Can you boil potatoes too long for mashed potatoes?

Potatoes are a wonderfully versatile food source, and knowing how long to boil potatoes for mashed potatoes can enable you to add a quick, filling, and a hearty side dish to your repertoire. It’s supremely easy to make and throughout this article, we’re going to be talking about it to be sure that you can boil potatoes perfectly for the next portion of mashed potatoes in your kitchen.

How long do you boil potatoes for mashed potatoes?

When boiling potatoes for mashed potatoes, there are a couple of options that you’ve got to think about. First of all, you need to consider the final consistency of the potatoes, and then you need to consider how long they’re going to sit at a warm temperature.

The final consistency of the potatoes will be directly impacted by the boiling process. That is what will cook the potatoes, leading to a smooth, creamy final texture in most cases. The more smooth you want the potatoes to be, the longer you should cook them for.

boiling potatoes

Generally speaking, we would recommend boiling potatoes for around thirty minutes to ensure they’re perfectly soft and smooth throughout. That will mean that your final potato dish will have a great, velvety texture.

If you’d like the texture to be a little stiffer, then your best course of action is to reduce the cooking time by five minutes or so. This will make them tougher but will ensure they’re cooked enough to eat. Massively undercooking the potatoes will make them unsafe for eating, so avoid doing that.

Food doesn’t stop cooking when removed from the kitchen – the residual heat of mashed potatoes will continue to cook the starch, provided they’re held at that temperature for a little while. To that end, consider how long you’re going to have them stand for.

If the potatoes are going to be part of a long-lasting self-serve buffet, then undercooking the potatoes can be a great way to make sure that they don’t become utterly textureless after prolonged exposure to a heat lamp or a similar piece of equipment.

If you’re going to serve the potatoes immediately, they can be given a full half hour of boiling time.

What is the perfect time to boil potatoes?

This depends a little upon what you’re cooking. If you’re going to simply eat the potatoes that you’re boiling, then we would say opting for around half an hour of boiling will be perfectly sufficient for most types of potatoes.

If you’re boiling smaller potatoes, though, like new potatoes, you should consider only cooking them for twenty to twenty-five minutes. This will make sure that the potatoes don’t overcook in the pot, allowing you to enjoy them much more.

If you’re going to be doing further cooking, then you should reduce the initial cooking time of the potatoes. For example, if you’re making roast potatoes, the potatoes should be par-boiled – enough to soften the outside sections of the potato while also ensuring that the middle is still fairly firm to the touch.

For roast potatoes, we would suggest only boiling them for fifteen minutes. This will soften the outside of the potatoes well, but allow the centers to roast in the oven.

Should I use peeled potatoes for mashed potatoes?

You can, but this isn’t totally necessary. Really, it’s up to you! We prefer to keep the skins on the potatoes that we use for mashed potatoes since it gives the final dish a more toothsome and intense consistency that can be really pleasant and chewy. Furthermore, the skins can be seasoned before mashing, leading to flavor variation throughout the portions of mashed potatoes that you serve.

If you do choose to use peeled potatoes for mashed potatoes, then we might suggest adding a little more fat to the mashed potatoes than you otherwise would. The reason for this is that the mashed potatoes may feel a little powdery, for instance, if served without the skins binding portions together. To that end, peeling the potatoes can reduce some level of quality.

At the end of the day, though, this choice is down to you and your personal tastes.

In the UK, mashed potatoes made with unpeeled potatoes are actually given a different name. Typically, Brits will refer to mashed potatoes as ‘mash’, so mashed potatoes made with unpeeled potatoes are referred to as ‘smash’. This isn’t totally important for the knowledge needed to make mashed potatoes, but it is an interesting little tidbit.

How to boil potatoes for mashed potatoes?

Boiling potatoes for mashed potatoes is exceptionally easy – there’s really nothing to it! We might suggest starting off by getting out as many potatoes as you might need for the people that you’re serving food to. This will vary from group to group, of course.

peel potato

Wash the potatoes before peeling them, if you’re so inclined. Next, slice them into large chunks. The chunks need to be small enough that you can move them around and stir the pot of potatoes well, while also being large enough that they won’t just slip through the holes of your potato masher with no mashing actually taking place.

Once diced, add the potatoes to a pot with plenty of salt and enough boiling water to cover them with around an inch of headroom. Then, bring the pot to a rolling boil, and boil the chunks of potato for around thirty minutes – you cannot really overboil or overcook during this time, as the potato is only going to be crushed anyway.

After the potatoes are tender, drain them and return to the pan. Mash them with butter, milk, salt, and pepper, and you’ve got perfect, creamy mashed potatoes every single time!

We hope that this article has helped you to make sure you’re perfectly up to date on the best ways to boil and mash potatoes. It’s a simple way to prepare the classic side, and it works perfectly well every single time.

Kunal Sharma
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