When you’re craving homemade mashed potatoes, which type of potato do you pick? With so many varieties to choose from it’s hard to know, so we’re breaking down which type is best for your specific cooking needs.
Each variety of potato has a different starch level. High-starch potatoes are ideal for making mashed potatoes because they absorb more water, meaning they fall apart and lose their shape when boiled—which is what you want to happen when mashing potatoes. Lower-starch potatoes are better for potato salads or roasting because they hold their shape better. There are also medium-starch potatoes which are ideal for making gratins.
Russet: These are the most widely used potato in the US. These high starch potatoes are ideal for making mashed potatoes, as well as frying or roasting potatoes.
Red: With a creamy white interior, red potatoes have a smooth texture that makes them perfect for potato salads. They are lower in starch and hold up well in recipes that call for steaming, too.
Yellow Finns: These flavorful, medium starch potatoes have a creamier texture and are ideal for making gratins or for roasting.
Purple: Purple potatoes are not only beautiful but make for yummy potato salads. They have a slightly nutty flavor and can vary in color from indigo to pale purple. As a medium-starch variety, they are good in salads and side dishes, as well as for French fries.
White: White potatoes are typically lower starch and have a higher moisture content. They are commonly regarded as an “all-purpose” potato that can be used in any kind of preparation.
Yukon Gold: The Yukon Gold is one of our top picks for mashing due to their low starch quality, they also hold up to boiling well and don’t absorb much water.
Sweet Potatoes: Sweet potatoes are a different breed entirely and are delicious on their own or baked into side dishes and even desserts. While we love Make-Ahead Baked Sweet Potatoes or Granola Streusel-Topped Sweet Potatoes, you can also mash them! Be sure to learn How to Cook Sweet Potatoes and check out our favorite ways to prepare mashed sweet potatoes: