A Comprehensive Guide to Potato Species and Their Best Uses

various potato species arranged in rows

Potatoes, the humble tubers that grace dinner tables worldwide, are far more diverse than you might think. With over 4000 varieties globally, potatoes come in an array of colors, shapes, and sizes. In this guide, we’ll focus on 16 key potato species, exploring their unique characteristics and culinary uses.

Potato SpeciesDescriptionBest Uses
NewYoung, small potatoes with thin, wispy skinBoiling, steaming, roasting
WhiteThin, pale skin with dense, creamy fleshMashing, boiling, frying, baking
BlueBlue to purple skin and flesh with a nutty flavorSalads, roasting, boiling
SweetSweet, rich flavorBaking, roasting, fries
Adirondack BlueDeep blue skin and fleshSalads, boiling, mashing
KennebecCreamy textureFrying, baking, and mashing, soups
DesireePink skin with creamy yellow fleshRoasting, mashing, gratins
Maris PiperFluffy textureChips, roasting, mashing
CharlotteFirm, waxy textureBoiling, steaming, salads
King EdwardFluffy textureRoasting, baking, chips
Jersey RoyalThin, delicate skin with a unique, nutty flavorBoiling, steaming, roasting
Potato Species and Their Uses

16 Potato Species and Their Uses

various potato species kept together

Potatoes have been a staple food for centuries and for good reason. With over 16 different species to choose from, each with its own unique flavor and texture, it’s no wonder why potatoes have become such a versatile ingredient in many different cuisines around the world.

1. Russet Potatoes


Russet potatoes, also known as Idaho or baking potatoes, are the quintessential potato. They have rough, brown skin and starchy, fluffy flesh. Russets are ideal for baking, frying, and mashing due to their high starch content.

2. Yukon Gold Potatoes

Yukon Golds are a favorite among chefs for their buttery, rich flavor and golden color. They’re versatile, working well in mashed potatoes, gratins, and roasts.

3. Red Bliss Potatoes

Red Bliss potatoes are characterized by their smooth, red skin and waxy, white flesh. They hold their shape well when cooked, making them perfect for boiling, steaming, and using in potato salads.

4. Fingerling Potatoes

Fingerlings are small, narrow potatoes with a firm texture. Their unique shape and size make them ideal for roasting, sautéing, and using in salads.

5. Purple Majesty Potatoes

Purple Majesty potatoes have deep purple skin and flesh with an earthy flavor. They’re great for baking, mashing, and adding a pop of color to salads.

6. New Potatoes

New potatoes are young, small potatoes harvested before they’ve had a chance to convert their sugar fully into starch. They have thin, wispy skin and a crisp, waxy texture. They are great boiled, steamed, or roasted.

7. White Potatoes

White potatoes have thin, pale skin and dense, creamy flesh. They are versatile and can be used in a variety of dishes, including mashing, boiling, frying, or baking.

8. Blue Potatoes

Blue potatoes, as the name suggests, have blue to purple skin and flesh. They have a slightly nutty flavor and are great for adding color to dishes. They’re best used in potato salads, roasting, or boiling.

9. Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are not technically potatoes but are often used similarly in cooking. They have a sweet, rich flavor and are excellent for baking, roasting, or making fries.

10. Adirondack Blue Potatoes

Adirondack Blue potatoes have deep blue skin and flesh. They retain their color when cooked and are best used in salads, boiling, or mashing.

11. Kennebec Potatoes

Kennebec potatoes are an all-purpose potato with a creamy texture. They’re great for frying, baking, mashing, or using in soups.

12. Desiree Potatoes

Desiree potatoes have pink skin and creamy yellow flesh. They’re versatile and can be used in a variety of dishes, including roasting, mashing, or making gratins.

13. Maris Piper Potatoes

Maris Piper potatoes are a popular all-rounder with a fluffy texture. They’re excellent for making chips, roasting, or mashing.

14. Charlotte Potatoes

Charlotte potatoes are a type of salad potato with a firm, waxy texture. They’re great for boiling, steaming, or using in salads.

15. King Edward Potatoes

King Edward potatoes are an old variety with a fluffy texture. They’re excellent for roasting, baking, or making chips.

16. Jersey Royal Potatoes

Jersey Royal potatoes are a type of new potato with a thin, delicate skin and a unique, nutty flavor. They’re excellent boiled, steamed, or roasted.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What are the best potatoes for baking?

Russet potatoes are the best for baking due to their high starch content, which gives them a fluffy interior when baked.

Which potatoes are best for potato salad?

Waxy potatoes like Red Bliss or New potatoes hold their shape well when cooked, making them ideal for potato salads.

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