Red or Russet? Which one should you reach for? What are the differences? Let’s look at the similarities and pros and cons of each potato. Potatoes are a favorite of mine and a perfect side dish or made into a good snack! Do you like them? They’re a versatile starch that you can bake, fry, mash, shred, boil, grill and so much more. We are going to look at the differences, what potato is best for what, and the nutritional comparison of both Russet Potatoes vs Red Potatoes: Nutrition and More.
A Look at Potato Nutrition
Let’s start with one of the main reasons we eat potatoes, for their nutrition. Did you know that potatoes have more potassium than bananas? It’s true! Bananas have been known for their potassium and here potatoes are even richer in potassium. Here are the facts: there are 358 mg of potassium in a 100 g serving of banana and over 400 in a red or russet per 100 gram serving.
Below is a chart to show you easily the comparison of Russet and Red potato nutrition. I hope you find it helpful! Do you have any guesses on which one will be the better choice overall?
This is a comparison of both raw without skin and a 100g serving:
|Nutrient||Russet Potato (100g)||Red Potato (100g)||Which one wins?|
|Calorie||81 kcal||76 kcal||Red|
|Protein||2.27 g||2.06 g||Russet|
|Total Fat||0.36 g||0.25 g||Red|
|Carbohydrate||17.8 g||16.3 g||Red|
|Total Fiber||14.9 g||13.8 g||Russet|
|Total Sugar||0.53 g||0.66 g||Russet|
|Calcium||8 mg||5 mg||Russet|
|Iron, Fe||0.38 mg||0.39 mg||Red|
|Magnesium||25.6 mg||23.6 mg||Russet|
|Phosphorus||55 mg||56 mg||Red|
|Potassium||450 mg||472 mg||Red|
|Sodium||3 mg||3 mg||Tie|
|Vitamin C||10.9 mg||21.3 mg||Red|
Red Potatoes win!
There weren’t many nutritional differences between the russet and red. The biggest differences were found in the vitamin c content, calories, and carbohydrates and even that was not a vast difference.
Remember this is with the thought of an average diet. Depending on if you are trying to stay away from something or include more of something in your diet there may be a better option for you. For example, if you were looking for less calories in your diet then you would probably want to go with reds and not russets.
Vitamin C was a nutrient between the two potatoes that was quite different. Red potatoes were a fair amount higher than Russets. Vitamin C helps support your immune system.
Dietary Fiber is an important nutrient for gut health. Potatoes are a fair source of dietary fiber. Russet potatoes have about 1 gram of fiber more per 100 g serving compared with red potatoes.
Carbohydrates: In the carbohydrate comparison I gave the win to Reds. This isn’t because I think carbs are bad because they are not. However, in most diets there is more than enough carbohydrates consumed. Therefore, I chose the red potato with less carbohydrate per serving.
What are russet potatoes used best for?
Russet Potatoes, also known as Idaho potatoes, are probably the most versatile potato. Good for baking, mashing, roasting, potato chips and for French fries. An area they come short would be anything that you want them to keep shape after being cooked. One of the reasons they make for such good French fries is because of their high starch content.
What are red potatoes used best for?
If you are looking for a potato to hold its shape once cooked red potatoes are just it! Reds are good for soups, scalloped potatoes or for potato salad!
For example, when I make potato soup, I prefer using red potatoes. They hold together better and don’t disintegrate as easily when cooked.
Flavor, Texture and Appearance:
Russet Potatoes are mild in flavor and have a starchy, soft white flesh, that when baked results in a fluffy texture. They have a brown skin that is thicker than a red potato skin. This makes them desirable as a baked potato or a twice baked potato. Russets commonly are oblong in shape.
Also mild, red-skinned potatoes are a little bit sweeter in flavor and have a waxy, creamy texture. Red potatoes are waxy potatoes in comparison to russet. They also have thinner skin in comparison to russets. While the Russet potato is oblong, Red potatoes are roughly round in shape.
Where are they commonly grown?
Russet potatoes are grown mostly in Idaho in the United States. That is why it sometimes is referred to as the Idaho potato.
In the USA red skin potatoes are mostly grown in the Red River Valley which is in ND, MN, and Canada.
A cost comparison of russets vs red potatoes?
