How do I know which potato to use for mashed versus roasted potatoes?

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If you have a cooking question, our expert, Marge Perry, can answer it. Marge teaches home cooks in her classes at the Institute of Culinary Education in New York City. She is an award-winning food writer, longtime contributor for Cooking Light and a number of other leading food magazines, author of the blog A Sweet and Savory Life, columnist for Newsday, and has contributed to over 20 cookbooks.

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Most potato cognoscenti divide potatoes into two basic categories: waxy and dry/starchy. Waxy potatoes hold their shape well, so they are good for potato salads, roasting, gratins, boiling and soups. Red potatoes and new potatoes are good examples of this. 

When you want fluffy, creamy baked or mashed potatoes, go for the drier ones, like russets and Idaho’s.

There is a third category, which are all-purpose potatoes. My go-to all-purpose potato is the Yukon gold, which is has creamy flesh and a yellow color that give it a nearly buttery character.

For more information about cooking with potatoes and potato recipes, see 7 Ways with Baking Potatoes and Our Best Mashed Potatoes.

Marge Perry
Nov, 2012

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