How Long To Boil Potatoes For Mashed Potatoes – By Type Of Potato

Mashed potatoes are the ultimate comfort food. They're versatile, easy to prepare, and pair well with a variety of entrees. If you're wondering how to make your mashed potatoes even better, you may be surprised to learn that the type of potato you use in your recipe can make all the difference. We've researched the best potatoes for mashed recipes and how long to boil each to help you get started.

Potatoes with high and medium starch levels will yield the fluffiest mashed potatoes, while spuds with a lower starch content will result in a gummier consistency. Here are common boiling times:

  • High starch potatoes, like russets and sweet potatoes, need to boil for 15 to 20 minutes
  • Medium starch potatoes, such as the Yukon gold, should cook for 20 to 25 minutes
  • Low starch potatoes, including red potatoes, will be done boiling after about 10 to 15 minutes

The size of your potatoes will make a difference in their boiling time. Whole potatoes will take significantly longer to cook, while cubed potatoes cook at a faster rate.

Now we'll look at some commonly used potatoes used for mashing and look at how you can speed up the boiling process. We'll also answer some commonly asked questions, discover tasty recipes, and look at the different ways to mash potatoes. Keep reading to learn more!

Potatoes boiling in a saucepan on a gas hob, How Long To Boil Potatoes For Mashed Potatoes - By Type Of Potato

How Do You Boil Different Types Of Potatoes?

High Starch Content

Potatoes with a high starch content are the best for mashing. Starchy potatoes do not hold their shape well after boiling, so they will mash beautifully. Boil russets for about 15 to 20 minutes or until fork-tender.


A russet potato (Idaho potato)

Russets are the ideal choice for making super fluffy mashed potatoes. Their high starch content means that they'll whip up smooth and absorb ingredients like cream, butter, and milk exceptionally well. Chef John's Perfect Mashed Potatoes recipe uses russets and whole milk for super creamy results.

Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potato with slices isolated on white background

Mashed sweet potatoes are so versatile because you can easily make them sweet with a few sprinkles of brown sugar and cinnamon or savory with a pat of butter and some roasted garlic. Try this decadent Cinnamon Honey Butter Mashed Sweet Potatoes recipe for a delicious combination of flavors.

Medium Starch Content

Potatoes with a medium starch content are often referred to as all-purpose because they work well for baking, frying, and of course, mashing. All-purpose spuds will mash denser than the higher starch varieties and usually boil in 20 to 25 minutes.

Yukon Gold

Fresh organic vegetables; potatoes on the white background.

Many cooks argue that Yukon golds are the go-to potato for mashing. Their yellow-tinged flesh has a slightly sweet, buttery flavor, and they mash up well. These Creamy Mashed Yukon Gold Potatoes are infused with garlic, butter, and milk.

Peruvian Blue

Blue potatoes all fresh from the garden

Peruvian blues have beautiful bluish-purple flesh but taste similar to other potatoes. Their elegant color makes for an eye-catching side dish, like this Savory Mashed Purple Potatoes recipe.

Low Starch Content

Potatoes with a low starch content are also called waxy potatoes. These potatoes hold their shape well and are perfect for potato salad. However, if you like mashed potatoes with a chunkier consistency, these potatoes are right for you! Boil them for approximately 10 to 15 minutes and mash with a handheld masher for the best results.

Red Bliss

Red potatoes isolated on white background, larger files include clipping path. Color corrected, exported 16 bit depth,

Red bliss potatoes have lovely red skin and white, creamy flesh. There's no need to peel these potatoes because their bright red skin adds a fun pop of color and a nice texture. These Buttermilk Red Bliss Mashed Potatoes recipe from Hell's Kitchen uses savory herbs like rosemary and thyme.

French Fingerling

French red potatoes

French fingerlings are small, slender potatoes that have a rich and buttery taste. Leave the skin on and mash with parmesan cheese, garlic, and half-and-half in this savory Garlic Mashed Fingerling Potatoes recipe.

What Are Some Methods For Mashing Potatoes?

Hand Mixer

You can make ultra fluffy mashed potatoes with a hand mixer. There will be some lumps, but not many.

Click here to see this compact hand mixer on Amazon.

Handheld Masher

Handheld mashers are inexpensive but are time-consuming to use. If you like chunky mashed potatoes, the handheld masher should be your go-to tool.

Click here to see this handheld potato masher on Amazon.


Ricers are guaranteed to remove any lumps from your mashed potatoes, but it will require a bit of patience to use as you'll need to do a lot of squeezing.

Click here to see this potato ricer on Amazon.

How Do You Know When A Potato Is Done Boiling And Ready To Be Mashed?

Potatoes are done boiling and are ready to mash when they are fork-tender. Poke a couple of pieces of cooked potatoes; if the fork glides easily through, then your potatoes are thoroughly cooked and are ready to be mashed. You can also check the internal temperature using a food thermometer. If the temperature reads around 212 degrees Fahrenheit, your potatoes are ready to go.

Can You Boil Potatoes Ahead Of Time For Mashing?

Yes, you can easily boil potatoes ahead of time for mashing. After boiling potatoes in salted water, thoroughly drain and let cool. Place cooled potatoes in an airtight container or a bowl tightly wrapped with plastic wrap and stored in the fridge for up to three days.

When it's time to mash the potatoes, warm them up in the microwave for a few minutes to knock the chill off. Now you're ready to add butter, milk, and seasonings to create perfect mashed potatoes.

How Do You Boil Potatoes Quickly?

Pieces of raw potatoes prepared for cooking

If you're strapped for time and need to boil potatoes quickly, several methods will help you achieve your goal.

  • Cut the potatoes in chunks. Cutting potatoes in equal-sized pieces means that they'll cook at a much faster rate than they would if left whole.
  • Cook them in the microwave. You can place cubed potatoes in a microwave-safe bowl, cover with water, and cook in two to three minute increments until they are fork-tender.
  • Boil water beforehand. Place water in a teakettle and bring to a boil. Then, pour the boiled water over cubed potatoes in a pot and cook for about 10 minutes.

Can You Over Boil Potatoes?

You probably already know that it's possible to overboil potatoes for dishes like potato salad when the potatoes need to stay intact but end up mushy, but can you overboil potatoes when you're just going to mash them anyway? Surprisingly, yes. Spuds boiled for too long will make for overly soupy mashed potatoes because potatoes absorb a lot of water when overcooked.

Should You Cover Boiling Potatoes?

It's a good idea to leave the lid off of your pot, at least while the water reaches the boiling temperature. After the water has come to a full boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover with the lid, and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Allowing the potatoes to simmer with the lid on will result in even heat distribution and faster cooking time.

In Closing

Potatoes boiling in a saucepan on a gas hob, How Long To Boil Potatoes For Mashed Potatoes - By Type Of Potato

Mastering your mashed potato recipe starts with choosing the right type of spud for the job. Knowing how long to boil your potatoes and the right way to mash them will yield perfectly fluffy and delicious mashed potatoes every time.

Thanks for reading! For more helpful information regarding potatoes, be sure to check out:

20 Types Of Potatoes Every Cook Should Know

Should You Peel And Cut Potatoes Before Or After Boiling?

How Long To Boil Potatoes [By Type Of Dish]

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