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different types of potatoes

11 Super types of Potatoes | How many do you know about?

This article dives into the fascinating world of potato varieties, equipping you to choose the perfect potato for every dish. The unassuming potato boasts a history as rich and complex as its flavour.

Originating in the Andes Mountains of South America, potatoes were cultivated by indigenous peoples as early as 8,000 years ago. Initially revered for their versatility and ability to thrive in harsh conditions, potatoes became a cornerstone of the Incan diet.

Spanish conquistadors brought the potato to Europe in the 16th century, where it faced initial suspicion before eventually exploding in popularity. Today, various types of potatoes reign supreme as the world’s fourth-largest food crop, enjoyed in countless cuisines across the globe.

From creamy mashed potatoes to crispy French fries, this humble spud has become a beloved staple, showcasing its remarkable adaptability and flavour potential.

Types of Potatoes: A Celebration of Versatility

  • The potato’s true magic lies in its chameleon-like qualities. Its starchy flesh transforms to suit a variety of culinary applications. Imagine it morphing into fluffy mashed potatoes, glistening roasted wedges, or crispy French fries. Beyond these familiar favourites, potatoes lend themselves to stews, soups, dumplings, and even gnocchi. This versatility has propelled the potato to prominence in cultures worldwide.
  • In South America, it remains a vital part of the Andean diet, featuring dishes like Lomo Saltado (stir-fry) and Aji de Gallina (creamy chicken stew). Europe boasts iconic potato dishes like French fries in Belgium and decadent potato gratins in France.
  • India cherishes its Aloo Gobi (potato and cauliflower curry), while Japan delights in Okonomiyaki, a savoury pancake featuring potato alongside other ingredients. From warming stews to celebratory feasts, the potato transcends borders, uniting cultures through its delicious versatility.

Types of Potatoes: A Guide to Potato Varieties

Not all potatoes are created equal! To navigate the vast world of spuds, let’s explore the key factors that define a potato variety:

  • Starch Content: This is the secret ingredient that determines a potato’s texture after cooking. High-starch potatoes like russets boast a fluffy texture, ideal for baking and mashing. Medium-starch potatoes like Yukon Golds find their sweet spot in roasting and gratins, offering a creamy yet slightly firm texture. Finally, low-starch potatoes like reds and yellows hold their shape well when cooked, making them perfect for salads, roasting, and potato salad.

Types of Potatoes: Based on Skin Color

Move over, boring beige! The potato world explodes with a spectrum of vibrant colours, each hinting at the culinary potential within. Here’s a glimpse:

  • White Skin: These classic potatoes, like russets, often have a high starch content, perfect for achieving that fluffy, light texture in mashed potatoes and baked potatoes.
  • Yellow Skin: Yukon Gold potatoes, with their sunny yellow skin, boast a medium starch content. They excel in dishes where you desire a creamy texture with a slight bite, making them ideal for roasting, gratins, and even potato salad.
  • Red Skin: Red potatoes, with their vibrant ruby exteriors, are the low-starch champions. Their waxy flesh holds its shape well when cooked, making them perfect for salads, roasting into crispy wedges, or adding a delightful textural contrast to potato salad.
  • Purple Skin: These beauties aren’t just for show! Purple potatoes not only add a stunning pop of colour to your dish, but they also boast anthocyanins, a type of antioxidant. Enjoy them roasted, mashed, or even sliced raw for vibrant salads.

Types of Potatoes: Based on size

Now, let’s talk about age! Potatoes come in various stages of maturity, each with its own culinary calling:

  • New Potatoes: These youngsters are small and thin-skinned, harvested before reaching full maturity. Their delicate flavour and creamy texture make them perfect for boiling, steaming, or enjoying roasted with a drizzle of olive oil.
  • Baby Potatoes: Slightly larger than new potatoes, these bite-sized gems offer versatility. Roast them whole for a delightful side dish, or halve them and toss them in a stir-fry for a burst of potato goodness.
  • Mature Potatoes: These are the seasoned veterans of the potato world. Their thicker skin and higher starch content make them ideal for baking, mashing, or French fries.

Exploring Popular types of potatoes 

With our knowledge of starch content, skin colour, and maturity in hand, let’s dive into the exciting world of specific potato varieties! Each spud boasts unique characteristics and ideal culinary applications, allowing you to elevate your dishes to new heights.

Russet Potato (High-Starch)

The undisputed king of baking potatoes, the russet’s high starch content transforms into a light and fluffy interior when baked. They’re also perfect for creating creamy mashed potatoes, absorbing butter and milk like a dream. Their thick skin allows for easy peeling, making them a versatile choice for chefs.

Yukon Gold Potato (Medium-Starch)

These sunshine-coloured beauties boast a medium starch content, offering the best of both worlds. Enjoy their creamy texture and subtle sweetness in roasted dishes or fluffy mashed potatoes. Yukon Golds excel in gratins, where their ability to hold their shape while still offering a delightful creaminess truly shines.

