3 Reasons Why You Should Boil Potatoes Before Grilling Them

published Jul 11, 2014
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(Image credit: Christine Gallary)

One of the main advantages of grilling is that you don’t need to heat up your stove, but I’d like to convince you that if you’re grilling regular or sweet potatoes, you should par-boil them first. Here are three reasons why you should do this extra step.

1. Even Cooking

Since potatoes are dense, starchy root vegetables, they need to be cooked all the way through — no one wants to bite into an al dente potato. Boiling is the best way to evenly cook them, so if you get them most of the way cooked before they go on the grill, the potatoes only have to finish cooking for a little bit longer and don’t run the risk of drying out by staying on the grill for too long.

2. Cooking Time

Cooking regular and sweet potatoes can take a while, especially on the grill. If you’re grilling a lot of different things and don’t want the potatoes to take up precious grill space for a long amount of time, par-boiling them will cut down on the cooking time.

When we grill quick-cooking things like steaks on weeknights, having the potatoes pre-cooked speeds things up, especially since the potatoes can be boiled up to a day in advance.

3. Seasoning

If you par-boil the potatoes in salted water, they get a chance to start soaking in flavor, and you can toss the boiled potatoes in more seasonings like herbs and spices while they’re warm but before they get grilled. When you throw them just straight onto the grill raw, only the surface gets seasoned.

How to Par-Boil Potatoes for Grilling

Par-boiling is essentially the same thing as boiling, except you don’t boil the food all the way through. Place potatoes, cut or whole, in a saucepan of salted cold water and bring up to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer and cook until the potatoes are almost cooked through — check by inserting a paring knife into a thick piece and it should go in fairly easily but have a little resistance in the center.

When the potatoes are done, drain and let them cool and dry off a bit. Toss the potatoes in some olive oil, salt, and herbs or spices if you’re feeling adventurous to add a bit more flavor, then grill until the outside is crispy with the knowledge that the inside will be moist and fluffy!