Mashed Potatoes
How many different ways can you garnish mashed potatoes? Photo courtesy Idaho Potato Commission.



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MALLIKA RAO is an intern at THE NIBBLE.


November 2010
Last Updated September 2018

Product Reviews / Main Nibbles / Vegetables

Potato Varieties

Page 6: Potato Types & Dishes K To N


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A late maturing (spring) white potato with good potato flavor, this variety is excellent one for fries and chips, baked and boiled potatoes, mashed potatoes and hash browns. The skin is thin so it peels quickly, and has a better texture than many floury potatoes. It grows in regular oval shapes and has shallow eyes, so is more attractive than some floury potatoes. Farmers like it too, since it’s high yield and blight-resistant.

Kennebec potatoes. Photo courtesy

Round, with light pink skin, red eyes and creamy white flesh, Kerr’s pink potatoes were developed in Scotland in 1907. They were introduced to Ireland in 1917. They are all-purpose potatoes: great for boiling, baking, roasting, and have lots of flavor. Kerr’s are known as Irish potatoes, because they account for 25% of Irish potato cultivation.


A variety that matures in the spring.


Laratte potatoes area type of fingerling potato, small and creamy with golden flesh. They were introduced to America from France, and were traditionally used by French restaurants.


  Kerr's Pink Potatoes
Kerr’s Pink Potatoes. Photo courtesy


Latkes are Jewish potato pancakes, made from grated potato, flour and egg and pan-fried in butter or oil. They are traditionally eaten on Hanukkah, and are typically served with a side of applesauce or sour cream. Recipe for potato latkes.


Long White potatoes are oval-shaped, with a medium amount of starch. They are round with a creamy texture. An all-purpose potato, their shape holds well when cooked, making them an excellent choice for potato salad.

  Potato Latke
Potato latkes. Photo by Kelly Cline | IST.

Mashed potatoes are made by peeling and boiling potatoes—usually the floury variety, Idaho or Russet—and adding butter, milk or cream for smoothness. Sweet potatoes can also be mashed.


All-purpose potatoes such as fingerlings and Yukon Gold are also used for a creamier texture.


Ultimately, the best kind of potato for mashing depends on your preference; some people prefer them smooth and creamy, while others prefer them lumpy, with more texture.


Baking potatoes like Idaho and russet have more starch and lower moisture. Theyhave a mealy texture, which results in fluffy mashed potatoes.


Some people leave the skin on to retain the most nutrition (they’re called, not surprisingly, skin-on mashed potatoes).

Mashed potatoes are eaten around the world, and are a popular comfort food. They can also be used in cooking other dishes, such as potato croquettes or gnocchi.


In the U.S., fancy mashed potatoes are often seasoned with herbs such as basil, garlic, rosemary, truffle and wasabi—infused oil can be used to add the flavor.


There are also instant mashed potatoes, but they don’t hold a candle to the real thing.


Mashed potatoes. Photo © Idaho Potato Commission.


Mashed sweet potatoes and pork tenderloin. Photo courtesy Sweet Chick NYC | DanielKrieger.


Developed in Japan, the murasaki sweet potato is now grown in the U.S. It has violet skin and a white inside. You don’t know until you taste it that it’s a sweet potato. It has a sweet, nutty, full-bodied flavor. The texture is somewhere between waxy and floury—an all-purpose potato.

The purple Peruvian potato and Okinawa sweet potato have purple skins and flesh.

  Murasaki Purple Sweet Potatoes
Murasaki sweet potatoes have violet skin and white flesh. Photo courtesy Burpee.


New potatoes are immature potatoes harvested in the spring and early summer. Their skin is thinner and more delicate than mature potatoes, and they are very easy to peel.


These potatoes are creamy, low in starch and high in moisture (they haven’t had the time to convert their sugar into starch).


New potatoes have a shorter shelf life than mature potatoes and must be used up quickly. “True news” potatoes, available at farmer’s markets, are freshly dug immature potatoes with uncured skins.

  New Potatoes
Red and white new potatoes. Photo by Alistair Williamson | SXC.

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