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Different Types of Potatoes

Different types of potatoes like russet, red, purple, blue, sweet potatoes and other varieties. How to use, which one to use in recipes, how to Bake Potatoes in Foil perfectly and which ones last the longest.

When to Use Different Types of Potatoes

There are so many different potatoes to make thousands of different recipes. Each boasting its unique flavor, texture, and culinary uses, each offers endless possibilities in the kitchen. Let’s go over all the types from the classic Russet to the exotic Purple Peruvian and when to use each one. (affiliate links present)

Russet Potatoes Recipes

Russets, also known as Idaho potatoes. Perhaps the most recognizable and widely used variety. These have a rough, russeted skin and a high starch content, making them perfect for baking, mashing, and frying. They result in fluffy mashed potatoes, crispy French fries, and the best base or our Palt Recipe during Christmas time because we don’t want the balls falling apart when boiled.

What is a russet potato best used for?

Use Russet potatoes for baking (like baked potatoes), mashing (for creamy mashed potatoes), and frying (for crispy French fries). A very starchy type with a tough brown skin these are the cheapest typically to buy and most common in the U.S.A.

Before we go into details on which to choose for each potato recipe idea, let’s go over how do you clean potatoes properly. First you should visually inspect each one. Remove any that have sprouts, green spots, soft or moldy areas, or visible damage. Then rinse under cold, running water. Use your hands to gently rub the surface to remove loose dirt and debris.

If you have a vegetable brush or scrubber, you can use it to gently scrub the surface too. This can be especially for tougher or stubborn dirt. Rinse once more under cold water. Continue to use your hands to remove any remaining dirt. Pay attention to any stubborn spots or areas that might still have dirt especially if keeping the skin on like our Potato Tart recipe.

how to clean potatoes

When Should You Not Use Russet Potatoes?

While Russet potatoes are versatile and suitable for many recipes, there are situations when you might prefer to use other potato varieties. Here are some scenarios in which you might want to avoid using Russet potatoes:

  1. Russets are known for their high starch content, which makes them excellent for mashing and smoked baked potatoes but can result in a fluffier, less firm texture.
    • If you’re looking for a potato with a firmer texture that holds its shape well in dishes like potato salads or stews, consider using waxy potatoes like Red or Yukon Gold.
  2. If you need to thinly slice potatoes for dishes like potato gratin or scalloped potatoes, they can be used but may not be the best choice due to their fluffier texture.
    • Waxy varieties like Yukon Gold or even thin-skinned Red are better suited for achieving consistent, thin slices.
  3. While these are great for making fluffy garlic mashed potatoes, if you prefer a creamier, less starchy texture, you might opt for Yukon Gold or even Red.
    • These varieties naturally produce creamier mashed potatoes without the need for excessive mashing or added liquid.
  4. Russets have a mild, neutral flavor. If you’re looking for a potato with a more distinct flavor, like the nutty notes of Yukon or the sweet undertones of some Red or Fingerling potatoes, you may want to choose a different variety to enhance your dish.
  5. If you’re aiming to create visually appealing dishes with colorful potatoes, these brown ones won’t provide the vibrant hues that some other varieties, such as Purple or Blue potatoes, can offer.

In summary, they may not always be the best choice for every recipe. Consider the specific texture, flavor, and appearance you want to achieve in your dish. If you want something with a richer flavor and something firmer that can withstand long bouts of cooking you should consider another below.

baked potatoes pressure cooker

When to Use Different Types of Potatoes

Using the right type of potato in your recipes can make a significant difference in the texture and flavor of the final dish. Here’s a guide on when to use different types of potatoes based on their characteristics:

