How To Keep Cut Potatoes From Turning Brown

Protect those peeled potatoes.

Potatoes sliced on a cutting board
Photo: Getty Images

Once they have been peeled and cut, raw potatoes will turn brown quickly. This process, which is called oxidation, happens because potatoes are a naturally starchy vegetable. And when exposed to oxygen, starches turn gray, brown, or even black.

An oxidized potato is completely safe to eat. The process doesn't affect the flavor or texture of the vegetable. But who wants to sit down to a bowl of gray potato salad?

Whether you're making potato salad, hash browns, or a sheet pan full of roasted potatoes, you'll want to prevent oxidation from happening. Thankfully this isn't hard to do. Here are three simple ways to keep cut, peeled potatoes looking nice and white.

3 Ways to Keep Cut Potatoes from Turning Brown

1. Wait to peel them

We're all about dishes that can be made in advance, but the easiest way to prevent oxidation is to not let the cut potatoes sit around for too long. If time allows, peel and slice the potatoes right before you cook them.

2. Soak them in water

The best (and most popular) way to keep cut potatoes from turning brown is to completely submerge them in a bowl of water. Store the water-covered potatoes in a bowl in the refrigerator until you're ready to use them, up to one day in advance.

For a little extra insurance, add something acidic to the water, such as a splash of vinegar or fresh lemon juice. This will help slow the oxidation process even more.

3. Use a glass baking dish

According to the Idaho Potato Commission, aluminum or metal pans can react with cut potatoes, causing them to brown too quickly. While this isn't always the case, glass baking dishes and mixing bowls are a safer choice.

Can You Peel Potatoes Ahead of Time?

Yes, if you need to get a head start on dishes by peeling potatoes ahead of time, you can—but no more than a day. After a day of sitting in water, the potatoes will start to absorb more water. That can ultimately make them very watery and gritty.

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