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Understanding Potatoes: Choosing the Right Variety


Potatoes, with their numerous varieties and characteristics, play an essential role in a multitude of recipes.

This guide is designed to help you identify the best potato variety for each type of dish, whether it’s for crispy fries, creamy mashed potatoes, or a delicious gratin.

Types of Potatoes and Their Characteristics

Focus on Sweet Potato Fries
Sweet Potatoes

Each type of potato has unique qualities that influence its behavior in the kitchen:

Firm-Fleshed Potatoes

They maintain their shape after cooking, making them ideal for salads, stews, and dishes where structure is important.

Floury Potatoes

With their soft, dry texture, they are perfect for preparations where a lighter consistency is desired, such as fries or mashed potatoes.

Versatile Potatoes

These versatile varieties are a compromise between the first two types and can be used in a wide variety of recipes.

A comparative table can be helpful to visualize these differences:

TypeTextureRecommended Use
Firm fleshFirm and moistSalads, stews
Floury FleshSoft and DryMashed Potatoes, Fries
VersatileBalanced between bothMultipurpose

Potatoes for French Fries

Russet Potatoes in a Basket

Floury potatoes, such as the Russet variety, are the most suitable for making fries. Their low water content and high starch content ensure a crispy exterior while maintaining a soft interior. To learn more about the safe cooking of these foods, please refer to our detailed article on Food Poisoning.

Potatoes for Mashed Potatoes

Floury varieties are also recommended for mashed potatoes. Their characteristics make it easy to absorb butter and milk, creating a rich and creamy texture. For perfect mashed potatoes, Idaho or Yukon Gold potatoes are excellent choices.

Potatoes for Gratin

Firm-fleshed potatoes, such as Charlotte or Nicola, are ideal for gratins and oven-baked dishes. Their ability to hold their shape and texture after cooking ensures a structured and appetizing gratin.

Impact of Texture and Starch Content

The texture and starch content of potatoes are determining factors for the final outcome of your dish. Varieties with high starch content are preferred for recipes requiring a light and airy texture, while those with low starch content are better suited for dishes where firmness is desired.

What is the Impact of Potatoes on Health?

Hands and utensils in the picture, representing someone eating a healthy bowl of food

Potatoes, a staple ingredient in Canadian cuisine, offer significant nutritional value.

According to the Fichier Canadien sur les Éléments Nutritifs, they are a rich source of vitamins C and B6, potassium, and fibre, thus contributing to a balanced diet.

These nutrients are essential for cardiovascular health, blood pressure regulation, and digestive well-being. The way potatoes are cooked greatly influences their nutritional value.

Cooking methods like boiling or steaming better preserve these nutrients, unlike frying or making chips. The potato skin, rich in fibre, is also beneficial.

However, consumption should remain moderate and be part of a varied and balanced diet to fully enjoy their health benefits.

Tips for Choosing the Right Variety

To choose the right potato, consider the texture and type of dish you are preparing.

Check the video (in French only) L’épicerie : Comment choisir la bonne pomme de terre? for free. You’ll learn all about the famous (patate) potato in Quebec.

For more inspiration and culinary tips, feel free to explore our Goodfood Ground Beef Shephard’s Pie Review and Tweaks.


The wise choice of potato variety can transform an ordinary recipe into a memorable dish. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different varieties to discover which ones will best enhance your favorite dishes.

What about you? What is your favourite potato and why?

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