How Long To Boil Potatoes For Potato Salad?

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Potato salads are cooked and enjoyed all over the world in many forms, shapes and containing various ingredients.

It’s important to boil potatoes for just the right amount of time, so they can maintain their shape and not become mushy.

red skin potato salad with eggs

How Long To Boil Potatoes For Potato Salad?

My potato cooking tips

Aside from that, they must be put to boil in clear cold water, barely covered by it (large water quantities will increase cooking time).

how to make olivier salad
step-by-step russian salad recipe

I recommend using high flame until water starts to boil, after that reduce the heat to medium-low and cover partially to let the steam out. You can also salt the water now.

There are 3 important factors that influence potatoes boiling time for potato salads that should be taken into consideration.

1. Potato type

  • First of all, not all potatoes are the same. There are more starchy potatoes like russet potatoes that are more suitable for mashed potato recipes.
  • They require shorter cooking time (up to 5-7 minutes) than their waxy, red skin brothers. Red skin are more dense, contain less water and starch – hence they are more recommended to use in potato salads.

2. Potato size

  • The size of potatoes matter pretty much regarding their cooking time. Small size potatoes require 15-18 minutes boiling time, medium size 16-25 minutes and bigger ones around 30-40 minutes.
  • Those times are relative though, you have to check them and if they reach the fork tender point, they are done. Drain them and let them cool.

3. Skin on/off /whole

  • I almost always use red skin potatoes and cook them skin on whole potatoes for my potato salads. This way they are maintaining their shape and savor.
  • There are people that boil them peeled and cut in chunks/quarters. That of course is influencing boiling time, because the water will penetrate and cook them faster. But their taste will be largely infused into the boiling water and they will become watery and less tasty.

When making mashed potatoes this is not a big deal because we use some of that water, but in potato salads is really a shame to lose any amount of savor.

So, keep them whole and skin on when boiling potatoes for salads.

insalata russa russian potato salad
check out my Olivier Russian potato salad recipe

I hope those tips were helpful and below I recommend my easy and healthy red skin potato salad (without mayo) for your next potato salad recipe.

Happy cooking!


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How Long To Boil Potatoes For Potato Salad?

It's important to boil potatoes for just the right amount of time, so they can maintain their shape and not become mushy.
Print Pin Rate
Course: Brunch, Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine: International, Mediterranean, Romanian
Keyword: potato salad, potatoes
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
cooling: 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings: 4 people


  • 2 lbs red skin potatoes
  • 4 radishes
  • 1 cup black olives
  • 1 jar dill pickles
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 2 spring onions or 1 red onion
  • 1 lettuce (optional)
  • 2 tbsp fresh dill and parsley
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 tbsp vinegar
  • 4 tbsp sunflower/olive oil


  • Scrub and wash potatoes under running water to remove any dirt. Put them (whole, skin on) into a large pot on the stove wit enough cold water to cover them. Bring to boil on high-medium heat. Add 1 tsp salt and lower the flame to medium-low. Cook them until fork tender, drain them and let to cool.
  • Boil the eggs. Drain them and let cool. Wash and chop the vegetables. Put them into a large bawl, add the freshly chopped herbs, olives add the sliced eggs. Peel the potatoes, cut them in cubes and add them to the salad.
  • Season with salt and pepper, add the vinegar, oil and a little dill pickles vinegar from the jar (optional). Gently mix everything together. Cut the lettuce in stripes and add to finish (optional). Mix again. Enjoy!
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