  1. Russet Potatoes – high starchy potatoes are ideal for recipes where you want a fluffy, mealy texture. Use these for pressure cooker baked potatoes, mashing (for creamy mashed potatoes), and frying (for crispy French fries).
  2. Yukon Gold Potatoes – With buttery flavor and waxy texture, these are perfect for mashed potatoes, gratins, and things like our ground beef potato casserole. They hold their shape well when boiled, making them excellent for potato salads and soups.
  3. Red Potatoes have thin, smooth skins and a waxy texture. They are best for recipes where you want the potatoes to hold their shape, such as roasting, boiling, or adding to stews. Leave the skin on for added color and texture in Baked Red Potatoes.
  4. Fingerling Potatoes are great for recipes that showcase their unique shape and nutty flavor. Roast them with herbs and olive oil, use them in potato salads, or serve them as a side dish. What are the best potatoes that don’t fall apart? These!
  5. New Potatoes are tender and excellent for boiling and steaming. Use new potatoes in salads, as a side dish, or for dishes that benefit from their thin skin and waxy texture.
  6. Purple Potatoes are stunning and add a pop of color to your dishes. With a beautiful dark purple skin you can roast potatoes, mash, or use them in salads to showcase their vibrant appearance. These are also rich in antioxidants.
  7. Sweet Potatoes varieties are versatile and work well in both sweet and savory dishes. Bake, mash, or use them in casseroles, pies, and even as a base for a breakfast hash. Japanese sweet potatoes are harder to find but delicious nontheless.
  8. Kennebec Potatoes are excellent for making crispy Homemade French Fries Recipe in Oven due to their high starch content and light, creamy interior.
  9. La Ratte Potatoes are often considered gourmet and are perfect for upscale potato dishes. Steam, boil potatoes in Instant Pot, or use them in recipes that highlight their unique flavor.

Blue Potatoes have a very colorful skin and flesh, are great for adding visual interest to your recipes. Use them in salads, Roasted Potatoes in Air Fryer as a side dish, or create colorful potato dishes.

blue potatoes

Yukon Gold Potato Recipes

Yukon Gold potatoes are known for their golden flesh and buttery flavor. They fall into the waxy category, making them excellent for boiling, steaming, and mashing. They’re also great in salads and au gratin dishes.

Are Yukon gold and yellow potatoes the same?

These two variations are not the same but are often used interchangeably in recipes due to their similar characteristics. Here’s what you need to know about these two potato varieties;

  • Yukon Gold potatoes are a specific cultivar of yellow-fleshed potatoes.
  • They are known for their golden or pale yellow skin and yellow flesh.
  • Yukon have a creamy texture and a slightly buttery, earthy flavor.
  • They are versatile and can be used for boiling, steaming, roasting, mashing, and making potato salads.
  • Because of their distinct flavor and texture, they are often sought after for certain recipes, especially those where you want a creamy and buttery taste.

Yellow potatoes is a more general term used to describe any potato variety with yellow flesh. While Yukons are a well known yellow fleshed potato, there are other varieties as well. All may vary in flavor and texture depending on the specific variety. Some may have a waxy texture, while others may be more starchy.

  • Yellow taters can be used in a wide range of recipes, including boiling, roasting, grilling, and making potato salads.
  • When a recipe calls for yellow, it typically means you can use any variety with this colored fles available to you.

In summary, the term “yellow potatoes” is a broader category that includes various yellow-fleshed potato varieties. They surely can be used interchangeably in recipes that call for yellow flesh potatoes, but keep in mind that there may be slight variations in flavor and texture depending on the specific variety used.

Different Types of Potatoes

Can You use Red Potatoes for Mashed Potatoes

Red potatoes are characterized by their smooth, thin red skin and waxy, creamy flesh. Their natural sweetness and firm texture make them ideal for roasting, boiling, and making potato salads. Leave the skin on for added color and nutrition. Of course you can use them for just about everything, they just take longer to get tender.

One of our favorite ways of cooking them is to make Air Fryer Red Potatoes with butter and dill. Alongside grilled sausages it makes a great meal that is super cheap and nutritious.

Sweet Potatoes Recipes

Sweet potatoes come in various colors, including orange, purple, and white. They are known for their sweet, earthy flavor and are excellent for baking, mashing, and making sweet potato fries. They are packed with vitamins and fiber.

  • You can see here how to cook sweet potatoes on the stove if you don’t want to use your oven this go around.
  • Boiled or diced and pan fried in a skillet it is yet another way to cook them to tender.

