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How to Peel Potatoes

There are a few easy ways to peel a potato. Whether you are making mashed potatoes, home fries, or french fries will determine which method will work best for you.

I will show you how to peel potatoes using a peeler, paring knife, or boiling to peel. Each way is pretty simple and shouldn’t take you too long unless you are peeling pounds of potatoes.

3 ways to peel potatoes

Follow along below and see which method works best for what you are trying to achieve with your potatoes.

Using the vegetable peeler method, paring knife, or boiling to peel method are the best ways to peel potatoes.

The first step you always want to wash your potatoes under cold water before you peel or cut them.

This will ensure that you get off any leftover dirt from being harvested and also rid your potatoes of ant bacteria.

You can use a spud brush or your hands and if you have a favorite veggie spray you like, that is great too. If you do not have a veggie spray just using cold water will be fine.

TIP: It is important to know how to tell when potatoes are bad so that you aren’t working with potatoes that are going to make you sick.

1. Peeler

peeling a sweet potato on a cutting board with a peeler

The most common way to peel your potatoes is using a hand peeler. Once your potatoes are washed simply hold one at a time in your non-dominant hand and the peeler in your dominant hand.

With a swiping motion going from one end of the potato to the other end, peeling away from your body. Continue to rotate the potato in your hand until all of the skin has been peeled.

It is also a good idea to cut the bottom off of the potato so that you can balance it and then just use the peeler to peel it down toward your cutting board.

2. Paring knife

using a pairing knife to peel

If you do not have a peeler or prefer to use a paring knife for peeling that is perfectly fine. It will get the job done.

Holding the potato in one hand and the paring knife in the other you want to cut into the skin of the potato just enough to swipe the knife under the skin to peel it.

I like to slide the knife toward me but keep my thumb out of the way.

When peeling you want to make sure that the knife is sharp, you want to go slow to be very careful not to cut yourself.

Keep turning the potato until you have completely peeled it.

3. Boil and peel

Most people think that they should boil their potatoes after they have peeled them but trust me when I say this is a time saver and you won’t have to sit there peeling for an hour.

Score a thin slice, only going too deep enough to get through the skin, all the way around the potato. Then you want to place them into a pot with boiling water. Let them boil until they tender.

Read more about how to tell if potatoes are done in my guided post.

Strain them and run them under cold water. Leave them until they are cool enough to handle.

Once they are cooled simply slide the peel off from each end of the potato and it should slide right off.

You really want to make sure you had given them a really good wash.

Peeling and paring are best for…

using a pairing knife and a peeler to peel a potato.

Using a peeler or a paring knife to peel potatoes is best for when you are making something like French fries or home fries.

If you want your potatoes to be firm and keep their shape then you will want to use this method.

Boil to peel method

This is great when you are making mashed potatoes. This saves you the hassle of having to peel each potato, then cook and mash.

It’s almost like 3 steps condensed into one.

It is best to peel them when they are dry. You always want to wash your potatoes before you peel them but if you can give them time to dry that is best.

The reason is just so that they are not slippery when you are holding them while peeling them.

If you do not have time to let them dry then use a dish towel to hold them so you have a better grip while peeling.

Peeling potatoes after you boil them is the easiest way to peel them. You want to make sure that they cool off before you peel them so you do not get burnt.

This method is quick and easy but should be used when you are making mashed potatoes, soups, or potato salad. Something that calls for soft potatoes.

peeling a potato with a peeler

How To Peel Potatoes (3 Easy Ways)

3 easy ways to peel potatoes. Learn how to use a peeler, paring knife, or the boil to peel method to peel your potatoes.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 1
Calories 164 kcal


  • peeler
  • Paring knife
  • Pot
  • Cutting board


  • 1 potato


  • Wash your potatoes under cold water and pat dry.


  • Hold the potato in your non-dominant hand and the peeler in your dominant hand and swipe the peeler against the potato going away from your body.
    Rotate the potato until the entire potato has been peeled.

Paring knife

  • Like with a peeler hold the potato in your non-dominant hand and the paring knife in your other hand. Using your thumb as a guide slide the knife along the potato just under the skin. Work your way around the potato until it is all peeled.

Boil to peel

  • Score the washed potatoes just enough to get through the skin all the way around the potato. Then place them into a pot with boiling water and let them boil until they are tender.
    Drain them and run cold water over them and then allow them to cool. Once they are cool enough to handle, squeeze the ends of the potato and the peels should slip right off.


Serving: 1gCalories: 164kcalCarbohydrates: 37gProtein: 4gFat: 1gSaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 13mgPotassium: 897mgFiber: 5gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 4IUVitamin C: 42mgCalcium: 26mgIron: 2mg
Keyword 3 ways to peel potatoes, How to peel potatoes
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