Potatoes are a staple in any professional or home kitchen because of their versatility. Although many varieties of potatoes are cultivated worldwide, only a fraction of those types are commercially available in the United States.
Over the long history of the potato, farmers have worked to improve the vegetable in many ways. Size, texture, and skin type are just a few of the features valued in potato varieties.
Here, you’ll learn about the many types of potatoes, the broad categories into which they fall, and what to expect when preparing dishes with these versatile tubers.
So, check out this in-depth analysis of the most interesting potato varieties so you can pick the right one for your meal!
9 Types of Potatoes
Picking the right kind of potato for a particular recipe is essential for getting the best results.
Below, we’ll classify potatoes into their most basic categories, each representing a distinct kind of potato available at your local grocery store.
1. Russet Potatoes
Potatoes that fall into the “russet” category are one of the largest types. Their flesh is white and dry, and their skin is thick and brown.
They taste delicious and have a pleasant and fluffy consistency after cooking.
However, they will break down in liquids like soups and stews.
It usually takes about 95 days for a garden-grown russet to be ready for harvest.
|Varieties of Russet Potatoes||Burbank Russet|
2. Waxy Potatoes
Waxy potatoes typically have smooth, thin skin and a creamy texture with a strong potato flavor.
When sliced or cubed, waxy potatoes retain their shape even after being boiled or baked. This is due to the fact that waxy potatoes are low in starch and high in moisture.
They won’t soften into a smooth mash that can be eaten with a spoon, and they also don’t work very well when baked with butter.
|Varieties of Waxy Potatoes||Charlotte|
3. White Potatoes
The skin on white potatoes is thinner and lighter in color than that of the russet kind.
They are versatile potatoes because they retain their texture when boiled and turn out creamy when baked.
|Varieties of White Potatoes||Ivory Crisp|
4. Yellow Potatoes
Yellow potatoes can range from around the size of a marble to much larger.
The peel and the flesh of yellow potatoes can be any shade of yellow, from very light to very dark.
Yellow potatoes, no matter how big or small, always have a velvety, buttery texture and a delicate, sweet, subtle flavor.
While yellow potatoes excel in oven meals or on the grill, they tend to fall apart in stews or soups.
|Varieties of Yellow Potatoes||Yukon Gold|
5. Purple Potatoes
You can spice up your dinner with a little bit of color by serving purple potatoes. Purple potatoes come in various colors, from light lavender to deep purplish black.
Below the skin, the inside is thick, starchy, and solid, and it reveals beautiful purple tones ranging from light to dark, in addition to more reds, whites, and creams.
The shape and size of purple potatoes shift depending on the cultivar and their growth conditions. The tubers can be either elongated or more rounded.
In general, those potatoes have a deep, earthy flavor with hints of sweetness and nuts. However, the exact taste will vary according to which variety you eat.
Purple potatoes, an all-purpose variety, are a tasty and versatile addition to many dishes.
The flesh loses some of its vibrant hues when cooked but retains a light purple hue. The intensity of the color depends on the variety.
|Varieties of Purple Potatoes||Purple Peruvian|
6. Red Potatoes
Red potatoes range in size from tiny to medium, with a shape that is either round or somewhat oblong and bright red skin.
Red potatoes are especially good for you since their skins contain beneficial nutrients like fiber, B vitamins, iron, and potassium.
Red potatoes can be cooked in many different ways, including boiled, roasted, mashed, steamed, and baked. In liquids like soups and stews, they maintain their form.
|Varieties of Red Potatoes||Viking|
7. Sweet Potatoes
Although they share the name “potato,” sweet potatoes are actually tropical plants unrelated to the potato family.
Also, the edible part of a sweet potato is a tuberous root instead of a true tuber, which is another distinction between sweet potatoes and “regular” potatoes.
The flesh of this vegetable is a rich orange color, while its outer skin is a reddish brown.
Mashed sweet potatoes and roasted sweet potatoes are most common. However, you can also find them in many pie recipes.
After being cooked, sweet potatoes take on a pleasant, starchy, and sweet flavor.
When cooked through, the flesh loses some of its firmness and becomes tender and stringy. The outer layer gets crispy and caramelized when fried or roasted at a high temperature.
|Varieties of Sweet Potatoes||Beauregard|
8. Fingerling Potatoes
Fingerling potatoes, as the name suggests, resemble fingers in shape and size, being both little and elongated.
These potatoes are small and lengthy when fully developed, so don’t mistake them for new potatoes.
Due to the fact that they are so tiny, you can boil fingerlings with their skins still on.
As a result, they do not take up as much liquid as potato chunks, which makes them an excellent addition to potato salad.
|Varieties of Fingerling Potatoes||Yellow-skinned Russian Banana|
Red-skinned French fingerling
Orange-skinned French fingerling
9. New Potatoes
To begin, new potatoes are not really a distinct kind of potato. These baby potatoes represent the first harvest of numerous different potato cultivars.
They are collected soon after the first potato tubers appear in the ground. The skin is paper-thin, and the inside is soft and buttery.
Although peeling is optional, new potatoes are tastier when cooked in their skins.
Are Potatoes Healthy?
Potatoes are a good source of nutrients since they contain both starch and fiber. In addition, they have a high concentration of the antioxidant vitamin C.
Potassium, an electrolyte essential for normal muscle and nerve function, is another important component in potatoes.
Potato skin is an excellent source of fiber, which plays a crucial role in maintaining digestive health.
The health advantages of potatoes increase with potato variety, and this is especially true with potatoes with various colorations.
The more deeply colored the potato, the higher its concentration of protective antioxidants.
Anthocyanins, one type of antioxidant found in purple potatoes, may help protect against cardiovascular disease and cancer while promoting cognitive function.
Sweet potatoes are a great source of vitamin A, which is important for maintaining a healthy immune system and good vision.
So, Why Are Potatoes Bad for You?
Potatoes have a poor reputation as a harmful food, especially in relation to diabetes, despite the fact that they do not increase your risk and are, in fact, rather nutritious.
Preparation and food choices are the keys.
Adding less health-conscious ingredients like bacon, cream, butter, and cheese to your potatoes can put them in the “not healthy” category.
Potatoes are a versatile, go-to food that can be prepared quickly and used with other dishes.
But not every potato is the same. The flavor of certain potatoes is creamy and buttery, while others taste more sweet and nutty.
If you’re tired of eating the same old potato salad, try switching things up by using a variety of potatoes, each with a unique taste.
But when it comes to cooking, like baking, frying, or boiling, the overall texture of the potato is just as important as its flavor.
Use our quick rundown of the nine most common potato varieties and our tips for picking the right one for your recipe.