Can I Boil Potatoes Ahead of Time For Potato Salad?

Can I Boil Potatoes Ahead of Time For Potato Salad?

A good potato salad is only achievable with a good level of carefulness. The texture of the potatoes is as important as the salad itself and this is why it is important to get the timing well as you prepare to make the potato salad.

If you are about to make some potato salad and you are curious about the possibility of boiling your potatoes ahead the time to make the salad, then this article is for you.

In this article, we would let you know the answer to the pending question, enlighten you on how long to boil potatoes for salad, then give you some tips on making good potato salad.

You can boil your potatoes ahead of time for making potato salad as long as you’re going to keep them in the refrigerator. Boiled potatoes can stay up to 2 days in your refrigerator before you use them. Be sure to add lemon juice or vinegar to the water you use to wash them before refrigerating. This way, you keep the potatoes intact from discoloring.

Keep reading to learn more about the process of boiling potatoes ahead of time for making potato salad.

How Long Can You Keep Boiled Potatoes Ahead Of Time For Potato Salad?

While it is possible to cook potatoes and make the salad immediately after, cooking the potatoes ahead of time for the potato salad is also an option. Boiled potatoes will last up to three days in the refrigerator, but we advise that you use the boiled potatoes by the second day, at most.

According to Idaho potatoes, this is because three days may be too long for the cooked potatoes and this is why they need to be stored in the refrigerator to avoid exposure to air which can make the potatoes turn dark. However, this can be dealt with using vinegar to keep the potatoes from changing color.

This works by adding vinegar (white wine) to the water used to wash the potatoes before finally draining them and storing them in the fridge.  

Tip: Concentrated lemon juice or pickle juice is also a good substitute for vinegar. The acidity of these juices prevents the potatoes from discoloring.

How To Boil Potatoes Ahead Of Time For Potato Salad

After boiling the potatoes, return them to the cooking pan, cover them with water mixed with one to two tablespoons of lemon juice (depending on the number of potatoes) and allow them to cool.

Afterward, drain the potatoes again, put them in an airtight container to avoid exposure to air, and refrigerate.

What You Should Not Do While Boiling Your Potatoes Ahead Of Time

While it is not bad to boil potatoes ahead of time, you must ensure to put the right measures in place so you don’t mess things up.

The first thing you shouldn’t do while boiling potatoes ahead of time for the potato salad is to keep them (overnight) without refrigerating. Already cooked starchy foods like potatoes are prone to bacterial action if their temperature is not maintained at 140°F cold or hot.

While you’re trying to get a good potato salad, you shouldn’t forget to put health measures in place.

If you will not be able to keep the boiled potatoes in the refrigerator, you should go with the direct method of allowing the potatoes cool and then mixing the salad afterward. Just ensure you check the seasoning and dressing before serving and add more if needed, as the potatoes will absorb some of these while sitting.

Tip: NEVER boil your potatoes ahead of time if you’re not going to refrigerate them. You can boil them 1 or 2 days ahead of the time for the salad as long as they will be in the refrigerator.

Secondly, you shouldn’t boil your potatoes in already boiling water. Simmer your potatoes in salted cold water from the beginning. This way, you’re guaranteed more evenly cooked potatoes.

How Long Should You Boil Potatoes For Potato Salad?

Apart from clarifying if you can boil potatoes ahead the time for potato salad, it is also important to know how long to boil the potatoes to fit the salad’s purpose.

Generally, the cooking time for potatoes depends on the size of the potatoes. The bigger the potato, the longer the time it needs to cook. Whole potatoes usually take about 20 minutes, while diced potatoes take 10 minutes. Cubed potatoes on the other hand will usually take about 15 minutes.

In any case, the potato is done when a fork can piece through it.

  • Whole potatoes- 20 minutes.
  • Cubed potatoes- 15 minutes.
  • Diced potatoes- 10 minutes.

Note that you can decide to peel your potatoes or not. This depends on the style of potato salad you want to make.

Tip: The safest potato size for your potato salad is cube size. This is because large chunks may not cook thoroughly and diced sizes may overcook. Also, note that diced or smaller cuts have a big risk of becoming soggy.


The goodness of your potato salad also depends on the type of potato you use. The best type of potatoes suitable for potato salad is those which can retain their form and texture after they’re cooked.

These are generally called waxy potatoes because they are low in starch but high in sugar and water, hence retaining their shape after being cooked. They are very good for classic potato salad.

Examples of these are red potatoes. Yukon gold potatoes are also good because they serve all purposes and will come out well in potato salad. Russet potatoes on the other hand are high in starch and at a bigger risk of turning soggy.

In all, your choice of potato still depends on the style of potato salad you’re making and your taste. Make your choice!

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