How Long to Parboil Potatoes?

Potatoes are one of the foods with the most varied options of preparing them. Some cooking methods require one to parboil them first, but how long should one parboil potatoes? We’ve tested different methods of cooking potatoes after parboiling, and here is what we’ve gathered.

It takes 5 – 10 minutes to parboil small or diced potatoes and 15 – 20 minutes to parboil a whole potato. A general rule of thumb is to boil them until you can effortlessly pierce them with a fork or knife edge without them falling apart.

How Long to Parboil Potatoes?

How Long to Parboil Potatoes?

How to Parboil Potatoes

Parboiling potatoes is as easy as it sounds. You simply boil your potatoes in a little salt to cook them partially. You may choose to parboil your potatoes whole or diced- either way, the results will be fine, but you’ll cook the whole ones longer than diced ones.

  1. Start by preparing your potatoes. Wash or peel and cut to desired sizes if you’re not cooking them whole.
  2. Put the potatoes in a pot and cover them with clean, cold water. Add salt, cover the pot with a lid, and set on the stove to boil on medium-high heat.
  3. Once the water boils, reduce the heat to prevent water from boiling over, or just uncover the pot. Continue boiling for about 5 to 10 minutes or shorter if the potatoes are in small sizes. Cook longer for larger potatoes.
  4. Use a fork or knife’s edge to test whether the potatoes are done. The fork or knife should go in with slight resistance.
  5. If the potatoes are done, remove from heat, drain excess water and cover them with cold water to stop further cooking. Drain the cold water and move on to the next step.
  6. Whatever your next step is, your parboiled potatoes are ready for the oven, deep frying, pan frying, or any other way. You can also store them refrigerated for up to 2 days, then fry them as desired before serving.

FAQs about parboiling potatoes

1.     How can one use parboiled potatoes?

Parboiled potatoes are very versatile in that they can be roasted, fried, or baked, depending on the dish being prepared. You can enjoy a side of crispy fried potatoes with your breakfast scramble or serve them mashed for dinner with a roast chicken.

There are no limits to parboiled potatoes, whether red, purple, or white; you can test the parboiling method on any type of potatoes. Also, you can whip up a batch of crispy roasted potatoes with garlic, herbs, and butter for a dinner treat with friends or family.

2.     Should one parboil potatoes for potato chips?

Potato chips can be a perfect snack for a good treat. While most people purchase the chips from the store, you’ll sometimes want to prepare customized ones and may not want to parboil potatoes first. Potato chips need to be finely chopped, and parboiling is not always necessary unless you want to.

Instead, we advise one to soak the sliced chips in cold water before frying. This doesn’t deliver the effects of parboiling, but it helps get rid of excess starch. Besides, these thin potato chips cook so fast that parboiling may be too rough on them.

3.     Why should I add salt while parboiling potatoes?

Parboiling potatoes come with many advantages. Apart from speeding up your cooking time, it helps give the potatoes a nice crust while allowing you to season them throughout. Adding salt while parboiling allows the salt to penetrate through the potatoes instead of having it sticking on the surface.

Also, you can parboil the potatoes with other seasonings such as peppercorns, bay leaves, or others you like. But since parboiling doesn’t take long, their flavors won’t be intense but will give you a rich aroma and some flavor with every bite.

4.     Can I parboil potatoes in the microwave?

Parboiling is an excellent way to pre-cook potatoes, but you can devise other ways to achieve the same effects using a microwave. Pre-cooking with a microwave, though, has its shortcomings. If you use a microwave to pre-cook French fries, they will most likely break apart or not cook evenly.

While pre-cooking with a microwave is best for oven or skillet potatoes, it’s still not as good as parboiling. When you parboil potatoes, a starchy surface forms around them and necessitates crisping and browning. This does not happen when you pre-cook with a microwave; thus, you don’t achieve the same crunch or golden brown color.

It’s important to note that the microwave won’t season potatoes the same way as parboiling does. For this reason, you may need to add more salt and other seasonings.


Parboiling potatoes is most likely among the simplest procedures you carry out in your kitchen. While most people are used to doing it, not many know exactly how long it should take. Generally, you’ll always need about 15-20 minutes for whole potatoes and 5-10 minutes for diced ones.