Should You Boil Potatoes Before Roasting Them?

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One of the most universally loved ingredients for a side dish is the potato. You can do so many different things with this one amazing vegetable. A great way to cook them is to roast them. This can get them crispy and delicious, but there is some debate about whether or not the potatoes need to be boiled before they are roasted. We have researched this topic for you to make the best possible roasted potatoes at home!

Most cooks agree that boiling your potatoes first gives you a better result after roasting them! The main reason for this is making sure the potato is thoroughly cooked by the end of the roasting. Parboiling the potatoes is usually the best approach. Another important factor in how they turn out is the type of potato used and following the proper boiling steps. You can make roasted potatoes without boiling them, but it’s more of a gamble. 

There are few things more disappointing than spending time on a dish only to have it turn out negatively. Potatoes may seem simple, but cooking with them can go downhill fast if you don’t know what you’re doing. That’s why you should have as much information about the process as possible! Check out everything down below to get a detailed look at how to make fantastic roasted potatoes!

Roasted baby potatoes in iron skillet. Dark grey background, Should You Boil Potatoes Before Roasting Them?

Why Do You Boil Potatoes Before Roasting?

It all has to do with how the potatoes cook. Boiling the potatoes first means that they are cooked to some degree before they go into the oven. This way, once you put them in to be roasted, the heat can work on crisping them up. If you put raw potatoes in the oven, they will still cook, but differently than if you boil them first.

The heat of the oven will work on cooking the potatoes through before it can do anything else. So basically, the act of boiling gives the potatoes a better chance of getting crispy in the oven.

What Is Parboiling?

Parboiling is the method of boiling potatoes so that they cook slightly, but not all of the way. This is important for roasted potatoes because the more potatoes cook, the mushier they become. If you completely boil potatoes and then roast them, you might have pieces of mush with crisp edges. With parboiling, the potatoes cook just enough that the insides can finish cooking and get fluffy while the outsides get crispy.

How Do You Parboil Potatoes?

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

Prepare the Potatoes

The first step is to prepare your potatoes. You always want to make sure that they are cleaned and decide whether or not you want to peel them. Leaving the skins on the potatoes or taking them off can depend on the recipe that you are using.

Cut Up The Potatoes

Depending on the size of the potatoes, you may want to cut them up. If you have large potatoes, then they will take longer to parboil. If you decide to speed up the cooking time and cut the potatoes, make sure that they are cut into even-sized pieces. Otherwise, they will cook at different rates.

Boil the Potatoes

Next, fill up your pan with water and place the potatoes inside. Then place the pan on the stove and bring it to a boil. You want the potatoes to warm up with the water. If you place them in already boiling water, the outside will cook faster than the middle. For roasting potatoes, you do not want that to happen.

Place in Cold Water

Once they have cooked for a short period of time, take the pot off the stove and place the potatoes into cold water. The cold water is important because it stops the potatoes from cooking any more.

How Long To Parboil Potatoes Before Roasting?

This can be hard to determine because it depends on the size of the potatoes being parboiled. For medium potatoes, you will want to boil for around 7 minutes. Larger potatoes may take closer to 10-12 minutes to parboil. Small potatoes may need to be taken out of the boiling water after just a couple of minutes.

The best way to tell when your potatoes are done is to test them. Pierce a couple of them with a fork. They should be soft and cooked towards the outside and still raw in the middle.

What Kind Of Potatoes Are The Best To Use For Parboiling?

You want a kind of potato that has a good balance of waxiness and starch. That will help it to be cooked to the texture that you want from a roasted potato.

The best choices are Yukon gold or russet potatoes. Yukon golds are a particular favorite because of their size. They’re small enough that you can parboil them whole and then cut them up for roasting. Russet potatoes work too, but you’ll want to cut them into even-sized pieces before parboiling since they are so large.

Can You Still Make Roasted Potatoes Without Parboiling?

Yes, you can, but you’ll have to be patient and keep an eye on your potatoes as they cook. The first step is to cut your potatoes into small pieces. Since they’re going in the oven raw, you want them to be as small as possible. Next, put your oven on a lower heat and prepare to wait longer for them to cook.

This will help to ensure that the potatoes get cooked all the way through without starting to burn. Soaking the potatoes before they go in the oven will also help this process. Basically, roasting without parboiling means everything is going to take longer.

How Far In Advance Can You Parboil Potatoes?

It might be tempting to parboil your potatoes as far ahead as possible to save some time later on. However, once the potatoes are parboiled, they’re not going to last very long. You want to roast them the same day that you parboil them or at most the next day. Just make sure to set them in a bowl of water in the fridge while they wait to be roasted. If you wait too long, then the potatoes will go bad.

How Do You Keep Parboiled Potatoes From Turning Black?

The reason that this happens to potatoes is because of oxidation. Once they are boiled and then left to sit, the air causes a chemical reaction within the potatoes that turn them brown and black. The best way to prevent this is not to let them sit out.

Make sure they are finished being cooked as soon as possible. One way to help slow this process down is to place them submerged in water. Also, some believe that if you add an acid to them, like lemon juice, it will slow down the oxidizing process.

Finishing Up

Roasted baby potatoes in iron skillet. Dark grey background, Should You Boil Potatoes Before Roasting Them?

To wrap things up, the most efficient way to roast potatoes is to boil them first. Specifically, you should parboil them and only cook them partially. This way, they will finish cooking inside while they crisp up on the outside. If you boil them too much or not enough, then the results of roasting them might not be as good.

You don’t have to boil the potatoes to roast them but not boiling them will make the process take a lot longer, and that process has its restrictions. Now nothing is stopping you from making deliciously crispy roasted potatoes!

To learn more about the best ways to deal with potatoes in your kitchen, click on the links below!

How Long To Boil Potatoes [By Type Of Dish]

Should You Bake Potatoes In Foil?  

Should You Dry Potatoes Before Frying Or Roasting?

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