Growing up, I learned from my grandmother that soaking potatoes in salt water is a critical step in cooking them.
She explained that it helps to remove excess starch, dirt, and impurities, making the potatoes taste better and cook evenly. I have followed her advice ever since and can attest to its effectiveness. (It’s scientifically proven too.)
However, how long to soak potatoes in salt water is still something a lot of people get confused with. And that’s what we will discuss today.
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How Long to Soak Potatoes in Salt Water?
In general, you should soak potatoes in salt water for 15 to 30 minutes as that helps them bake up crispier. However, depending on the recipe you’re making, this duration can differ.
For French fries, soak them for at least two hours, for roasted or baked potatoes, soak for 30 minutes to two hours, and for potato salad, soak for 30 minutes to an hour.
Remember to rinse the potatoes before cooking them to remove excess salt.
If you’re making French fries, you should soak the potatoes in salt water for at least two hours, up to overnight. Soaking removes excess starch, which helps to achieve crispy fries.
Roasted or Baked Potatoes
For roasted or baked potatoes, you can soak them for as little as 30 minutes but up to two hours for better results. Soaking potatoes before roasting or baking will make them cook evenly and absorb flavors better.
For mashed potatoes, soaking is not necessary, but it won’t hurt either. Soaking can make the potatoes fluffier and creamier, but it also leaches out some of the potato’s nutrients.
For potato salad, soak the potatoes for 30 minutes to an hour. Soaking potatoes in salt water adds flavor and prevents them from turning mushy when mixed with other ingredients.
Why Soak Potatoes in Salt Water?
Soaking potatoes in salt water prevents them from turning brown or grayish when exposed to air. This discoloration is due to an enzyme called polyphenol oxidase, which reacts with oxygen in the air. Soaking the potatoes in salt water also reduces the enzyme’s activity, keeping the potatoes fresh and bright.
How to Soak Potatoes in Salt Water
Soaking potatoes in salt water is effortless and requires only a few steps:
Step 1: Peel and Cut Potatoes
Start by peeling the potatoes if desired. Then, cut them into your desired shape, such as cubes, wedges, or slices. Make sure to rinse the potatoes under running water to remove any dirt or debris.
Step 2: Prepare Salt Water Solution
In a large bowl, dissolve salt in cold water, using approximately one tablespoon of salt per quart of water. You want the water to be salty enough to taste like seawater but not too much that it becomes inedible.
Step 3: Soak Potatoes
Place the potatoes in the bowl of salt water, making sure they are fully submerged. Let them soak for at least 30 minutes or up to two hours, depending on the recipe you’re making.