Without a doubt, potatoes are veggie all-stars. They can be boiled, mashed, fried, baked.
Plainly seasoned with just salt and pepper or spice it up with lots of herbs, cheeses, and other seasonings, you can never go wrong with any potato dish. But beyond the regular potato would be more than 50 varieties and so it may become challenging to choose the right one.
In this post, we will give you a rundown of the different potato varieties that you should know about if you feel like making your whole week a potato week. So, without much fuss, read on.
Table of Contents
Types of potatoes
There are lots of potato varieties, but they can all be categorized into three major types: starchy, waxy, and all-purpose.
Knowing these types and the varieties of potatoes that you can cluster within each helps a lot in your choice of potato for various dishes. You would also know which ones are perfect for mashing, baking, salads, and other famous ways of cooking potatoes.
As the term implies, starchy potatoes like the Idaho russet are high in starch content but low in moisture.
This type of potatoes for baking, boiling, and frying. However, since they are fluffy, they do not hold their shape for a long time, making them unsuitable for casserole, salad, and gratin recipes.
This type of potato is raved over because of their low starch content, with moist flesh, creamy, and firm. They are ones that could hold their shape well even after cooking, so they are mostly used boiling, casseroles, roasting, and for salads.
Potatoes under this category have medium level of starch content, making them the crossover of starchy and waxy potatoes.
They are multi-purpose potatoes used in all types of potato dishes using all types of cooking methods. The most popular all-purpose potato would be the Yukon Gold.
When we think of potatoes, our mind automatically cues in the image of a regular potato. Sometimes round, others are oval, and some are elongated in shape.
Most of the time, it is even hard for us to differentiate regular potatoes from sweet potatoes and wonder why some potatoes are red, purple, or blue.
For us to never commit mistakes in identifying potatoes ever again, here are some of the most popular potato varieties out there.
1. Russet (starchy)
Also known as Idaho or Burbank, russet potatoes are famous for being the go-to potato for mashing. They are easily whipped, and they are fluffy when cooked. They are also good for baking and frying. They are distinct for their rough, brown skin, and mealy flesh.
2. Jewel Yam (starchy)
This one is not a true yam but is a variety of sweet potatoes. It is unique for its deep-orange flesh and copper-colored skin. It is used for a lot of baked and casserole dishes especially during holidays. They are large and cylindrical, prepared as mashed, boiled, and infused in baking pastries.
3. Japanese Sweet Potato (starchy)
This one is very famous in Hawaii, incorporated in vegetable salads or boiled and added with salt and mayo only.
They are unique for their purplish white skin with purple flesh. It is large, denser than oranges, with mild flavors. They are perfect for mashing, roasting, and a good addition to braised meat and stews.
4. Hannah Sweet Potato (starchy)
This potato has a fair white flesh and is one of the first varieties of potatoes to be farmed in the US. It has a signature flaky crunch that is firm, dense, and creamy, all in one. It is perfect for roasting, frying, and mashing. And you can count on it for its ability to retain moisture.
5. Rose Finn Apple (waxy)
This one is unique for its beige, rose-blushed skin and light-yellow flesh with protruding fingerlings from the second growth. Its tender and moist flesh is perfect for purees, soups, gravy, and different kinds of sauces.
6. Melody potato
This one is a mid-season potato variety, with a uniform oval shape, golden-brown skin, and mustard yellow, moist flesh. It has a floury yet tender texture when cooked. It is perfect for mashed potatoes and fries.
7. Russian Banana (waxy)
This one is another variety of the fingerling potato, available year-round. It is long and slender like bananas, with khaki-colored, spotted skin. Its flesh is dense, moist, and soft.
They have a fluffy texture when cooked with rich, buttery taste. Today, it is the most widely cultivated and harvested fingerling potato in the US.
8. Red Thumb (waxy)
This one is another variety of fingerling potato. It is considered as the least starchy and the sweetest variety. It has thin, red skin and delectable pink flesh. You can easily incorporate it in potato salads and herbed baked dishes.
9. Laura potato
It is considered as the queen of red potatoes, having been perfected by German growers in the early 90s. It has a unique pale red skin and deep yellow flesh.
Being a variety of red potatoes, it is loved because of its high health value. It is also a kitchen favorite as it holds shape even after boiling. It is also good for baking and in making soups.
This one was first bred in the Netherlands in 1904 but was most significant during the two world wars being the staple food of Belgian soldiers.