This is a comparison of both 5- and 10-pound bags of potatoes.
|7/24/2024||Walmart (5 lbs.)||Sam’s (10 lbs.)|
|Russet Potatoes (5lbs)||$4.24 or $0.84/lb.||$9.12 or $0.91/lb.|
|Red Potatoes||$6.48 or $1.30/lb.||$7.62 or $0.76/lb.|
Looking at the results there was not a very clear number when it came to which potato was more cost effective. Also, keep in mind that these are prices from the upper Midwest. It may differ where you are so you might want to keep an eye out when you are shopping to get the best deal. Especially if you don’t have a preference of type of potato.
Shelf life for potatoes can vary but when stored in a cool dark place around 50 degrees they can last around 3-4 months if not more! At room temperature potato shelf life can be around 2-3 weeks on average.
Russet potatoes have a slightly longer shelf life than red potatoes or Yukon gold.
Pin for Later:
All the ways you eat potatoes: (Including some that might surprise you!)
- French Fries
- Tater Tots
- Potato Chips
- Potato Skins
- Potato Salad
- Potato Pancakes
- Potato soup
- Twice Baked Potato
- Potato Candy
- Potato Bread
- Loaded Baked Potato
- Breakfast Burrito
- Egg Potato Hash
- Shepherd’s Pie
- Au Gratin
Potatoes in the Garden:
Potatoes are quite simple to grow in the garden. Do you know what those little spots on the outside of a potato are? Those are called potato eyes. When you grow potatoes, you cut up what they call a seed potato and make sure there are at least a couple “eyes” on each chunk of potato. You dig a hole about 6-8 inches deep, throw the potato in and cover it up.
As they grow, they need to be hilled. Hilling is basically when you take and hoe dirt up on the plant to support it. We hill our potatoes 2-3 times in a growing season. Once the potato plant dies down, they are ready to be dug up, eaten and/or stored for the winter. You will want someone with some muscle when it comes time to dig them up and it is a great workout! We usually dig our potatoes early fall.
Potatoes prefer to be stored in a cool dark place. They last the best in this environment, one that resembles them being in the ground. If you have a cool basement with a dark room that is optimal. Some people will store their homegrown potatoes in a box or container filled with dirt around the potatoes and place that in a dark and cool room.
Bonus (a look at different types of potatoes):
What are New Potatoes?
New potatoes are “baby” potatoes. New potatoes are the same varieties you buy as big potatoes but with new potatoes they have been harvested sooner, making them small. They are generally about the size of a big marble. New potatoes are tender, and their skins are so thin and soft that you do not need to peel them.
Usually, they are prepared by either boiling them and eating them with salt and butter or fried.
What about Yukon Gold Potatoes?
Yukon Golds have a yellow flesh or “gold” color. They are one of my favorite potatoes to work with and have a full flavor. They also hold up well in soups and potato salad. The Yukon gold potato falls somewhere between a starchy russet and waxy red potato in texture. They can be considered all purpose potatoes. Yukon gold potatoes have thinner skin.
How about Sweet Potatoes?
Sweet Potatoes are so different than other potatoes. They have a bright orange flesh and the sweetest flavor of all the potatoes. Sweet potatoes are harder to grow though and thrive best in loose soil. Sweet potatoes are less commonly seen mashed but usually baked, roasted, grilled on a kabob or as sweet potato fries. A baked sweet potato with a little butter and brown sugar is almost like a dessert!
Beta Carotene is the antioxidant responsible for the sweet potato’s bright orange color.
The Story behind Purple Potatoes:
With all this talk about potatoes varieties let’s take a little look at a less common potato, the purple potato! This potato is also referred to as a blue potato and originated in South America.
It gets its name for an obvious reason if you have ever seen one: its skin and flesh. Their skin and flesh are both a deep purple or blue. Purple potatoes have a slight nutty flavor with a more moist flesh than the russet potato. Purple Potatoes have beautiful colored flesh and skin that makes them so unique.
When it comes to nutrients, purple potatoes are quite similar to other potatoes, but they do have a valuable antioxidant, anthocyanin. This antioxidant is also what gives the potato it’s pretty blue color.
If you are looking to plant them in your garden or a patio garden a popular variety is ‘Purple Majesty’ as well as ‘All Blue’. You can check your local greenhouses or order them online through your favorite seed company.
Recipes on TheFarmChicken that use Potato:
- Sourdough Potato Bread
- Soft Sourdough Potato Buns for Burgers and More
- TheFarmChicken Potato Soup
- Tater Tot Hotdish Recipe: Easy but from Scratch
Thank you for reading! Post any comments below.
Mariah Nienhuis, NDtr
*Note: This post is intended for the general healthy population. It is not personalized nutrition advice and if you are in need of this please visit your doctor/health care professional for specific advice. *
And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat. Genesis 1:29
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