Potatoes may be the most popular root vegetables in the world (aside from carrots and onions).
Farmers around the world have grown and developed numerous types of potatoes with unique characteristics and different purposes.
Understand the characteristics of your potatoes to cook them right. Here are the popular types of potatoes for cooking.
Categories of Potato Varieties
All potato varieties are grouped into three types: starchy, waxy, and all-purpose.
Starchy potatoes have low moisture, high starch, coarse skin, and flour-like texture. When cut, you will see milky or starchy moisture.
These potatoes are ideal for making fries, mashed potatoes, potato cakes, and hash browns. They are not ideal for baking or boiling.
Waxy potatoes have high moisture and sugar. Their skins are firm and creamy, with a waxy texture.
Waxy potatoes are great for boiling, baking, soup, and salad. They are not ideal for any cooking methods that require mashing or processing.
All-purpose potatoes have a medium level of starch content. These potatoes are common for household cooking because they are decent enough for all recipes.
While all-purpose potatoes sound like ideal ingredients, you will not get the best textures if the potato recipes specifically ask for starchy or waxy potatoes.
Popular Potato Types
Here are 17 popular types of potatoes you should know.
1. Idaho Russet Potatoes
Idaho Russet is a type of starchy potato with brown skin, medium to large size, and tubular shape. Idaho Russet is popular to make fried potatoes.
Many fast food outlets use Idaho Russet potatoes for fries, especially in North America.
2. King Edward Potatoes
King Edward is a type of starchy potato with white skin and light, soft texture. It was first cultivated in 1902 in the UK.
The potato’s fluffy texture makes it perfect for baked, roasted, and mashed potatoes. King Edward is also great for gnocchi, a type of Italian dumplings.
3. Katahdin Potatoes
Katahdin is an heirloom variety first cultivated in 1932. The skin is slightly thick and buffed, with the white, starchy interior. The shape is round and slightly flat.
Katahdin is drought-tolerant and perfect for winter storage. The potato is ideal for making stew.
4. Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potato is one of the most famous varieties in the world. Sweet potatoes appear around the world in diverse shapes and colors.
They are perfect for mashed potatoes, fries, and chips. They can be steamed, roasted, or baked, and eaten whole.
5. Red Bliss Potatoes
Red Bliss is a type of waxy, red-skinned potato. They are slightly firmer and chewier than the starchy varieties. Red Bliss potatoes are ideal for cooking methods that require making chunks or slices, such as scalloped potatoes.
6. Rose Finn Apple Potatoes
Rose Finn Apple potatoes are popular at gourmet restaurants, thanks to their delightful buttery texture. The skin is beige with a touch of blush pink.
The tubular shape makes the potato easy to slice. Rose Finn Apple potatoes are perfect for roasting. They are great as the main or side dishes.
7. Russian Banana Potatoes
Russian Banana potatoes are small, elongated, and looking like a crescent when sliced. The skin is brown, lightly spotted, and very thin.
Russian Banana has a fluffy and soft texture, perfect for making baked, grilled, and roasted potatoes. They are often baked without peeling because the skin is so thin and edible.
8. French Fingerling Potatoes
Another gourmet favorite, French fingerling has a small, elongated shape, with pinkish skin and yellow-pink flesh.
French fingerling potatoes have a firm but buttery flavor, and they can keep their shapes firm even after cooking.
Favorite recipes include baking, grilling, or roasting with herbs. You can eat them with their skin because it is so thin.
9. La Ratte Potatoes
La Ratte potatoes have yellow skin and flesh, with a slightly irregular shape. The flesh is firm but buttery and tender. Their flavor goes best with garlic, tarragon, thyme, browned butter, truffle oil, and Dijon mustard.
La Ratte potatoes are great for roasts, soup base, sauce, and potato salad.
10. Austrian Crescent Potatoes
Austrian Crescent is a waxy potato type with sometimes-curvy shape. The skin is golden brown with light spots, and the flesh is yellow. Austrian Crescent is firm, perfect for slicing.
They are great to make roasted potatoes, salad, and fries. Peel the skin first, since it is bitter.
11. White Potatoes
White potatoes have pale yellow flesh with golden-brown skin. They are available in tubular and round shapes. White potatoes have low starch level, with a slightly dense but creamy texture.
You can turn them into soup, roasts, mashed potatoes, or crockpot.
12. Purple Potatoes
Purple potatoes have very distinct violet skin and dark purple flesh. The color comes from natural pigments called anthocyanins, which are a type of antioxidant.
Purple potatoes are great for roasting, steaming, and frying. You can make beautiful gnocchi with these potatoes. They have a very subtle sweetness.
13. Red Gold Potatoes
Red Gold potatoes have smooth reddish skin with yellow flesh. The flavors are creamy and a little nutty.
They are great for baked, roasted, grilled, fried, and mashed potatoes. Avoid working on the potatoes too long when making a mash, since they can turn gluey.
14. Red Norland Potatoes
Red Norland is red-skinned potatoes that can be sold when still small (“baby reds”). They have round to oval shape with smooth skin.
Red Norland has a great density that makes it perfect for salad or boiling. However, these potatoes are not ideal for frying or baking.
15. Yukon Gold Potatoes
Yukon Gold is an all-purpose variety famous for its large size, smooth and thin skin, and golden flesh. Yukon Gold potatoes can withstand both wet and dry cooking methods. You can boil, steam, fry, roast, or bake them.
16. Kennebec Potatoes
The US Department of Agriculture developed Kennebec potatoes. The potatoes have smooth beige skin with almost-white flesh. The texture is starchy with a subtle nutty flavor.
They are the best for various frying methods, such as potato wedges, French fries, shoestring potatoes, potato cakes, and hash brown.
17. All Blue Potatoes
Another purple variant, All Blue has dark purple skin with bluish flesh, which turns paler when cooked. They are great for all types of preparations, but the meaty flesh is ideal for slicing.
Popular types of potatoes have different flavors and textures. Learn their differences before you decide to buy them for cooking.