7 Easy Ways To Soften Potatoes

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Nothing beats a beautiful roast potato that is golden and crispy on the exterior and fluffy on the inside, but potatoes may be difficult to work with. Because some potatoes may remain hard, how can you soften potatoes to provide the dish everyone craves?

It is difficult to soften potatoes that have already been added to a recipe, but if your potatoes have not been softened, there are a few options. You may parboil them, steam them, or cook them in a slow cooker. If you already have them in a dish, add a teaspoon of baking soda to them.

Why don’t certain potatoes soften after being cooked? Is there anything more you can do to make sure your potatoes are always properly tender when you boil them? Let us investigate!

Why Do Potatoes Not Soften in Certain Dishes?

7 Easy Ways To Soften Potatoes

Nothing is more frustrating than sitting down to a dinner that you have been preparing for an hour or two and biting into what seems to be a perfectly cooked potato only to discover that it is still hard in the centre.

This is a common occurrence, and it might leave you puzzled why your potatoes did not cook all the way through. Potato cell walls contain a substance known as pectin.

Pectin creates chains in potato cells, and these chains stay stable and do not break down when the potato is exposed to specific acids.

So, if your recipe includes a strong acid content, such as one with wine, the potatoes will not soften no matter how long you simmer them.

To guarantee you produce the tastiest potatoes for any dish, you may utilize a few strategies to assist soften the potatoes during the cooking process.

How to Soften Potatoes

7 Easy Ways To Soften Potatoes

Softening potatoes is not a tough operation, but it will lengthen your cooking time and the number of dishes that will need to be washed when the meal is prepared. However, we can all agree that these two little downsides are well worth the wonderful potatoes you will eventually get to enjoy.

Some of the ways listed below are as easy as adding a common household item to the mix, while others are a little more complicated, but you may choose which one best fits you and your culinary style. So, let’s go through these strategies for softening potatoes.

1 – Par-Cook the Potatoes in the Microwave

Partially cooking your potatoes in the microwave is an excellent choice for softening them, particularly if you don’t have much time.

This will save you some cooking time but will not completely cook the potatoes. As a result, you may still roast or saute them to your preference without their overcooking or burning. Follow these easy steps to soften your potatoes in the microwave:

  • Wash the potatoes
  • Peel the potatoes (optional)
  • Place the potatoes in a microwave-safe basin and cut them into equal cubes.
  • Cover the potatoes with water and sprinkle with half a teaspoon of salt; thoroughly mix.
  • Microwave the potatoes and salted water in a microwave-safe dish for approximately 10 minutes on high.
  • Remove the bowel from the microwave and carefully drain the water. You may now bake or fry the potatoes, and you will have wonderful soft potatoes to serve.

2 – Parboil Your Potatoes Before Frying or Roasting

Another option is to parboil your potatoes on the stove before roasting or frying them. This is also a terrific time-saving strategy since the potatoes cook in half the time and are assured to be pleasantly tender. Here’s how to parboil potatoes on the stovetop:

  • Wash your potatoes
  • Peel your potatoes (optional)
  • Cut your potatoes into equal chunks
  • Place the potato chunks into a pot
  • Cover the potatoes with water and thoroughly stir with half a teaspoon of salt.
  • Turn on the heat and bring the potatoes to a simmer. Simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, or until they are soft when pierced with a fork.
  • Drain the potatoes well before cooking them to your liking.

3 – Add Salt to Your Potatoes

Many home chefs merely use plain water to boil their potatoes. This is a typical mistake when it comes to precisely cooking potatoes, since the plain water will raise the starch of the potato to the top, preventing the potato from cooking thoroughly.

You must add salt to the water while boiling potatoes to help them cook quicker. Salt will aid in the breakdown of the previously described starch and pectin linkages.

Once they are broken down, the potatoes will boil faster, resulting in softer potatoes. Remember to constantly season your potatoes with salt.

