6 delicious potato varieties and how to cook with them

Learn about the 6 most common potato varieties found in your grocery store, and the best ways to use them in everyday meals.

By Nastasha Alli

Waxy, starchy and all-purpose potatoes
Have you ever wondered which potatoes are best for baking and which would be better for potato salad or french fries? Below is a handy guide to help you decide which of Canada’s deliciously healthy potato varieties are right for you.

1. Waxy potatoes: If you're looking to make potato salad, waxy potatoes are the ones for the job. The most popular waxy potatoes are fingerling potatoes and new (or nugget) potatoes.

The flesh of waxy potatoes holds its shape better than other kinds of potatoes when cooked, so the chunks of potato won't fall apart in your salad. They've got slightly thinner skin, too, so they’re easy to eat unpeeled, making them an excellent source of fibre.

2. Starchy potatoes: Starchy potatoes – of which the most popular is the Russet Burbank (sometimes referred to as an Idaho potato) – are your best bets for making family favourites such as baked potatoes, mashed potatoes and french fries.

Because these potatoes have a high starch content, they make for fluffy, airy mashed potatoes and deliciously creamy baked potatoes ready to sop up dollops of butter and sour cream.

"There are many varieties of russet potatoes," says Canadian Living Test Kitchen food specialist Amanda Barnier. "Popular ones include Russet Burbank, Century Russet, Frontier Russet, Norking Russet, Russet Norkotah and Ranger Russet potatoes."

All-purpose potatoes
These spuds are perfect for roasts, stews, gratins, latkes, pancakes and other general-use recipes, and are great scalloped as well.

All-purpose potato varieties include:

3. Yukon Gold potatoes: "Yukon Golds have a slightly mealy texture and a delicious flavour. They’re excellent baking potatoes, and are great mashed. Generally, they're the perfect all-around potato to have in your cupboard," says Barnier. Though Yukon Golds are considered waxy by some – and aren’t the best for gratins or recipes that call for shredded potatoes – they're still the best pick for all-purpose potato cooking.


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