Potatoes have an endless amount of uses. You can roast them, bake them, mash them, turn them into French fries and potato chips, or even feature them in a dessert. The average shopper can probably recognize a few common types of potatoes but there are actually thousands of varieties of this root vegetable throughout the world.
In this article, we will explore some of the most popular types of potatoes in the UK, United States, and several other countries, as well as their taste, and the best ways to utilize each variety’s unique flavors.
1. Russet Potatoes
Russet potatoes (also called Idaho potatoes) are among the most popular and versatile varieties in the world. They have a mild, earthy flavor that makes the perfect for a number of uses. Russet potatoes are recommended for baking, mashing, or turning into French fries and potato chips.
There are many subvarieties of Russet potatoes. Some, like the Ranger Russet, have a higher resistance to plant diseases such as Verticillium wilt. Others, such as the Umatilla Russet, contain attributes that make them ideal for turning into frozen french fries
Taste: Mild and Earthy
Best Uses: Baked potatoes, mashed potatoes, French fries, potato chips, frozen fries
2. Yukon Gold
Another popular type of potato is the Yukon Gold potato, aptly named after its yellow flesh. This variety takes its name from the Yukon River involved in the Yukon Gold Rush.
Yukon Gold potatoes are known for their smooth, eyeless skin and buttery flavor. They are a great option for cooking a variety of dishes and are delicious when roasted, mashed, boiled, fried, or sauteed. Simply roasting these potatoes with olive oil and black pepper will bring out their excellent flavor.
Taste: Creamy texture with a buttery flavor
Best Uses: Roast with olive oil and black pepper
3. Red Pontiac
The Red Pontiac potato has a thin skin that is dark reddish-purple in color. According to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, this type of potato is a color mutant of the original Pontiac variety discovered in Florida.
Red Pontiacs can be harvested earlier in the season when they are sweeter and known as “new potatoes.” These varieties generally have a sweet, rich flavor and creamy texture. They are a good choice for boiling and mashing and are some of the best options when making skin-on mashed potatoes.
Taste: Slightly sweet, rich, creamy
Best Uses: Skin-on mashed potatoes
4. Beaureguard Sweet Potatoes
Beaureguards are one of the most popular varieties of sweet potatoes in the world. They have an oblong shape and orange-ish brown skin with beautiful bright orange flesh.
Sweet potatoes are often considered “healthier” than regular potatoes, in part because of their high Vitamin A content, writes Insider. Ironically sweet potatoes are also less likely than regular potatoes to spike your blood sugar. However, white potatoes do typically have more protein, iron, and carbs.
As their name suggests, Beaureguard sweet potatoes have a very sweet and nutty flavor. They are a great option for a variety of culinary dishes or for a healthier option when turning into fries and chips. Sweet potatoes are also great when baked and eaten all on their own.
Taste: Very sweet, nutty
Best Uses: Baked, sweet potato pie, sweet potato fries, and chips
5. Adirondack Blue
Adirondack blue potatoes are a beautiful variety with dark purple skins and bright violet flesh. Despite their unique appearance, Adirondack blues are not thought to have an especially distinct flavor and are sometimes said to taste similar to Yukon Gold.
An Adirondack blue potato can be used for a variety of dishes, but showing off its distinctive color is one of the best ways to utilize them. Adirondack blues may lose their vibrant color after boiling. For this reason, they are best baked, roasted, or shown off in dishes such as au gratin.
Taste: Rich flavor, similar to Yukon Gold,
Best Uses: Baked, roasted, au gratin, potato salad
6. Russian Banana Potato
Russian banana potatoes are oblong, slender potatoes with a crescent shape. They have yellow-brown skin and golden-colored flesh. This variety is sometimes referred to simply as fingerling potatoes because of their shape and small size.
According to Specialty Produce, Russian banana potatoes were first developed in the Baltic region of Europe in the 1700s. Eventually, Russian sailors brought them to North America, hence the name. It’s no wonder the Russian banana potato caught on so quickly.
These little cultivars have a delicious flavor. They are full-bodied, buttery, and nutty, making them quite tasty when steamed or baked all on their own. One of the most popular uses for Russian banana potatoes is potato salad, thanks to their ability to hold their shape and flavor when cooked.
