How to Steam Cook a Potato

by Jenny Harrington ; Updated November 21, 2017

Steaming brings out the creamy, soft texture in a new or baby potato, but it can also improve the flavor and feel of large potatoes. Unlike boiling, which can waterlog potatoes, or baking, which tends to dry them out, steaming both cooks the potato and provides just enough moisture for a soft consistency. Serve steamed potatoes on their own with a bit of butter and herbs, or toss them with steamed green beans, olive oil and a touch of salt and pepper for a colorful side dish.

Select potatoes of similar size with no soft spots. Wash the potatoes under cool, running water, scrubbing the skins lightly with a vegetable brush to remove any surface soil.

Fill a steamer pot with 3 to 4 inches of water. Set a steamer basket in the pot so the bottom of the basket sits above the water level.

Bring the water to a full boil over medium-high heat. Place the potatoes in the steamer basket, stacking them no more than one or two layers deep.

Cover the pot and steam the potatoes for 15 to 20 minutes. Stick a skewer into a potato at the end of the cooking time to verify that they are done. If the potato isn't at the desired tenderness, steam for an additional 5 minutes.

Remove the steamer basket from the pot and drain the remaining water out of the pot. Set the basket back in the pot and cover the potatoes with a towel. Let the potatoes sit for 5 minutes before serving so the towel can absorb any excess moisture clinging to the potatoes.


  • Steam large potatoes unpeeled for 20 to 25 minutes, or cut them into smaller sections before steaming. Cutting the potatoes before steaming may result in some flavor loss.

About the Author

Jenny Harrington has been a freelance writer since 2006. Her published articles have appeared in various print and online publications. Previously, she owned her own business, selling handmade items online, wholesale and at crafts fairs. Harrington's specialties include small business information, crafting, decorating and gardening.