4 – Steam Your Potatoes to Soften Them

If you have a steamer or know how to use a saucepan as a steamer, this might be a huge help in your quest for soft potatoes. Steaming your potatoes before roasting or frying them is an excellent technique to soften them.

Steaming potatoes provides the same advantages as boiling potatoes. There is no need to add additional oil, and it will save you time while cooking your potatoes.

However, unlike boiling, steaming your potatoes will not dilute the taste of the potatoes, resulting in a more tasty dinner.

To steam your potatoes, follow the same methods as if you were boiling them, but use less water and a steamer.

5 – Use a Slow Cooker to Boil Your Potatoes

If you have a slow cooker, you may use it to assist guarantee that your potatoes are tender. This is a simple technique to assist in the cooking of your potatoes, and it is ideal for when you require the whole burner to cook other components of your dinner.

When the potatoes are cooked, remove them from the oven and simply bake, fried, or mash them. To boil potatoes in a slow cooker, just follow these simple steps:

  • If you want your potatoes peeled, wash them and peel them.
  • Cut your potatoes into equal chunks
  • Mix well your potato pieces, 1 cup of water, and half a teaspoon of salt in your slow cooker.
  • Cover the cooker with a cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours; alternatively, cook the potatoes on high for 3 to 4 hours, or until soft and easily cooked through in an oven or a pan.

6 – Cook Your Potatoes Separately from Other Food

If you’re having trouble cooking wonderful soft potatoes while creating a dinner like a roast or a stew, it’s possible that the acidity of the other components in the dish is interfering with the breakdown of the pectin chains in the potatoes, causing them to stay hard.

If you are creating an acidic meal or are unclear about the acidity of the dish, you should cook your potatoes separately.

After the potatoes have been cooked, you may add them to your stew or dinner. This may result in a few additional dishes to clean, but the potatoes will be lovely and soft.

7 – Add Baking Soda to Your Dish

There are instances when we have already added potatoes to a meal, such as a stew, only to discover that the potatoes are not softening owing to the acidity of the dish. Unfortunately, there is no way to rescue the potatoes and make them as soft as you would have hoped when this occurs.

However, you may rescue the meal by softening the potatoes little further, even though they will not be entirely soft. To do this, add some baking soda to your stew or casserole.

A teaspoon of baking soda added to your recipe might help neutralize some of the acids in the food, allowing the potatoes to soften a little more.

However, the potatoes will not soften entirely, so it is advisable to prepare them using one of the other techniques listed above before adding them to your dinner.

Tips and Tricks to Make the Perfect Soft Potatoes

Now that you know how to soften potatoes, let’s go over a few pointers to guarantee you always have wonderfully soft potatoes. Call these the potato rules, if you will, as they are important to know.

Choose the Right Potato for the Job

Many home chefs are unaware that there are many distinct sorts of potatoes, each of which is better suited to various types of meals.

This is due to the fact that the quantity of starch in the potato impacts its texture and taste, and the starch level varies depending on the variety of potato purchased. As a result, certain potato varieties are excellent for mashing while others are better for roasting.

When you have a dinner in mind, investigate which potato would be best for that dish. This will assist guarantee that your potatoes get soft while you prepare the meal for which they are intended.

Cut the Potato into Equal Sizes

When cooking potatoes, it is critical to chop them into equal pieces, and maybe even smaller if you are creating a meal that calls for smaller potatoes.

Cutting your potatoes into identical sizes allows all of the potato pieces to cook at the same time. This increases the likelihood that all of your potato pieces will be cooked through and tender when you serve them.

Use a Bigger Pan

Overcrowding the pan in which the potatoes are cooked is a typical error that people do. When you overcrowd the pan, the airflow around the potatoes decreases, as does the amount of heat that penetrates each piece of potato.

As a consequence, the potatoes will cook on the exterior while remaining firm on the inside. When cooking a large quantity of potatoes, use a large pan large enough to distribute the potatoes about.

