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Boiled Potatoes

Adapted from "Best American Side Dishes", by America's Test Kitchen, c2005, p264
2 servings
Prep info
10 min prep + 40 min cook + 5 min finish
Prep time
Not set
Cook time
55 minutes
Time required
55 minutes
Oven preheat


  • 21 g butter (unsalted) (1.5T)
  • 1 lb potatoes (small red or new, scrubbed)
  • 1/2 T salt (for boiling water)
  • Salt (Sea) (to taste)
  • freshly ground black pepper (to taste)


1. Place the butter in a medium serving bowl and set aside to soften while you prepare and cook the potatoes.

2. Place the potatoes and salt in a pot and fill with enough cold water to cover the potates by about 1".  Bring to a boil over high heat, cover, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer, stirring once or twice, until the potatoes are just tender when pierced with a thin-bladed knife or skewer, 8 to 18 minutes, depending on the size of the potatoes (see note).  Drain the potatoes.

3. Cut the potatoes in half.  Place the halved potatoes in the bowl with the butter and toss to coat.  Season with salt and pepper to taste and toss again.  Serve immediately.


Boiled Potatoes with Butter and Chives

Follw the main recipe, adding 1.5 T thinly sliced fresh chives along with the salt and pepper in step 3.

Boiled Potatoes with Lemon, Parsley, and Olive Oil

Follow the main recipe, replacing the butter with 1.5T extra-virgin olive oil.  Add 1/2 tsp lemon zest and 1.5T chopped fresh parsley leaves along with the salt and pepper in step 3.

Boiled Potatoes with Shallot and Sage

Melt 21g (1.5T) unsalted butter in a small skillet over medium-high heat.  When the foaming subsides, add 1 small shallot, minced, and cook until golden, 2-3 minutes.  Add 1/2 T minced sage leaves and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.  Scrape this mixture into a medium serving bowl and proceed with the main recipe from step 2.


Note from source: The cooking time will vary depending on the size of the potatoes:

Diameter (inches) Quantity in 1 pound Cooking time
2" to 2.5" 6 to 9 15 to 18 minutes
1.5" to 2" 9 to 12 12 to 15 minutes
1" to 1.5" 12 to 15 10 to 12 minutes
Less than 1" 16 or more 8 to 10 minutes

SJ Note 10 May 2014: Tasty! Had the butter & chives variation tonight.  Needed more salt and pepper than what I gave it when seasoning to taste at the end.