Taste: Full-bodied, buttery, nutty
Best Uses: Potato salad, pizza toppings
7. King Edward Potatoes
King Edward potatoes are one of the oldest and most popular types of potatoes in the UK. They are somewhat comparable to what the Russet potato is for those across the pond.
King Edward potatoes have light tan skin with pinkish spots. They have a mildly sweet and nutty flavor that works well for a variety of uses. According to Taste Atlas, a well-known English cook named Delia Smith recommends King Edwards as the best variety for making gnocchi.
Taste: Mildly sweet and nutty
Best Uses: Oven-baked chips fries (called chips in the UK), roasting, gnocchi
8. Kennebec Potato
Kennebec potatoes have light brown skin with a slightly rough texture. They were originally bred by the USDA at the Presque Island Station in Maine in 1941. Today they remain a popular variety in the US and Canada.
Kennebec potatoes have a deeply nutty and earthy flavor with subtle sweetness and creamy white flesh. They work well for baking or mashing but are especially popular for potato chip manufacturing. According to Tasting Table, the chain restaurant In-N-Out uses Kennebec potatoes for their French fries.
Taste: Deeply nutty and earthy, subtly sweet
Best Uses: Frying into potato chips or French fries
9. Rooster potato
Rooster potatoes get their name from their distinctive red skin. They are typically smaller with a round shape and shallow eyes, making them easy to peel. The cultivar was originally bred in Ireland and is still one of the most popular in the country’s market today.
Rooster potatoes have a fluffy yellow flesh with a deep, earthy flavor. They are great for a variety of uses such as baking, roasting, or turning into potato chips.
Taste: Deep, earthy flavor
Best Uses: Roasting or turning into potato chips
10. Desiree Potato
Desirees are a variety of red potatoes with an oval shape and yellow flesh. They are an all-purpose potato with a neutral, rich, and earthy flavor, according to Specialty Produce.
These cultivars are a popular variety in Italian cooking and are the potato of choice for several celebrity chefs. They were first introduced in the Italian region of Umbria in the early 1970s, where they go by the name Patata Rossa di Colfiorito.
The Patata Rossa di Colfiorito Fair showcases these cultivars every August with dishes such as potato donuts and gnocchi. Desiree potatoes are also an excellent choice for roasting.
Taste: Neutral, rich, and earthy
Best Uses: Roasting, potato donuts, gnocchi
11. Maris Piper
Maris Piper potatoes are another popular variety in England and according to Taste Atlas, they’ve been grown in the country since the 1960s. They are yellow in color with a mild, earthy flavor. They are popular for roasting and mashing.
Taste Atlas also reports that they are a popular choice when preparing fish and chips thanks to their ability to stay crunchy on the outside and creamy on the inside. English celebrity chef Heston Blumenthal recommends this variety for triple-cooked chips (aka fries to Americans.)
Taste: Mild and earthy
Best Uses: Fish and chips, Triple cooked chips (aka fries)
12. German Butterball
German butterballs are rounded or oval-shaped yellow potatoes with slightly flaky skin. These varieties are known for their buttery, melt-in-your-mouth flavor, and creamy texture.
They are similar to Yukon Gold Potatoes, and like this variety, maintain a great flavor when baked, fried, and mashed. German Butterballs will also hold together well for potato salad.
According to Nature’s Produce, David Ronniger first introduced the German Butterball to the United States in 1988 and today the potato is widely available across the country
Taste: Buttery and creamy
Best Uses: Mashed potatoes or potato salad
Bintje potatoes are a Dutch variety first developed in 1905. Today they are the most widely grown yellow-fleshed potato in the world, according to Fedco Seeds.
Bintjes have smooth golden skin and a uniquely nutty flavor. They are good for roasting and frying into French fries or traditional Belgian-style pommes frites. This dish once involved frying Bintjes in horse or ox fat, but today are commonly fried in vegetable oil.
Taste: Light and uniquely nutty
Best Uses: French fries or traditional Belgian-style pommes frites
14. Kerr’s Pink
Kerr’s Pink is a variety originally developed in Scotland in 1907. Today they are a very popular all-purpose cultivate in Ireland. In fact, Kerr’s Pink earned the nickname the “Irish potato.”
Like the King Edward potato, Kerr’s Pink has light-colored skin with pinkish patches. However, Kerr’s Pink tends to be smaller and rounder than King Edwards potatoes.
