How to peel a potato

Give your vegetable peeler the day off. Try this simple prep technique to remove the skin from a batch of boiled potatoes in next to no time. Mashed potatoes, potato casseroles, and more have never been easier to make!

Don't fuss with slicing spirals with a paring knife or shooting potato peels all around your kitchen via a vegetable peeler. This Test Kitchen trick allows you to peel already-boiled potatoes in no time flat. Just follow the simple step-by-step directions below the next time you need a batch of spuds for mashed potatoes or potato salad.

BH&G Test Kitchen Tip: This technique works best with small potatoes that can be cooked whole in boiling water; large potatoes are best cut into pieces before boiling to reduce the time it takes to cook them.

How to Peel Potatoes Boiled with the Skin On

Step 1: Score Potatoes Around the Middle

Gather small Yukon Gold Potatoes, Fingerling Potatoes, or New Potatoes. Rinse and brush away any dirt and blemishes, then use a knife to carefully slice through the peel around the circumference of each potato. Slice past the skin, but don't make this a deep cut because you want to preserve as much of the flesh as you can for your recipe.

Step 2: Boil Until Tender

Place the scored potatoes in a large saucepan, and fill with enough water to cover the tops of the potatoes. Season with 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of salt. Cook on high to bring water to boiling, then reduce heat to low. Cover pan with a lid and gently boil for 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Check them with a fork for doneness.

Step 3: Drain and Rinse with Cold Water

Transfer cooked potatoes to a colander to drain off water. Rinse with cold water immediately after draining and submerge in a cold bath.

Step 4: Slip Off the Peels

Find the scored section of the potato and start there to slip off the peels. Discard removed peels and proceed with your recipe using the skinless spuds.

Now that you've quickly peeled a batch of boiled potatoes, put the skinned spuds to good use for a tasty breakfast in our Mashed Potato-Egg Casserole or combine them with crispy bacon in our Bacon-Almond Potato Croquettes to serve as appetizers for your next party. You can even try them in Christmas Rolls, the secret ingredient in our light-as-air cinnamon rolls.

How to peel a potato

With Mashed Potatoes begging to be made, the question has to be asked: What is the best way to peel a potato?

I know there are a number of ways out there to do this that people swear by, but I decided on five ways to test: the straight peeler, Y-peeler, paring knife, score and boil method and boil then peel method (which we also mentioned in our how-to for boiling potatoes). Let’s jump right in.

The Prep

Regardless of the method you choose, you absolutely need to wash your potatoes beforehand. Most potatoes are never properly washed from when they’re harvested so they still have dirt on them. Use a vegetable brush to really help you get rid of any dirt that’s set in the shallow eyes. If you’re able to, wash the potatoes with enough time for them to dry before you peel them. This will make sure they aren’t as slippery when you’re holding them. If you don’t have time to let them dry, use a clean dish towel to dry them and/or to help you hold them.

Straight Peeler

The straight peeler shown isn’t the same as most swivel style peelers, but it performed about the same as one would. The straight peeler (like this one) is one that I see most often as it’s probably the most traditional besides a paring knife. The motion you create with it feels much like that when you use a paring knife to peel. It goes front to back without much range of motion. It definitely feels safer than using a paring knife and doesn’t take as much of the potato off when peeling.

How to peel a potato


A Y-Peeler is the most comfortable to hold with the wider base. It also allows for more of a grip when you have wet or dirty hands. My favorite way to use this peeler is to hold the top half of the potato and peel away from my hand, peeling the entire bottom half of the potato, then holding this newly peeled half and peeling the other side. It feels the most balanced and the least like I’d slip and hurt myself. It’s smooth, quick and doesn’t waste a lot of the potato on the peels either. It also feels like you have a larger range of motion than say with a straight peeler or a paring knife.

Paring Knife

Using a paring knife feels like the most professional way to do this, but it also requires the most attention to avoid any mishaps. It’s pretty easy to end up digging too deep into the potato, not allowing a clean peel and creating jerking motions. This method ended up losing the most amount of potato on the peel for me, but with practice I can see that it could be a contender as a go-to method.

