Kitchen Hacks Nutrition

What’s the Difference Between Potato Varieties?

Don't know your Desirees from your Russets? See which potato variety you should be using for your cooking, here!

Do you know your Desirees from your Russets?

Visited Jersey but have no idea which dish Jersey Royals are perfect for?

And why are supermarket “white potatoes” packs so ambiguous?

Here, we break down the differences between your favourite spuds. Set phasers to starchy!


Let’s start by looking at what the key differences are between potato types.

As a rule, potatoes are either floury or waxy; floury potatoes fluff up when cooked and go soft inside, making them perfect for chips and roasties, while waxy potatoes have a firm bite, making them ideal for boiling.

While there are around 300 potato varieties around the world, only 15 are commercially available in UK stores. Some of the most popular include Desiree, Charlotte, Jersey Royal, King Edward, Maris Piper, Rooster and Russet.

Desiree Potatoes

These are a pink-skinned, creamy potato which has a waxy skin but still floury inside. Perfect for mashing.

Charlotte Potatoes

Firm and waxy, Charlotte potatoes have a subtle taste. Perfect for boiling and adding to salads.

Jersey Royal Potatoes

Small, waxy potatoes, Jersey Royals are best served boiled, buttered and doused in herbs.

King Edward Potatoes

Typically with a splash of pink to them, King Edwards are a floury potato with all-round appeal. Use to make chips, jacket potato or for roast potatoes.

Maris Piper Potatoes

Maris Pipers are fairly similar to King Edwards. The main difference, however, is its dryness. While a dry potato works great when making floury mash, maybe avoid using for a jacket potato.

Rooster Potatoes

With its distinguishable russet-red skin, Roosters are a fluffy potato which can be used for most types of cooking. Their earthy flavour makes them ideal for roast potatoes and chips.

Russet Potatoes

Russets are a floury potato which go a lovely golden brown when cooked. They thrive best in a hot oven with plenty of oil.

The “white potatoes” bags in supermarkets will include a variety of “all-rounder” potatoes, such as Maris Pipers and Russets. However, if you are hoping to make a dish extra special (such as super crunchy roast potatoes, or extra floury homemade chips), then it is advisable to spend a little more and choose potatoes which specifically meet your needs.

The best thing about potatoes is their inherent versatility. If you buy the wrong type, just do something different with your potatoes. Nobody at your dinner table will scoff at a perfectly cooked mash when they were expecting boiled potatoes. All that really matters is that it tastes good. And with potatoes, that is peel-ly easy.

Feeling inspired? Try these great potato recipes over on LovePotatoes!


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