These boiled potatoes are buttery and delicious! Here’s how to boil potatoes with the best creamy texture and salty, herby flavor.

Boil Potatoes

Need a quick and easy side dish that goes with almost anything? Try these Perfect Boiled Potatoes! Gone are the days of bland or mushy potatoes. Here are all the tricks to getting that ideal creamy texture and sweet, buttery, salty flavor. It couldn’t be easier, once you master two things: the right variety of spud and the formula for how long to boil potatoes. Memorize that, and you’ll be making this recipe on repeat. It might sound simple, but these were so good we couldn’t stop sneaking them from the pot! (Really.)

The right variety for boiled potatoes

If you read one thing in this article, read this. For the best boiled potatoes, use a waxy potato, like small yellow, red, new, or fingerling. Use russet potatoes only if you’re cooking them for mashed potatoes. Here’s why:

  • Waxy potatoes are best for boiling. This is any type of potato with thin, shiny skin and a creamy flesh. Because they’re low in starch, they hold their shape when boiling. Waxy potatoes include yellow, red, Yukon gold, new, and fingerling potatoes. The texture when boiled is buttery and the flavor is almost sweet. See also: Boiled Red Potatoes with Herbs.
  • Avoid starchy potatoes for boiled potatoes (unless you’re planning to mash them). Russet potatoes are large with dark brown, rough skin: the kind you’d expect in a baked potato. They have a fluffy texture when cooked, but they fall apart when boiled. Use them only if you’re planning to boil potatoes as part of the process of making mashed potatoes.
Boil Potatoes

How long to boil potatoes

How long does it take to boil potatoes? It depends on how small or large they’re cut and the type of potato. Here’s a general guide:

  • Most chopped potatoes take 12 to 18 minutes to boil, when dropped into the water.
  • The exact timing depends on the size of pieces and type of potato.
  • Test whether the potato is cooked by pricking it with a fork to see if it is tender.

How to boil potatoes: master method

How to boil your spuds so they’re perfectly tender? There are only a few pointers. Here’s what to do:

  • Choose a waxy potato like small yellow potatoes, red, new or Fingerling potatoes and slice them in half. Larger Yukon gold potatoes work if chopped into bite-sized pieces.
  • Start a large pot of salted water to a boil. Use 1 tablespoon kosher salt. It’s easiest to boil the water first, then add the potatoes (versus starting with them both in the pot).
  • Add the potatoes and boil 15 to 20 minutes. Gently add them to avoid splashes of hot water! Test if they are tender by piercing with a fork.
  • Drain and season. Add salted butter or olive oil, salt and pepper. If desired, add fresh herbs like chives, thyme or oregano.
How long to boil potatoes

Flavorings and add-ins

The best way to flavor boiled potatoes? Simply butter and salt! But there are lots of ways to step up this this recipe. Here are a few of our favorite ideas:

  • Salted butter or olive oil
  • Fresh chives
  • Thyme or oregano
  • Basil or parsley
  • Tarragon or dill
  • Finely diced shallots
  • Sour cream
  • Bacon
Boil Potatoes

Make it a meal: how to serve them

It’s hard to find a recipe that doesn’t go with these potatoes! (OK fine, maybe not pasta. Still!) They’re the perfect easy side dish for chicken, fish or a vegetarian main dish. Here are a few great ways to accessorize them:

More ways to use boiled potatoes

Instead of flavoring these potatoes as a side dish, you can also use them in other recipes! Use them as the basis for:

This recipe is…

Vegetarian and gluten-free. For plant-based, dairy-free and vegan, use olive oil.

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Boil Potatoes

Perfect Boiled Potatoes

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 6 to 8 1x


These boiled potatoes are buttery and delicious! Here’s how to boil potatoes with the best creamy texture and salty, herby flavor.


  • 3 pounds small yellow potatoes (or other waxy potatoes like red, new, Yukon gold or fingerling potatoes)
  • 2 tablespoons butter (or olive oil)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped chives
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper


  1. Bring large pot of water to boil with 1 tablespoon kosher salt.
  2. Wash the potatoes and cut them in half if small (or dice into bite-sized pieces if they are larger). When the water is boiling, add the potatoes and boil 12 to 18 minutes until fork tender.
  3. Drain and remove the potatoes to a bowl. Gently toss them with the butter, herbs, fresh ground pepper and ¾ teaspoon kosher salt (or more or less to taste: salt until the flavor pops!).
  • Category: Side dish
  • Method: Boiled
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Keywords: Boiled potatoes, how long to boil potatoes, how to boil potatoes

More potato recipes

These basic potatoes are one in a long list of great potato recipes! Here are some of our favorite ways to use everyone’s favorite spud:

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Meet Sonja and Alex Overhiser: Husband and wife. Expert home cooks. Authors of recipes you'll want to make again and again.

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  1. Sometimes I just need a reminder of how to make the simple stuff, like boiled potatoes. : ) This recipe was easy and tasted great. Thank you!