It is round, with silky smooth, golden skin and moist yellow flesh. It has a distinct nutty and buttery flavor. It is best known for being the potato behind the original Belgian fries.
11. Solanum tuberosum ‘Duke of York’
This one exemplifies uniqueness not only because of its fuchsia skin and deep yellow flesh but also because it starts as a waxy potato at its early years, turning into an all-purpose one in its latter years. It is best for potato salads but also for gratins, stews, curries, and soups.
12. French Fingerling (waxy)
As the name implies, this potato is shaped like fingerlings. It is also distinct for its light yellow flesh and buffed yellow skin. It has an earthy/nutty flavor with firm and moist texture. They cannot be used for soups but are perfect for baking, roasting, salads, and simple boiling.
13. Ratte potato/LaRette (waxy)
This one is an heirloom fingerling variety. It is one of the densest potatoes and can hold in lots of oil when fried. They have fine and thin skin, with moist yellow flesh. It also has a nutty and buttery flavor, making it a favorite for roasting, grilling, and most of all, pureed potatoes.
14. Austrian Crescent (waxy)
It is also called ‘kipfel’ which is the German word for croissant because of its well, crescent shape. It is medium size, with smooth brown skin, and deep yellow flesh. It is common in specialty markets and is easily sold because of its signature flavor. It is perfect for waxy salads and for roasting.
15. Cranberry Red
This one is also referred to as all red and is known for its small to medium size, red skin, pink flesh, and brown webs on the skin. It has a soft texture and moist flesh that is perfect for steaming as well as in sauteed dishes.
It has a distinct earthy and creamy flavor. This potato is a staple for ratatouille, stews, soups, and curry dishes.
16. German Butterball
As the name suggests, this potato is well-loved for its rich buttery taste. It is medium sized, with tender, yellow flesh, and smooth, golden skin. They are used for many potato dishes including mashed, baked, fried, and steamed.
17. Dore potato
This one has 50years of breeding history in the Spanish region of Mallorca. As such, it is also called as the Mallorca Dore potato. But they were heavily traded to the Dutch, making them more trademarked by the Dutch than the Spanish. Because of its chestnut, buttery taste, it is made as puree, boiled, and used to cook traditional Dutch soups and stew meals.
18. Katahdin potatoes
This one is called the French fry potato. They look like the regular potatoes with a light mustard yellow flesh, with smooth, creamy, and fluffy texture. It is best for boiling, baking, and frying but are not good for gratins, and potato salad.
19. King Edward potato
The King Edward potato has been around since 1902. Bred in London at the time of King Edward VII’s coronation, it is considered as one of the oldest potato varieties to be sold commercially (until today). It is identified through its white to tannish skin with a tinge of pink coloration.
It also has light yellow, floury flesh, with shallow potato eyes on the skin surface. In cooking, this potato variety is good for mashing, roasting, boiling, and in making chips. It is the favorite potato to use in making shepherd’s pie.
20. New Potatoes
All potatoes that are harvested young, or in time before all the sugars inside are converted into starch, are called new potatoes. As such, they vary in color and size, as well as consistency. They can be used for any type of potato dish except baking.
21. White and Yellow Potatoes (All-purpose)
These potatoes are distinct for their oblong shape, yellow or white flesh, and golden-brown skin. Their skin is creamy when cooked and their taste is buttery. They are perfect for boiling, roasting, steaming, as well as for sauteed dishes.
22. Red Gold (all-purpose)
The red gold potato is one of the oldest varieties of North American potatoes. It has thin, red skin, a striking shape that looks like the crossover of peach and apple, with curved edges that make it look like a butterfly and a deep yellow flesh.
It has a semi-moist flesh, and it is perfect in making roasted, mashed, scalloped, fried, and steamed potato dishes.
23. Purple Majesty (all-purpose)
This one is considered as the most flavorful of all blue potatoes. It is also very rich in antioxidants, and identifiable for its dark blue, smooth flesh and purple flesh. And because it has the capacity to retain moisture even after cooking, it is perfect in making potato chips.
24. Norland Red (all-purpose)
This small red potato is perfect for stews and soups. They are round, with a white and waxy flesh that will turn creamy and fluffy when cooked. The Norland red is also good for baking, boiling, roasting, and steaming.
