Potatoes

Potatoes

America's most popular vegetable, potatoes can be boiled, baked, fried, microwaved, steamed, or roasted, with or without their peels. They're often paired with butter, sour cream, or oil, but left to themselves they're quite low in calories and loaded with nutrients.


Store them in a cool, dark, dry, well-ventilated place. Don't refrigerate them--doing so converts some of the potato's starch to sugar. And don't expose them to direct sunlight, which turns them green and makes them bitter.


Scrape away any sprouts or green spots, since they might contain a mildly toxic compound called solanine.


For substitutions for potatoes in general, click here.


Varieties:


Potatoes with a high starch content, like russets, bake well and yield light and fluffy mashed potatoes. Those with a low starch content, like red-skinned potatoes, hold their shape after cooking, and are great for making potato salads and scalloped potatoes. Medium starch potatoes are called all-purpose potatoes, and they'll work in most potato dishes.


Best for baking: russet potato

Best for potato salads, gratins, and scalloped potatoes: Yellow Finn potato, new potato, red-skinned potato, white round potato, and purple potato

Best for mashing: russet potato, Yukon gold potato, Caribe potato, and purple potato

Best for soups and chowders: Yukon gold potato, Yellow Finn potato, red-skinned potato, white round potato, and purple potato

Best for pan-frying: red-skinned potatoes, white round potatoes, new potatoes, and fingerling potatoes

Best for French fries: russet potato, purple potato, Bintje potato

Best for purees: fingerling potatoes

Best for roasting: new potatoes, Bintje potatoes

Best for steaming: new potatoes, Yukon gold potatoes

Best for potato pancakes: russet potato, Yukon Gold potato

Bintje potato
Bintje potato
This is a creamy, yellow-fleshed potato that's especially good for roasting and making fries
Learn more
boiling potato
boiling potato
Potatoes in this category hold their shape after cooking, so they're great for making potato salads and scalloped potatoes. They're not good for mashing, baking, or making fries. Types of boiling potatoes are new potatoes, fingerling potatoes, round white potatoes, and round red potatoes.
Learn more
Caribe potato
These large, starchy potatoes have purple skins and white flesh. They're great mashed, but they don't hold their shape well, so they shouldn't be used in potato salads or scalloped potatoes.
Learn more
fingerling potato
fingerling potato
There are many varieties of these small, finger-shaped potatoes, but they all tend to be low in starch, and great for roasting or making potato salads.
Learn more
long white potato
long white potato
These oblong potatoes have a medium starch content, and are valued for their versatility. They're good to keep in the pantry as an all-purpose potato.
Learn more
new potatoes
new potatoes
The term "new potatoes" is sometimes used to describe all small waxy potatoes, but technically it refers just to immature potatoes harvested in the spring and early summer. You can tell if a potato is truly new by its skin; immature potatoes have flimsy, parchment-like skins that you can peel off with your fingers. New potatoes are prized for their high moisture content and creamy texture, and because they can be cooked whole. They're especially good steamed or roasted. They're more perishable than other potatoes, so use them within a few days after buying them.
Learn more
purple potato
purple potato
These purple-fleshed potatoes have a medium starch content, so they're good all-purpose potatoes. They lend an interesting color to mashed potatoes or potato salads, but they're not as flavorful as other varieties. They tend to get mushy if they're over-cooked.
Learn more
red-skinned potato
red-skinned potato
These waxy potatoes hold their shape after they're cooked, so they're great for making potato salads and scalloped potatoes. Don't mash them--you'll end up with a sticky, gooey mess.
Learn more
russet potato
russet potato
These potatoes are high in starch and low in moisture, so they bake well and yield light, fluffy mashed potatoes. They don't hold their shape after cooking, so don't use them to make potato salads or scalloped potatoes. Don't wrap them in aluminum foil while baking them; the foil traps moisture and makes the potato mushier.
Learn more
white round potato
white round potato
These low-starch potatoes are great for boiling.
Learn more
yellow Finn potato
yellow Finn potato
These are great all-purpose potatoes, known for their yellow flesh, creamy texture, and buttery flavor.
Learn more
Yukon Gold potato
Yukon Gold potato
These are good all-purpose potatoes that have yellow flesh and a rich flavor. They're great for boiling, but they tend to fall apart if over-cooked.
Learn more