There’s many a recipe where we’re asked “How do you parboil potatoes?”, and we’ve got the answer! The good news is, it’s really simple.
Potatoes get parboiled for all sorts of reasons, from roasting to adding to soups, to making the perfect French fry. What you do with them once they’re prepared is up to you, but taking the time to parboil makes the final dish better.
Did you know that potatoes became a domesticated crop in Peru about 10,000 years ago? While they’re grown on nearly every continent now, they appear to be indigenous to the Americas.
Now here’s the crazy part. In their natural state, potatoes can actually be poisonous! They’re a member of the nightshade family, and so non-domesticated versions can cause poisoning in humans. Thank goodness for farming.
Now, mashed potatoes don’t usually need parboiling. The potatoes get straight up boiled for a long time before draining and mashing.
But if you wanted to freeze diced potatoes for mashed potatoes in a flash, parboiling is what helps it make it happen.
The thing is, potatoes can take much longer to cook than other vegetables and meat because of their super starchy nature. What’s a cook to do? Parboil.
What is parboiling?
It’s quite simple, really. Parboiling is the act of partially boiling, or precooking, some type of food. You can parboil most any vegetable or grain, be it rice, sweet potatoes, carrots, mixed vegetables, or even broccoli.
Why do I need to parboil my potatoes?
We parboil for a few simple reasons:
- We want to freeze a large portion of produce, but make it easy to cook from frozen.
- We’re planning ahead, for meal prep purposes.
- Some starches may take too long to cook if only cooked using another method, such as roasting.
How is parboiling different from blanching?
When you parboil, you boil the potatoes in salted water for a few minutes. Blanching is different in that you’d then submerge the potatoes in ice water to immediately stop the cooking process.
How to Parboil Potatoes:
- Wash the potatoes and dice them into equally-sized pieces, peeling if desired.
- Bring a saucepan 3/4 of the way full of clean, cold water to a boil.
- Add a pinch of salt to the water.
- Add potatoes to the water and boil for 5 minutes.
- Drain and cool.
How do I use my parboiled potatoes?
Parboiled potatoes can be used lots of different ways. Try them in a sheet pan dinner, without the need to roast the potatoes by themselves first.
Toss them in your favorite soup or stew, and have perfect chunky potatoes in half an hour. Toss them together with a bit of olive oil, rosemary, garlic, salt and pepper, and then freeze them – when you’re ready to roast or steam, it will only take a few minutes to have a side dish on the table.
How to Freeze Parboiled Potatoes:
- Pat drained potatoes dry.
- Line a jelly roll pan lined with parchment paper or a Silpat liner.
- Spread the cut potatoes out on the pan, making sure they are evenly spread and not touching.
- Freeze for 2-4 hours.
- Remove from the freezer and place in ziptop bags. Make sure to label and use within 2-3 months.
How to Cook with Parboiled Potatoes:
- Enjoy in a casserole with chicken or beef.
- Sauté with chunks of chicken and broccoli for an easy one-pan supper.
- Season, then roast with other vegetables or meats at 400°F for 10 minutes.
- Toss with oil, salt and pepper for roasted potatoes – the perfect side dish to an English Sunday roast.
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