par-cooking potatoes

Meal Prep Diced Potatoes By Par-Cooking Them in the Instant Pot

Par-cooking or partially cooking potatoes may seem like an unnecessary extra step, but it is a great way to not only save time later on, but an excellent way to get beautifully browned and crispy potatoes.

Why should I par-cook potatoes?

Par-cooking potatoes partially cooks them, making them easier to handle and ensuring even cooking. This process reduces the overall cooking time and helps achieve a desirable texture—crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. It’s especially useful for roasting, grilling, or frying, as it prevents the potatoes from being undercooked or overly dry.

Par-cooking your potatoes saves money

If you have been buying frozen potatoes for recipes, par-cooking your own will save a significant amount of money. As of the time of this writing, a 2# bag of frozen potato cubes is $3.99 or $0.13/ounce. Moving over to the produce department, a 10# bag of potatoes is $5.99 resulting in a price of $0.04/ounce. At that price, the 2# bag of frozen potatoes would be $1.20.

Comparison of potato pricing
Comparison of diced potato prices.

How Long To Par-Cook Potato Cubes In An Instant Pot?

How long you par-cook potatoes in an Instant Pot for later use depends primarily on the size of cubes you are making. The smaller the cubes, the faster they will cook.

Cube SizeCooking Time (High Pressure)Natural Release Time
1/4″ Cubes1 Minute5 minutes
1/2″ Cubes2 Minutes5 minutes
1″ Cubes3 Minutes5 minutes
1 1/2″ Cubes4 Minutes5 minutes
2″ Cubes5 Minutes10 Minutes

how to par-cook potatoes in an instant pot

Par-cooking potato cubed in your Instant Pot is very simple. All you need to do is add one cup of water to your Instant Pot, and your potatoes into a steamer basket. Then set it to high for the amount of time from the chart above.

Chill Your Potatoes after cooking

par-cooked potatoes cooling  on a sheet pan

Regardless of the size of your potatoes, if you are going to use them later in the week, you want to chill them down. Spread them out on a sheet pan and ideally put them in a fridge or other cool spot. Stopping the cooking process will ensure that your potatoes are not soft or mushy when you go to use them.

Additionally, chilling the potatoes helps set the starch on the surface of the potatoes, which results in a crispier texture if you are roasting, frying, or grilling them.

Storing Par-Cooked Potatoes

Once your potatoes are thoroughly chilled, you can transfer them to an airtight container or freezer bag, removing as much air as possible. If you have them, putting your potatoes in vacuum containers like these ones on Amazon, is a great way to extend their shelf life in your fridge and prevent oxidation and them turning gray.

If you want to store them for even longer, simply put the pan you are chilling them on into the freezer. Once they are frozen solid, you can transfer them to freezer bags or other containers, again removing as much air as possible.

Do I need to peel potatoes before par-cooking?

You do not need to peel potatoes before par-cooking. Peeling is a matter of preference and depends on the desired texture and presentation. Leaving the skin on can add nutrients and a rustic texture, while peeling provides a smoother finish. Both methods work well, so choose based on your recipe and taste preferences.

What is the easiest way to make cubed potatoes?

If you aren’t great with a knife, the easiest way to make uniformly cubed potatoes is to use a vegetable slicer to cut strips and then dice them into cubes from there. That will give you relatively evenly sized cubes.

What is the best method for par-cooking potatoes?

The easiest and most consistent way to par-cook potatoes is with a pressure cooker like and Instant Pot, but you can also boil your potatoes, or steam them. The key element is to not overcook them, or let them get watery as can happen with boiling them.

Instant Pot Diced Potatoes Par-cooked

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