This post may contain affiliate links. Read our disclosure policy.
Which Potatoes are Best for Mashing, Boiling and Baking?
I’ve never met a potato I didn’t like.
When I was titling this article, I had to laugh at “Which Potatoes Are Best” because really, give me all the potatoes all the time.
There was once a time when I didn’t pay an ounce of attention to what type of potato I was buying. Whether it was mashing, boiling or baking potatoes, I bought only one kind. The cheapest. Whatever happened to be on sale, that’s what I tossed into my shopping cart. For the most part? This worked out just fine for me. But at times I’d have potato salad that ended up more like mashed potatoes, or mashed potatoes that for some reason just wouldn’t whip up to the creamy texture that I can’t resist.
As I’ve learned more about cooking and baking over the past few years, I realized that just as there are different types of flours for varying recipes, there’s also varieties of potatoes that work best in certain recipes.
Don’t get scared off by the idea of choosing the best potatoes for your favorite recipe. It’s really not that difficult to choose the best potatoes and you’ll instantly get better results!
There are three types of potatoes: high-starch potatoes, medium-starch potatoes and low-starch potatoes.
The most common high-starch potatoes are the mild-flavored russet. Russets are oblong in shape. These thick-skinned potatoes fall apart while cooking, and whip up fluffy and light. This makes them the ideal choice for mashing. Because they have a light, mealy texture, high-starch potatoes are the best baked potato.
Medium-starch potatoes are the round white potatoes and yellow potatoes. They are a great all-purpose potato and are the types you’ll most commonly find in the grocery store. They are versatile and can be used in almost any dish, whether roasting, grilling, mashing or boiling.
Low-starch potatoes are waxy and hold their shape well when you cook them. This makes them ideal boiling potatoes for salads, soups and stews. Low-starch potatoes are your round red potatoes, new potatoes and fingerling potatoes.
Which potatoes are best for mashed potatoes? Russets, Yellow Potatoes
Which potatoes are best for potato salad? Round Red Potatoes, New Potatoes
Which potatoes are best for boiling? Round Red Potatoes, Fingerling Potatoes
Which potatoes are best for baking? Russets
Which potatoes are best for fries? Russets
Which potatoes are best for soup or stew? Round Red Potatoes
What is a good all-purpose potato? The round white potatoes that you see all over your grocery store are a generally good all-around potato.
It’s not too difficult to choose the best potatoes. From this point, your grocery store may have specifically named types of potatoes such as Red Bliss, Katahdin, Purple Peruvian, Yukon Gold. They’re like the fancy name-brand of potatoes. Don’t get confused by this. Just stick to this simple chart.
Purple potatoes (that often look like blue potatoes) are become increasingly popular. What should you use purple potatoes for? These gorgeously colored potatoes are a medium starch potato which makes them a great all-around potato. Mash them & roast them. Boil purple potatoes, but watch them closely because they tend to cook quickly. Many don’t like purple potatoes for fries because the moisture content is high.
Purple potatoes make a stunning display!
May your potato salads be shapely and your mashed potatoes be creamy. 🙂