What Are Russet Potatoes?

The recipe recommends russet potatoes and you don’t know what that is? No problem. Here you can find out everything you need to know about the characteristics of the most commonly used tuber in North America.


Russet potatoes are tubers of a very common variety of potatoes, especially in the United States. Their name comes from their rusty red exterior. Its inside is very light and it belongs to the mealy potato variety. The following properties make the Russet Potato so popular:

  • the relatively long and large shape
  • a very high percentage of starch
  • Consistency: dry and gritty
  • suitable for fresh and processing market
  • long shelf life
  • break down quickly when cooked
  • strong taste

Origin of the Russet Potato

The Russet Potato is also known in the USA as the Idaho Potato. It’s been around since 1902 and grew in popularity with the rise of fast-food restaurants in the States.


A russet potato is very versatile in use due to its shape and high starch content:

In the fast food sector: French fries or potato chips can be made from the long and large shape
In the kitchen: The high starch content ensures the mealy consistency and makes the Russet potato perfect for purees and soups
In summary, here are some examples of where you can use russet potatoes very well in your kitchen:

  • Mashed / Mashed Potatoes
  • gnocchi
  • Potato soup
  • For thickening stews
  • homemade potato dumplings
  • homemade croquettes
  • potato cake
  • casseroles
  • baked potatoes
  • Schupfnudeln
  • Potato pancakes based on Grandma’s recipe


Like all other potatoes, you should always store the Russet Potato in a dark, cool, and dry place until you prepare it. The ideal temperature is around 4-8 degrees. The refrigerator is not suitable for this, well-ventilated basement rooms are better. If the tubers get too much light, they turn green and produce toxic solanine. Also, they germinate too quickly.

Tip: Check stored potatoes from time to time to detect and remove rotten ones early.

Alternatives to Russet Potato

The Russet Potato is rather difficult to find in German supermarkets. Therefore, you can also use any other mealy potato varieties for your recipe. Typical mealy varieties are:

  • bounty
  • dress
  • bintje

Tip: Good potatoes are dry and firm when you buy them. They should smell earthy but not musty.

Practical potato knowledge

Depending on the dish, different properties of the potato are required. The starch content is crucial. It depends on the variety, maturation, and weather. You can find the information on the label. In addition to the characteristic “floury cooking” as with the Russet potatoes, there are 2 other cooking types of potatoes.

Waxy Potatoes:

  • low starch content
  • moist pulp
  • remain firm after cooking
  • good for fried potatoes, potato salad, gratin
  • typical varieties: Linda, Sieglinde, Nicola

Mainly waxy potatoes:

  • medium starch
  • versatile
  • good for mashed potatoes or fried potatoes
  • typical varieties: Leyla, Toscana, Corinna
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Written by John Myers

Professional Chef with 25 years of industry experience at the highest levels. Restaurant owner. Beverage Director with experience creating world-class nationally recognized cocktail programs. Food writer with a distinctive Chef-driven voice and point of view.

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