15 of the Most Popular Types of Potatoes

Potato, a tuberous root vegetable of the nightshade plant Solanum tuberosum, is one of the most popular food crops in the world after maize, wheat, and rice. Because of its endless culinary applications, potato has become one of the highest consumed vegetables in the US. Although undermined for its high carb content, a potato is pretty nutritious. It consists of about 70% of the required daily amount of Vitamin C, high quantities of Vitamin B1, Vitamin B3, and Vitamin B6, and has higher potassium content than a banana.

How many Different Varieties of Potatoes are there

There are roughly 4,000 different varieties of potatoes, which include some common types, each of them having specific culinary or agricultural attributes. To help determine which potatoes to use for various culinary applications, they are often categorized based on their contents (starch compounds and solid-to-water ratio) and texture. These factors play a role in placing potatoes in starchy (mealy), waxy, and all-purpose categories.

1. Starchy Potato
Also called mealy or floury potatoes, has high solids, amylose starch (20-22%), and low moisture, forms a fluffy texture, do not hold together well when baked

Uses: Best for frying, baking; used in French fries, latkes, hash browns

Examples: Russet, Jewel Yam, Japanese Sweet Potato, Hannah Sweet Potato
2. Waxy Potato
Has lower starch content (16-18%), most of which is amylopectin, is high in moisture, has a smoother texture, retains shape when cooked

Uses: Ideal for roasting, boiling; included in gratins, soups, and salads

Examples: Red Bliss, French Fingerling, Russian Banana, Red Thumb, La Ratte, Austrian Crescent
3. All-Purpose Potato
Categorized in between the other two types, contains moderate levels of starch, moderately fluffy and absorbent, holds shape better than starchy potato, suitable for any potato dish

Uses: Ideal for stewing, pan frying, roasting; tastes good in gratins or soups

Examples: Yukon Gold, Red Gold, Purple Majesty, Red Norland, All Blue

List of Different Types of Potatoes

The list below shows that there is more to it than the common Russets. Read on to find out which potatoes fit into these three basic categories.

4 Types of Starchy (Mealy) Potatoes

1. Russet (also called Idaho or Burbank)

Russet Potato

First produced in the 1870s, these potatoes became famous for their use in French fries and they now constitute approximately 70% of the total potato sales in the US. As a starchy white potato, the Russets turn dry and mealy when baked and they contain high amounts of amylose.

Shape: Large, oblong

Color: Spotty brown skin, white flesh

Use: Ideally baked; can be fried and mashed

2. Jewel Yam

Jewel Yam Potato

It does not belong to the true yam family, but is a type of sweet potato and a member of the morning glory family of plants and trees. It is one of the most common sweet potatoes available in the market.

Shape: Cylindrical with tapering ends

Color: Rough, semi-thick, pale orange or brownish skin, orange flesh

Use: Ideally baked or roasted

3. Japanese Sweet Potato

Japanese Sweet Potato

It is a popular variety of Satsuma-imo or sweet potato that is rich in minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants. It is characterized by a sweet and nutty flavor.

Shape: Oblong with tapered ends

Color: Reddish or purplish skin, creamy white flesh

Use: Ideally grilled, baked, or steamed

4. Hannah Sweet Potato

Hannah Sweet Potato

Also called the Sweet Hannah or Yellow Hannah, this variety of sweet potato is similar to Jewel Yam but its skin and flesh are lighter in color.

Shape: Oblong, cylindrical, with rounded or tapered ends

Color: Reddish or purplish skin, creamy white flesh

Use: Ideally baked, stir-fried, stuffed

6 Types of Waxy Potatoes

5. Red Bliss

Red Bliss Potato

It is a common red-skinned variety with high sugar content and moist, translucent flesh that turns gummy when mashed.

Shape: Round

Color: Red skin, yellow/off-white/white flesh

Use: Best for roasting, boiling, and using in soups, salads, or stews

6. French Fingerling

French Fingerling Potato

A small- to medium-sized potato, the French Fingerling naturally grows short and narrow. It belongs to the heirloom variety and should not be confused with the new potatoes.

Shape: Slender, cylindrical, with rounded ends

Color: Smooth, pink skin, yellow flesh

Use: Ideal for roasting

7. Russian Banana

Russian Banana Potato

Characterized by a firm texture, the Russian Banana is a popular small-sized potato variety that has a rich taste similar to a fingerling potato.

Shape: Oblong, slender, crescent

Color: Pale yellow or khaki skin, with light brown spots, yellow flesh

Use: Best for frying, steaming, roasting, grilling, or sautéing

8. Red Thumb

Red Thumb Potato

The Red Thumb is a late-season type of fingerling potatoes known for its resistance to disease, uniform size, and ease of storage.

Shape: Wide, tubular, oblong

Color: Bright red skin, pink flesh

Use: Ideally boiled or roasted

9. La Ratte

La Ratte Potatoes

It is a type of French heirloom fingerling characterized by a high fat content and buttery, hazelnut flavor. It was first grown by Jean Pierre Clot, a French farmer, in the Swiss Alps.

Shape: Oval, may be slightly curved

Color: Thin golden skin, yellow flesh

Use: Ideally boiled or roasted

10. Austrian Crescent

Austrian Crescent Potato

The Austrian Crescent, also called Kipfel, is a medium-maturing potato variety with a smooth, waxy texture. It is commonly found in both local stores and specialty markets.

Shape: Finger-like

Color: Dark yellow or tan skin, pale yellow flesh

Use: Ideal for boiling, roasting, steaming; good for salads

5 Types of All-Purpose Potatoes

11. Yukon Gold

Yukon Gold Potato

Discovered in the 1960s, the Yukon Gold is a large cultivar that can be distinguished by its smooth skin containing shallow eyes. It has a firm, dry, and fine texture and is rich in Vitamin C and amylopectin starch.

Shape: Slightly flat, oval

Color: Light gold skin, light yellow flesh

Use: Best boiled, baked, or fried

12. Red Gold

Red Gold Potato

It is a medium-sized potato variety that originated in North America during the 1970s. It has a smooth, moist texture, along with a sweet and nutty flavor.

Shape: Round or oval

Color: Red or tanned skin, golden flesh

Use: Ideally boiled, roasted, baked, or gently mashed

13. Purple Majesty

Purple Majesty Potato

The Purple Majesty, known for its rich flavor and blue skin, is a medium-sized all-purpose potato variety that has plenty of antioxidants. It is an ideal choice for making chips because it retains its moisture and firmness after cooking.

Shape: Oblong

Color: Dark purple skin, succulent light purple flesh

Use: Ideally baked, roasted, or mixed in soups and salads

14. Red Norland

Red Norland Potato

Known for its great flavor, the Red Norland is an early-maturing variety of Norland potatoes that was first produced in Nebraska during the 1960s.

Shape: Round or oblong, slightly flattened

Color: Red skin, creamy white flesh

Use: Best roasted; also whizzed into soup

15. All Blue

All Blue Potato

Also known as Blue Marker, River John Blue, Fenton Blue, and many other names, the All Blue potato is an heirloom variety believed to have discovered over 100 years ago. It is a flavorful potato characterized by a meaty flesh.

Shape: Long, oval to oblong

Color: Dark blue skin, blue flesh with a white ring

Use: Best baked, roasted, and steamed for salads

Potatoes are usually harvested in the fall or early winter, and then ‘cured’ underground for several weeks to increase their shelf life. However, any of the abovementioned potato varieties can be collected in the spring while they are small, young, and waxy. These young potatoes are called new potatoes, and are usually sold at the farmers’ market.

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