The Best Potatoes For Baking (Hint: It’s Russets)

  • By: VidJovanovic
  • Date: October 19, 2022
  • Time to read: 7 min.

There are so many potatoes out there; some are more suitable for baking than others.

Take the Russet potato, for example, and It’s a classic choice for baking because it has a fluffy interior and dense crust that’s perfect for absorbing butter or olive oil.

So, which potato is the best for baking? I’m going to break it down for you in this blog post. Read through to fully understand the different varieties of potatoes and when to use them.

Key Takeaways

  • When it comes to baking, the best potatoes are starchy varieties like Russet, Idaho, or Yukon Gold.
  • These potatoes have a higher starch content, which helps them become nice and fluffy on the inside when baked.
  • Avoid using waxy varieties of potatoes like Red Bliss or New potatoes for baking, as they will not cook up well and can even become mushy.
  • If you’re unsure which type of potato to use for baking, ask your local grocer or farmer for their recommendation.
  • Remember that no matter what type of potato you use, always bake them until they are tender all the way through before serving.
A mix of different varieties of potatoes.
The Best Potatoes For Baking

What Is Variety Of Potatoes Best For Baking?

The question of what variety of potatoes is best for baking has always vexed me. There are many different types—golden, red, purple-skinned, white, Yukon Gold—and I’ve tried them all in my various baked creations.

But no matter which variety I choose, something is always missing: a certain je ne sais quoi that makes the final product fall short of my expectations.

In this spirit, we embarked on our quest to find out which potato variety would make for the perfect homemade dinner roll or batch of mashed potatoes.

After much deliberation and exhaustive research (read: eating several pounds of baked goods), we can confidently say that russet potatoes are essential to any cook’s baking repertoire.

Russets have just enough starch and moisture content to create super soft final products without sacrificing any flavor or texture in their wake.

Different Types Of Potatoes Can Be Used For Baking

A mix of varieties of potatoes
Different Types Of Potatoes Can Be Used For Baking

Russets are the most common potatoes for baking, but other varieties also work. Russet potatoes are characterized by their thick, brownish skin and floury flesh.

They have a high starch content and tend to be very dry, leaving your baked product with a nice crust and an airy interior.

The downside is that russets can take up to twice as long to cook as other kinds of potatoes—upwards of an hour. Yields about 2-3 cups per pound when cubed or sliced lengthwise (the latter method produces more volume).

Yukon Golds are also quite popular for baking because they’re relatively light in color but still exceptionally flavorful due to their buttery profile.

They’re denser than russets with less moisture content, so you’ll get something similar to what you’d expect from baking with russets but without having to wait so long for them to bake all the way through before they’re done.

Each Type Of Potato Has Different Starch And Moisture Content

While there are many different kinds of potatoes out there, the main thing you need to know is that each type has different starch and moisture content.

And that’s what will determine how your baked potato will turn out.

Starch content: The higher the starch content, the quicker your potato will get crispy on the outside—but with a less fluffy interior.

Moisture content: The final product will be fluffier if the moisture content is higher, but the top will take longer to crisp up.

So which one should you choose? If you want something crispy with a little fluffiness (and you don’t mind waiting), go with Russet potatoes.

They’re high in starch and moisture, so they’ll offer great texture while still being able to crisp up nice and brown in no time flat.

For A Fluffy And Light Baked Potato, A Russet Potato Is The Best Choice

For a fluffy and light baked potato, you must select the appropriate potato. And for this, you should use a russet potato.

Russets, also known as Idaho potatoes, are the perfect choice for baking because they have a high starch content. They’re very common in the U.S—in fact, over 50% of all potatoes grown in the country are russets.

Yukon Gold Potatoes Are Good For Baking If You Want A Creamy Texture

There’s no arguing that Yukon Gold potatoes are great for mashing. Their creamy texture, tender flesh, and buttery flavor make them the perfect choice for your Thanksgiving table.

But did you know they’re also great for baking? Suppose you want a dish with a creamy texture like your favorite mashed potato recipe but without all that extra work (and some extra calories). In that case, Yukon Golds are an excellent choice.

This applies to sweet desserts and savory dishes—and since Yukon Golds have a milder flavor than Russets or Yellow Finns, they work well as both baked goods and side dishes.

Red Potatoes Will Give You A Firmer Baked Potato

If you’re looking for firm baked potatoes, go for red potatoes. They’ve got more starch than other varieties, making them great for potato salad and gratin (you can even add butter!).

