Kitchen Hacks

A 'Why Didn't I Think of That?' Way to Peel Potatoes

Say goodbye to that peeler, say hello to a brave new world.

November 12, 2019
Photo by James Ransom

If you haven’t heard, we’re deep in the throes of potato season. As temperatures drop, root vegetables abound. With a seasonal influx of these underground tubers, it's best you know your way around one. So, I present to you, a potato peeling hack that will save you time, effort, and equipment.

It comes to us from the Youtube account Foody Tube and has garnered more than 4 million views since it first premiered in 2015. The threefold hack is simple: cut, boil, peel.

Watch the video below to learn how it’s done:

While I am actually a fan of potato skins, I’ll admit, it’s handy to know how to peel one. This video has everything a hack needs to be successful: It simplifies a process, saves time (you can prep other foods while the potatoes boil), and makes you rethink an otherwise accepted kitchen practice.

It's pretty amazing how seamlessly the skins slip right off the boiled potato. It sits there, naked, waiting to be mashed, roasted, diced into a salad. The possibilities are endless!

So, next time I find myself with a handful of potatoes and can’t be bothered with the skin, catch me boiling some water and throwing them in there until they’re soft enough to peel.

How do you peel? Tell us your secrets in the comment section.

More Potato Tips

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See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • RogerRowley
  • Anne Cohen
    Anne Cohen
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Valerio Farris

Written by: Valerio Farris

Former staff writer at Food52. Current anchovy eater.


RogerRowley January 2, 2020
Does this work on Russets/Yukon Golds as well or only new potatoes?
Anne C. November 17, 2019
That’s only for cooks with asbestos fingers. I could never handle a hot potato and won’t want to mash cooled down potatoes. I don’t think they’d come out like normal mash and now I’d be stuck with reheating them. Just wouldn’t work for my fingers. :(
JasperNowell November 26, 2019
Been doing it like this forever. As a chef, potatoes are a “make a day ahead” dish, so re-heating has no effect on quality or consistency of the fish.
JasperNowell November 26, 2019
Smaug November 23, 2018
I've never even considered peeling a new potato before cooking. You just cook them and peel the skin off, there's no trick to it at all. I've never known anyone to peel them before cooking. Incidentally, I usually steam them rather than boiling- I think you leach less nutrients that way, it saves water and cooks a little faster.
Badkyttiez October 4, 2018
I've been peeling potatoes like this for better than 30 years. My mom taught me this trick.

