Potatoes: Main Image

Preparation, Uses, & Tips

There are many ways to enjoy potatoes. Just about every preparation, including mashed, works well with the potato skin intact; keeping the skin on also retains nutrients. Here are some tips on some of the most popular preparation techniques.


Oven baked

Heat oven to 425°F (220°C). Pierce potato in several places so the steam can escape. Place potato on oven rack or baking sheet. Bake 40 to 55 minutes or until tender when pierced with a fork.


Pierce each potato several times so the steam can escape. Place in microwave oven and microwave on high until tender, turning potato over halfway. For medium-sized potatoes (about 5 ounces or 140g), microwave 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 minutes. For larger potatoes, (about 9 ounces or 255g), microwave 5 to 9 minutes.


Stovetop preparation

In a large saucepan, add cut-up potatoes to 2 inches (about 5cm) of boiling water, or just enough to cover them. Return to a boil. Reduce heat and cook, covered, about 12 minutes or until tender; drain. (If cooking whole potatoes, allow 30 to 40 minutes.) Using an electric hand-mixer or potato masher, mash potatoes. Mix in warmed milk, butter (if desired), salt, and pepper.

Microwave-oven preparation

In a microwave-safe dish, combine 1 1/2 pounds (about 680g) quartered potatoes and 3 Tbsp (45mL) water. Cover and microwave on high 12 to 14 minutes or until tender. Mash potatoes as described above and stir in warmed milk, butter (if desired), salt, and pepper.

To reduce the fat and calorie content of mashed potatoes, try replacing the milk and butter with chicken or vegetable broth and buttermilk.


Heat oven to 425°F (220°C). Toss cut-up potatoes with enough olive oil to coat lightly. Season with salt and pepper (or any seasoned salt). Arrange in an even layer on a lightly oiled shallow baking pan. Roast 20 to 30 minutes or until tender, moving them around occasionally.

Hash browns

In a large nonstick skillet, heat butter (or olive oil) over medium heat. Add coarsely shredded potatoes; cover, and cook until bottom is golden brown, adjusting heat as necessary. Turn potatoes over carefully to brown opposite side. Season with salt and pepper. Note: Turn only once for crisper potatoes.

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The information presented in the Food Guide is for informational purposes only and was created by a team of US–registered dietitians and food experts. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements, making dietary changes, or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires December 2024.