Cooking Essentials: Which Potatoes are Best for Mashing, Boiling and Baking

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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.


Which Potatoes are Best for Mashing, Boiling and Baking

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!

Which Potatoes Are Best

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.

What about purple potato recipes?

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. 🙂

Our favorite potato recipes….

Grilled Baked Potatoes

Buttery Crusted Baked Potatoes

Rich & Creamy Mashed Potatoes

Easy Oven Roasted Potatoes

About JulieJulie Clark

About Julie Clark

I'm Julie Clark, CEO and recipe developer of Tastes of Lizzy T. With my B.A. in Education and over 30 years of cooking and baking, I want to teach YOU the best of our family recipes.

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1 year ago

When I make blue cheese potato salad, with mayo and sour cream, it always gets watery. What am I doing wrong?

1 year ago

Have you had the chance to try out “Yukon Gold” I love them – even though they say their not a baking potato- I find them very delicious and I mash them also – when their in season their my go too potatoes- and year round I stick to yellow potatoes..

John Simms
4 years ago

which potatoes are the least acidic? I have gastritis. And usually the russets bother me the least. But lately they’ve been bothering me more frequently. Or could it be chlorpropham (bud nip)?

Thank you,
John Simms.

5 years ago

I’m puzzled as to why people say yellow potatoes are good for baking and frying, especially frying. They have so much water in them! I find they fall apart easily and don’t turn out crispy when I fry them (my other french fries, usually with white or russets come out very nice and crispy). Can anyone tell me what I’m doing wrong with the yellow french fry? Thanks!

6 years ago

I’m making a baked pork chop recipe with the sliced potatoes on the bottom. Slow and lo. Whats the best potato?

Deb Lily
6 years ago

wWhat do you do with blue potatoes? They are becoming more popular and I’d like to know how to use them.

Jocelyn (Grandbaby cakes)
7 years ago

I adore your video!!

ashley - baker by nature
7 years ago

So informative!

Lane & Holly @ With Two Spoons
7 years ago

Awesome info! I feel like it should be taped to the inside of my kitchen cupboard.

Megan @ MegUnprocessed
7 years ago

This is very helpful and handy!

shirley mcmaster
7 years ago

I’ve found your site very interesting, and found a lot of information that was very useful.

shawnna griffin
7 years ago

love the post ladies! Great tips!