Weird that people think it is a new thing.
judy December 6, 2017
Wel, pretty good. But I NEVER peel potatoes. No matter how I use them. I like the flavor and texture peel adds. Not to mention the nutrients. I'm with Swags55 on this one.
Cara C. March 8, 2020
Agree! I quit peeling potatoes for ANYTHING 40+ years ago. Potato skin adds flavor & I never peel carrots the same reason.
Anne-Marie December 1, 2017
You really give out some awesome tips, but this one is a little off the mark. I can't imagine there are people who don't know it's easier to peel boiled potatoes than raw (although my husband still tried to use a knife, while I just grabbed a loose spot and pulled during Thanksgiving - whatever works). We use our how-did-we-live-without-it pressure cooker to cook th e taters (like 20 minutes - tops - to perfectly done), then I ran a couple of the first ones under cool water to cut the heat, but the rest were just the right temperature. Saves soooooo much time over peeling and cutting to put in cold water and wait for it to boil. Then, much to my horror, husband darling used my pastry cutter to start mashing (it worked, but we won't let him know that - ok?).
Anne-Marie December 1, 2017
And sorry for the typo before taters - should be the, but my thumb was faster than my fingers there.
Lisa January 2, 2018
^^Raises hand - I consider myself a pretty decent home cook, and never knew this could be done this way! Yes, I know peels came off easier on cooked potatoes, but had no idea this technique could be used in this way.
Heather H. December 18, 2018
I have to agree with Lisa on this one, I consider myself a good, skilled, adventurous home cook, and while I can’t even count the number of times i’ve used this technique on tomatoes and peaches, I can’t say I ever thought to use it on potatoes. I also never make potato salad tho, so maybe that’s the difference.
Casey C. December 1, 2017
For German potato salad I boil potatoes whole for about 40min and slip the skins off afterward. Honestly, I would prefer to peel them cold because after they've boiled the spuds are very hot and a little tricky to handle. Peeling them before hand doesn't work for German potato salad though. The potatoes end up the wrong consistency. So it's probably a matter of figuring out which recipes might work for the boil & peel method and which ones don't. I think for some things, it just wouldn't taste right.
Angie December 1, 2017
The lrish have been using the boiling method for many years we save the skins for another meal or snack by deep frying use your imagination kids love them December 1, 2017
Brilliant and thank you!
Swags55 November 30, 2017
Why so many articles about how to peel potatoes? I never peel mine - tons of vitamins thrown away. Is there a reason to even peel?
Swags55 November 30, 2017
Why so many articles about how to peel potatoes? I never peel mine - tons of vitamins thrown away. Is there a reason to even peel?
Anne-Marie December 1, 2017
Tons of vitamins, but lots of natural toxins as well - so just be careful. I like my peels on fried potatoes, but rarely on mashed or boiled - too something I can't define (texture-y, or slimy, or SOMETHING).
Smaug November 23, 2018
The only nutritionist I've ever heard weigh in on the matter pooo poohed the idea of nutrients in potato skins, although there is fiber. The largest concentration of nutrients (like in most plant matter) is in the cambium directly under the skin, which peeling cold tends to remove. In my youth, russet potatoes were practically all you saw so this was a real problem, but it's really not with new potatoes.
Greenstuff November 30, 2017
I doubt there are that many people who haven't thought of this one! Frankly, I'm with you. It's a rare day that I peel a potato, as I figure that I can eat the skin, catch it in my potato ricer, or, as you suggest, slip it off a hot potato. But, that's me, many others find a potato cooks better if it's been peeled. Fancy some side-by-side comparisons?
Jessica S. November 30, 2017
Same question as how long to cook the potato and doesn't the outside get mushy?
burns W. December 1, 2017
For some of the same reasons on the video, always cook the potato in its skins if you are making mashed potato. That way the water does not get into the potato and that's what makes it mushy. Then when you mash it (skin or no skin) you can add a lot more butter and milk and control the consistency even more. I boil them until a knife inserts easily into the flesh.
Vicki T. November 30, 2017
My mother always did this, many years ago
Vicki T. November 30, 2017
My mother always did this, many years ago
Sherry B. November 30, 2017
I would try this with small potatoes, but like many hacks, there are some downsides. First, the potatoes will without a doubt take longer to cook, and potatoes aren't always sleek ovoid shapes, oddball potatoes might not behave as nicely. One would still have to remove the eyes and nasty bits. I think my main issue would be that freshly boiled potatoes are hot enough to be difficult/unpleasant to handle. Still, fun to watch, and worth a try.
Smaug November 23, 2018
If your potatoes are not quite so new and are starting to form eyes, or have a lot of dings in them, peeling can be difficult- it will tend to come off in tiny bits instead of the 3-4 large pieces one hopes for. However, those potatoes are going to need some dealing with however you handle them.
Erin M. November 30, 2017
how long do you put them in the water for?
Mako November 30, 2017
It takes me seconds to peel a potato with a peeler and cut into smaller hunks to shorten cooking time. Although this is certainly very cool and I will absolutely try it ,don't the taters take much longer to cook ?
Anne-Marie December 1, 2017
Not really - it's about 40 minutes to an hour the old-fashioned way, or half that in a pressure cooker (also old-fashioned, but not quite as often used as before).
Ginny S. November 30, 2017
Wouldn't the outside of the potato get mushy before the inside finished cooking??
Heather H. December 18, 2018
That is precisely why you should always start your potatoes off in cold water. The potatoes heat up at the same rate the water does, which prevents exactly this.