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What Are the Best Tips for Cooking Potatoes?

Felicia Dye
Felicia Dye

There are numerous tips for cooking potatoes, depending on the desired outcome. For example, when making dishes such as french fries, washing the cut potatoes in cold water can prevent them from sticking together. Boiling potatoes with a piece of lemon can prevent them from falling apart. If the skin is left on during preparation, it is possible to retain more nutrients. To avoid waste and to create a tasty snack, the peels can be fried, sprinkled with sea salt, and eaten.

The starch in potatoes can cause pieces to stick together, which can be problematic when trying to fry them. To prevent this from happening, after the potatoes are cut as desired, they should be rinsed in cold water. After they have dried, the potatoes should be fried in cooking oil that has already heated to the desired temperature. For a crispy, flavorful variation, the potatoes can be battered before they are fried.

Various types of potatoes.
Various types of potatoes.

Having the proper heat is also very important when cooking potatoes in the oven. Higher temperatures will reduce the cooking time and will result in crispier skin on the potatoes. Another means to help ensure a crispy outer layer is by rubbing the potatoes with oil before cooking them. When potatoes are halved or wedged, brushing them with oil also helps to prevent them from sticking to the pan or grill.

Mashed potatoes.
Mashed potatoes.

Before cooking boiled potatoes, it is a good idea to cut them to reduce the preparation time, unless they are needed whole. In this case, time can be saved by using smaller and softer potatoes. Placing lemon in the water helps to prevent them from breaking up. Although many people peel their potatoes prior to boiling them, more nutrients are retained by cooking potatoes with their skin. A higher level of nutrients can also be retained if potatoes are steamed rather than boiled.

Roasted potatoes.
Roasted potatoes.

If the boiling is being done to prepare mashed potatoes, there are several small measures that can have a major impact. For example, using milk to boil the potatoes can improve the flavor and the texture. Adding garlic or herbs to the boiling liquid can also enhance the flavor.

When cooking potatoes in a manner that calls for them to be skinned first, it is not necessary to dispose of the peels. Instead, these can be used to make a simple yet tasty snack. All that is needed is hot cooking oil and perhaps sea salt and ketchup. The peels can be fried, sprinkled with salt, and if so desired, dipped in ketchup before being eaten.

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Discussion Comments


My Chinese roommate always slices potatoes and leaves them in a bowl of water for fifteen minutes before cooking with them. She says that the water removes the starch and makes the potatoes healthier. I've started doing this too.


@MikeMason-- Cooking potatoes is trickier than it seems. It takes practice. I used to have the same issue before but I think I've finally figured things out.

When making fries, the important part is keeping the heat on moderate. If the stove is on too high, the potatoes cook too quickly. The outside turns golden but the inside remains uncooked. You can't rush fries. Let the oil get hot before putting in the fries and then let them turn golden on moderate heat. It usually takes at least ten minutes for potato wedges to cook all the way through. It also helps to cook them in a smaller, deeper skillet because the fries can cook more evenly and be done at the same time.

When making sauteed potatoes, you need to parboil the potatoes first before sauteing them to ensure that they are fully cooked. Boil them whole for twenty minutes and then saute them. Good luck!


The main problem I have cooking with potatoes is that they usually remain raw on the inside. For some reason, I'm not good at cooking them all the way through. The only time I get it right is when I boil them. I let them boil forever. But I never get fries or sauteed potatoes right.

Any tips for me?

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    • Various types of potatoes.
      Various types of potatoes.
    • Mashed potatoes.
      By: JJAVA
      Mashed potatoes.
    • Roasted potatoes.
      By: Brett Mulcahy
      Roasted potatoes.
    • French fries.
      By: Johanna Goodyear
      French fries.
    • Twice baked potatoes.
      By: JJAVA
      Twice baked potatoes.
    • French fries may be served with ketchup.
      By: Richard Griffin
      French fries may be served with ketchup.
    • Potatoes can be boiled as well as baked, fried, and broiled.
      By: Amelia Crook
      Potatoes can be boiled as well as baked, fried, and broiled.
    • Leaving the skin on when cooking potatoes helps to retain more nutrients.
      By: Natika
      Leaving the skin on when cooking potatoes helps to retain more nutrients.