You may also use a wire rack to assist spread out and cook your potatoes and ensure they get soft, as this will boost airflow around the potatoes.

Soak Your Potatoes Before Cooking

Potatoes have a lot of starch, which might prevent them from softening and cooking completely. Potato starch is created from sugars, and when you cook them without parboiling them first, the starch might accumulate on the exterior of the potatoes.

When heat is applied to the surface of the potato, this starch will caramelize and may even begin to burn before the potato is fully cooked, providing the appearance of cooked potato.

To prevent this problem, soak your potatoes before cooking them without parboiling. Soaking the potatoes will help remove some of the starch that has accumulated on their surface.

Fill the bowel halfway with cold water and add the potatoes. Allow them to soak in water for at least 1 hour before cooking.

Cook Your Potatoes at a Simmer Instead of Boiling

If parboiling potatoes, they should be cooked at a simmer rather than a strong boil. This is due to the fact that the exterior of the potato cooks quicker than the interior, thus the outside may seem soft and cooked while the inside remains rock hard.

Simmering the potatoes rather than boiling them slows down the cooking process and allows the whole potato to cook evenly at the same time.

Final Thoughts

Potatoes are adaptable root vegetables that are utilized as a mainstay in many different dishes. So it’s always a shame when they’re undercooked. If you use the procedures described above, you will never have to deal with a hard potato again. Best wishes for softening your potatoes!


How do you soften potatoes quickly?

Cooking in the Microwave

Here’s how to go about it: Simply puncture a few holes in a few potatoes with a fork and microwave for 3-4 minutes on high, flipping once. There you have it—quick par-cooked potatoes.

Can you soften potatoes in the microwave?

It’s as simple as washing your potatoes, pricking the skin numerous times all over, then microwaving them for around 4-5 minutes each potato. Prior prodding will enable the skin to crisp and the interior to soften. Cook for another 4-5 minutes after turning it over.

How long do you cook potatoes to soften them?

Once the water reaches a boil, peeled, diced potatoes cut into tiny, one-inch pieces should cook in 10 to 12 minutes. Larger pieces (about 2 inches across) may need more time, perhaps 15 minutes. Medium whole potatoes should be cooked for 20 minutes before they are tender.

How do you soften potatoes in the oven?

Preheat the oven to 400°F and prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Half the potatoes lengthwise.
Coat potatoes on both sides with olive oil and salt, then arrange cut side down on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Bake at 400°F for 30-40 minutes, or until done.

Does soaking potatoes in water make them soft?

Soaking potatoes in water aids in the removal of extra starch. Excess starch may prevent potatoes from cooking evenly and leave them with a gummy or sticky feel on the exterior. Cold water is utilized because hot water would activate the starch, making it more difficult to remove from the potatoes.

Do potatoes soften faster covered or uncovered?

In a nutshell, yes! Boiling potatoes with the cover on will cause them to boil quicker because trapping steam within your pot warms it up and causes more water molecules to escape away from your potatoes.

How long does it take to soften a potato in the microwave?

With a fork, pierce 3 to 4 times. Step 2Place the potato on a microwave-safe dish and microwave for 7 minutes, rotating halfway through. If your potato isn’t fork-tender after 7 minutes, microwave it in 1-minute increments until thoroughly cooked. Allow for a 2-minute rest.

Why is my potato still hard after microwaving?

Why do microwave potatoes get hard? Overcooked potatoes become dry and hard in the microwave because they lose too much moisture and become dry and hard.

Does boiling potatoes make them softer?

Some food science: Potatoes (like many other starchy plants) contain hemicellulose, a carbohydrate that provides structure to the tuber. It also easily degrades when heated in water, contributing to the creamy texture we all know and love.

Why won’t potatoes get soft?

Have you ever wondered why potatoes don’t soften when cooked in a stew or on top of sauerkraut? No longer be perplexed! Pectin is found in potato cell walls, and when exposed to acids, these pectin chains stay stable.

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