Storage while peeled (Pre-boiled)

If you’re looking to save some time, use one of the above methods and cut your potatoes into small pieces. Place in chilled water and store until use so they don’t turn brown! This is best done when you use the potatoes within 24 hours. Perfect for the day before prep for holiday dinners!

Score and Boil

If peeling before boiling isn’t your style or you just don’t have time, try this method. Score the potato down the middle, creating a ring around the potato. Boil until fork tender and each half of the peel should come right off.

Boil then Peel

This method definitely works, but it isn’t the cleanest method. Boil these potatoes like normal and wait until they’re cool enough to touch. Use your fingers to pull back the peels.

The winner:

Without a doubt, for me at least, is this Y-Peeler. It feels more sturdy and balanced than a straight peeler. It’s definitely safer than a paring knife so you can pass this job off to a younger member of the family if needed (but watch them because that peeler is still sharp!), and there is no risk of burning your fingers with the post-boiling methods. I also felt like either method that requires peeling after boiling never gave a clean peel. They mostly crumbled in my hand or the peels didn’t come off cleanly creating more frustration. In the end, just do yourself a favor and buy an early Christmas present for yourself!

Picture of your peeler (or link to product). There's no way something called a potato peeler won't peel a potato. You sure you don't have the little piece of safety plastic still on the blade??

Check this out at Wweixi Stainless Steel Vegetable Peeler Potato Carrot Fruit Scraper Kitchen Gadget Peeling Tool, Black:

Why doesn't it work? You can cut a flat side off the tips and stand it up and use a knife cutting down the outsides, but a bit more tedious.

I end up cutting most of the flesh out if I try that. The skin is so hard and raw when the potato is uncooked it’s impossible to get it out thinly.

Some potato peelers are terrible, try getting a better one

I worked in a kitchen and had to peel 60+ potatoes at a time, and it was a breeze with a peeler. It sounds like your peeler might be garbage because it should peel very easily with light pressure. Try using a knife until you can get a sharper peeler. You can look up videos on how to peel foods with a knife if you need guidance, and be careful!

I have this one: Check this out at Wweixi Stainless Steel Vegetable Peeler Potato Carrot Fruit Scraper Kitchen Gadget Peeling Tool, Black:

Every Thanksgiving my brother mangles 4 potatoes while I peel a couple dozen. He regularly makes me switch peelers, thinking mine must be better.

You may be pressing it too hard or angling it wrong. Buildup on the blade can prevent it from working. Don’t keep doing the same thing over and over again in frustration. Rinse your blade and start with a fresh potato. Try different pressure and approach angles, turning the potato and rinsing the peeler as necessary. You want to peel long, smooth strips. Not a ton of little shaves. Peel away from yourself and mind your fingertips.

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Cooks have invented many tools, including vegetable peelers of all shapes and sizes, for peeling potatoes. However, you won’t need any special tools if you already own a decent kitchen knife.

Potatoes grow underground, so their skins accumulate a lot of dirt. For best results, use a nylon bristled brush or a sponge to scrub the skin of your potato.

How to peel a potato

How to peel a potato

How to peel a potato

How to peel a potato

Wait to peel the potatoes right before you use them so that the white flesh will not turn brown.

How to peel a potato

How to peel a potato

How to peel a potato

How to peel a potato

How to peel a potato

How to peel a potato

Some cooks prefer to peel potatoes while they are hot. Boil or steam the potatoes with the skins on, and then use a paring knife to remove the skins. This method isn’t recommended for roasted potatoes because during roasting, the potatoes lose a lot of their water and the skins actually become more difficult to separate from the flesh as a result. The following is the way to peel potatoes after boiling them.

Much like an apple or a pear, peeling a potato when it is still raw seems like the most natural thing to do. … Finally, by peeling potatoes before cooking you can avoid any laborious potato scrubbing to remove dirt and pesticide residues if you have decided to cook with the skin on.

Can you peel a potato before you bake it?

