Boiled Potatoes don’t get nearly enough attention. Often under-cooked and under-seasoned, it’s easy to dismiss such an underwhelming side dish and trade it for something a little more flavorful. What if I told you it didn’t have to be this way? That you could have creamy, perfectly-cooked boiled potatoes smothered in garlic and butter ready and on the table in just 30 minutes.
Today I’m sharing my favorite Garlic Butter Boiled Potatoes Recipe, including how to boil potatoes perfectly every time.
I didn’t learn to appreciate the beauty of a boiled potato until I lived in Germany. Long story short, I ate a lot of boiled spuds during my time there. Sometimes they were served as a side for heavy meat-filled stews, while other times, they were simply boiled, peeled, and served plain.
Unfortunately, these simple, plain potatoes were never my favorite. I was more accustomed to the creamy, cheese-filled potato dishes my dad would make like mashed potatoes, twice-baked potatoes, or potatoes au gratin.
Fortunately, it’s easy to turn boring boiled potatoes into an intensely satisfying side dish by adding just three simple ingredients: salt, butter, and fresh garlic.
Not only is this easy recipe delicious, but it’s also:
- Ready in just 30 minutes
- Requires no fancy equipment
- No pre-peeling needed
- Delicious leftover and reheated
How Long to Boil Potatoes?
The total cooking time will vary depending on the size of your potatoes.
- Baby potatoes (approx. 1-inch): 12-15 minutes
- Small potatoes (approx. 2-inch): 15-20 minutes
- Medium-sized potatoes (approx. 3-inch): 20-25 minutes
- Large potatoes (approx. 4-inch): 20-25 minutes
- Extra-Large potatoes (approx. 6-inch): 30+ minutes
How will you know when your potatoes are finished cooking?
Cook the potatoes until they are fork-tender and the skin is just starting to split from the potato flesh.
How to Make Boiled Potatoes
Wash and scrub the potatoes gently under running water to remove any surface debris.
Transfer the potatoes to a large saucepan or large pot and cover with cold water by at least 2-inches. Add 1 teaspoon of salt to the water.
Set over high heat. Once the water reaches a boil, reduce heat to low heat, cover, and maintain a gentle simmer. Cook the potatoes until they are fork-tender and the skin just starts splitting from the potatoes – remember, the total time will vary depending on the size of your potatoes.
- Note: The baby potatoes in these pictures took approximately 18 minutes to cook after the water came to a boil.
Drain the potatoes into a large colander. Immediately return the pan to medium heat. Melt the butter and add the olive oil (if using), fresh garlic, and a generous pinch of salt and black pepper. Mix thoroughly to combine. Stir continuously for 1 minute.
- Tip – if your potatoes are on the larger side, or you’d like more surface area for the garlic butter to penetrate the potatoes, halve each potato before moving on to the next step.
Return the warm potatoes to the saucepan. Mix well to coat in the garlic and butter sauce and season with additional salt and black pepper, to taste.
- Red chili flakes
- Fresh herbs (chives, parsley, cilantro, dill, thyme, etc)
Best Potatoes for Boiling
Although all types of potatoes can be boiled, waxy potatoes are your best option.
- Starchy Potatoes: Low in moisture but high in starch, these are great baking potatoes (and mashing potatoes). The best example is russet potatoes. Should you boil starchy potatoes, plan to use them to make soups or mashed potatoes.
- All-purpose Potatoes: These potatoes are somewhere in between starchy and waxy potatoes. Examples include Yukon-gold potatoes, white-gold potatoes, and purple potatoes.
- Waxy Potatoes: Low in starch but high in moisture, these potatoes hold their shape even after cooking. Best suited for boiling, roasting, and baking preparations or in casseroles, gratins, potato salad, soups, and stews. Examples include New potatoes, Fingerling potatoes, Red potatoes, baby potatoes, and creamers.
Tips and Tricks
- Add your potatoes to a pot filled with cold water and then bring it to a boil. This helps ensure even cooking and helps to prevent your potatoes from being soft and cooked on the outside but uncooked and crunchy on the inside.
- Try to cook potatoes that are approximately the same size so that they cook in the same amount of time.
- Do not peel your whole potatoes before boiling them.
- Resist over-boiling the potatoes. Yes, it’s true, you can over-boil your potatoes (even the waxy kind). So, keep an eye on them. If you can easily slide a paring knife through the center, your potatoes are cooked.
Have you tried this Boiled Potatoes Recipe?
Tell me about it in the comments below! I always love to hear your thoughts. And tag me #theforkedspoon on Instagram if you’ve made any of my recipes, I always love to see what you’re cooking in the kitchen.
Garlic Butter Boiled Potatoes (How to Boil Potatoes)
- Add the potatoes to a medium saucepan and cover with cold water by 2-inches.
- Bring to a rolling boil and add 1 teaspoon salt. Reduce heat to medium-low to low heat, maintaining a gentle simmer. Cook the potatoes until they are fork-tender and the skin is just starting to split from the potatoes – total time will vary depending on the size of your potatoes, but these small potatoes took approximately 18 minutes.
- Drain the water and potatoes into a large colander. Immediately return the pan to medium heat. Melt the butter and add the olive oil, garlic, and a generous pinch of salt and black pepper. Mix thoroughly to combine. Stir continuously for 1 minute.
- Tip – if your potatoes are on the larger side, or you'd like more surface area for the garlic butter to penetrate the potatoes, halve each potato before moving on to the next step.
- Return the warm potatoes to the pan. Mix well to coat the potatoes in garlic and butter. Season with additional salt and black pepper, to taste. For a little heat, add a small pinch of crushed red chili flakes.
- New potatoes
- Red Bliss
- or anything labeled “baby potatoes”
(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and specific brands of ingredients used.)