If you want a firmer texture in your baked potato, you should choose red potatoes. The starch content gives them more structure than other potatoes and helps keep their shape during baking.

Suppose you’re making a classic baked potato with butter or sour cream. In that case, it’s best to use russet or Yukon Gold potatoes because they have an ideal starch-to-water ratio that makes them hold together better when heated up in the oven.

The Type Of Potato You Use Is Up To Personal Preference

Like most people, you probably know that potatoes can be used in various ways—boiled, baked, fried or roasted. But did you know that potatoes can also be used to make cookies? Or even pancakes?

I’m a big fan of using potatoes as the main ingredient in my favorite recipe: potato salad. However much I love this dish (and I do), it’s not for everyone.

For example: if you’re allergic to eggs or dairy products (or just don’t like them), this might not be your cup of tea. Also worth mentioning is that some people are allergic to nuts.

This makes sense since nuts are seeds containing toxic oils when eaten raw. Nevertheless! If none of these things apply to you personally, give my potato salad recipe a try sometime soon because it’s delicious.

How Do The Different Varieties Of Potatoes Affect Baking?

Two rare varieties of potatoes
How Do The Different Varieties Of Potatoes Affect Baking

For example, Russets are all about starch. They’re best for baking because they have a high starch content, making them a great choice if you want to make something that will hold its shape when it’s cooked. In contrast, Yukon Golds have been bred to be less starchy but moister.

That means they’ll still bake up well, but they’ll also yield a creamy texture.

A medium-starch potato like the Red Pontiac or Yukon Rose will give you some of each: You’ll get tenderness along with some structure and texture that holds up well during baking and mashing (which is perfect for soups).

How Do You Choose The Right Potato For Your Recipe?

While it’s tempting to focus on the specifics of the recipe rather than the potato itself, selecting a variety that is well-suited for baking is a good idea.

While I enjoy baking with Yukon Golds, they tend not to have as much starch and are better suited for sautéing than baking.

Russet potatoes are a good choice because they have excellent flavor and texture when baked; they’re also easy to work with since they don’t easily fall apart when sliced open or mashed.

If you want more options for your recipes, try experimenting with different varieties of russet potatoes—they’re all unique.

What If You Can’t Find The Recommended Potato Variety?

If you can’t find the recommended potato variety, use one of these substitutes:

  • Use a different variety.
  • If possible, try to get as close to what you want. If all else fails and your local grocery store is out of russets or red potatoes, grab a yellow-fleshed potato like Yukon gold or fingerling instead—they’re pretty darn close in flavor and texture.
  • Look for a potato with similar starch content (russets have more than other varieties), moisture content (russets absorb moisture more than other varieties), and color (russet potatoes are usually darker).


If you’re looking to bake a potato, the best option is to use a russet. Russets have a higher starch content than other potato varieties and less moisture.

This combination results in fluffy and light baked potatoes with just the right amount of crispiness on the outside. If you’re not sure which type of potato will work best for your recipe, don’t worry.

Plenty of options out there will give you delicious baked goods every time.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I determine if my potatoes are ready to be baked?

When potatoes are baking, they should be skin-on and have firm insides. If the potato is too soft or of poor quality, it will not bake properly and will end up mushy or dry.

Which type of potato is best when making mashed potatoes?

Russet potatoes are best for making mashed potatoes because they hold their starch better, resulting in a fluffy potato dish.

Is it necessary to rinse and scrub raw potatoes before using them in a recipe?

No, raw potatoes can be used in a recipe without further preparation. However, russet potatoes may absorb moisture more, so it is best to bake them slightly before using them in a recipe. This will bake rid of moisture and make for crispy potatoes when baking.

What is the difference between waxy and starchy potatoes?

Waxy potatoes are low in starch and have a high moisture content. They tend to be used for baking because of their delicate texture and lack of crispiness. On the other hand, starchy potatoes are higher in starch and have less moisture. These potatoes can be used for boiling or roasting but may not bake as well because they hold their shape better when baked.


Vid Jovanovic

I’m Vid Jovanovic and I’m 36 years old. I’m a teacher by profession and my passion lies in baking. I have been baking since my early teens, when my grandmother taught me how to make a simple cake that you can find in any supermarket. My passion for baking grew as I got older and I started experimenting with different ingredients and recipes.