How Long to Boil Small Potatoes: A Guide to Perfectly Cooked Spuds

Discover the ultimate guide to boiling small potatoes perfectly! Learn how to cook small potatoes, choose the right type, and achieve the perfect texture.

Small potatoes are a versatile and delicious ingredient that can be boiled, roasted, or mashed to make a range of dishes. However, boiling small potatoes can be tricky, as they can quickly become overcooked and mushy. Knowing how long to boil small potatoes is essential to achieving the perfect texture and flavor.

Small potatoes are defined as potatoes that are less than two inches in diameter. These potatoes are commonly used in dishes like potato salad, roasted potatoes, and mashed potatoes. Boiling small potatoes is a simple and effective way to prepare them for these dishes, but it is crucial to get the timing right to avoid undercooking or overcooking them.

In this article, we will provide a comprehensive guide on how long to boil small potatoes, including tips on choosing and preparing small potatoes, the basics of boiling small potatoes, cooking times, and serving suggestions. Whether you are a seasoned cook or a beginner, this guide will help you achieve perfectly cooked small potatoes every time.

Choosing and Preparing Small Potatoes for Boiling

Timing is crucial when boiling small potatoes
Timing is crucial when boiling small potatoes

When it comes to boiling small potatoes, selecting the right type of potato is essential. Some potatoes are better suited to boiling than others, as they hold their shape better and have a firmer texture. Some of the best types of potatoes for boiling include new potatoes, fingerling potatoes, and red potatoes.

Before boiling small potatoes, it is important to clean and wash them thoroughly. Use a vegetable brush to scrub the potatoes under running water to remove any dirt or debris. If the potatoes have any blemishes or eyes, remove them with a paring knife.

Once the potatoes are clean, you can decide whether to peel them or leave the skin on. Leaving the skin on can add extra flavor and texture to the dish, but peeling the potatoes can make them look more uniform and appealing. If you choose to peel the potatoes, use a vegetable peeler to remove the skin in a thin layer, taking care not to remove too much flesh. If you decide to leave the skin on, simply rinse the potatoes again to remove any remaining dirt and pat them dry with a clean towel.

By selecting the right type of small potatoes, cleaning them thoroughly, and deciding whether to peel or leave the skin on, you can ensure that your boiled small potatoes will turn out perfectly.

Boiling Small Potatoes: The Basics

Choosing the right small potatoes for boiling
Choosing the right small potatoes for boiling

Boiling small potatoes is a simple process that requires only a few basic tools and ingredients. Here are the essential steps to follow when boiling small potatoes:

Required Equipment and Utensils

To boil small potatoes, you will need the following equipment and utensils:

  • A medium-sized pot with a lid
  • A colander
  • A slotted spoon or tongs

The Right Amount of Water for Boiling Small Potatoes

The amount of water you use to boil small potatoes will depend on the quantity of potatoes you are cooking. As a general rule, you should use enough water to cover the potatoes by about an inch.

Adding Salt to the Water

Adding salt to the water when boiling small potatoes is optional, but it can enhance the flavor of the potatoes. As a general rule, add about a teaspoon of salt for every quart of water.

Bringing the Water to a Boil

To start boiling small potatoes, place the pot of water on the stove and turn the heat to high. Once the water comes to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer, and add the small potatoes. Cover the pot with a lid and let the potatoes cook for the required time, depending on their size.

By following these simple steps, you can boil small potatoes to perfection every time. Remember to use the right amount of water, add salt to taste, and bring the water to a boil before adding the potatoes.

Boiling Small Potatoes: Cooking Time

Boiling small potatoes to perfection
Boiling small potatoes to perfection

Boiling small potatoes is a delicate process that requires careful attention to cooking times. The cooking time of small potatoes can vary depending on several factors, such as their size and the altitude at which they are cooked. Here are some essential factors to consider when boiling small potatoes:

Factors that affect the cooking time of small potatoes

  • Size: The size of the small potatoes plays a significant role in determining the cooking time. Smaller potatoes will cook faster than larger ones.
  • Altitude: The altitude at which the small potatoes are cooked can affect the cooking time. At higher altitudes, water boils at a lower temperature, which can increase the cooking time.
  • Type of potato: Different types of potatoes have different densities and water content, which can affect the cooking time.

Approximate cooking time for small potatoes based on their size

Here is a general guideline for the approximate cooking times for small potatoes based on their size:

  • Extra small potatoes (less than 1 inch in diameter): 8-10 minutes
  • Small potatoes (1-2 inches in diameter): 12-15 minutes
  • Medium potatoes (2-3 inches in diameter): 20-25 minutes
  • Large potatoes (3-4 inches in diameter): 30-35 minutes

It is important to note that these are only approximate cooking times, and the actual cooking time can vary depending on the factors mentioned above.

Testing the small potatoes for doneness

The best way to test if small potatoes are done is to insert a fork into the center of the potato. If it goes in easily, the potatoes are cooked. Another way to test if small potatoes are done is to remove one from the pot and cut it in half. The center of the potato should be soft and fluffy, with no hard or uncooked parts.

