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Have you ever stood staring at the potatoes in the supermarket or greengrocers wondering which variety of potato you should buy, and what the difference is between them all?

It’s easy to just choose any old variety of potato, but depending on what you will be using your potatoes for some work better than others. For example, if you are making a potato salad, you want a potato that will hold its shape. If you make a lot of mashed potatoes, you want a potato that mashes beautifully and has just the right texture.

Potatoes generally fall into one of three categories; starchy, waxy and all-purpose. Starchy potatoes are great for baking and frying; however, they don’t hold well together once cooked. They are perfectly fluffy and absorbent, and make perfect mashed potatoes when teamed with butter and cream or milk.

Waxy potatoes have a waxy, smooth textured skin, and hold their shape extremely well when cooked. They work great in soups, stews and potato salads. All-purpose potatoes have a good amount of starch which is what makes them such a great all rounder. They have less starch than starchy potatoes, buy not so much starch that they don’t hold their shape. They work well in basically every potato dish imaginable.

No two varieties of potatoes are the same, so use this handy guide to potatoes to help you decide which potato you need for your next potato dish. Whether it be mashing, boiling, baking, frying, chips or potato salads there will be a perfect potato in the list below for your favourite dish (and let’s face it, just about everyone loves potatoes).


Chats are baby Coliban potatoes, and just like Colibans are a floury potato that is great for mashing, baking and making chips, but not so great for salads.

mash potato


Coliban are a floury white potato that is perfect for mashing, baking, roasting and making chips.



Idaho potatoes are very starchy, which means they are high in starch and low in moisture. This makes for a very fluffy potato that is great for boiling, baking and frying, but not so great for casseroles, gratins and potato salads, ad they don’t hold their shape very well.

potato gratin


These are also known as Southern Golden potatoes, and have a waxy looking skin with a yellow inside. They have a nutty flavour and work well in salads, or when boiled, steamed or baked.


Pontiac potatoes are versatile and work well in most dishes. They have a pink skin with white flesh, and are perfect for boiling, baking, roasting, microwaving and mashing. However, they aren’t as suitable for frying.

Purple Congo

As the name suggests, Purple Congo potatoes have a purple skin and flesh, which is perfect for adding colour and interest to meals. Kids love the novelty of coloured potatoes. These are good for mashing, steaming, boiling and microwaving, and also in potato salads, however they don’t work as well for roasting. The only downside is that they can have a dry texture once they have been cooked.

Russet Burbank

Russet Burbank potatoes are a floury potato that is perfect for frying, roasting, baking and making chips, and are great when teamed with butter and cream, such as when making mashed potatoes. These potatoes make fantastic crunchy chips. They are however not recommended for boiling or in salads, they won’t hold their shape well.

roast potato


Sebago potatoes are very popular in Australia and can be found in most supermarkets and fresh produce stores. They are an oval shaped potato with both white skin and flesh, and ar great for mashing, boiling, baking, roasting and as chips.


Spunta potatoes are yellow fleshed, and make fantastic potato salads. They are also great steamed or boiled.

potato salad


These potatoes are a finger shaped, knobbly looking potato with a waxy skin and ple yellow inside. They have a buttery taste, and are great for boiling, steaming, in salads and roasting, but they don’t work well for frying or to make chips.

Royal Blue

Royal Blue potatoes are a great all rounder and can be used for any type of cooking. They are an oval shaped potato with purple skin and a yellow inside. They shine best when used for mashing, roasting or as chips.


Desiree potatoes are an extremely popular variety that have a pink skin and pale yellow inside. These potatoes hold their shape very well making them perfect for boiling, baking, and mashing. They are however not so good for frying.

So next time you are shopping for potato’s you will know exactly what to buy!

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Creators, Bakers & Homemakers
Creators, Bakers & Homemakers
Creators Bakers & Homemakers contributors are mainly busy mums who share tips and recipes which have helped them around the home and raising a family. Whether it be an easy mid-week meal, a wickedly decadent dessert or a DIY craft to keep the kids entertained while you keep your feet up, we have you covered.