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Everything You Need to Know About Potatoes

How to buy, store, and prep the humble spud plus some show-stopping recipes.

From fried to mashed, boiled to baked, the versatile potato offers countless culinary possibilities. If you don’t know much about potatoes – or wonder if there’s more you could be doing with them – read on for info and tips on always-terrific ‘taters.

MAIN VARIETIES

Though you’re likely to find numerous varieties of potatoes at the grocery store, they can be divided into two primary types: starchy and waxy. Starchy potatoes, such as russets and sweet potatoes, have less water and a higher starch content. This results in a lighter, fluffier texture that’s ideal for baking, frying, roasting, and mashing. Conversely, the high moisture content of waxy potatoes, such as fingerlings and red potatoes, makes them denser, less likely to fall apart, and more suitable for boiling and steaming

HOW TO STORE THEM 

Ideally, potatoes should be stored in a dry, cool place with minimal light. This helps delay sprouting on the skin, which is an early sign of spoilage. You can go the extra mile by storing your spuds in a paper bag to prevent moisture accumulation, too.

To maximize the shelf life of potatoes, avoid washing them until you’re ready to cook. Getting potatoes wet and then immediately storing them without ventilation can promote bacterial growth and mold. It might be tempting to scrub the dirt off right away, but you can extend the shelf life of your taters if you keep them as dry as possible and store them in an open paper bag.

HOW TO BAKE THEM 

If you’re new to cooking potatoes, baked potatoes are a great place to start. Making them at home is a straightforward process that requires minimal effort but delivers a satisfying result every time. The ideal combination of tender flesh and delightful, crispy skin is achieved by piercing the tots with a fork and roasting it in the oven. Rushed for time, you can also cook it in the microwave for 5 minutes on each side. How easy is that?

Baked Potato Bar

A baked potato bar is a guaranteed crowd pleaser, not to mention it has to be one of the easiest ever meals to get on the table. Add some personal flair when you have guests by setting up an array of fun toppings.

Broccoli and Cheese Stuffed Baked Potatoes 

Broccoli and cheddar are a match made in heaven. Why not add this iconic flavor combo atop a fluffy spud?

Baked Sweet Potatoes with Maple Butter 

 

Amplify the comforting flavors of sweet potatoes by adding maple syrup and butter drizzle. This simple recipe makes a delicious addition to any dinner table.

HOW TO ROAST THEM 

For basic roasting prep, simply chop potatoes into bite-sized pieces or save time by using baby potatoes that can be halved or roasted whole. Gently toss potatoes in a small amount of oil, season liberally with salt and pepper, and roast (between 350 and 425 degrees, depending on the type of potato) until fork tender. Once you’ve mastered the basic technique, check out these tasty variations.

Lemon-Parmesan Roasted Potatoes  

This recipe will win rave reviews from guests, and you’ll love how easy it is to make. Halving baby potatoes and roasting them cut side down on a bed of Parmesan creates a crispy, cheesy crust that pairs beautifully with lemon and Italian seasoning.

Roasted Sweet Potato and Bulgur Bow

If you’re looking for a sweet potato recipe, this grain bowl is a must-try. Tender cubes of roasted sweet potato dress up a hearty bowl with nutty bulgur, chickpeas, and Middle Eastern-inspired flavors, like cumin and fresh mint.

HOW TO MASH THEM  

If you think mashed potatoes are a labor-intensive side dish reserved for holidays, you’ll be happy to learn how easy they are to make. First, peel your russet potatoes or keep the skins on for extra texture and fiber, then quarter them. Next, boil the potatoes until fork tender. Once drained, add butter and milk for a creamy, silky-smooth consistency. We recommend using a potato ricer or handheld masher for fluffy, uniform consistency. Avoid using the food processor, which will make your mashed potatoes sticky and gummy.

Instant Pot® Sour Cream and Chive Mashed Potatoes

Once you’re done mashing, you can start the fun part. Add in your favorite fixings, like fresh or dried herbs, spices, or cheese.  We love the chip-inspired flavor of these savory mashed potatoes with sour cream, fresh chives, and crunchy potato chip garnish.

Creamy Brie Mashed Potatoes

An easy way to upgrade your potatoes is by adding cheese. We love using Brie because its creamy texture blends perfectly into a velvety mash.

HOW TO USE IN BAKED GOODS  

Did you know that potatoes can elevate your baking game in other ways? Read on for a classic, savory tart, a versatile quick bread, and a company-worthy dessert all featuring potatoes.

Sweet Potato Pie with Praline Topping

Getting the fluffiest pie filling is easy as, well, pie, with this recipe. Here, the food processor is your friend, as it helps to create a creamy, uniform consistency for a boiled sweet potato filling.  Once you add the pumpkin spice and everything nice, pour the filling onto store-bought pie dough and bake, then add a crunchy layer of pralines for a holiday-worthy dessert.

Potato-Leek Tart

 

Feeling fancy? Try a tart. Thinly slicing potatoes helps them cook quickly in the oven, so you won’t have to worry about raw spuds with this recipe. Plus, you can easily elevate the classic combo of leeks and potatoes by adding tangy goat cheese on top.

Better-For-You Sweet Potato Bread 

 

Pureed sweet potatoes can be turned into bread dough, believe it or not.  Potatoes are baked in the microwave (a shortcut that makes this recipe a breeze), then mashed and combined with flour and a handful of other ingredients, including applesauce instead of butter. The result is a pumpkin-spice treat perfect for snacking.

WHEN IN DOUBT, SOUP IT OUT  

A bowl of soup is the ultimate winter treat for staying warm, cozy, and satisfied.  If you’re not into mashing, roasting, or baking, you can still enjoy potatoes as a cold weather pick-me-up. This recipe is a great option when you’re craving something filling, but don’t want to put in a lot of effort. Simply boil the potatoes, add your favorite broth and seasonings, and blend using an immersion blender or a food processor.

Slow Cooker Potato-Cauliflower Soup

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