How To Rescue Overcooked Potatoes

Cooking potatoes may seem like a foolproof process, but the second you lose track of time, you can easily mess them up. If you've ever let your potatoes sit on the stove for longer than you intended or accidentally roasted them at too high of a temperature, your first instinct might be to just toss the rejects and start over. But unless they are truly burned past the point of no return, don't immediately turn to the trash can. In reality, overcooked potatoes are entirely salvageable. 

According to the New York Times, seemingly overdone spuds are actually the secret to darn near perfect potato salad. That's because, when potatoes are overcooked, they release a lot of starch. While a gluey potato isn't exactly the sort of texture you want in most recipes, it works exceptionally well for potato salad. In that application, the extra starch can help the salad's dressing cling to the other ingredients. So instead of masking the fact that your potatoes are overcooked, you can just as easily use it to your advantage, even if potato salad wasn't your original plan.

Overcooked mashed potatoes can be rescued too

The ideal mashed potatoes are supposed to be smooth and creamy, but they're definitely not supposed to be watery. If you find your mashed potatoes are soupier than normal, it's likely because you overcooked them, Buzzfeed says. Overcooked potatoes aren't always dry and hard, as it's possible to overboil a potato too. When you do so, more water is absorbed by the potato. Then, when you go to mash them, the water releases, resulting in that sad, soupy mess you may want to toss in a compost pile far, far away. 

Take heart, though, as there are multiple fixes for this issue. The best course of action, ironically enough, is to continue cooking soupy mashed potatoes, says Buzzfeed. Simply add the watery mashed potatoes to a pot, then cook them on low heat. The extra water will gradually evaporate. Just be sure to keep an eye on the potatoes to make sure you don't go too far in the other direction and burn or overcook them. This remedy might require an extra step and a bit of patience, but it's certainly a lot easier than starting from square one and could save those mashed potatoes from public dishonor. Or, as Allrecipes recommends, you can grab a cheese grater and a few uncooked potatoes. Quickly boiling the grated potatoes, mashing them, and then adding them to your watery mess could improve the texture, though you'll obviously end up with more potatoes than intended.