How to Peel a Potato Quickly


Potatoes can be a nutritious, fiber-rich part of your diet. According to the Idaho Potato Commission, keeping potato skins intact provides the most nutrients. If you can't or don't want to eat the skin, your first instinct may be to peel the potatoes prior to cooking; however, this can be a tedious, hand-cramping job with a vegetable peeler. A knife will often peel away a lot of the potato with the skin if uncooked. If you follow a few steps to boil the potatoes first, the skins will slip off.

Things You'll Need

  • Large pot or dutch oven
  • Small non-serrated knife with a thin blade
  • Colander or slotted spoon
  • Water
  • Potatoes
  • Wash potatoes under cool or tepid running water. Rub them with your hands or a vegetable brush to remove excess dirt.

  • Place the potatoes in a large pot or dutch oven. If your potatoes fill up more than half or two-thirds of the pot, divide them into multiple pots or cook them in batches.

  • Fill the pot with water until the potatoes are submerged under one inch of water.

  • Turn your stove to medium high. When the water starts to boil, set your timer for 20 minutes.

  • Prick the largest potatoes with your knife after they have been boiling for 20 minutes. The potatoes are done when you can insert your knife into the center of the potato without any resistance. If the potatoes are not done, set the timer for five minutes. Check them again and every five minutes thereafter until your knife inserts easily to the middle of the largest potatoes.

  • Drain potatoes in a colander. If you do not have a colander, remove potatoes with a slotted spoon to another bowl. Run cold water over the potatoes until they are cool enough to handle.

  • Peel the potatoes by holding the sharp end of your knife at a slight angle onto the surface of the potato and pulling the blade toward you until the peel scrapes off. Continue until you have scraped off all of the peel.

  • Cut out any eyes or bad spots. Insert the tip of the knife into the potato near the eye. Then, cut at an angle around the eye. Repeat until the eye or bad spot releases. Use potatoes as your recipe directs.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you have time, after rinsing the potatoes in cold water, refrigerate them or let them cool on the counter.
  • If you find it difficult to determine whether the potatoes are cooked, remove one of the larger potatoes with a slotted spoon to a clean plate, paper towel or rag, cut it in half and examine the center with a knife. If it is done, the potato should crumble easily and be a lighter color. If you still cannot tell, cut a chunk out and chew it.

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  • Photo Credit potato image by dinostock from
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