Should I peel my potatoes before roasting? In short – yes. As I said, I usually don’t bother peeling my potatoes. Potato skins actually contain a lot of nutrients, and it’s quicker not to peel them, which is always a plus for a lazy cook.

How do you remove the skin from a baked potato?

I show a simple trick to easily remove potato skins. Instead of using a peeler I use a sharp knife to score the potato around its center. Then the potato is placed in boiling water until it is cooked. The potato is then placed into a bowl of cold water for a few seconds so it is cool to touch.

How long can you peel potatoes before cooking?

You can prepare the spuds up to 24 hours before you need to cook with them. Then, on the evening you’re planning to serve them, you can make creamy potatoes at the drop of the hat. Start by scrubbing potatoes under cool running water to remove dirt; dice, slice, or chop as directed in recipe.

Is it better to peel potatoes?

You absolutely must peel the potatoes to be sure you don’t leave any spores inside your food.

Why do you need to poke holes in a potato before baking it?

“It pokes holes in the skin, which allows steam to escape. Otherwise, they could explode—it doesn’t happen all the time, but it happens every once in a while. The potato is full of water it’s trying to turn to steam, or water vapor. The skin acts like a pressure vessel.

Is it better to bake potatoes in foil?

Prick potatoes with a fork before baking to shorten the baking time and to keep them from bursting. … Do not wrap potatoes in aluminum foil for baking. Foil holds in moisture and steams the potatoes, resulting in a “boiled” taste and texture.

Can you overbake potatoes?

Do not overcook potatoes as the insides will be dry, so it’s important to be vigilant. The higher the oven temperature, the shorter the cooking time will be and the crustier the skin. Larger potatoes will take longer to bake. … When baked to perfection, remove potatoes from the oven.

Do potatoes get hard when overcooked?

Hard potatoes usually result when the cooking temperature is not high enough to soften the starch in a potato.

Is it better to peel potatoes before boiling?

Some people may prefer to peel the potatoes before boiling, but we would recommend you leave the skins on. … Cooking times can be reduced if you cut the potatoes into smaller chunks, but if you do want to peel them, this will be more difficult the smaller the pieces.

Should you soak potatoes for mashed potatoes?

Eating healthy should still be delicious.

Soak the baking potatoes for just a few minutes in cold water to release some of their starch so the cooked spuds don’t get gluey. A combination of starchy bakers and more waxy, buttery Yukon Golds creates an ideal creamy-yet-fluffy final texture in the mash.

Can you leave peeled potatoes in water for 2 days?

A: You can store peeled potatoes in water in the refrigerator for about 24 hours. … Cubed peeled potatoes can sit in water overnight, but they need to be refrigerated. Cut the potatoes into equal size chunks so that when you decide to boil them they will cook at the same time, usually 1 1/2 to 2 inch chunks.

Can I peel and cut potatoes in advance for mashed potatoes?

Prepping the Potatoes Ahead of Time

To save time spent peeling and chopping on Thanksgiving Day, you can peel the spuds and keep them submerged in a bowl of water in the fridge, whole or cut up, for hours—even overnight—before boiling.

Why you should not eat potato skins?

Toxicity of Potato Skins Becomes a Hot Issue : Natural Chemicals in Peels Can Pose Problems If Eaten in Huge Quantities. “Potato Skins Contain Natural Chemicals Toxic to Humans, Cornell Study Says,” read the headline on the university news service release that was picked up by the media coast to coast.

Can we eat potato peel?

Yes. Eat the skin to capture all the natural nutrition of a russet potato. The potato skin has more nutrients than the interior of the potato. It has lots of fiber, about half of a medium potato’s fiber is from the skin.

You know that feeling you get when someone gives you a simple tip that makes your life a tad bit easier. It’s a feeling of “ahh cool….why didn’t I think of that!” That is the feeling I got when I discovered this handy dandy tip on how to peel a cooked potato easily.

I love potato salad and sweet potato pies (any kind of potato dish really) but the one thing I hate is having to peel a cooked potato. True the skin comes off fairly easy but it takes so freakin long to cool! Especially if you are peeling a crap load of potatoes.

Here is the easiest way (or at least the easiest way I’ve discovered) to peel a cooked potato.

Step 1.) Bring a pot of water to a boil.
Step 2.) With a knife, score your potatoes all the way around the center.
Step 3.) Place your potatoes in the pot and boil for about 15 minutes or so.
Step 4.) Prepare a bowl of ice water and place your potatoes in the water.
Step 5.) Swish it around for a few seconds just enough so that it’s cool enough to handle
Step 6.) Remove your potato from the water and remove the skin. It should slip off instantly.

The Science: The cold water causes the hot potato to instantly contract & separate from the skin.

We’ve all been there: you want a potato in a bad way so you grab some at the grocery store and get them home, ready for some homemade french fries, a heaping bowl of fluffy mashed potatoes, or baked potatoes stuffed with all the fixin’s.

How to peel a potatoCaitlin Shoemaker

And then you realize, you have no peeler. You’re already committed to the idea of potatoes. In fact, at this point nothing else will do.

How to peel a potatoCaitlin Shoemaker

Fear not, spud lover. You can still make your mashed potato dreams come true. Read on to find out two ways you can peel a potato without a peeler. #AdultingHacks FTW.

Method One: Boil and Ice Bath

1. If you are boiling your potato to cook it, scrub your unpeeled potatoes before placing them into a pot with cold water. Cover it with a lid and bring to a boil.

How to peel a potatoLora Maghen

2. Meanwhile, prepare an ice bath for your spuds by combining cold water with ice. Place next to your pot.

How to peel a potatoKatherine Baker

3. Simmer until potatoes are tender upon poking with a fork. Now remove your potatoes from the hot water and submerge them in the ice bath.

How to peel a potatoKatherine Baker

4. Give the potato 10-20 seconds or so, remove from water, and then simply peel away the skin with your fingers or a paper towel. #magic

How to peel a potatoKatherine Baker

Method Two: Use A Paring Knife

1. Wash your potato and stand the potato on its bottom, gripping the potato from the top with your non-dominant hand.

How to peel a potatoKatherine Baker

2. Take your knife and starting at the top, making one straight downward cut to remove the skin, being careful to remove as little flesh as possible.

How to peel a potatoKatherine Baker

3. Rotate the potato slightly and repeat until skin is removed.

How to peel a potatoKatherine Baker

4. Touch up the top and bottom of the potato and remove any eyes or bad spots.

How to peel a potatoArden Sarner

With these simple hacks, you’re only minutes away from your own perfectly naked potato, no peeler required.

How to peel a potato

How to peel a potatoSarah Williams admin

Source: Talesbuzz Photography / Nicole Perry

When I saw a trick for removing potato skins by slipping them off without using the dreaded vegetable peeler, I knew I had to try it immediately to see if it worked. YouTube user Foody Tube’s amazing potato hack video claims you can skip the peeling process before boiling the potatoes and, instead, squeeze the skin straight off the potatoes once they’re fully cooked. It sounds almost too good to be true, but guess what? It works.

Keep reading to learn how to do it.

Source: Talesbuzz Photography / Erin Cullum

How to Peel Potatoes After Boiling and Without a Peeler

Using a sharp knife, pierce the skin only and draw a line all the way around the center of the potato. Do this quickly by twirling the potato around with one hand while keeping the knife steady in the other.

Transfer the potatoes to a giant pot of cold water (cover the potatoes by at least an inch of water). Boil the potatoes until they are fork tender, then drain them. Once they’re cool enough to touch, peel the potato skin from each side of the punctured line you created. And voilà — the skin will slide off effortlessly! Not only does this drastically speed up the process for making mashed potatoes, but it also makes cleanup a lot less stressful.

Once you try this cooking method, you’ll probably never go back. You’re on your way to the quickest and best mashed potatoes of your life.

Source: Talesbuzz Photography / Erin Cullum

Source: Talesbuzz Photography / Erin Cullum