Did you know that over 200 different types of potatoes are sold throughout the United States?
If you’ve ever dabbled in the art of mashed potatoes, you know not all types of potatoes are created equal.
Some potatoes whip up like a dream, while others whip into wallpaper paste.
With so many types of potatoes, how do you know what kind works best for your recipe?
While there are full culinary classes dedicated to potatoes, I’ve compiled a quick crash course.
I’ll fill you in on three different types and what works best for various dishes.
17 Different Types of Potatoes
Not all potatoes are created equal. Some potatoes have sweet and nutty flavors, while others are earthy and buttery.
Experimenting with different types of potatoes and their unique flavor profiles can take a boring potato salad to new heights!
Odds are good you’re whipping up a sweet potato casserole this holiday season.
And opting for the right potato can take your dish to the next level.
Japanese sweet potatoes, for instance, are much sweeter than your average sweet potato.
They can lend a bright sweetness to your dish.
In addition to flavors, the overall texture of the potato plays a significant role in baking, frying, or boiling.
Check out this quick breakdown of the three basic types of potatoes and which of the 17 styles works best for any recipe.
3 Basic Types of Potatoes
There are three basic types: starchy, waxy, and all-purpose.
Knowing how these potatoes react once cooked makes a massive difference in your potato dishes.
If you don’t select the right type of potato, your mashed potatoes could be dense and thick, or your french fries will be limp and soggy.
So, let’s break down the three different types of potatoes and
Starchy potatoes have a high starch and low moisture content. They’re ideal for things like mashed potatoes.
Once the water evaporates in cooking, they absorb all that butter and cream for light, fluffy mashed potatoes.
On the other hand, waxy potatoes are low in starch and high in moisture. This helps them hold their shape when cooking.
For potatoes au gratin or roasted potatoes, opting for waxy potatoes is your best option.
Waxy potatoes often have a thinner skin, which means you won’t need to peel them.
They also add a pop of color to things like potato salad.
All-purpose potatoes are the best of both worlds. They have a medium starch-to-moisture ratio.
They work well in almost any dish, from mashed potatoes to roasted potatoes.
If you haven’t mastered potato cookery, all-purpose potatoes are a great place to start.
Starchy potatoes have a low moisture content, which is ideal for frying and baking.
They absorb butter and cream in mashed potatoes or oil when deep-frying crispy french fries.
For french fries, baked potatoes, or mashed potatoes, you need a starchy potato like the six listed below.
Russet potatoes have an earthy, starchy flavor and a very thick skin.
Their thick skin and low moisture content make them the ideal candidate for baked potatoes, mashed potatoes, and french fries.
If you love white, fluffy mashed potatoes, Russet potatoes are your best option.
2. Jewel Yam
Jewel yams live between a russet potato and a sweet potato.
They have orange meat and are slightly sweet. They’re great for mashed potatoes or baked into casseroles.
Jele yams are a great option if you want just a gentle hint of sweetness that isn’t overpowering.
3. Japanese Sweet Potato
Unlike types of sweet potatoes in the west, Japanese sweet potatoes are very sweet.
In addition to their sweet flavor, they also boast a mild nutty taste similar to chestnuts.
If you want the sweetest of all the sweet potatoes, Japanese sweet potatoes work wonderfully in sweet potato casseroles.
You might not even need marshmallows!
4. Hannah Sweet Potato
Just like a jewel yam, Hannah sweet potatoes boast very mild sweetness.
They’re a great option when you need just a hint of sweetness without overpowering flavors.
Hannah sweet potatoes are also a great alternative to your average baked potato.
Goldrush potatoes are very similar to russet potatoes.
Their starchy white meat and thick skin are the ideal candidate for fluffy mashed potatoes, baked potatoes, or french fries.
Compared to russets, goldrush potatoes aren’t quite as starchy, which yields mashed potatoes that are slightly more creamy.
6. Long White
These potatoes have a similar taste and flavor to russet potatoes with thin and delicate skin.
They have a low sugar content compared to other starchy potatoes.
They’re an excellent option for those watching their sugar intake.
Waxy potatoes hold their shape when roasting, frying, or boiling.
They’re great candidates for dishes such as scalloped potatoes, potato salad, or quickly roasted potatoes.
These potatoes come in various colors and flavors that add flair to your dishes.
Bonus points: most waxy potatoes have thin, edible skins that eliminate the need for peeling.
Warba potatoes are slightly bitter in a way that compliments their earthy notes.
They’re great in savory dishes and work well with plenty of earthy seasoning in casseroles or when roasted.
Warba potatoes are perfect in roasted dishes with fresh spices like dill and a drizzle of lemon juice.
8. Rose Finn Apple
Rose Finn apple potatoes are long, tubular fingerling potatoes with a unique flavor.
As the name suggests, this type of potato has a faint taste of apples and adds just a touch of sweetness to your dishes.
9. Russian Banana
For potato salads, look no further than the Russian banana potato.
Its delicate skin and buttery insides hold its shape when boiled.
It boasts a very subtle sweetness with chestnut flavors that complement any style of potato salad.
10. Red Thumb
Reb thumb potatoes have marbled meat, so they’re perfect as a stand-alone potato dish.
They have a mild, buttery, and slightly earthy flavor.
Their colorful meat and buttery flavors work best in simple roasted potato dishes accompanied by other root veggies and bright spices.
11. French Fingerling
French fingerling potatoes are ideal for roasted potato dishes.
Their delicate skin and meat retain their shape once cooked.
They provide gentile earthy, and buttery flavors to any dish.
The thin skin is edible (and tasty), so there is no need for tedious peeling.
LaRette potatoes are slightly softer than your average waxy potato.
While they hold their shape while cooking, they’re more delicate and tender.
They lend buttery flavors to potato dishes and a touch of hazelnut flavors.
13. Austrian Crescent
The Austrian crescent potato is an excellent choice if you love nutty flavors.
Its firm, yellow meat holds its shape, and they are tough enough for the grill.
When in doubt, all-purpose potatoes are always a great option.
Their moisture content and starch run in the middle of the road.
They’re great for anything from baked potatoes to casseroles.
Plus, they’re more affordable than other styles of potatoes.
In addition, they’re readily available at your local supermarket due to their high versatility.
14. Red Gold
Red gold potatoes have delicate red skin and are perfect for roasted, baking, or throwing into a potato salad.
Because the skin is so thin and tender, this type of potato requires no peeling!
15. Purple Majesty
The purple majesty potato resembles a russet potato’s rich, starchy flavors, with more nutty and earthy notes.
Plus, it has that beautiful purple skin that looks so pretty on a plate.
16. Yukon Gold
Yukon gold remains a grocery store staple for a good reason.
It has starchy yet slightly sweet flavors and works well in just about anything.
From mashed potatoes to potato salad, Yukon gold always works when in doubt.
Kennebec potatoes are earthy, starchy, and slightly nutty.
Their firm texture and subtle flavors make excellent potato wedges, french fries, or simply boiling.
They hold their shape quite well, which makes them a great candidate for potato salad.
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