Cooking

How to Boil Potatoes Correctly

Why you always start with cold water when cooking potatoes
How to Boil Potatoes
Photo: Michelle Sun/Tasting Table

Boiling potatoes isn’t rocket science, and it’s because this task is so easy that you might overlook a crucial step. If you consistently find yourself with broken or unevenly cooked potatoes, here’s a tip:

Always start potatoes in cold water.

It may sound counterintuitive, because you cook most vegetables by tossing them into hot (salted!) water, but potatoes are dense and require more time to heat all the way through.

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Dropping them into boiling water is a bad idea because the hot water will cook the outsides of the potatoes faster than the insides, leaving you with unevenly cooked taters. By the time they’ve fully cooked to the core, the outsides will be mushy and start to flake apart. You want a hot potato—not a broken one—so start ‘em cold.

Now that you know to avoid this all-too-common mistake, here are some of our favorite potato recipes to try:
• Warm German Potato Salad
• Potato Fry Bread
• Spanish-Style Potatoes

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