boiling potatoes faster

Do Potatoes Boil Faster With The Lid On Or Off?

I have been cooking potatoes for as long as I can remember. One question has always plagued me: do potatoes boil faster with the lid on or off?

My mother insists they boil faster with the lid on, while my father thinks there is no difference. I have even asked several people who work at my favorite grocery store what they do when they make their mashed potatoes every week. All of them say that boiling with the lid on does indeed speed up cooking time—but only by about 10%. So why are we all wasting our time? 

Then again, nobody wants to spend an extra 20 minutes waiting for dinner! The truth is this: it depends. So let’s get started!

Most Cooks Believe Boiling Potatoes with the Lid on Will Make Them Boil Faster.

The debate over whether to boil potatoes with the lid on or off has been going on for centuries. Every cook has an opinion about what works best, but as it turns out, science may have the answer.

In short: Yes! Boiling potatoes with the lid on will make them boil faster because trapping in steam makes it warmer inside your pot and allows more water molecules to evaporate away from your spuds.

What Does Science Have to Say?

Science can tell you that steam rises, and it’s trying to escape when it does. Since heat is energy, the lid keeps more energy needed to cook your potatoes or veggies (or whatever else you are cooking). But the lid also prevents steam from escaping, which means there is less room for air around your food and less oxygen in contact with it. 

That’s bad news for getting a nice even browning on all sides of your veg. Worse yet, reducing airflow also lowers temperatures by trapping heat inside the pot instead of letting it escape into the air above.

So what happens if you remove the lid? Well, if we are talking about boiling water alone, nothing much! 

It’ll still boil at 212°F (100°C) no matter what—but when added into our equation are other things like salt or sugar! These substances lower water’s boiling point significantly. They can cause giant bubbles at higher temperatures than average because their ions interfere with hydrogen bonding between molecules as they evaporate into steam (yes, science!).

So my potatoes have been sitting there covered for five minutes now with no change; I may want to consider lifting off this pot top before too long if I want them done sooner rather than later!

Boiling Potato With The Lid On Vs. Off

Boiling potatoes with the lid on is a great way to cook them faster. The lid reduces evaporation by about 25%, which means you spend less time in the kitchen and more time eating your delicious potatoes.

The steam trapped under the lid helps cook the potato faster while also keeping its temperature steady when you are trying to reach that perfect golden brown skin. You can get some crispy bits on top if you like them, or go for something softer with a longer cooking time. It all depends on what kind of potato topping you want!

Boiling Potato With The Lid On

Boiling Potato With The Lid On

Boiling potatoes with the lid on traps the steam inside the pot. As you know, trapped steam creates more pressure, which raises the boiling point of water. This means that as soon as your potato starts to boil, it’ll be at a higher temperature than usual and will cook faster than if you took off the lid to check on it every few minutes.

As long as you don’t take too long to remove them from heat once they reach softness (which is subjective), this method works well for cooking any vegetable or pasta by increasing their surface area by trapping them in liquid while they cook.

Benefits of Boiling Potatoes With A Lid

You might think you are saving time by skipping the lid, but in reality, it’s much easier to keep track of your potatoes this way. That said, there are benefits to using a lid while boiling potatoes:

  • The lid helps trap the steam created by boiling water and allows it to circulate around your potato cubes. This is what makes them cook faster.
  • The lid also helps keep moisture inside the pot so that less water evaporates during cooking. If you don’t use a lid when boiling potatoes for 20 minutes on high heat (or 30-40 minutes on low), then expect them to shrivel up and turn into little nuggets rather than fluffy chunks of deliciousness!

Potatoes Boil Faster with the Lid On.

The lid helps trap the steam inside, which means you are cooking with water. Water boils much faster than air, so keeping the lid on your pot of potatoes makes it more likely for them to cook through in a shorter amount of time. In addition, a lid also keeps your potatoes submerged under the water. 

If you need more liquid to cover your spuds, they will dry out and cook unevenly. This is especially important if you are using frozen taters (which are almost always packaged with less liquid).

How Long to Boil Potatoes for Potato Salad?

The cooking time for potatoes for potato salad will vary depending on the size and type of potatoes you use. Here are some general guidelines:

  • Small potatoes: 10-12 minutes
  • Medium potatoes: 12-15 minutes
  • Large potatoes: 15-20 minutes

To test if the potatoes are done, insert a fork into the thickest part of the potato. If the fork goes in easily, the potatoes are done.

Once the potatoes are done, drain them and let them cool slightly before adding them to your potato salad recipe.


In summary, the answer is that potatoes boil faster with the lid on. It’s not a huge difference (about 10 minutes), but it doesn’t hurt to cook them this way if you have time to spare.


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