How To Properly Sauté Potatoes – With 3 Yummy Recipes!

If you're relatively new to cooking and are looking to expand your horizons, you might want to consider learning how to saute. This form of cooking is taken from the French word for "jump," as this requires you to keep the food you are cooking moving around at all times. You can saute pretty much anything, from varieties of vegetables to meats. For someone just beginning, starting with something simple is best. For this post, we researched numerous potato recipes to show you step by step how to saute a potato properly.

While there are recipes that will call for some variations, the necessary steps for how to properly saute a potato are:

  • Wash the potatoes
  • Cut
  • Boil
  • Drain
  • Saute
  • Season and serve

Now that you know the steps to saute a potato properly, we'll spend some time breaking the steps down so that they are easy to follow. You might also be wondering what happens if you cook a potato too long or how you fix potatoes that are overcooked. To see what our findings uncovered, read ahead in this post.

Sauteed sweet potato salad on black bowl on brown wooden background, How To Properly Sauté Potatoes - With 3 Yummy Recipes!

Saute Step-by-Step

Learning how to saute is pretty simple, and with a little bit of practice, you'll be able to master it like a pro. In general, most recipes will call for you to follow the steps we outlined earlier in this post. Let's go over each of these steps in more detail.

Wash the potatoes

Before you do anything else, it's essential to wash your potatoes thoroughly. These things came right out of the ground, and no matter how good your grocer is, potatoes are still going to be a little dirty by the time they are in your kitchen. Set them inside a clean sink, and gently scrub them with a sponge and cold water. This will loosen and remove all of the dirt and grime from the skins.

Cropped shot of a woman rinsing potatoes in a kitchen sink at home


Some recipes will call for you to peel the potatoes, some will encourage you to keep the skins intact. Whether you peel them or not, you'll want to cut the potatoes down to the form you want them to take when cooking them. Depending on the recipe, you'll slice them to varying degrees of thickness, or it may call for you to cube them. No matter which, use a good knife to accomplish this step.

One person slicing a potatoes on a cutting board


Place the cut potatoes in a pan of cold water that has been lightly salted. On your cooktop, bring a pot of water to a low boil. When the water is boiling, add the potatoes. When the water boils again, allow the potatoes to stay in the boiling water for five minutes. This will lightly cook the potatoes and soften them up. Doing this will ensure even cooking when you saute them.

Pieces of raw potatoes prepared for cooking


After your potatoes have boiled for five minutes, carefully pour them out in a strainer. You'll want the water to drain off of them almost entirely before you proceed to the next step.


In a saucepan, add the oil that your recipe calls for. Bring the oil to temperature using medium heat. You'll know the oil is ready when it looks like it's shimmering.

Carefully add the potatoes to the oil. You will need to keep the potatoes moving in the pan while they cook. This can be done by moving them with a spatula or moving the pan back and forth over the burner.

Gently turn them after several minutes, and continue to saute. When the potatoes are golden brown, they will be ready to be taken away from the heat.

Season and serve

Follow your recipe to season your now-sauteed potatoes. When they've cooled some, they'll be ready to serve and eat.

Three Tasty Recipes For Sauteed Potatoes

It wouldn't be right to go through the steps of how to saute a potato without giving away some great recipes for them. Below are some of the best ones we discovered while we were researching for this post.

  1. Tasty Craze has a terrific recipe for sauteed potatoes that has you season them with dill and vegetable spices.
  2. gives you step by step instructions on how to make Portuguese-style sauteed potatoes.
  3. All Recipes has a great recipe that has you saute kale with your potatoes. You can see their step by step instructions for how to make this dish on their website.

Do Potatoes Get Hard When Overcooked?

Huge sliced deep fried potatoes with oregano leaves and olive oil on the side

Potatoes are full of moisture. When this moisture is adequately heated, the potato will soften, making it easier to eat.

Cooking potatoes for too long can cause the moisture to evaporate out of the tuber. After evaporation occurs, the potato will quickly harden. This is most common if you are using a microwave to prepare or reheat potatoes. You'll notice the parts of the potato where the moisture has left, as it will leave behind tough spots.

Potatoes will also remain fairly hard if you do not cook them at a high enough temperature. If you are using low heat, it won't be enough to activate the potato's moisture to soften it properly. Follow the instructions from whatever recipe you're using so that you know how much heat to apply and for how long.

How Do You Fix Overcooked Potatoes?

Food preparations for potato salad or mashed potatoes for holiday dinner

If you've overboiled the potatoes, you might feel a little bit of a panic set in. Can they be saved?

Thankfully, a method will enable you to use your overboiled potatoes still, and it's pretty simple. The water inside the potatoes have boiled for too long, and it needs to be removed. Drain the potatoes, but keep them inside the pot. Turn the burner setting to low, and carefully stir the potatoes.

While you're stirring, you'll be able to hear and see the water from inside the potatoes sizzling out of them. Keep stirring and dragging the wooden spoon across the bottom of the pot. When the water is gone from the bottom, the overboiled potatoes will have been salvaged.

What Is The Best Potato Choice For Sautéing?

Sauteed potatoes with dill in a plate ready-to-eat

With numerous potato varieties to choose from, how do you know that you are selecting one that is good for sauteing?  While most recipes will specify the proper type, not all do. Ensuring that you have the right kind can make or break your dish.

For the most part, the best types of potatoes to saute are of the waxy variety. These potatoes will have very thin skin, so thin that you can remove it with the nail of your finger. Red potatoes and Yukon gold are two of the most common waxy potatoes you'll find in just about every grocery store.

These potatoes have a significantly lower starch content and have a waxy texture and appearance. This makes them retain their shape better while cooking, which means they are perfect for being sliced up and sauteed.

In Closing

Sauteed sweet potato salad on black bowl on brown wooden background, How To Properly Sauté Potatoes - With 3 Yummy Recipes!

Sauteeing potatoes can be fairly easy to learn. Most recipes will follow the step-by-step instructions for how to saute but will have different spices to add and other ingredients to saute with the potatoes. Potatoes can be hard if cooked for too long or if they aren't cooked at a high enough temperature. Thankfully, if you overboil your potatoes, there's an easy way to fix the issue.

It's important to select the right type of potato for the cooking method you're about to employ. For sauteeing, you will want to use red or Yukon potatoes, as their waxy textures allow them to hold their shape better when being moved about on your skillet.

If you enjoyed reading this post about sauteed potatoes, we believe you'll like the following posts on cooking:

16 Types Of Cooking Methods

Should You Take Potatoes Out Of The Plastic Bag?

Are Potatoes Bad If They Are Soft Or Green?

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