By considering the factors that affect cooking time, following the approximate cooking times based on size, and testing for doneness, you can achieve perfectly cooked small potatoes every time.

Tips for Boiling Small Potatoes Perfectly

Boiling small potatoes may seem like a simple task, but there are several factors to consider to achieve the perfect texture and flavor. Here are some tips to ensure that your boiled small potatoes turn out perfectly every time.

Avoiding Overcooking or Undercooking the Small Potatoes

One of the most common mistakes when boiling small potatoes is overcooking or undercooking them. Overcooked small potatoes can become mushy, while undercooked ones can be hard and unappetizing. To avoid this, it is essential to keep a close eye on the cooking time and test the potatoes regularly for doneness.

Adding Flavor to the Water

While small potatoes have a naturally delicious flavor, adding some extra flavor to the cooking water can elevate the dish to the next level. You can add herbs like rosemary, thyme, or bay leaves to the water to infuse the potatoes with extra flavor. Alternatively, you can add some garlic or onion to the water for a savory kick.

Using a Timer to Keep Track of Cooking Time

Timing is crucial when boiling small potatoes, and using a timer can help you keep track of the cooking time and avoid overcooking or undercooking. The exact cooking time will depend on the size of the potatoes, so it is essential to refer to a guide or recipe to determine the appropriate cooking time.

By following these tips, you can achieve perfectly boiled small potatoes with the ideal texture and flavor. Experiment with different flavors and seasonings to create a dish that suits your tastes and preferences.

Other Methods for Cooking Small Potatoes

Small potatoes are a versatile ingredient that can be cooked in many ways. Boiling is not the only method to prepare small potatoes. In this section, we will explore other methods to cook small potatoes, including roasting, grilling, and steaming.

Roasting Small Potatoes

Roasting small potatoes is a great way to bring out their natural sweetness and flavor. To roast small potatoes, preheat your oven to 400°F. Cut the potatoes into quarters or halves, depending on their size, and toss them in a bowl with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Spread the potatoes in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast them for 20-25 minutes, or until they are golden brown and crispy on the outside.

Grilling Small Potatoes

Grilling small potatoes is another delicious way to cook them. To grill small potatoes, first, parboil them for 5-7 minutes in salted water until they are just tender. Drain the potatoes and toss them with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Preheat your grill to medium-high heat and place the potatoes on the grill. Cook the potatoes for 10-15 minutes, or until they are crispy on the outside and tender on the inside.

Steaming Small Potatoes

Steaming small potatoes is a healthy and easy way to cook them. To steam small potatoes, fill a pot with a few inches of water and bring it to a boil. Add a steamer basket to the pot and place the potatoes in the basket. Cover the pot and steam the potatoes for 10-15 minutes, or until they are tender. Steaming small potatoes is a great option if you want to avoid using oil or butter.

In conclusion, roasting, grilling, and steaming small potatoes are all great methods to cook them. Each method brings out a unique flavor and texture. Experiment with these methods to find your favorite way to cook small potatoes.

Serving Boiled Small Potatoes

Once you have boiled your small potatoes to perfection, it’s time to serve them up in a delicious dish. Here are some ideal dishes to serve with boiled small potatoes:

Ideal Dishes to Serve with Boiled Small Potatoes

  1. Potato Salad: Boiled small potatoes are the perfect addition to a classic potato salad. Mix them with some mayonnaise, chopped celery, and onion for a delicious side dish.

  2. Roasted Vegetables: Boiled small potatoes can be roasted with other vegetables like carrots, onions, and peppers for a colorful and flavorful side dish.

  3. Stews and Soups: Small boiled potatoes can be added to stews and soups to make them heartier and more substantial.

Garnishing Boiled Small Potatoes

Garnishing boiled small potatoes is a great way to add some extra flavor and visual appeal to your dish. Here are some ideas for garnishing boiled small potatoes:

  1. Chopped Herbs: Sprinkle some chopped parsley, chives, or dill over your boiled small potatoes for a burst of fresh flavor.

  2. Cheese: Melt some shredded cheese over your boiled small potatoes for a gooey and delicious topping.

  3. Bacon Bits: Crumble some bacon bits over your boiled small potatoes for a savory and satisfying crunch.

Storing Leftover Boiled Small Potatoes

If you have leftover boiled small potatoes, you can store them in the refrigerator for up to four days. To reheat them, simply microwave them for a minute or two or sauté them in a pan with some butter for a crispy and delicious side dish.


In conclusion, knowing how long to boil small potatoes is a crucial skill for any home cook. By following our guide, you can achieve perfectly cooked small potatoes every time, whether you are making potato salad, roasted potatoes, or mashed potatoes.

Remember to choose the right type of small potatoes, clean and prepare them properly, and use the correct amount of water and salt when boiling. Test the potatoes frequently to avoid overcooking or undercooking them, and use our tips for adding flavor and garnishing your boiled small potatoes.

At Takeout Food, we are passionate about sharing recipes, knowledge, and experiences about food for everyone. We hope that this guide has been helpful in improving your cooking skills and enhancing your enjoyment of small potatoes. Happy cooking!

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