And then there is the question of how to cook sweet potatoes for dogs? You do NOT want to add anything into the mix for them. We crave salt and butter or maybe cinnamon when we eat but this is for animals and so you want them plain, as is, skinned. Use our Instant Pot Sweet Potatoes Cubed recipe for that.

sweet potatoes

New Potatoes

New are harvested while still young and tender, with thin skins. These potatoes are waxy and perfect for boiling, steaming, or sautéing. They are often featured in spring dishes.

Purple Potatoes

Purple, including varieties like Purple Peruvian and Purple Majesty, boast vibrant, naturally purple flesh rich in antioxidants. They can be roasted, mashed, or used in colorful salads to add a pop of color and nutrition.

Blue Potatoes

Blue, such as All Blue or Adirondack Blue, feature striking blue or purple skin and flesh. They are often used in salads or roasted to showcase their unique appearance.

Kennebec Potatoes

Kennebec are another classic choice for making French fries. They have a relatively high starch content and a light, creamy interior, resulting in crispy and fluffy fries.

La Ratte Potatoes

La Ratte, a French favorite, are known for their elongated shape and rich, nutty flavor. They are ideal for steaming, boiling, and making gourmet potato dishes.

When choosing the right type of potato, consider the recipe’s intended texture and flavor. Experimenting with different varieties to achieve the desired results in your dish.

What are all purpose potatoes

What are all purpose potatoes?

This term used to describe potato varieties that are versatile and can be used for a wide range of recipes. These strike a balance between starchy and waxy, making them suitable for various cooking methods.

While there isn’t a specific variety called “all-purpose,” several common varieties are often referred to as such because of their versatility. Some popular ones include;

  1. Yukon have a creamy texture, a buttery flavor, and a thin, yellow skin. They are excellent for mashed potatoes, roasting, boiling, and making potato salads.
  2. Red have smooth, thin red skins and creamy, waxy flesh. They hold their shape well when boiled or roasted, making them ideal for potato salads, roasted dishes, and soups.
  3. White such as White Rose or Kennebec, have a smooth, white skin and a mild flavor. They are suitable for mashing, baking, boiling, and frying.
  4. Round White are small to medium-sized potatoes have a thin, light tan skin and firm, waxy flesh. They are versatile and can be used for boiling, roasting, frying, and making potato salads.
  5. Yellow are known for their creamy texture and slightly buttery flavor. They work well for mashing, roasting, boiling, and making potato dishes.

All-purpose potatoes are favored by many cooks because they offer a good balance between a fluffy, mealy texture and a firm, waxy texture. This versatility allows them to adapt to various recipes, from mashed potatoes to potato soups and everything in between. When a recipe calls for “all-purpose potatoes,” it typically means you can use one of these versatile varieties based on your preference and what you have on hand.


What potatoes stay fresh the longest?

In this order; russet, Yukon, fingerling and then blue varieties will last the longest if kept properly. That is the biggest determining factor when it comes to preventing spoilage. Regardless of the potato variety you choose, here are some tips for extending their shelf life:

  • Store in a Cool, Dark Place at 45-50° degrees F or 7-10° degrees C. A pantry that is dark, and well ventilated is ideal. Avoid direct sunlight and temperature extremes.
  • Keep Dry because moisture can lead to rot. Ensure they are not stored in a humid or damp environment.
  • Inspect Regularly for signs of sprouting, soft spots, or rot. Remove any affected potatoes to prevent them from affecting the others.
  • Separate from Onions and other ethylene producing fruits and vegetables, as they can affect each other’s shelf life.
  • Avoid Plastic Bags as they can trap moisture and lead to spoilage. Instead, use a breathable storage container, basket with holes in it or an open paper bag.

It’s important to note that freshness can also depend on factors like the initial quality of the potatoes when purchased and the specific storage conditions. Regularly monitoring and rotating your supply can help ensure that you use them before they spoil.

These are just a few examples of the vast potato universe. Potatoes come in countless shapes, sizes, and colors, offering an array of flavors and textures to suit any culinary endeavor.

Whether you’re whipping up a comforting bowl of mashed potatoes or experimenting with a creative potato dish, the world of potatoes is yours to explore, and each variety brings its unique charm to the table. So, embrace the potato’s versatility and make it a star in your kitchen.

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