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How to Grill Potatoes

Grilling potatoes is fun because you can truly make them your own. And there are so many different ways to grill potatoes on a Traeger. You can roast them whole, cut them in wedges and grill them over direct heat, or do twice-baked or Hasselback potatoes.

Potatoes take on a wide variety of flavors very well, so you can vary your cooking smoke and seasonings to get the exact taste you'd like.

What to Know About Grilling Potatoes

Here are some of the basics to know about grilling potatoes.

What Are the Best Potatoes for Grilling?

The best potatoes for grilling are waxy, less starchy potatoes.

  • White potatoes
  • Red potatoes
  • Yukon Gold potatoes
  • Fingerling potatoes

Because they have less starch, these potatoes are denser, and hold together better on the grill. Starchy potatoes such as russets or sweet potatoes, are prone to crumbling when cooked on a grill.

However, if you have a Traeger grill, you can roast starchy potatoes whole at high temperatures -- the perfect way to cook russets and sweet potatoes (see below for a recipe).

Should You Soak Potatoes Before Grilling?

Soaking potatoes in salted water before grilling will add flavor and help remove some of the starch that can make potatoes mushy. But if you are using less starchy potatoes, like the ones mentioned above, it's not going to make much difference either way, so it’s an unnecessary extra step.

Should You Boil Potatoes Before Grilling?

It’s a good idea to boil potatoes in salted water for about five minutes before direct grilling them. The salt in the water will help flavor the potatoes. Also, boiling will partially cook the potatoes which will let you direct grill at a higher temperature, for a crispier exterior.

If you don't pre-cook, cooking at high temperatures might leave you with potatoes that are crispy on the outside, but still raw in the middle.

Pre-cooking gets the middle of the potatoes nearly cooked, so you can focus on getting crispy skin and glorious grill marks.

How Long to Cook Potatoes on the Grill

Potatoes can take a little as five minutes, or as long as an hour and a half. The cooking time depends on the type and size of the potatoes.

To tell if potatoes are fully cooked, slide a knife into the center of the potato. You should be able to easily slide the knife in and pull it out without encountering any resistance.

Here are some general cooking times and temperatures to follow based on the most common types of potatoes -- but, again, times may vary. Use the knife test to be sure.

  • Whole sweet potatoes: 60 to 90 minutes at 375 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Whole russet potatoes: 30 to 40 minutes at 450 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Whole new potatoes: 25 minutes at 425 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Fingerling potatoes (sliced lengthwise): 4 to 5 minutes at 450 degrees Fahrenheit

How to Grill Potatoes in Foil

There are two ways to grill potatoes in foil, but we don't recommend either one.

You can wrap whole potatoes in foil and place them directly on the grill grate. If you have a charcoal or gas grill and are cooking over open flame, the foil will help prevent the surface of the potato from burning before the middle is cooked. However, because the entire potato is encased in foil, it's going to steam, rather than roast. The skin will likely be limp and the potato flesh itself will be mushy, not fluffy.

If you have a Traeger grill, you don't need to worry about the exterior of the potato being burned by open flame, because a Traeger doesn't have one. You can set the temperature to 450 degrees Fahrenheit, and let the potato roast out in the open. No foil needed. This way, the skin will crisp up and the flesh will get nice and fluffy.

You can also slice or chop potatoes, toss them in oil, and cook them in foil packets. We don't recommend this either, for the same reason. The potatoes just steam in the packets, and they don't get that nice roast from the heat of the grill or that tasty smoke flavor. A better solution is to boil the potatoes ahead of time, then cook them directly over the flame as described above.

In either case, the potatoes will not grill faster when wrapped in foil. Because the foil is a barrier between the heat and the potato itself, foil-wrapped potatoes actually take longer to cook through.

What to Eat With Grilled Potatoes

What you serve with grilled potatoes will depend on whether you are serving them as a main dish or as a side, as well as what style of potatoes you made.

If you want to make simply-dressed, grilled potato salad as a side dish, a main dish like grilled chicken or pulled pork would go well with it.

Whole roasted potatoes are a classic partner for steak.

If you are featuring potatoes as a main dish, like this BBQ Chicken Baked Potato, a green salad with an acidic dressing is a good counterpoint.

Grilled Potatoes Recipes

Take inspiration from these classic grilled potato recipes, developed especially for Traegering.

How to Grill Sweet Potatoes

Cook time: 1 hour

Serves: 12

Ingredients

1½ cups butter, softened

3/8 cup pure maple syrup

3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

12 medium sweet potatoes

How to Grill Baked Potatoes

Cook time: 1 hour

Serves: 6

Ingredients

9 russet potatoes, scrubbed and dried

4½ tablespoons canola oil

1½ tablespoons kosher salt

Butter

Sour cream

Chives, fresh

Bacon bits

Cheddar cheese

How to Grill Red Potatoes

Cook time: 25 minutes

Serves: 6

Ingredients

3 pounds small new potatoes

4½ tablespoons butter, melted

3 tablespoons olive oil

3 tablespoons whole mustard seeds

Salt and pepper

3 tablespoons freshly minced chives

3 tablespoons freshly minced parsley

How to Grill Fingerling Potatoes

Cook time: 15 minutes

Serves: 8

Ingredients

4 pounds fingerling potatoes

13⅓ whole scallions

7/8 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper

2⅔ tablespoons rice vinegar

2⅔ teaspoons lemon juice

2⅔ teaspoons kosher salt

1⅓ whole jalapenos, sliced into rings

How to Grill Sliced Potatoes

Cook time: 2 hours

Serves: 8

Ingredients

8 large russet potatoes

1⅓ pounds bacon

2/3 cup butter

Salt

Black pepper

1⅓ cups cheddar cheese

4 whole scallions

How to Grill Twice-Baked Potatoes

Cook time: 1 hour

Serves: 12

Ingredients

12 medium russet potatoes

3 cups hot milk

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons butter, melted

3 tablespoons minced chives, optional

9 strips cooked bacon, crumbled

Salt and pepper

3 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Additional minced chives, for garnish