PotatoTips & Tricks

Bake it! Grill it! Microwave it! There are many tricks to speeding up your spuds and you’re in the right place to learn how to do just that. Plus a whole lot more! Need leftover ideas? We got ‘em! Where should you store potatoes? Find out by clicking below. Interested in delicious recipes, see our Potato Recipes page.

Buying & Storing Potatoes

Buying

Look for clean, smooth, firm-textured potatoes with no cuts, bruises or discoloration.

Proper Storage & Handling

Download the Fresh Handling and Storage Guide

  • Store potatoes in a cool, well-ventilated place.
  • Keep potatoes out of the light.
  • Colder temperatures lower than 50 degrees, such as in the refrigerator, cause a potato’s starch to convert to sugar, resulting in a sweet taste and discoloration when cooked. If you do refrigerate, letting the potato warm gradually to room temperature before cooking can reduce the discoloration.
  • Avoid areas that reach high temperatures (beneath the sink or beside large appliances) or receive too much sunlight (on the counter top).
  • Perforated plastic bags and paper bags offer the best environment for extending shelf-life.
  • Don’t wash potatoes (or any produce, for that matter) before storing. Dampness promotes early spoilage.

What to Do with “Green” or Sprouting Potatoes
  • Green on the skin of a potato is the build-up of a chemical called Solanine. It is a natural reaction to the potato being exposed to too much light. Solanine produces a bitter taste and if eaten in large quantity can cause illness.
  • If there is slight greening, cut away the green portions of the potato skin before cooking and eating.
  • Sprouts are a sign that the potato is trying to grow. Storing potatoes in a cool, dry, dark location that is well ventilated will reduce sprouting.
  • Cut the sprouts away before cooking or eating the potato.

Potato Tips for Cooking

Preparing Potatoes for Cooking

Gently scrub potato with a vegetable brush under cool running water.
The maximum nutrients are preserved when potatoes are cooked and eaten with the skin on. If peeling, use a vegetable peeler or sharp paring knife and keep the peeling very thin, since many of the nutrients are found close to the skin.
Chop or handle potatoes on a clean cutting board and be sure to use proper safety techniques with all ingredients in a given potato dish to avoid cross contamination with other foods.
Sometimes potatoes that are cut and uncooked take on a pinkish or brownish discoloration. It’s due to the carbohydrate in the food reacting with oxygen in the air. Potatoes that become discolored are safe to eat and do not need to be thrown out. The color usually disappears with cooking.
Preserve the color of cut potatoes by storing them in cold water, and add lemon juice or a little vinegar. Limit water soaking to two hours to retain water-soluble vitamins. Learn more about potato nutrition.

How to Bake a Potato

The perfect baked potato is crispy on the outside and fluffy in the middle. Baking potatoes is simple. To make a baked potato, simply wash your favorite type of potato. We recommend the russet potato because of its flavor and texture. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees, many people choose to poke a few holes into the potato with a fork or knife. This is not necessary for baked potatoes. After washing, rub your potatoes with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and wrap in foil to prevent your baked potato from drying out. For potatoes about the size of your fist, cook for one hour. If larger, add more time. For smaller potatoes, reduce the time a bit. Please see our How to Bake a Potato page or watch this video.

How to Boil Potatoes

Don’t know how to boil a potato? Boiling potatoes is easy. Popular potato dishes from potato salad for a summer cookout to mashed potatoes for the holidays start with, you guessed it, boiling a pot of potatoes. To boil potatoes, simply wash your favorite type of potato. We recommend red, yellow or purple potatoes because they hold their shape when boiled and have a nice creamy texture once cooked. They are also usually smaller than your fist and thin-skinned, so they cook more quickly. If you choose larger potatoes, cut the potatoes into large, evenly-sized cubes. Place potatoes in medium pot and pour over enough water (or reduced-sodium broth) to cover. Add salt if desired. Set pan over high heat and bring to a boil. Boil 10 minutes, or until tender (you can test with a fork). Drain, then shake potatoes over low heat for 1 minute to dry potatoes.

How to Steam a Potato

Keep in mind, to preserve the abundance of nutrients in your potato, cook them in their skins. Steam or microwave your potatoes, instead of boiling, as water naturally leaches some of the nutrients from food cooked in it. If you do boil potatoes, consider using that water to moisten your mashed potatoes or in soup.

How to Roast Potatoes

Roasting potatoes is simple. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F, place quartered potatoes (we recommend red potatoes) in a (cool) roasting pan. Drizzle spuds with approximately two tablespoons of vegetable oil, add 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of ground black pepper and, if desired, 1 teaspoon dried rosemary (crushed). Stir all ingredients to coat spuds and place in oven for 20 minutes. Yum! You’re done.  See our Roasted Potatoes recipe.

How to Make Perfect Mashed Potatoes

It’s the great potato debate! How to make perfect mashed potatoes? With skins or without? Russets, Yukon Golds, reds, or whites? Whatever you’re preference, we have your basic recipe for boiling and mashing to get the perfect consistency. To boil potatoes, simply wash 3 pounds of your favorite type of potato. Cut the potatoes into large, evenly-sized cubes (we leave skins on!). Place potatoes in medium pot and pour over enough water (or reduced-sodium broth) to cover. Add salt if desired. Set pan over high heat and bring to a boil. Boil 10 minutes, or until tender (you can test with a fork). Drain, then shake potatoes over low heat for 1 minute to dry potatoes. Off the heat, mash potatoes, adding ½ cup of hot chicken broth to make a smooth puree. Stir in 2 Tablespoons of sour cream and season with salt and pepper.

