Potato Cooking Tips

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! Interested in delicious recipes, see our potato recipes page.

One of the wonderful things about potatoes is their versatility. Potatoes come in not only several varieties but many different formats such as fresh, frozen, and dehydrated. Frozen and dehydrated potatoes can help reduce the cooking time in your favorite fresh potato recipe by reducing the total time of the recipe.

These simple tips will give you the power to determine what fresh potato recipes can be converted to use frozen or dehydrated potatoes.


Nearly every mashed potato recipe can be made using dehydrated potato flakes. Because dehydrated potatoes will typically have water, milk, and butter in their recipes to hydrate them, you will want to reduce the amount of liquid in a recipe to reach your desired consistency.

When substituting frozen potatoes for fresh, you will want to consider the following:

Lastly, be conscious that reading food labels becomes even more important, as processed potato products can contain other ingredients besides potatoes. If you have food allergies or dietary restrictions or you are cooking for someone with food allergies or dietary restrictions, you will want to be sure you read the ingredient label of the product you intend to use as a substitute.

Potato Tips for Cooking

Preparing Potatoes for Cooking
  • Gently scrub potato with a vegetable brush under cool running water. If peeling, use a vegetable peeler or sharp paring knife.
  • 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. 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 for more information.

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

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 375°F. Prep a large pan with parchment paper. Scrub potatoes and cut into bite-size wedges. In a large bowl, toss the potatoes with the oil, salt, and pepper. Spread the potatoes into one layer on your baking sheet and bake for about 40 minutes until browned and tender when pierced with a fork. Serve while hot. Yum! You’re done. Please see our How to Make Roasted Potatoes page for more information.

How to Make Perfect Mashed Potatoes

It’s the great potato debate! How to make perfect mashed potatoes? With skins or without? Russets, yellows, reds, or whites? Whatever your preference, we have your basic recipe for Creamy Mashed Potatoes. Peel potatoes and then cut them up into about equal sizes. Bring a pot of water to a boil and add your potatoes. Keep boiling and cook these for 30 minutes, until a fork slides easily into the potatoes. Drain the potatoes. Put your potatoes that you drained back into the pot and put back on the burner, low heat. You are now going to just mash them with a spoon or potato masher. Add your butter, cream cheese, milk, black pepper and salt and whip until creamy. Please see our How to Make Mashed Potatoes page for more information.

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. Click for leftover mashed potato recipes.

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.yellow 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.

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Mouthwatering Potato Recipes

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Delicious and inspiring potato recipes delivered to you every Tuesday. You’ll always have new, tasty ideas to surprise and delight your family and friends.

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