Red Potato (Waxy)

Don’t let their vibrant red skin fool you – red potatoes are all about maintaining their shape. Their low starch content makes them ideal for salads, where they hold their own against other ingredients. Roast them whole or cubed for crispy wedges, or dice them for a textural contrast in potato salad.

Yellow Potato (Waxy)

Similar to red potatoes, yellow potatoes are champions of retaining their shape. Their waxy flesh makes them perfect for roasting into golden wedges or home fries. They can also be enjoyed in salads or potato salads, adding a delightful pop of colour and a firm texture.

Fingerling Potato (Elongated Shape)

These slender beauties are all about presentation! Their elongated shape and thin skin make them visually appealing when roasted whole or halved. They also excel in gratins, offering a delightful textural contrast alongside cream and cheese.

Purple Potato (Unique Color)

Beyond their stunning appearance, purple potatoes offer a subtle nuttiness and a touch of earthy flavour. Enjoy them roasted, mashed (for a beautiful purple mash!), or even sliced raw for vibrant salads. They boast anthocyanins, a type of antioxidant, making them a healthy and visually striking addition to your dishes.

Heirloom Potato Varieties

Venture beyond the ordinary and explore the fascinating world of heirloom potatoes! These lesser-known varieties offer a kaleidoscope of colours, textures, and flavours. Discover fingerling potatoes with a bluish hue, or indulge in the unique taste of a French Fingerling potato. Heirloom varieties allow you to explore the rich history and diversity of the potato world.

Remember, this is just a glimpse into the vast array of potato varieties. As you explore and experiment, you’ll discover even more unique spuds and their culinary potential. So grab your favourite potato variety and get ready to create delicious dishes!

Tips for Selecting the Perfect Types of Potatoes

It’s time to translate your knowledge into action! Here are some essential tips for selecting the freshest potatoes at the market:

  1. Consider the Dish You’re Making:
    • Baking: Choose Russet potatoes. Their high starch content and low moisture make them fluffy and light when baked.
    • Boiling: For boiling, choose waxy potatoes like Red or New potatoes. They hold their shape well and have a creamy texture.
    • Mashing: Yukon Gold potatoes are ideal for mashing due to their balance of starch and moisture, resulting in a creamy consistency.
    • Roasting: Fingerling or baby potatoes roast well due to their firm texture and thin skin.
    • Frying: Russet or Idaho potatoes are best for frying because of their high starch content, which results in crispy exteriors and fluffy interiors.
  2. Check the Skin:
    • Look for potatoes with smooth, firm skin. Avoid those with wrinkled, blemished, or green skin, as these are signs of ageing or exposure to light, which can make them bitter.
    • Ensure there are no cuts or bruises on the skin, which can lead to quicker spoilage.
  3. Consider the Texture:
    • Starchy Potatoes: (Russets, Idaho) These are fluffy and absorbent, making them great for baking, mashing, and frying.
    • Waxy Potatoes: (Red, New, Fingerling) These have a firmer texture and retain their shape, making them ideal for boiling, roasting, and salads.
    • All-Purpose Potatoes: (Yukon Gold) These have a medium starch content and are versatile enough for a variety of dishes.
  4. Size and Shape:
    • Uniformly sized potatoes cook more evenly. Select similarly sized potatoes for recipes requiring consistent cooking times, such as roasting or boiling.
  5. Smell:
    • Potatoes should have an earthy smell. Avoid those with a musty or sour odour, as this indicates spoilage.
  6. Storage:
    • Store potatoes in a cool, dark, and well-ventilated place. Avoid storing them in the refrigerator, as the cold temperature can convert their starches into sugars, altering their flavour and texture.


  • The humble potato has unveiled its hidden depths! We’ve delved into the vast world of potato varieties, exploring how factors like starch content, skin colour, and maturity influence their culinary applications. From the fluffy perfection of mashed Yukon Golds to the crispy delight of roasted red potato wedges, each spud offers unique characteristics that elevate your dishes.
  • Remember, selecting the freshest potatoes is key. Seek out firm potatoes with smooth skin, and store them properly in a cool, dry place to maximize their flavour potential.
  • Now that you’re armed with knowledge and practical tips, it’s time to unleash your inner potato pro! Don’t be afraid to experiment with different varieties. Explore the vibrant world of heirloom potatoes, or discover the unique flavours of fingerlings. With each new spud you encounter, a world of culinary possibilities awaits.
  • So grab your favourite potato variety, embrace your creativity, and embark on a delicious journey. Who knows, you might just discover your new signature potato dish!

Key Takeaways

Starch Content is Key: High starch (russet) for baking/mashing, medium starch (Yukon Gold) for roasting/gratin, and low starch (red/yellow) for salads/wedges.

Skin Color Matters: White (high starch), Yellow (medium starch), Red (waxy), Purple (unique colour and antioxidants).

Consider Maturity: New (small, thin-skinned), Baby (bite-sized), Mature (thick skin, high starch).

Picking Perfect Potatoes: Firm with smooth skin, size based on the recipe, store in a cool, dry place.Varieties for Every Dish: Russet (baked potato), Yukon Gold (mashed potato), Red (potato salad), Yellow (wedges), Fingerling (roasted), Purple (all uses)

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