Why You Should Start Steaming Potatoes Instead Of Boiling Them

Cooking potatoes may seem like a chore, especially if they break apart and become a mushy mess. Somehow those nice, firm potatoes can suddenly become potato soup in a matter of minutes. This is a real headache, especially if you're aiming for a fork-tender side dish to accompany steak, fish, or eggs.

Why do boiled potatoes often fall apart? According to Cooks Illustrated, the type of potato you choose matters. Red-skinned potatoes contain a lower starch ratio, so they hold their shape better when cooked. Potatoes also lose their shape as a result of the spud's absorption of water. 

Worthy Recipes says spuds that grow in parched soil will have a lower moisture content. As a result, the potato absorbs an abundance of the water it's cooked in, becomes oversaturated, and falls apart. Potato Recipes suggests boiling spuds for five minutes less than you usually would to avoid a disintegrated potato mistake. If this still doesn't work, opt for an alternative way of cooking potatoes, such as steaming.

Steam your spuds

Steaming potatoes instead of boiling them prevents the spuds from falling apart. Many people find steaming a less-invasive way to cook the perfect potato. To steam the perfect spud, Executive Chef Joseph Rizza of Prime and Provisions says, "After washing your potatoes, place them whole, either peeled or not, in a steaming basket" (via CookingLight).

To do this, the outlet recommends placing a steamer basket into a large pot filled with just enough water to touch the bottom of the basket. Toss the potatoes into the steamer and cover the pot. Steam the spuds on high until they are fully cooked or until a fork inserted slides in and out easily. The point is to not over-cook the potatoes. Spuds absorb water, so make sure they don't become too saturated.

Simply Recipes says that steaming potatoes is better than boiling them because the spuds aren't actually submerged in the water. This results in a more robust flavor because the spuds aren't absorbing water like they do when they boil.

So, the next time you want to cook a potato that doesn't fall apart, try steaming them instead of boiling.