How Many Types of Potatoes are There?

Just how many types of potatoes are there? We’re covering the different types of potatoes out there so you can choose the right potato with confidence.

Just how many types of potatoes are there? We're covering the different types of potatoes out there so you can choose the right potato with confidence.

There are over 200 kinds of potatoes sold in the United States but all these diverse starches fit into one of seven categories. What are these seven tent poles of the potato world, and what dishes are they perfect for?

1. Russet Potatoes

These are probably the most common form of potato. When someone mentions potatoes you usually think of medium-to-large oval shaped brown potatoes with netted skin. Those are russet potatoes.

Russets are a floury potato with a light and fluffy texture. The skin becomes chewy when cooked. These are commonly used for baked, mashed and roasted potatoes.

2. Red Potatoes

Another common addition to most dinner tables, red potatoes are waxy, which means they have cells that stay together when cooked. When sliced into chunks they will retain their shape and not break up, even when boiled.

This small, smooth, round potato with thin red skin has a creamy moist texture with a subtly sweet flavor. Red potatoes are perfect for salads, soups, stews and roasting.

3. White Potatoes

White potatoes get their name from the white coloring of their skin and flesh. This mild, low sugar medium starch is slightly dense with a thin delicate skin. Much like russet potatoes, whites are perfect for mashing. They also can be used well in salads and are perfect for steaming, boiling and frying.

4. Yellow Potatoes

Yellow potatoes are waxy, velvety and moist. These marble to large-sized potatoes have a buttery flavor with a very subtle sweetness. Their crispy skin can enhance the dense flesh which, combined with a creamy texture, lessens the need for butter. Yellow potatoes are perfect for dishes that involve grilling and roasting.

5. Purple Potatoes

Purple potatoes are waxy and moist with firm flesh. Their name is derived from their deep purple skin and matching lavender flesh. They have an earthy, nutty flavor with low sugar content. They’re perfect for grilling, baking and roasting.

6. Fingerling Potatoes

Fingerling potatoes range in size from two to four inches and are shaped like a human finger. They’re waxy and firm with red, orange, purple or white skin. The flesh of this potato is very diverse, ranging from red orange to purple, yellow or white. Veins of color are also sometimes streaked along the flesh. These are very popular for pan-frying and roasting.

7. Petite Potatoes

These little guys get their name from their teeny tiny size. These aren’t actually a type of potato, but a classification of size. Smaller potatoes of the other six categories are classified as petites. Their flavors tend to be more concentrated than their larger sized counterparts and are perfect for salads, roasting and frying.

Kevin Kessler

Kevin J. Kessler is an experienced professional writer and published author living in Orlando, Florida. With a lifelong passion for food, this sandwich loving Italian boy enjoys exploring unanswered questions about the foods we all know and love so well. Kevin’s foodie lifestyle was born through his love of Walt Disney World and the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival. A lover of stories, he enjoys trying new dishes from all over the world and learning everything there is to know about where food comes from, how its prepared, and what variations on it exist.