The Kerr’s Pink has a typical mild and earthy flavor but can be a little more difficult to peel due to its small size and deep eyes, according to Grower Experts. Care should be taken not to overboil the potato, as they have a tendency to turn mushy. Still, these potatoes are a popular choice for boiling, roasting, mashing, and more.
Taste: Mild and earthy
Best Uses: Boiling, mashing, and roasting
Vitelotte potatoes are one of the most stunning cultivars on this list. According to the Tasting Table, they were first grown in Peru and given the name Vitelotte Noir after their introduction in France in the 19th century. Today they are primarily produced in France and the United Kingdom.
Vitelottes are medium-sized potatoes with dark purple, almost black skin, and brilliant violet flesh. They have a signature nutty flavor reminiscent of chestnuts. Vitelottes retain their beautiful color well and are a stunning option for a variety of culinary dishes. Use them in mashed potatoes, salads, pancakes, soup, and more.
Taste: Distinct nutty, chestnut flavor
Best Uses: Culinary dishes such as salads, pancakes, or soup
16. Papa Criolla
The Papa Criolla is a popular type of potato in South America, especially Columbia. They are round, small in size, and have yellow skin. In Columbia, they grow in the highlands of the Andes, according to Taste Atlas.
Papa Criollas are neutral tasting and somewhat bland by themselves, but this makes them a great option for a variety of dishes. Try them fried, mashed, or roasted to accompany a meal. Papa Criollas are also often in ajiaco soup, a traditional Columbian dish made with chicken, potatoes, and a distinctive herb called guascas.
Taste: Neutral, somewhat bland
Best Uses: Traditional Colombian dishes such as ajiaco soup
17. Jewel Yams
Despite their name, Jewel yams are actually a variety of sweet potatoes with characteristic orange-brown skin and bright orange flesh.
Jewels are less sweet than Beaueraguards, but can still be implemented in many of the same dishes. They are great for baking, roasting, and mashing and are commonly used in sweet potato casseroles and even desserts.
Taste: Slightly sweet, subtly earthy, notes of chestnut
Best Uses: Baking, roasting, mashing, sweet potato casserole
18. Japanese Sweet Potatoes
Satsumaimo, or Japanese sweet potatoes, were introduced in Okinawa in the early 17th century. They have an oblong shape like their western sweet potato counterparts, but these varieties’ skin is reddish-purple with bright golden flesh.
According to Tasting Table, Japanese sweet potatoes are slightly fluffier and starchier than orange sweet potatoes. They are also sweet with earthy, chestnut flavors. Try Japanese sweet potatoes baked or even in desserts that highlight their unique flavors.
Taste: Sweet, earthy, notes of chestnut
Best Uses: Baked or highlighted in desserts
Summary of 18 Popular Types of Potatoes
|Russet||Mild and earthy||Baked, mashed, or turned into French fries/potato chips|
|Yukon Gold||Creamy and buttery||Roasted with olive oil and black pepper|
|Red Pontiac||Slightly sweet, rich, and creamy||Skin-on mashed potatoes|
|Beauregaurd Sweet Potato||Sweet and nutty||Baked, sweet potato pie, sweet potato fries/chips|
|Adirondack Blue||Rich flavor similar to Yukon Gold||Au gratin or potato salad|
|Russian Banana||Full-bodied, buttery, and nutty||Potato salad or pizza toppings|
|King Edward||Mild, sweet, and nutty||Oven-baked chips fries (chips in the UK), gnocchi|
|Kennebec||Deeply nutty and earthy, subtly sweet||Potato chips or French fries|
|Rooster||Deep and earthy flavor||Roasted or turned into potato chips|
|Desiree||Neutral, rich, and earthy||Roasted, potato donuts, or gnocchi|
|Maris Piper||Mild and earthy||Fish and chips|
|German Butterball||Buttery and creamy||Mashed potatoes or potato salad|
|Bintje||Light and uniquely nutty||Belgian-style pommes frites|
|Kerr’s Pink||Mild and earthy||Boiling, mashing, and roasting|
|Vitelotte||Distinct nutty, chestnut flavor||Culinary dishes such as salads, pancakes, or soup|
|Papa Criolla||Neutral and somewhat bland||Ajiaco soup|
|Jewel Yams||Slightly sweet, subtly earthy, notes of chestnut||Sweet potato casserole|
|Japanese Sweet Potato||Sweet and earthy, notes of chestnut||Desserts|
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