Want to know what the best potatoes for soups and stews are?
No? Then you’ve come to the right place!
Potatoes are one of the most versatile and budget-friendly ingredients out there.
But with so many different types of potatoes, it’s sometimes hard to know which ones to use for what.
For example, did you know that potatoes are put into categories based on their texture?
Mix up a waxy potato with a starchy one, and you might not get the best results.
So, let’s cover the best potatoes for soups and stews, so your dinner will be flawless.
Types of Potatoes
Want to guess how many types of potatoes there are in the world?
How about narrowing it down to just the United States?
What do you think? 10? 25? 50?
If you answered any of the above, I’m sorry to tell you you’re wrong.
There are actually over 150 potato varieties in the United States alone.
Don’t worry, I’m not talking about all of them today. But I’ll cover the six best ones for soups and stews, though.
Before we get to that, let’s break potatoes down into their three primary categories:
- All-purpose potatoes
- Waxy potatoes
- Starchy potatoes
Now, what does that mean exactly? The three categories explain the potatoes’ textures when cooked.
- All-purpose potatoes have the kind of texture that works well in most recipes.
- You can use them just as easily for soups as mashed potatoes and other recipes.
- Waxy potatoes, on the other hand, are potatoes with lots of moisture and not too much starch.
- They hold their shape well and are great for recipes that use cubed, sliced, or diced potatoes.
- Starchy potatoes have lots of starch and not a lot of moisture.
- They’re creamy and fluffy, perfect for mashed potatoes. They won’t keep their shape when cooked, though.
Best Potatoes for Soups & Stews
After learning about the different potato types, you might think starchy potatoes are the way to go.
After all, they’re smooth and creamy, so they’re perfect for soups.
However, some soups require large chunks of potatoes that hold their shapes. In that case, waxy potatoes are the better option.
And, of course, as their name would imply, all-purpose potatoes are always a good choice.
Now, let’s look at my top six picks for the best potatoes for soups and stews.
Russet potatoes are starchy potatoes. They’re phenomenal for thick, creamy soups that don’t require large potato chunks.
Despite their starchy natures, they hold up okay when baked.
That’s why Russet potatoes are the go-to option for America’s beloved baked potato.
It’s probably no surprise that they’re also a hit in baked potato soup.
Creamy mashed potato soup is another recipe you can easily make with russet potatoes.
Best of all, Russet potatoes are large. That means you only need a few to make your soup.
2. Round White Potatoes
Round white potatoes are exactly what they sound like. They’re those small, round, and white potatoes you often see in the store.
They’re also a type of waxy potatoes that hold their shape exceptionally well.
So if you want a soup/stew recipe with large chunks of potatoes, they’re a good choice.
3. Purple Potatoes
Purple potatoes, too, are waxy potatoes.
As a result, they work best in soup recipes that require chunks of diced potatoes. They won’t do as well in most creamy potato soup recipes.
However, their gorgeous purple color means some people go the extra mile and use them in creamy soups, too.
(The result is pretty stunning.)
Mostly, though, these work best in chunky soups and stews.
4. Yukon Gold Potatoes
Yukon gold potatoes are similar to russet potatoes but aren’t as large.
They also have less starch and more moisture than russets.
They’re the best of both worlds. And yes, if you guessed that means they’re an all-purpose potato, you’re right on the money.
These are great for most soups, creamy or chunky.
They also work well in soups that require a creamy, potato-based broth with chunks of potatoes.
In fact, there aren’t many things you can’t do with Yukon gold potatoes.
5. New Red Potatoes
New red potatoes are about the same size and shape as round white potatoes.
The primary difference is that their skin is a gorgeous red.
Regarding uses for soups and stews, the two potatoes are almost interchangeable.
So, if you see a soup recipe that calls for round white potatoes, you can use new red ones instead.
It won’t change the taste or texture much. It will, however, add a nice splash of color to most soups.
6. Fingerling Potatoes
Fingerlings are small and vaguely finger-shaped. They, like many small, are waxy potatoes.
They hold their shape well and don’t have to be peeled before you use them.
Their small size also means you rarely have to cut them more than once.
They work best in chunky soups, where you can just slice them in half and toss them in.
How to Pick the Best Potatoes
Picking the best potatoes for your soup depends entirely on the recipe.
Again, if you want creamy, smooth soups, go for starchier potatoes.
If you have a chunky soup recipe, use the waxy varieties instead.
No matter the potato type, there are a few things to consider. I call them the 5 ‘S’s. They are:
- Skin. Look for smooth skin (not pockmarked or dented) and not discolored. For example, red potatoes should be red; russet potatoes should be brown. If they have dark spots, try to avoid them. Green spots on the potatoes are another thing to avoid.
- Sprouts. If a potato is already sprouting, you should probably avoid it. Although they are still safe to eat, you’d have to eat them quickly and cut the sprouts off first. The smarter choice is to avoid them. You might try planting them, though!
- Splits. Potatoes whose skins are already splitting are overripe or damaged. Avoid them if you can.
- Softness. Squeeze your potatoes gently. All potatoes, no matter their type, should be firm and have little give to them. If they are soft, they are already going bad.
- Smell. Potatoes are root veggies, meaning they grow underground. Therefore, it’s common for them to smell like dirt and soil. However, if you notice smells of rot and decay, leave them for the compost pile.
Keep the 5 ‘S’s in mind, and you’ll always be able to pick good potatoes.
How to Store Potatoes
If you have a basement or cellar, those are the best places to store potatoes.
If you don’t have those, any cool, dry, dark place will suffice. (A little humidity doesn’t hurt.)
Avoid putting them in the refrigerator. Furthermore, avoid freezing cooked potatoes.
You can store leftovers in the fridge for a couple of days. Unfortunately, potatoes lose their texture when frozen.
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