Potatoes are great to add to soups and stews to add texture and to bulk up the meal, but knowing how long to cook the potatoes can be confusing.
How long should you cook potatoes in soup?
Potatoes cut into cubes only need to be cooked for around 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, the potatoes will be firm, yet done and cooked. If the soup needs to cook for longer than this, then you should keep the potatoes separate until 30 minutes before the soup is ready.
Overcooking potatoes, and leaving them in a soup or stew for too long, will turn them mushy and they will likely fall apart in the soup.
To know exactly how to cook potatoes in a soup, and for how long, read on for all the information you need!
How Long Do Potatoes Need To Cook For In A Soup?
When you are cooking potatoes in a soup, you would likely want pieces of potatoes, rather than mashed, soft potatoes (unless you are cooking a smooth potato soup)
To keep the potatoes whole and not falling apart, you should avoid overcooking the potatoes.
Leaving the potatoes to cook in the soup for too long will result in them becoming too soft, and when they fall apart, they could give the soup a grainy texture.
In a soup, you would want the potato cubes to be cooked through, but to still be firm and in one piece. In most cases, this would require 30 minutes of cooking time.
You will have to do a little bit of calculation on this, as the soup might need to cook for longer than 30 minutes, and you can’t leave the potatoes in for longer than that or they will break apart.
Keep the potatoes to one side while the soup cooks, and once there are only 30 minutes left to go, add the potatoes in and allow them to cook until tender, which will take around half an hour.
Should I Cook Potatoes Before Adding Them To Soup?
Some people think it is best to cook potatoes before adding them to soup, and this is up to personal preference, but if you want flavorful, tender potatoes, then it is best to cook the potatoes in the soup itself.
Potatoes cooked in the soup can also help to thicken the soup, as they release starch as they cook, and this, therefore, goes on to give the soup a better texture.
If you want to save some time, then you can par-cook the potatoes while the soup cooks.
The potatoes can be cooked in saltwater, but you can also cook them in chicken or vegetable stock to give them a little more flavor too.
Once the potatoes are par-cooked, you can put them into the soup to cook for a few minutes, absorbing more flavor and becoming more tender.
When Should You Add Potatoes To Soup?
To keep it simple, here are the various options you have when adding potatoes to soup, and when it is the best time to do so:
- Add potatoes to the soup from raw, and allow them to cook for the last 30 minutes of cooking time in the soup. This would allow the potatoes to be cooked through but still be firm and in one piece.
- If you want the potatoes to disintegrate and thicken up the soup, you can add them in with the other ingredients and cook them all together from the beginning. The potatoes will break down and fall apart, but this will thicken the soup.
- Partially cook the potatoes in boiling water or stock before adding them to the soup, where they can be left to cook in the soup for an additional 5 minutes before being ready.
Keep in mind the size of the potato cubes that you are using, as larger chunks will take longer, and smaller cubes will take a shorter amount of time to cook.
Smaller bite-sized pieces will take around 20 minutes to cook, with larger pieces taking around 30 minutes.
How To Prepare Potatoes For Soup
There is some preparation required when adding potatoes to soup.
The first step is to wash the potatoes, especially if the skins have dirt or debris. You can leave the skin on, but usually, the skin is peeled when added to a soup.
Once washed, and once you have peeled the skin off of the potatoes, you need to cut them down to size.
You can decide how big or small you want the potato cubes to be, but you do need to try and cut the potato down into similarly-sized cubes.
This is because you would want the potato cubes to cook at a similar rate, as smaller cubes cook faster, and bigger cubes will take longer to cook.
The potato cubes can then be added to your soup to cook fully or they can be cooked separately and then added in for a few minutes near the end.
Which Potatoes Are Best For Soup?
Different types of potatoes have different properties, such as some being firmer, and some having more starch.
This means that there are some potatoes that work better for soup than others, and choosing the right potato for your soup can really make a difference in how the soup turns out.
Here are some of the best potatoes to use for soup:
White potatoes are common in grocery stores, so they make an easy addition to a soup.
They are low in starch and are quite waxy, so they hold their shape well when cooked in a stew.
They might not thicken soup as much as other starchy potatoes, but they are ideal for when you want firm pieces of potato in your soup.
Russet potatoes are another common type of potato, and these are high in starch and have a grainy texture.
This type of potato is best used for making potato soup, or for when you want a potato to thicken up a soup.
Yukon Gold Potatoes
Yukon Gold potatoes are the perfect blend of waxy and starchy. They are medium in starch levels and are really just a great all-purpose potato.
These potatoes can be used to both thicken soups, or to be kept as firm cubes in a soup, it all depends on how long you cook them for, and how you cook them.
Red potatoes have very similar qualities to white potatoes, just with a different color skin.
You can use red potatoes just the same as you would use white potatoes, which means they are great to use in soup to have firm chunks of potatoes.
Should You Cook Potatoes Before Adding Them To Stew?
Stew, like soup, can really benefit from the addition of potatoes. However, when making stew, you would prefer the potatoes to stay firm and retain their shape, to hold up well with the other ingredients.
The best way to cook potatoes for stew is to add the potatoes in 30 minutes before the stew has finished cooking.
Most stews, especially stew containing meat, will need to cook for longer than 30 minutes, and leaving the potatoes to cook for longer than this could cause them to break apart.
You do not need to cook the potatoes before adding them to the stew, as they will cook in half an hour in the stew liquid, and absorb all of the flavors of the stew too.
You just need to make sure that there is enough liquid in the stew to cook the potatoes in.
Avoid adding the potatoes in too early, or the stew will be more mushy than you would want.
How Long To Cook Potatoes In Soup
Potatoes in a soup can bulk up the soup and add some good texture, but you just need to know how to cook them properly.
For firm, cooked cubes of potato, the potatoes should be added to the soup 30 minutes before the end of cooking. This is enough time to cook the potatoes fully without them turning too soft.
If you want the potatoes to break down and thicken the soup, you can cook them along with the other ingredients early on and allow them to soften and break down.
You can par-cook the potatoes separately before adding them to the soup to cook for 5 minutes, but this does not allow them to absorb the flavor of the other ingredients.
Why are my potatoes taking so long to soften in soup?
Potatoes might take longer to soften in soup if there is too much acidity. The potato will remain hard in an acidic soup.
Do potatoes take longer to cook than carrots?
Generally, potatoes take longer to cook than carrots, so you will need to adjust your cooking time to accommodate for this.
Do potatoes absorb liquid in soups?
Potatoes do absorb the liquid that they are cooked in, which means that they will absorb the flavors of the soup they are cooked in.