibly easy. No matter whether you plan on boiling your potatoes to simply enjoy them in this fashion, or you are boiling them to transform into mash, you will easily be able to do this. 

In this guide, we’ve told you everything you need to know about how to boil potatoes. We’ve also established that it takes around 15 minutes to boil potatoes that have been cut into chunks, and around 30 minutes to boil whole potatoes. 

We hope that this information has been helpful – thank you for reading! 

Frequently Asked Questions

Is It Better To Boil Potatoes Whole Or Cut Up?

Your potatoes will boil much quicker if you cut them up before boiling them. So, if you are boiling them for mash we would always recommend chopping them up. However, if you want to boil whole potatoes to serve as a side dish, that’s fine too. Just remember that it will take longer for whole potatoes to boil through.

Mark Williams
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