While potatoes are relatively cheap to buy at your local grocery store, growing your own potato garden will provide better tasting spuds and allow you to select a variety best for your needs. The following 15 varieties are perfect for your home garden. Although each offers its own flavor that behaves differently when cooked, they’re all easy to grow at home.
Red and oval baking potatoes are popular choices you see in many supermarkets, yet there are over a thousand different varieties you can grow—each with a distinct flavor and texture.
With your own potato garden, you can customize the type of spuds you grow to the foods your family enjoys, and save a bit of grocery money. The process is challenging at times, but with a full-sun location and some care, harvesting your own potatoes is quite rewarding. You can even grow a smaller variety in containers if space is an issue for you.
1. Yukon Gold
A popular variety and bestseller among potato gardeners and top chefs alike, Yukon Gold potatoes come with a fine-grained, dense flesh that’s great at holding shape while you cook. These types of potatoes are best in soups and stews, and they’re great for potato salad. However, they also work well in dishes where they’re baked or roasted, and they’ll hold their shape when boiled as well.
Their average starch content makes them not quite starchy and not quite waxy. They pair well with cream or butter, making Yukon Gold the best multi-purpose option for any cooking method or dish. The best part is that these potatoes always taste better when they’re homegrown.
2. Purple Peruvian
Purple Peruvians are brightly colored fingerling potatoes with deep purple skin and flesh. They’ll either appear a solid purple throughout, or show up with a marbled white and purple appearance.
They’re all-purpose potatoes used in a wide array of dishes, as their dry and starchy texture makes them great for roasting, boiling, frying, baking, or grilling. These potatoes will offer an earthy taste with slight hints of nuts and butter after each bite, and they’re easy to grow in Northern, colder climates.
3. Idaho Russet
Russets are a classic go-to for baking, and most fries and hash browns are also made with russet potatoes. They tend to stick together better than other, more waxy varieties, which is also why many people say that Idaho Russets make the fluffiest mashed potatoes. However, these varieties tend toward high starch content and low moisture. Avoid using them in casseroles or salads.
A starchy potato made for making the best fries, Katahdin potatoes offer a smooth skin and yellow flesh with a classic flavor you’d expect of any potato. You can also use them in baking and boiling, but they won’t work well in potato salads or any dish that will require them to keep their shape.
5. Red Bliss
This waxy potato is named for its bright red skin. The flesh is creamy, with a waxy texture that feels moist and firm. Because Red Bliss potatoes taste slightly bitter, they’re often used to make stews or soups. Although, potato salads and casseroles are typical as well, and they can be boiled or roasted well.
Avoid using Red Bliss potatoes for mashing, though. They’re probably the worst potato on this list you could use to make mashed potatoes.
6. New Potatoes
A new potato is considered any potato that’s harvested before the sugars have had a chance to fully convert into starch. They’re young, small potatoes and there are many types so that they can vary in color or shape. However, they tend to have thin skin. They’re best used for steaming, boiling, or roasting into a soup. Never use them for baking.
7. Adirondack Blue
Adirondack Blue potatoes come with purple skin and bright blue flesh, and they almost have a texture similar to apples. You can find them in varying shades of blue, from lavender to nearly black. When mashed, these potatoes turn a light shade of blue, and the color turns darker when they’re roasted.
These can be baked, boiled, mashed, or turned into any number of casseroles, gratins, and potato salads. In fact, the blue options contain a rich, earthy and nutty flavor. Blue potatoes also contain more anthocyanin that yellow or white-fleshed potatoes, which is considered to have antioxidant properties.
Just don’t use them for soup!
8. Adirondack Red
Similar to the Adirondack Blue potatoes, Adirondack Red is typically called All Red potatoes because they offer a red skin and pinkish-red flesh that tends to take on a starburst pattern. Expect the color to fade when boiled, but only change shade with other cooking methods. They offer a semi-sweet flavor and moist, almost meaty texture that makes them great for mashing, boiling, or frying in a pan. Never use them to make soup though.
As you probably guessed, fingerling potatoes are shaped like fingers, and the various varieties are typically small (2-3 inches) even when they’re fully grown. They have a tender, thin skin and don’t absorb water as much when cooked, which makes them great when roasted or boiled with the skin on but terrible for soups.
Many people also love to use this variety to make potato salad because they’re less likely to fall apart. The flavor they bring to the table is mild, with earthy, nutty tones. Common varieties include Russian Banana or the French potato, which can contain a red streak.
An oblong, yellow potato, Carolas are a strong variety with a classic buttery potato flavor. These potatoes are medium to large and have irregular, rounded shapes. They’re firm, yet waxy in texture with lower starch contents, which makes them perfect for use in potato salads, casseroles, gratins, and steak fries.
You can roast, grill, or boil them as well, but don’t make a soup with them. This variety is disease resistant, perfect for your potato garden, and great for storage as well.
11. Inca Gold
Another golden yellow potato with golden skin and flesh, Inca Gold potatoes are distinguishable by their round dumpling shape. They offer an earthy, natural nutty flavor and a waxy, yet smooth and firm texture. Use them to make casseroles, salads, and gratins. Roast, boil or mash them. This variety keeps longer than most, so you can try any dish. Just don’t make soups using this option.
12. Rose Gold
Rose Gold potatoes are known for their rose-colored skin and yellow flesh. They’re a waxy, earthy potato that’s moist yet firm. Bake, boil or steam these potatoes. Use them in casseroles, gratins, or potato salads. However, you’ll want to avoid making mashed potatoes with this variety.
13. Purple Viking
Named for their dark purple toned skin, Purple Viking potatoes are small waxy potatoes with white flesh. People who try this potato variety tend to fall in love with it because it tastes great in a wide array of dishes and is resistant to drought while growing in your potato garden.
This meaty variety has a buttery, sweet flavor that’s moist and creamy in texture. They’re perfect for boiling, roasting or baking, and you can use them to make a variety of gratins, potato salads, or casseroles. They’re the best in mashed potatoes. Avoid using this option to make soups, however.
14. Jewel Yam
A starchy sweet potato, Jewel Yams are the most common type of sweet potato found in many stores. They taste great when they’re baked or roasted, as sweet potatoes tend to taste sweeter than any other variety. They also tend toward becoming heavier and more substantial than most potatoes, which means you may need more room to grow them at home.
15. Japanese Sweet Potato
Another starchy sweet potato, the Japanese Sweet Potato is a bit different than the Jewel Yam. It comes with white flesh and skin that varies from pink to purple hues. This potato is nutty, yet sweet in flavor, and it’s great when baked, steamed, or grilled. They’re also delicious blended into a soup, fried into chip form, or stuffed into your favorite casserole.
There are so many exciting varieties to choose from, why not start growing your own potato garden today?! Yukon Gold may be the most popular type of variety for its great taste and use in a wide variety of different dishes, but a variety like the popular sweet potato Jewel Yam or a type you can harvest earlier in the season may be more ideal for you.
Think about the flavors and dishes you and your family enjoy the most. Then, ensure you have a sunny location to start growing potatoes and find a grow method that’s right for you. Raised garden beds may help you yield the most significant crop, for example, while grow bags are often easier for beginners to learn how to grow potatoes.
Your needs and preferences will help narrow down which variety is right for you.