Can you boil potatoes with the skin on? (3 Useful Tips)

In this brief guide, we will answer the question, can you boil potatoes with the skin on? We will discuss the benefits of boiling potatoes with skin on. We will also discuss the most regarded method and variety of potatoes to make boiled potatoes. 

Can you boil potatoes with the skin on?

Potatoes are the most important non-grain crop in the world and the third most important food crop after rice and wheat with an annual production of 330 MT. Climate change could exert acute effects in food supply. Applying future climate change scenarios to current potato cropping systems indicated small global tuber yield reductions by 2055 (−2% to −6%), but larger declines by 2085 (−2% to −26%) (1).

You can boil potatoes with the skin. In fact, it is recommended to boil potatoes with the skin on. Leaving the skin on when you boil potatoes retains the nutrients of potatoes. 

If you boil potatoes after peeling them, it leaches the water-soluble vitamins out of the potatoes and into the pot they are being boiled in. In a study, the effects on the vitamin retention of potatoes prepared by different methods of home cooking were compared. Retention values tended to be higher in tubers which were boiled unpeeled than in those which were boiled peeled. 95% of the vitamin C were preserved in the case of the unpeeled potatoes (2).

Vitamin C which is generously present in potatoes is a water-soluble vitamin. As well as vitamin B1, Riboflavin and Niacin will be wasted if you take the skin of the potatoes off before you boil them (2). 

The benefit of boiling with the skin on is that the potatoes will not become water-logged. However, if you want to keep the skin on, you can not cut the potatoes into pieces, thereby increasing the time it takes to boil the potatoes.

When should you leave the skin of the potatoes on?

If you are making fluffy potatoes, you do not want to peel the skin off. Choose waxy types of potatoes that make creamy and tender mashed potatoes. The drawback that comes with using starchy potatoes is that they take up the water quite readily causing them to become soggy. Hence the skin acts as a protective layer preventing the water from getting soaked into the potatoes. 

If you boil the potatoes after peeling them, they get waterlogged and your mashed potatoes become gluey and will have a poor texture and taste. 

Potatoes are classed as either waxy or floury. Waxy potatoes are translucent, feel moist and pasty, and have thin skins. Waxy potatoes generally stay firm and keep their shape making them ideal for salads, but they do not mash well. Examples of waxy potatoes include new potatoes (red and white), cherry red, and banana.

Floury or starchy potatoes have a drier feel and are more granular in appearance. Floury potatoes are best for baking and mashing as they produce the characteristic “fluffy mashed potato.” Examples of floury potatoes include Russet Burbank and Hertha.

There are also all-purpose potatoes that are a mixture of waxy and floury varieties. All-purpose potatoes can be used in almost any dish. Examples of all-purpose potatoes include Yukon Gold and Kennebec (3).

How to boil potatoes?

Boiling potatoes is a good way to serve them. Simple yet comforting way of eating a filling meal. It only takes 10-20 minutes and does not dry out your potatoes. 

  • Clean your potatoes by scrubbing them in water. 
  • Fill a large pot with cold water and drop the potatoes in. Make sure that there is enough space for the potatoes and avoid overcrowding. 
  • Bring the pot of water to a rolling boil. Do not boil water before you add potatoes, otherwise, the outside of the potatoes will cook faster than the rest and cause the potatoes to have an uneven texture. 
  • Pierce the potatoes with a knife or fork to check if they have boiled. If the texture of potatoes is soft enough that it gives in to the pressure of the knife, then the potatoes have been cooked. The potatoes will take around 20 to 25 minutes to boil. 
  • Immediately after the potatoes have been boiled, you need to drain them off the water. Otherwise, the boiled potatoes can become soggy especially if you have them cut into pieces.  

Which potatoes are ideal for boiling?

If you plan to make potato salads or casserole, you should opt for firm, waxy potatoes that will keep a nice grounded shape after boiling. However, if you want to make mashed potatoes, then choose soft and starchy potatoes. 

Waxy and all-purpose potatoes are the best options if you are planning on boiling them. You can select red, golden, purple, and even Russet potatoes. Potatoes that have thin skin and relatively small sizes make for good boiling by not taking up much of your time. 

How to store boiled potatoes?

If you want to use the boiled potatoes immediately, then you can drain the water out. Otherwise, let the boiled potatoes and the boiling water cool down, then put them in the refrigerator. 

However, if you want to store the potatoes for 3-4 days, then drain the water and store it in an airtight container. You could even make the boiled potatoes last for 3-44-5 months in the freezer, according to the recommendations for leftovers of the USDA. 

To store the boiled potatoes in the freezer, let them cool down and dry. Then put the boiled potatoes in a freezer bag. When you want to use the boiled potatoes, thaw them in the refrigerator for a couple of hours before you use them for your casseroles, soup, or salads. 

Studies show that when freezing vegetable plant cells an increase in cell wall disruption occurs, this increases the permeability and may lead to a certain degree of cell disruption. After frozen storage and reheating, cooked potatoes expelled water from their tissue matrix, which shows that syneresis has taken place during cool/frozen storage (4).

What are the benefits of eating potatoes?

Potatoes have various health benefits; they are rich in carbs and have large quantities of proteins and fiber. Several vitamins like vitamin C and vitamin B6 and minerals like potassium are present. It also improves blood sugar control by a starch called resistant starch. 

People can enjoy a variety of potato dishes in almost every culture. Even boiling potatoes will bring multiple options for you to prepare your meal.

For example, 100 g of baked potato (97 calories) contains 15% of the recommended amounts of vitamin B6, 16% of potassium, 9% of magnesium, 6% of iron, and 4% of pantothenic acid. Potato tuber also contains several bioactives including polyphenolics (e.g., chlorogenic acid, methyl belliferones, and the flavonoids apigenin, rutin, and kaempferol 3-O-rutinoside), terpenes (e.g., the carotenoids lutein and neoxanthin), polyamines (e.g., kukoamines), and alkaloids (e.g., calystegines, solanine, tomatine, and chaconine), which have demonstrated activity against cancer, heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and obesity (5).

Other FAQs about Potatoes that you may be interested in.

Can cut potatoes be refrigerated?

How long do sweet potatoes last?

Can you eat moldy potatoes?

Can you boil potatoes with the skin on?


In this brief guide, we answered the question, can you boil potatoes with the skin on? We discussed the benefits of boiling potatoes with skin on. We discussed the most regarded method and variety of potatoes to make boiled potatoes. 


  1. Raymundo, Rubí, et al. Climate change impact on global potato production. Euro J Agron, 2018, 100, 87-98. 
  2. Augustin, J., Johnson, S.R., Teitzel, C. et al. Changes in the nutrient composition of potatoes during home preparation: II. Vitamins. Am Potato J, 1978, 55, 653–662. 
  3. Cropedia: Potatoes. 2013. The University of British Columbia. 
  4. Micklander, Elisabeth, Anette K. Thybo, and Frans van den Berg. Changes occurring in potatoes during cooking and reheating as affected by salting and cool or frozen storage–a LF-NMR study. LWT-Food Sci Technol, 2008, 41, 1710-1719.
  5. Chaparro, Jacqueline M., et al. Metabolomics and ionomics of potato tuber reveals an influence of cultivar and market class on human nutrients and bioactive compounds. Front in Nutr, 2018,  5, 36.