How to Make Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Like your potatoes with garlic? You’ll love this award-winning creamy garlic mashed potato recipe to serve 10. Peel and dice potatoes 3 ½ pounds Russet potatoes. Make sure all are relatively the same size. Place potatoes in a large saucepan, add salt and cover with water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and then reduce heat to maintain a rolling boil. Cook until potatoes fall apart when poked with a fork. Heat 2 cups half-and-half and 6 crushed garlic cloves in a saucepan over medium heat until simmering. Remove from heat and drain off water. Mash the cooked potatoes and add the garlic-cream mixture and 6 ounces Parmesan. Stir to combine. Let stand for 5 minutes and serve.  See our Garlic Mashed Potatoes recipe.

What to Do with Leftover Potatoes

Refrigerate any leftovers within two hours of serving to prevent food-borne illnesses. Any meal leftovers should be consumed within a few days. We don’t recommend freezing cooked potatoes at home as they become watery upon reheating. The potato is 80 percent water; and when frozen, this water separates from the starch and nutrients.

How to Microwave Potatoes

Microwave Baked Potatoes

Microwave Baked Potatoes: Wash 4 (5-6 oz.) Russet potatoes, then cut a wedge out of each potato about 1/8-inch wide and 1-inch deep. Place in a microwave-safe dish. Microwave on HIGH, uncovered, for 10 to12 minutes. Use oven mitts to remove dish from microwave. Carefully make a slit in the top of each potato and fluff with a fork. Top with your favorite bake potato toppings. Makes 4 servings. Watch the video!

Why it works: The key to a great microwave baked potato is cutting a thin wedge, lengthwise. This is done so the steam can fully escape from the potato, resulting in a dry and fluffy pulp.

Microwave Mashed Potatoes

Wash 4 (5-6 oz.) whole potatoes into microwave-safe dish—do not puncture skin. Cover dish. (If covering dish with plastic wrap, poke small hole in plastic.) Microwave on HIGH for 10 to 12 minutes. Use oven mitts to remove dish from microwave; carefully remove cover and mash well. Stir in ½ cup each plain yogurt and low-fat milk, 1½ tablespoons butter spread, salt and pepper to taste. Cook for a minute or 2 more to heat, if necessary. Makes 4 servings. Watch the video!  See our microwave mashed potatoes recipe.

Why it works: The microwave uses the potato’s own water to create steam. Approximately 80% percent of a fresh potato is water. When microwaved, that water turns to steam, creating a moist, contained cooking environment. By not puncturing the skin of the potato, more steam is retained inside the potato, allowing faster cooking.

Microwave Roasted Potatoes

Wash 4 (5-6 oz.) potatoes. Cut into 1-inch cubes and place into microwave safe dish. Drizzle 2 tablespoons of olive oil over potatoes and sprinkle with seasonings of choice. Toss evenly to disperse oil and seasonings. Cover with lid or plastic wrap. (If covering dish with plastic wrap, poke small hole in plastic.) Microwave on high for 10 minutes. Use oven mitts to carefully remove from microwave.

Why it works: The microwave energy acts directly on the olive oil and raises its temperature to the heat levels found in a conventional oven. This causes the potatoes to slightly brown in the microwave oven. If using plastic wrap, poke one small hole in the cover, as a moist contained cooking environment is created, yet the pressure is lessened.

Microwave Potato Casserole

Ingredients: 1¼ lbs. Yukon Gold potatoes, very thinly sliced; 1 cup quartered and thinly sliced onion; 1 cup shredded reduced-fat sharp Cheddar cheese; ½ teaspoon Italian herb seasoning; ½ cup stock or reduced-sodium broth; 1½ teaspoons Dijon mustard; ½ teaspoon garlic salt.

Spray an 8-inch microwave-safe baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Place 1/3 of the potatoes and 1/2 of the onions on the bottom of the dish and sprinkle with 1/3 the cheese and 1/2 the herbs. Repeat layers, then top with the last 1/3 of the potatoes, layering potatoes so that there is a solid layer of potatoes with no gaps; sprinkle with remaining cheese. Stir together stock, Dijon and garlic salt and pour over the potatoes. Cover with plastic wrap and microwave on HIGH for 20 minutes. Use oven mitts to remove dish from microwave; carefully remove cover from dish due to steam build-up and serve. Makes 6 servings. Watch the video!

Why it works: The microwave energy will actually raise the temperature of the cheese to the same level as a conventional oven, causing the cheese and potatoes to slightly brown. If using plastic wrap, make sure plastic wrap is not touching any ingredients and poke one small hole in the cover as the air-tight nature of the seal may create too much pressure for the ideal cooking environment.

Potatoes USA Disclaimer

Please Note: You have clicked on a link to a website maintained by a third party and are about to leave the Potatoes USA website. The external link should not be considered an endorsement by Potatoes USA of the third party website or the company or organization that owns it, and Potatoes USA is not responsible for the accuracy or nature of the content of the linked website.

Click ‘OK’ to continue, or ‘Cancel’ to return to PotatoGoodness.com.

OK Cancel