Waxy potatoes keep their shape during cooking. Photo by Kelly Cline | IST.



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MALLIKA RAO is an intern at THE NIBBLE.


November 2010
Last Updated September 2018

Product Reviews / Main Nibbles / Vegetables

Types Of Potatoes

Page 4: How Many Potato Varieties Are There?


This is Page 4, the beginning of our Potato Glossary, in which you’ll meet all types of potatoes and potato dishes. Click on the black links below to view other pages. See our 100 other food glossaries, each a wealth of information about your favorite foods.


Article Index: Potato Glossary:


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Potato Types


There are more than 4,000 varieties of potatoes worldwide. They can be classified into two main groups: waxy and floury.

  • Waxy potatoes, such as fingerlings, red jacket, new and white round potatoes, have more moisture and less starch. The lower starch level enables them to hold their shape well during cooking.  When boiled, steamed or roasted, waxy potatoes come out firm and moist—the ideal consistency for potato salad.
  • Floury/starchy potatoes, such as the iconic Idaho baked potato, are lower in moisture (drier) and high in starch. Due to their low sugar content they tend to fall apart when boiled. Floury potatoes do not hold their shape well after cooking—think of the crumbly texture of a baked potato. That’s why floury/starchy potatoes are easier to mash. Also use them for deep-frying  (French fries, potato pancakes). Examples include Idaho, russet and russet Burbank (there are many varieties of russet potato)—russets are a variation bred to be harvested in the warmer months; Idahos are harvested in the cooler months.
  • All-purpose potatoes have characteristics of both waxy and floury potatoes, so can be used for any purpose. Examples include katahdin (named after the highest mountain in Maine), kennebec (a leading chipping potato), purple Peruvian, yellow Finn and Yukon gold.


Potato Glossary: Potato Varieties & Dishes ~ A & B


Potatoes that can be used for any purpose. See bullet directly above.


These potatoes are round with distinctive yellowish-white skins. They have a light, subtle flavor and a creamy texture and can be cooked in almost any way. “Baby” refers to the small size. To preserve the nutrients, simply scrub the delicate skins gently in plain water and leave them on. A trademarked variety, Baby Dutch Yellow® potatoes are also known as DYP's.

Baby Yellow Dutch potatoes. Photo courtesy Melissas.com.


A French meat stew dish from the Alsace region of France. Its name translates to “baker’s oven” in German. Baeckeoffe consists of sliced potatoes, beef, lamb, leeks, onions and pork, marinated overnight in wine. The dish usually seasoned with garlic, marjoram, parsley and thyme.


The dish is said to have been prepared by women on Saturday evenings before church, and left with the baker until they would pick it up on Sunday afternoon.

Baeckoffe. Photo courtesy Marie Claire.


A baked potatoes is roasted whole in the oven, with its skin intact. It is best with an Idaho or Russet potato. It emerges fluffy on the inside with crispy, flavorful skin on the outside. (Baking potatoes in aluminum foil to speed the cooking results in the skin being steamed and not crisp.)


Baked potatoes are commonly topped with bacon bits, butter, chives, grated cheese and sour cream. Substituting nonfat Greek yogurt for the sour cream significantly cuts down on fat and calories. In the U.K., baked potatoes are known as jacket potatoes, since they keep their jacket (skin) on.

Baked potato. Photo © Idaho Potato Commission.

Bangers and mash, a favorite U.K. comfort food, consists of mashed potatoes (mash) with sausages (bangers) and gravy. See photo.


Batata harra translates to “spicy potatoes” and is a Lebanese and Syrian vegetable dish. Ingredients include potatoes, peppers, cilantro, chili, garlic, cumin seeds and curry leaves.

  Bangers and Mash
Bangers and mash. Photo by Kelly Cline | IST.

See purple potato.


A potato with flesh so buttery that no extra butter is needed. See German Butterball Potato.


Continue To Page 5: Potato Types C To  J

Go To The Article Index Above


  Purple Peruvian Potatoes
Purple Peruvian potatoes. Photo by Mona Makela | IST.


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