How to Parboil Potatoes

This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Want the secret to potatoes that are crisp on the outside, tender on the inside? Learn how to parboil potatoes with this simple method.

One fact about me is that I absolutely adore a perfectly cooked potato.

My son does too, and we often battle over the wonderfully crunchy-yet-soft potato pieces from the baking pan.

A stainless steel pot containing raw, unpeeled potatoes of various colors on a marble countertop.

The secret to those delicious, crave-worthy potatoes? Parboiling!

If you know how to make mashed potatoes, you already know how to make parboiled potatoes — and it’s easier!

Why parboil potatoes?

Although it might seem like an unnecessary step, parboiling potatoes and other vegetables has a few benefits.

First, par-cooking will help ensure the interior will be fully cooked. Ever spent too long standing at the stove trying to get potatoes to soften, or end up burning roasted potatoes? Parboiling is the solution!

After parboiling, the cooking time is reduced on the second cook, meaning you’ll get the ideal exterior and interior without overcooking.

Second, you can parboil ahead of time, saving you time when dinner prep is on the horizon. It’s a huge time-saver for spring brunch celebrations, summer cookouts, and Thanksgiving feasts!

Finally, you’ll save money. You know those grocery store packets of potatoes featured near the eggs? They’re just par-cooked! Grab some whole potatoes instead and make your own easy packets.

How to parboil potatoes

First, you’ll need to prep your potatoes. You can use any variety of potato you like for parboiling, keeping in mind that some varieties, like sweet potato, might need a few minutes more to cook.

I like to use Yukon gold potatoes, but larger potatoes will do as well!

Peel the potatoes if you desire, then cut them into equal-size pieces. The chunks can be as small or as large as you like, depending on what you plan to use them for later. You can even cut them into sticks or wedges to make French fries.

Add the diced potatoes to a large pot and cover with tap-cold water. Add a pinch of salt, then put the pot on high heat and bring the water to a boil.

Pot of diced potatoes soaking in water.

Once the water is boiling, reduce the heat to medium-high (no boiling over here!). Boil the potatoes for 3-5 minutes.

You’ll want to start testing the potatoes at 3 minutes. Use a fork or paring knife to poke into a potato piece. If there is only a slight resistance to the fork, the potatoes are ready!

Drain immediately and let cool. You can also give the potatoes a quick rinse with hot water to remove excess starch.

Diced potatoes drying on a mesh strainer over a white countertop.

For parboiling, there is no need to cool the the potatoes using an ice-water bath. That method is called blanching, and is typically used for freezing vibrant veggies like asparagus, green beans, or broccoli.

Now you have parboiled potatoes, ready to use or store!

Ways to use parboiled potatoes

I often use parboiled potatoes in breakfast dishes like roasted breakfast potatoes or potatoes O’Brien (homefries). They also are great for a breakfast hash!

If you’re grilling potatoes this summer, parboiling is a must. Do it ahead of time to make my grilled potato salad at a moment’s notice.

You’ve also gotta try these amazing duck fat potatoes for a dinner side dish, or put together low country boil foil packets. Perfect for entertaining!

A plate of diced, sautéed potatoes with red and green bell peppers, accompanied by whole onions, garlic, and a bowl of salt on a white surface.

Storing parboiled potatoes

If you don’t plan to use the potatoes immediately, you can store them to finish cooking later. I like to prep larger batches and then store in smaller bags for quick meal prep!

To store in the refrigerator, place potatoes in an airtight container and use within a few days.

To freeze the potatoes. make sure they are well drained. Gently pat dry with paper towels or a clean kitchen towel.

Spread the potatoes onto a lined baking sheet, making sure they do not touch (if they do, they will stick together during freezing). 

Place the baking sheet into the freezer and chill until completely frozen. This can take as long as 12 hours, so if you pop them in before bed, they’ll be ready in the morning!

Remove the frozen potatoes from the pan and transfer to freezer-safe bags. Remove as much air as possible, using a vacuum sealer if you have one, then seal and label.

Use the frozen potatoes within 3 months. Smaller potato pieces don’t need to be thawed, but larger pieces should be thawed overnight in the fridge before using.

Lemony Grilled Potato Salad


Potatoes should always be boiled using cold tap water rather than adding them to already-boiling water. Heating the water and potatoes together allows heat to penetrate all the way to the center of the potato.

Adding potatoes to boiling water can easily overcook the outsides and make them fall apart.

Adding salt to the parboil will help the potatoes get seasoned all the way through. You only need to add a pinch of salt, so don’t worry about them being overly salty.

The length of time for parboiling will depend on the size of your potatoes. Small pieces will take just a few minutes, but if you want to parboil whole red potatoes or whole new potatoes, it can take 10-15 minutes, or even longer. Use the poke test to determine doneness; the potatoes are ready when a fork can be poked in with just minimal resistance.

Love this recipe? Please leave a 5-star review below!
It means so much when you enjoy my recipes, so let me know how it goes and leave a comment if you have any questions.

Diced potatoes drying on a mesh strainer over a white countertop.

How to Parboil Potatoes

Par cook potatoes to save time later! This method ensures your potatoes are deliciously tender all the way through.
Author : Megan Myers
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Recipe Review
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 131 kcal


  • 1 1/2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, or favorite variety potato
  • Water
  • Pinch salt


  • Scrub potatoes clean and peel if desired. Cut into even size pieces, about ½-inch for hash.
  • Place potatoes in a large pot and cover with tap-cold water and a pinch of salt.
  • Set over high heat and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce to medium-high, then boil the potatoes for 3 to 5 minutes.
  • Test a potato after 3 minutes with a fork or sharp knife. If there is only slight resistance, the potatoes are done. Do not overcook.
  • Drain potatoes and let cool for 5-10 minutes before using in your next recipe, or storing for later use.


Calories: 131 kcalCarbohydrates: 30 gProtein: 3 gFat: 0.2 gSaturated Fat: 0.04 gSodium: 10 mgPotassium: 716 mgFiber: 4 gSugar: 1 gIron: 1 mg

Nutrition information is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate based on online calculators. Any nutritional information found on Stetted should be used as a general guideline only.

Tried this recipe?Leave a comment below!

About Megan

I focus on fresh ingredients and easy methods, with spins that keep meals interesting. Dinnertime shouldn’t be stressful or complicated, and I’m here to help you enjoy the time spent in the kitchen. Read more…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.