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May 19, 2013 04:03 PM

Resting potatoes in water pre-cook

I remember my mom cutting up potatoes for mashers and letting them sit in cold water as she finished other "mise" chores.

What are ramifications of doing this? How long before it's a problem? She makes great mashed potatoes btw.

Not sure how "absorbent" potatoes are...

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  1. Its done to wash some of the starch away. I don't believe the potatoes absorb water.

    1 Reply
    1. re: primebeefisgood

      We do it just to get a head start on prepping dinner, when we've got a lot to do, and to keep the cut potatoes from browning once they are ready. When I am making mashed potatoes immediately (e.g., for dinner on a weeknight), as soon as the potatoes are ready, I start them on the stove.

    2. I believe that the only adverse impact is that it might cause water soluble nutrients to leach out. On Thanksgiving, it's not unusual for our potatoes to be peeled and cut-up, sitting in the pot in water, hours before we cook them. No adverse taste consequences that we've ever noted.

      6 Replies
      1. re: masha

        I'm going to serve mashed potatoes (and other stuff) Wed. Don't want to be doing this same day with so much to do. Do you think they will suffer if I made them the day before, refrigerate, then reheat for the dinner?

        1. re: walker

          Yes, if you make them ahead of time and then reheat they will definitely suffer. However, you could boil the potatoes al dente, refrigerate, then reboil till done and proceed from there. Reheated mashers are easily recognized.

          1. re: primebeefisgood

            I'm going to respectfully disagree with you. A few years ago for Thanksgiving I did the MPs the day before and reheated in the slow cooker. People were stealing fingerfuls straight out of the pot :) 'Course the fact that they were laden with butter and heavy cream MIGHT have had something to do with that :)

          2. re: walker

            There is a mashed potato 'casserole' that I've made for Thanksgiving for years - cream cheese, sour cream, a dash of garlic, some parm, some milk, mash it all together, put it into a casserole dish. Refrigerate over night, bake at 350 til hot through. It's very popular in our Thanksgiving crowd.

            1. re: jeanmarieok

              I'm going to buy about 20 Yukon Gold potatoes for 8 people (we like leftovers!). I'll mash w/1/2 & 1/2 and butter. How much of the rest would you suggest I add?

              1. re: jeanmarieok

                Sounds similar to this Barefoot Contessa recipe for Parmesan Smashed Potatoes. I have made this many times, put in a casserole dish and reheated the next day with great success. They are amazing...of course, anything with this much butter, half & half, sour cream and parmesan cheese has to taste good.


          3. If they are to be boiled, then it doesn't matter if they absorb water. Leaving them this way overninght, not really a problem.
            I've seen this done with potatoes destined to be latkes--it keeps them from browning in the presence of air.

            1. I do this all the time with potatoes used for oven fries. Prevents them from browning

              1. I sometimes do this with potatoes destined to be fries, although I add a little sugar to the water.

                When I was growing up, I remember all veg prep used to be done on Christmas eve for christmas day, including the potatoes, which were left to sit in water. Nothing bad ever came of it.