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.

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Valerio is a freelance food writer, editor, researcher and cook. He grew up in his parent's Italian restaurants covered in pizza flour and drinking a Shirley Temple a day. Since, he's worked as a cheesemonger in New York City and a paella instructor in Barcelona. He now lives in Berlin, Germany where he's most likely to be found eating shawarma.

69 Comments

Barb B. April 30, 2021
Wow. Easier and faster to just peel them, and more energy efficient.
 
mehunter April 30, 2021
For mashed potatoes I use a ricer, so I chop them up (much quicker than boiling whole potatoes) and the skins come off in the ricer. I usually use Yukon golds.
 
kathy April 30, 2021
Does this work on sweet potatoes?
 
sokchea April 29, 2021
Meh, easier to just peel them. Depending on which type of peeler you have, it can go much quicker. I’ll stick to peeling by hand.
 
Susan E. April 29, 2021
How long do you boil the big potatoes with the skin scored? Do you cook them this way or is it just for peeling?
 
cinamibun April 29, 2021
I barely take the skin off my potatoes except for the eyes or dark sections that need removal. I also scrub the skin very well prior to doing anything with them.
 
Janine R. April 29, 2021
Have been doing this for decades. Soooo easy !
 
Ginny S. April 29, 2021
I'd like to stop receiving emails when a new comment is made on this thread, but I can't find a way to do that. Help from anyone appreciated.
 
Smaug April 29, 2021
Under the email there should be a link to "account info" that lets you opt out of emails, but I don't know for a single thread; I'm pretty sure there used to be an opt out in the email, but I'm not seeing it on this one.
 
cinamibun April 29, 2021
I think when you make a post there's a checkmark with the line send me emails about new replies. Make sure you remove the checkmark before you hit submit for the post.
 
Barbara April 29, 2021
try boiling potatoes in water with a cup of salt in it. Not a typo - a cup of salt. Don't knock it until you try it.
 
joesince1956 April 29, 2021
For small red potatoes I actually have an attachment for my food processor that removes the skins for me. Much quicker than the video for me.
 
KrisKipp April 29, 2021
Oh dear my children! Have your baby boomer parents/teachers/chefs left you with only takeout and no real kitchen skills? Parboil potatoes for easy peeling for potato salads and homemade hash browns/home-fries. You should also wash your potatoes prior to peeling for all dishes which makes them easier to peel. And has anyone heard about soaking sliced or diced potatoes in running water to remove starch and make them crisper when cooking?
 
MacGuffin April 29, 2021
Don't look at me--I'm 66 and I hear ya.
 
Smaug April 29, 2021
66? You are a baby boomer, which is now evidently a bad thing, lord knows why. Such baby boomers as I know tend to do things (cooking, gardening, whatnot) for them (our)selves, maybe the last generation to do so. Don't know about parboiling potatoes, I like them cooked in potato salads. You'd need an extremely dirty potato- like 1/2" of mud sticking to it- to interfere with peeling, and no I don't believe in washing out starch and nutrients before cooking, certainly not under running water.
 
cinamibun April 29, 2021
You are talking about washing/rinsing peeled potatoes, right? I only clean/rinse off the potato skin to remove any remnants of dirt, just a quick rinse. I grew a crop of the small potatoes one year, and they recommend you first dry them, and quick rinse and dry them prior to storing them. I was so proud of the 4 pounds of potatoes I grew that year from 4 small potatoes. My landlord who had given me the plot got so jealous she didn't allow me to plant in the garden again, but I grow in containers now.
 
MacGuffin April 30, 2021
Yep, I'm a boomer but if I'd had kids, I'd have taught them my ways. And FWIW I scrub the skins with vegetable wash before using them. I'm happy to learn something new if it actually makes sense but for the most part, I'm of the "don't fix it if it's not broken" mind.
 
ustabahippie April 29, 2021
I almost peel potatoes.
 
ustabahippie April 29, 2021
I never peel potatoes. Ha ha
 
Beth April 29, 2021
That only works if the potatoes are close to the same size. As to needing asbestos fingers, do it under running cold water. And really, only with red potatoes, the others are too mushy.
 
Jane B. April 29, 2021
Those are red potatoes. They are pretty firm. What about Idaho’s? The are softer and a little mealy right under the skin when they are cooked. Seems like you would lose some of the potato while pulling the skin off.
 
DKS April 29, 2021
I assume it takes much longer to boil an entire potato than it take to cook smaller pieces.
 
Beth April 29, 2021
Well yeah, it does. But pick medium size and try to get them about the same size - you don't want a huge one in with them, it will take forever to cook. Also, a tiny one will get done much sooner. I test with a fork, still in the boiling water, and when the smallest one is done take it out, run under cold water, pierce the skin and it will easily peel off. When that one's done, another should be ready to peel. And so forth.
 
ahncj April 29, 2021
Am I the only person who actually enjoys peeling potatoes? It’s so satisfying.
 
MacGuffin March 20, 2021
On the RARE occasion that I would peel a potato, I just use my Zena Star peeler. Swiss-made and miraculous. Its primary use it to peel beets, carrots, and such when I juice but it certainly does potatoes well and you can even make fries with it.
 
Mandi C. March 17, 2021
ALWAYS start cooking boiled potatoes in COLD water, then all comes up to temperature together...no mushy outsides.
 
DMStenlake March 7, 2021
Wow! That brought back a long lost memory, just like mom sometimes did. And it’s nearly Easter which for us was ham and potato salad with sweet pickle relish. That was then. Sweet pickles sweet memories. Thanks for the reminder.
 
Jyothi R. March 3, 2021
A. Use well scrubbed potatoes with the peel on for so many recipes, we Indians have a plethora of potato dishes.

B. I use cut potato in many dishes, they cook in the curry, so boiling the potatoes wouldn't help

C. This is a helpful tip for those occasions when I use boiled potatoes. Thanks