In today’s educational guide, I will show you three ways how to peel potatoes. They are fitted to virtually any scenario you could find yourself in. And they will help make your life much easier and more hassle-free.
Don’t forget to have a look at the many informative articles I have on my site that cover different preparation techniques, food handling tips, and most importantly, how to properly care for food.
Why Do You Peel Vegetables?
As you know, potato skins are edible. So much so that you actually make crispy fried potato skins from them! It’s a whole new dish!
So why is it that so many recipes call for peeled potatoes? Is there a specific reason or is it aesthetics?
The short answer is that it most likely has to do with the texture. MANY people hate the flavor and texture that vegetable skins have and add to dishes. And I can’t even blame them. One of my few pet peeves in life is the skin of boiled potatoes getting stuck between my teeth. But then again, I LOVE the crispy texture they add to roasted or deep-fried potatoes.
In some recipes and for some cooking methods, peeling potatoes are simply a better option.
There could also be a couple of other reasons why people tend to remove the skin of potatoes more than they keep them on.
2. Potential Toxins
Like most vegetables, most of the nutrients that potatoes can offer lie within the skin. However, it can also contain a toxin called Solanine. This toxin is present when potatoes turn green and can have some serious effects on your health.
While it is rare that people get very sick from it, the potential is there, and quite frankly, too many people completely ignore it!
The third and final common reason people prefer to peel potatoes is that the skins could contain traces of dirt that are too stubborn to remove by scrubbing.
Oftentimes, potatoes have small crevices that are nearly impossible to get into. So, instead of cutting away large chunks of potato to remove it, you can simply peel them to expose the area and get rid of the dirt too.
Peeling removes all areas of these vegetables that have come into contact with dirt and bacteria. It even removes parts that are starting to deteriorate.
For many people, just the hygiene aspect of it is enough to do a little bit of extra work.
How To Prepare Potatoes
Now, before the potato peeling process can start, you still need to prepare them.
Always rinse and scrub the potatoes. If you don’t you can expose the clean flesh underneath the skin to the dirt and bacteria that is on the skin.
You should also preferably avoid using potatoes that have started sprouting. But if you do, remove all sprouts and remember to peel away all the green areas.
How To Peel Potatoes
When you look at all methods for how to easily peel potatoes, you will see that you ALWAYS peel whole ones. Peeling cubed and even halved potatoes is labor-intensive and often downright impossible!
Then, the next big question is; Should you peel your potatoes before or after boiling? I always prefer peeling my potatoes before cooking them (using any method).
But you can still peel them after they have been cooked. It will just be more labor-intensive and messy (from my experience).
Now, there are a couple of easy ways to peel potatoes before cooking them. But when it comes to peeling them after they have been cooked, there is pretty much only one way to effectively remove all the skin.
Let’s take a look!
Method 1: Easy Way To Peel Raw Potatoes With A Peeler
First, you will need a good potato peeler or vegetable peeler. And trust me, you don’t need anything fancy or expensive!
Some of the best peelers look something like this one! They are used in most commercial kitchens because they are simple, sturdy, and super effective. They even have a little potato eye remover on the side.
Once the potato has been washed and prepped, you can start the peeling process.
Step 1: Grab your potato and hold it firmly
I like to grab the potato and peel it away from my body. So, position the potato accordingly.
If you are looking for the best way how to peel a potato fast, this is it! Most chefs use this technique. And once you’ve got the hang of it, it’s easy!
Step 2: Peel the potato
Peel the potato away from your body. It’s easier to push than to pull. And make sure you keep your fingers clear of the blades because they can cause very nasty nicks.
Step 3: Place your potatoes in water
If you have to peel a bunch of potatoes, add the already peeled potatoes to a bowl of cold water. It helps keep their texture firm and prevents them from oxidizing (turning brown).
Step 4: Cut your peeled potato
Again, it’s crucial that you peel the potato before you cut it into the shapes and sizes you need.
Method 2: How To Peel Potato Without Peeler
Now, even though a potato peeler is pretty much a staple kitchen tool, sometimes you either cannot find it, it just broke, or it’s blunt as a pillow!
But don’t worry. There are a bunch of alternative tools you can use. The best one is by far a paring knife. This type of knife works better than, for example, a chef’s knife. It is small and much easier to maneuver. In turn, it will allow you to remove more skin and less potato flesh.
Again, don’t forget to wash your potatoes before you start the peeling process.
Step 1: Position the potato on the board
Personally, I like to slice off a small piece of potato to create a flat side. This side will make the potato less likely to move when you try and cut it on the chopping board.
Step 2: Cut away the skin
Work slowly and carefully. Place the potato, cut side down, on the board. Then, start from the top and carefully slice away the skin.
Don’t cut too deep into the potato, or you will remove more flesh than skin. Turn the potato as you peel it to make it easier to get all sides.
If you feel more comfortable peeling the potato in your hand, you can also do so. But be VERY careful that the knife doesn’t slip and cut your fingers or hand.
That’s why I prefer keeping the potato on the board, even though it is a little harder to move around.
Method 3: How To Peel Potatoes After Boiling
Now, the best way to peel a potato after it has been cooked is by using the boiling method. Any wet or semi-wet cooking method will do. That includes braising or steaming.
Other methods (dry cooking methods) don’t soften the skin enough to easily peel off. Instead, it makes it crispy, which often sticks to the flesh. This will cause big chunks of cooked potato to come off along with the skin you are trying to peel.
Step 1: Boil the potatoes
You can take a look at this guide on Boiling Potatoes. Just keep in mind that the potatoes should be tender. They shouldn’t be undercooked (hard) or overcooked (mushy). Both of these will make the skin difficult to remove without damaging the actual potato.
Step 2: Cool the cooked potatoes
Only leave the cooked potatoes to cook for 5-10 seconds in a bowl of iced water. This stops the cooking process and makes them cool enough to work with. But you won’t be able to peel the potatoes if they are cold. So they still have to be hot.
Step 3: Make an incision around the potatoes
This can technically be done before you boil the potatoes, but I usually do this after they have cooked and cooled slightly.
Use a sharp paring knife to cut right around the potatoes. Don’t cut through them. Just slice through the skin.
Step 4: Peel away the skin
It’s that easy! Simply grab a hold of one-half of the skin. Then, peel it off. it should easily glide off. If it doesn’t, the potatoes are likely undercooked.
I prefer peeling my potatoes before cooking, or specifically, boiling them. It is less messy and often takes less time too. The only exception for me is when I make mashed potatoes. In that case, I simply pass them through a sieve with their skins. The soft flesh gets pureed while the skin stays behind.
There are many recipes you can make with peeled and unpeeled potatoes. Some of my favorites include these Roasted Potatoes, v, and Bolivian Stuffed Potatoes.