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 fries or home fries. 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. There you start by boiling potatoes 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?
So, what is parboiling? It’s quite simple, really. Parboiling is the act of partially boiling, or precooking, some type of food. It's one of our favorite ways to prep potatoes.
You can then grill, roast or fry the meat to perfection without losing any of the juiciness while also reducing the overall cooking time.
Why Do I Need to Parboil My Potatoes?
We parboil potatoes for a few simple reasons:
- We want to freeze a large portion of produce, but also have the easiest way to cook from frozen.
- One of the main reasons for parboiling is because 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 and parboiling is the best way to save time.
- It's a great way to prep larger potatoes to make a baked potato whenever you crave one.
What Type of Potatoes Can You Parboil?
The versaility of parboiling potatoes is what makes it such a handy kitchen hack. You can parboil potatoes of virtually any kind of potato.
We love parboiling red potatoes for making delicious seasoned roast potatoes, new potatoes to then roast and smother in butter for a quick side dish and russet potatoes for making crispy fries with the best texture.
How is Parboiling Different from Blanching?
When you parboil, you boil raw potatoes in salted water for a few minutes until partially cooked. You then drain off the water and use the potatoes in any delicious recipe you wish.
Blanching is different in that after boiling the potatoes, you’d then submerge the potatoes in ice water after removing them from the hot water to immediately stop the cooking process.
How to Parboil Potatoes
Parboiling potatoes is a simple process that takes just a few basic steps:
- Wash the potatoes.
- You can parboil whole potatoes or use a paring knife to cut them into equally-sized potato 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 cubed potatoes to the water and boil for 5 minutes.
- Drain and cool.
- Proceed with the second cooking method to make your favorite potato dish with ease.
How Do I Use 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.
Smother the boiled potatoes with garlic butter and spread them out over a baking sheet in a single layer for our favorite way to roast potatoes.
Make savory and slightly crispy smashed potatoes by smashing small potatoes onto a baking tray and sprinkling with olive oil and good sea salt.
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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