ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

How to Cook With Different Types of Potatoes

Updated on September 13, 2012

If you've ever been to a well stocked produce section, you've probably seen several different kinds of potatoes. Maybe you're curious as to what makes each potato unique. Each potato type has different moisture content and amount of starch. These properties lend themselves to different cooking methods, and they offer different textures and tastes.

As a rule of thumb, potatoes that are very waxy and contain a lot of moisture are best used for boiling, roasting, or in salads. The more dry and mealy varieties work best in mashing, baking, or frying recipes.


Baking Potatoes

Baking potatoes are large, round and have a reddish-brown color. These are the most vesatile and most widely used potato in the US. Baking potatoes are high in moisture and high in starch. These potatoes are great for any cooking method. The large starch particles absorb the moisture in the potato and expand until they burst which creates the perfect texture for fluffy mashed potatoes. You will also find most french fries are created from baking potatoes because the starch dries on the cut surface, creating a moist inside and crispy outside.


White Potatoes

White potatoes are more waxy and less moist than baking potatoes; they are also lower in starch. The skin is much lighter--ranging from white to cream colors. The skin should be smooth and free of eyes. This potato is ideal for recipes where you want to the pieces to keep their shape like in potato salad, soup, stew, scalloped or au gratin dishes. They can be boiled, roasted, steamed, or braised until tender.


Red Potatoes

Red potatoes are round, smooth and very waxy. Ripe potatoes shouldn't have eyes or sprouts. Red potatoes are high in starch and low in moisture. When cooked, they don't absorb moisture, so they keep their shape while remaining firm and smooth. These potatoes have a very thin peel that doesn't have a strong flavor, so they are usually prepared without peeling. Red potatoes are best boiled, roasted, or steamed. They are perfect for potato salads, stews, or boiled whole as a dinner side dish. Mashed red potatoes have a pretty look with the red skins, but be careful not to overcook or over mash or they will turn out very sticky and thick.


Yellow or "Yukon Gold" Potatoes

Yellow or gold flesh potatoes are higher in sugar content, but have a good balance of moisture and starch. They are usually oval shaped with thin gold skin and yellow flesh. They have a buttery flavor and creamy texture, so they are perfect replacements for white potatoes when you need to avoid butter or margarine. They can be boiled, roasted, baked, steamed or fried much like their baking potato cousin. They typically maintain their yellow color in the cooking process, but depending on the pH levels of the water, they may turn brown or gray.

Recipe to try:

Yukon Gold Mashed Potatoes


Purple Potatoes

It may come as a shock, but there are potatoes with bright purple flesh and dark skin. The most popular variety originated in Peru with flesh colors ranging from dull purple to bright blue. They are small in size with a elongated oval shape. They are in the mid-range for starch and wax content making them great candidates for roasting or boiling. They make interesting mashed potatoes and can be used in salads or stews.


New Potatoes

New potatoes look like red potatoes, but they are much smaller. They are smooth, red and shouldn't have eyes. They are high in moisture, sugar, and starch. They also have a very thin peel, so they are typically prepared without peeling. Their small size and chemical properties make them cook quickly. They are best prepared baked, roasted, broiled, or fried. New potatoes are perfect for salads, stews, and soups. You could also use these potatoes in casserole dishes.

Recipe to try:

Roasted Garlic Mashed New Potatoes


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • FullOfLoveSites profile image


      5 years ago from United States

      These purple potatoes look very much like purple yams.

      Voted up and useful, interesting. :)

    • DreamerMeg profile image


      6 years ago from Northern Ireland

      Great to see the different kinds of potatoes available in different parts of the world. We mostly get the starchy potatoes on sale here in Northern Ireland because lots of people like chips, baked potatoes and mashed potatoes. Other parts of the UK prefer the waxy potatoes. I have never seen purple potatoes before, although we have "blues" and "Kerr's Pinks", which have a light colour to them.

    • Alecia Murphy profile image

      Alecia Murphy 

      6 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

      This is very useful information. I love potatoes in moderation. While I'm most used to baking potatoes, I definitely appreciate other kinds. I have never heard of purple or new potatoes before but I'll definitely be on the lookout for them. Nice job!


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)