This recipe calls for boiling Yukon gold potatoes with their skins on, then peeling them. I don't really know why, I just decided to follow it.

I find that I am unable to peel boiled potatoes in any reasonable amount of time because they are soft, slippery, and very hot. I have tried:

  • Sticking a fork in one end to hold it down as I peel. Cumbersome and potatoes generally split on the fork while I'm working.
  • Holding the potato in my hand as normal. Result: 1st degree burns, 2nd if I'm really being stubborn.
  • Wearing a silicone oven mitt. Cumbersome and mitt gits in the way.
  • Let them cool. But this takes a long time and also, then they're cold...

So, two questions:

  1. Anybody got any tricks for this?
  2. Why boil then peel, won't I get the same results if I just peel them before I boil them like I usually do when I need cooked, skinless potatoes?
  • 1
    What kind of potato are you using? With waxy-style potatoes, the peels come right off after they're cooked.
    – Catija
    Commented Feb 4, 2017 at 22:45
  • 2
    @Catija, his recipe calls out my favorite type: Yukon gold.
    – Lorel C.
    Commented Feb 4, 2017 at 22:48
  • @LorelC. The recipe calling for it doesn't mean that is what was used... many don't realize differences exist or may be unable to find a particular variety.
    – Catija
    Commented Feb 4, 2017 at 23:08
  • 2
    For hash, the potatoes being cold isn't an issue when you start, so if you cook them the day before, then leave them in the fridge, the skin just peels off the next day. However I personally prefer leaving peels on for hash for most potatoes.
    – barbecue
    Commented Feb 5, 2017 at 6:17
  • 1
    @mcalex : that generally works for most floury (baking) potatoes ... like russets and similar. If you shock them after boiling (taking them out of the water one at a time, so they're only in the ice bath for maybe 10 sec or so), you should be able to peel them bare-handed. ... I've never tried it with yukon gold, though. (I leave the skins on for hash ... and I bake, rather than boil, so I don't have to worry about them getting waterlogged)
    – Joe
    Commented Feb 5, 2017 at 13:29

6 Answers 6


Remove a potato one at a time from the hot water with tongs, placing it in cold water for shock. Wearing dishwashing gloves, while under the cold water pull on the potato skin removing it. Place the skinned potato in a finished container and proceed to the next potato

  • 3
    Just confirmed: This is so much easier.
    – Jason C
    Commented Feb 5, 2017 at 3:46
  • 2
    This defeats the purpose of boiling with the skin on in the first place.
    – paparazzo
    Commented Feb 5, 2017 at 8:33
  • 6
    @Paparazzi In what way? Commented Feb 5, 2017 at 16:41
  • 4
    @Paparazzi OK, your answer says the point of cooking with the skins on is to keep the moisture content down. Briefly immersing the potatoes in water is going to get a whole lot less water in them than boiling them skinless for fifteen minutes. I really don't think this is a significant problem with the suggested method. Commented Feb 6, 2017 at 10:02
  • 1
    @JoshuaEngel I feared getting any of the skin through the ricer. I may give that a try next time. Thanks. Commented Feb 6, 2017 at 18:32

When I cook yukon gold potatoes for a somewhat similar application (minus the eggs and the fish), my family likes the skins on the potatoes, so I don't bother peeling at all, but when it comes time to cut the (still hot) potatoes into chunks, I find the skins don't cut very well. They tend to slide off the potato chunks and clump up into annoying little wads of potato skin clogging my knife. Some of the skin stays on the potatoes, especially the pieces I cut just after cleaning the peeling-fragments off my knife. Result is, in my finished dish, there are many peeled and a few non-peeled potato chunks.

So my advice is, as long as you aren't toooo fastidious about getting absolutely all the peelings off the (yukon g.) potatoes, just use a fairly dull knife, like I do, and much of the skin will come off while you cut the 1" chunks.


If you must do it, there are tools for this.

The tool set consists of a special fork, and a special knife. The fork has 3 prongs arranged circularly, not flat like a normal fork, and they are thin. The potato does not split when speared on it.

The knife looks like a small vegetable peeling knife, slightly curved and ending in a sharp point. You use the point to score the skin and pick up an edge (the blade is short enough that you can reach the point with your thumb and press the skin corner against it to lift, without having to change your grip on the knife), and then pull off as much as you can in one go. Rinse and repeat.

It is not quick work, but not overly frustrating either.

  • To make it more generic: spear potato on anything that doesn't split it :) Commented Feb 6, 2017 at 9:07

If the skins are ready to come off and it's just the temperature giving you trouble, you should be able to get away with lighter insulation than silicone mitts. I'd try a clean cloth or towel, after letting them sit a moment so the skin isn't too wet. The texture should make it grip fairly well, and it should insulate well enough for the job.


The purpose of boiling with the skin is to keep the moisture content down.

Just let them drain and air dry / cool for a few minutes.

It does not matter if they cool as you are going to heat them in the skillet.

Another option for dry potato is peel, cube, and bake.

  • 2
    Don't want to edit and bring it active. Dry has different texture and it absorbs other flavors better. For salads I will bake or boil with skin on.
    – paparazzo
    Commented Feb 5, 2017 at 16:51

Ah well. :-)

  • First: boiling and then peeling will reduce the waste by quite some amount.
  • As far as I can tell, boiling with skin will taste better / the potatoes will loose less starch into the water. (No hard evidence here though.)

To properly obtain cook+peel potatoes:

  1. Cook potatoes to your liking
  2. Remove from cooking water
  3. Place all potatoes into cold water, or just rinse them thoroughly in cold water (1-2min). This:

    • will "Shock" the skin so that it will actually be easier to remove.

      • If you leave the cooked hot potatoes out in the air to cool/dry, I find them much harder to peel.
    • will cool the outside of the potatoes so you won't get burnt.

    • If after a few potatoes the remainder is so hot again it hurts, just rinse again. Or just leave the bunch in a bowl with cold water.


  • Yes it's slippery, not not excessively so IMHO.
  • Sharp knife not really required. I find a normal table knife does the job better.
  • Yes, its sticky and a bit of a mess, your hands will get "dirty", but you noticed you're cooking right?
  • Using gloves feels wrong here ;-)

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