Does Potatoes Cook Faster Covered Or Uncovered?

While some people cover potatoes while cooking them, some others don’t. It is however important to know what the right thing to do is, so you can get the best cooking result. Which scenario produces the best result: when the pot is covered or when it is not? You are about to discover the answer to that in this article.

Most likely, you’ve been sticking to a particular approach to boiling your potatoes, but you’re beginning to get curious about knowing if you’ve been doing the right thing because of the divergent views that are becoming popular.

Potatoes cook faster when they are covered. Generally, when the heat produced during cooking is trapped in the pot, the food cooks faster and gets tender on time. This is because the moisture trapped back in the pot as a result of the heat acts as a tenderizer.

Maybe your potatoes have been taking much time to cook. You are in the right place. In this article, we would shed light on when food should be covered and if potatoes cook faster when covered.

Cooking Potatoes With The Lead On

Cooking with a lid is especially important for root crops like potatoes and yams. Care should however be taken to ensure that the water doesn’t boil over. This can be achieved by monitoring the intensity of the fire. Once, the water has reached the boiling point, you should reduce the heat and keep the lid tightly fixed.

The question of covering food depends on what you are cooking, especially in cases when the goal is to moisten or soften what is being cooked. Food cooks faster when it is covered. When food is covered, the heat that evaporates to the top of the pot is trapped back inside, softening the food.

In other words, food should always be covered when you want to keep the heat in.

Good examples are when you are boiling water, meat, corn, vegetables, or pasta. You notice that whenever you forget to keep the lid over your boiling water, the quantity of water in the kettle reduces. Evaporation has taken place.

When the temperature rises and heat are generated, if the kettle isn’t covered, the moisture will escape. In the same light, when you’re cooking food you need to be soft, it is important to retain the heat, because it is what softens the food.

If you’re trying to speed up the cooking process, covering the pot is the way out. It saves cooking time and energy (gas).

Tip: When the goal is to make food in this category cook faster, the intensity of the fire is not the real deal; the heat is what is needed to cook the food.

cooking potatoes
Image: @alexdonin_photographer via Twenty20

When Should You Not Cover Food?

You shouldn’t cover food when the moisture content released from the cooking is not needed.

This applies when you’re making stew, sauce, or any form of stir fry. In these cases, you need the end product meal to be as dry as possible, so releasing the moisture into the air is the rescue act.

Why Should You Cover Potatoes While They Cook?

Potatoes are root crops and they need moisture to cook, so they cook faster when they are covered. As has been explained earlier, keeping the heat in the pot by covering it releases the moisture needed to soften food.

Largely, heat loss occurs at the surface of the pot. This goes to say that keeping the lid on the pot ensures that the potatoes are exposed to steam, making them soften faster.

Tip: The lesser the heat that escapes, the faster the potatoes cook. What cooks the potatoes faster is not how fast the water boils, but how much heat is retained while the water boils. This is achieved by covering the pot.

However, apart from covering the pot while the potatoes boil, another way to get the potatoes to cook fast is the cut them into cube sizes. This is because the size of the potato is also a determinant of how fast it cooks. Whole potatoes take longer to cook compared to diced potatoes.

Final Summary

Potatoes, just like other root crops and solids like rice need heat to cook, thus the need to place a lid over the pot while cooking them. Importantly, note that you should concentrate on how much heat is generated by putting a lid over the pot, not increasing the intensity of the fire.

What cooks the potatoes is not the fast boiling water, but the trapped heat. When you ensure this, you’ll save yourself both time and energy. What happens when the intensity of the fire becomes too much or the water reaches a boiling pot is that it begins to boil over.

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