25. Yukon Gold (all-purpose)
This is one of the healthiest and most versatile potatoes out there. It has a signature flaked yellowish white skin and a luminous light-yellow flesh. It has a certain sweetness in it, with smooth and moist flesh which is good for baking, frying, roasting, and grilling.
26. Kennebec (all-purpose)
This is one of the most highly produced potatoes in the US, introduced in the 1940s. It is an all-purpose potato, unique for its thin, spotted skin and white flesh. It is used in the production of potato chips, hash brown, and for fries.
27. All Blue (all-purpose)
As its name suggests, this potato has blue skin and blue flesh. As peculiar as they may appear, they are quite versatile when it comes to how it can be cooked. It is perfect for sauteed dishes, gratin, salads, as well as potato frittatas.
Health benefits of potatoes
Potatoes have always been staples in lots of dishes and a key ingredient in diets that are focused on cutting rice as it curbs cravings. Health experts assert that potatoes are rich antioxidants and essential vitamins (such as Vitamins C, and B6) and minerals (such as sodium and potassium).
To know more about the health benefits of potatoes, take a look at the following:
- Bone health: Yes, you read that right. Potatoes contribute to bone health because it is rich in calcium, magnesium, and zinc, among others. It also helps in strengthening bone structure through the production of collagen in the body.
- Cardiovascular health: Potatoes are fiber-rich, and low in calories. Beyond this, they are also packed with Vitamin C, B6, potassium and is significantly low in cholesterol. With all of these, potatoes also contribute in lessening chances of cardiovascular diseases.
- Lowers blood pressure: When it comes to lowering blood pressure, we owe it to the high potassium and low sodium content of potatoes. A good potassium level in the body ensures that the blood vessels are wide enough for good blood circulation.
- Reduces risks of inflammation: It is an underrated fact, but potatoes are also rich in choline. We need choline in many brain functions such as learning, memory, processing of mood, as well as transmitting muscle movement functions. It is said that one large potato contains 57mg of choline.
- Reduces risks of cancer: Another key content of potatoes would be folate which is important in DNA repair. Since cancer cells are formed from gene mutations, folate-rich foods like potatoes prevent the development of cancer cells. Also, because it is rich in fiber, potatoes are also recommended veggies to prevent the onset of colorectal cancer.
- Improves digestive health: This one is also associated to potatoes fiber content. High fiber veggies are good in digestive cleansing, preventing constipation.
- Satiety and metabolism: Potatoes are good additions to diet or as substitute to high carb foods because it induces satiety. They make us feel full and acts as bulking agent in the digestive tract. And because it is also high in Vitamin B6, metabolism is also made fast.
- Skin health: The list goes on with the benefits of potatoes and another unknown fact about them is that they are rich in antioxidants and contribute to the secretion of collagen. With these two combined, potatoes indeed, help in improving skin health.
- Improves immunity: You will not hear it very often, but potatoes are recommended home remedies in combating colds because they are rich in Vitamin C. Research has established that potatoes reduce the duration as well as the severity of colds.
Wanting to know more about our favorite potatoes would include being on the loop on some FAQs about it too. Here are some interesting things to know about potatoes.
What is the healthiest potato?
Well, we all know that potatoes are vitamin and mineral rich but according to health experts and dieticians, the darker colored potatoes would be the healthiest potatoes. This would include Yukon Gold, Ruby Crescent and Purple Viking.
But according to the USDA Food Data Base, the healthiest potato as proved by vitamin density studies and micronutrient profiling, it would be red potatoes.
What is the rarest potato in the world?
What makes potatoes well loved would be its accessibility. You can find one at any market, any day, any time. But there exists a potato that is only available for 10 days in an entire year.
It is not just considered as the rarest potato but also the most expensive one. You can find the rarest potato along the Bay of Biscay in France and it is called the La Bonnotte.
Is sweet potato healthier than a regular potato?
Yes, but in slight comparisons. Perhaps, the sweet potato is considered as healthier because it has higher fiber content, lower calorie count, and lower sugar content too.
However, it is not at a significant percentage. So if you really want to go all-healthy, go for red potatoes or the potato with the highest potassium content which would be white potatoes.
We can never get enough of potatoes and having these varieties to choose from is another reason why.
Perhaps, the most useful information that we could get from this is the knowledge that there are specific potatoes to use depending on what dish you are eyeing for. As such, it is important that you could categorize which ones are starchy, waxy, and all-purpose.