This is a question that many people often ask themselves, and while the answer is almost always a resounding YES, there are a few things that you should know before you throw those spuds in a pot of boiling water.

In this blog post, we discuss the science behind boiling potatoes, how to boil them faster, whether you should salt the water or not, cover them with a lid or not, and a few more things.

Read on!

do potatoes boil faster with the lid on

Do potatoes boil faster with the lid on?

Yes, potatoes do boil faster with the lid on.

This is because when you put a lid on a pot, it traps the steam that is generated by the boiling water and forces it back down into the pot.

This in turn means that the water is heated more quickly and efficiently, and the result of this is that your potatoes will cook faster.

Now there are many other factors that could come into play, like how firm the lid is and stuff like that, but the general rule is that; just like it is with boiling water (whihc is basically what cooks the potato), a lid will almost always make things happen faster.

If you are boiling potatoes that are very dense or starchy, they may absorb some of the water and become mushy if you leave the lid on.

For these types of potatoes, it is best to leave the lid off so that they do not absorb too much water and become overcooked.

What is the fastest way to cook potatoes?

The microwave. Yep, you read that right. The microwave is actually the fastest way to cook potatoes.

Microwaving potatoes can cook them in as little as seven minutes, whereas boiling them can take even more than 30 minutes depending on their size and density.

So, if you are ever in a rush and need to cook potatoes quickly, the microwave is always your best bet.

If you have no microwave oven, then steaming is the second-fastest option. Steaming potatoes can take as little as 12 minutes, which is still considerably faster than boiling them.

Steaming is faster because it uses less water than boiling. You’ll only need about an inch of water in the bottom of your pot when steaming, as opposed to the large pot of water that you’ll need for boiling.

The steam circulates around the potatoes and cooks them evenly without making them soggy.

Do potatoes cook faster with the skin off or on?

Potatoes cook faster with the skin off and when cut into smaller cubes or pieces. This is because the skin is an extra barrier that needs to be heated through before the potato is cooked.

potatoes boiling in a pot

The difference though is only a few minutes so if you prefer your potatoes with the skin on, then leave it on.

The skin will also be quite easy to peel when the potatoes are cooked through so you could always cook them with the skin on and then peel them afterward.

Does salt help cook potatoes faster?

Cooking potatoes in salty water helps in two ways. The first and most obvious one is that it adds flavor to what would have otherwise been a blunt potato (pun intended).

More interestingly though, adding salt to water allows it to cook at a higher temperature, which in turn cooks the potatoes more thoroughly and evenly resulting in a more creamy texture

When it comes to baking, sprinkling salt on potatoes will also add flavor (obviously) but will help to draw moisture out of the potato resulting in a fluffier inside and crispier outside.

sweet potatoes

Which potatoes are best for boiling?

The best potatoes for boiling are waxy potatoes like Yukon Golds or red potatoes. They hold their shape and don’t turn to mush when boiled.

Starchy potatoes like Russets are better for baking, frying, or mashed potato dishes because they break down and become fluffy when cooked.


So, there you have it, the ultimate potato cooking guide that you never knew you needed (LOL).

On a serious note though, putting the lid on when boiling potatoes will make them cook faster however, you should remember that they may become mushy if they are left for too long.

If you really want to cook potatoes faster though, the quickest way is to microwave them or steam them.

Follow these tips to consistently cook your potatoes faster:

  • Cut them into small pieces or cubes so that they will cook more evenly and quickly.
  • If you are boiling potatoes, put the lid on the pot to trap the steam and force it back down onto the potatoes.
  • Use less water when steaming by only filling the bottom of your pot with an inch or so of water.
  • Cook them in the microwave! It’s the fastest way to cook potatoes.