Unlock the Secret: What Potatoes are Best for Soups and Stews?

What potatoes are best for soups and stews? That’s an interesting question. All potatoes are exceptional in their own right. Still, some are better than others regarding specific recipes, such as soups or stews. 

The best potatoes for soups and stews are those that can retain their shape well, such as the waxy-textured varieties. Red and new potatoes, for example, are ideal for all kinds of chunky soups and stews, as they rarely fall apart when boiled. All-purpose potatoes, like the Yukon Gold, are also good alternatives that can be used for both chunky and creamy soups alike due to their slightly waxy texture.

Of course, there are other factors that you should consider before crafting your next culinary masterpiece. Aside from the texture and variety of the potato, you mustn’t forget that your cooking method and the ingredients used can determine the success of any potato-based soup.

Keep reading to find out how to pick potatoes that will aid you in creating tasty, delicious soups.

Which Potato Categories are Ideal for Soups and Stews?

Have you ever wondered why some potatoes turn your soup into a thick, creamy bowl of comfort while others hold their shape, offering a satisfying bite every time?

Now, you need to understand that there is a place for every potato category in the soup and stew realm. So, let’s take a look and pull back the curtain on this tuber mystery!

Waxy Potatoes

The first category of potatoes is also the obvious one known as waxy potatoes. They include Red Bliss, Red Pontiac, Red Ruby, new potatoes, and many others.

These little troopers are the marathon runners of the potato world. They’ve got less starch and more water, which means they keep their shape even after a long, slow simmer.

If you like your soups and stews with clearly defined, tender potato pieces, these are your guys. Plus, their skins are thin and tasty, adding an extra pop of flavor and color to your dish.

All-Purpose Potatoes

yellow potatoes

Next up are the versatile all-purpose potatoes. They often include yellow and purple potato varieties, such as the Yukon Gold and Purple Majesty.

These all-rounders are the jack-of-all-trades in the potato world. They have medium-starch content, which means they’re the perfect middle ground between starchy and waxy potatoes.

They hold their shape slightly better than starchy ones but still break down enough to give your soup or stew a bit of creaminess.

And let’s not forget their bright color and buttery flavor. Yum, right?

Starchy Potatoes

what potatoes are best for soups and stews

Lastly, we’ve got the popular starchy potatoes like Russets. These guys are the heavy lifters of the potato world. They’re high in starch, and that’s like magic for your soups and stews. How can that be?

Well, they are perfect for people that love thick soups. As they cook, they break down and release their starch, giving your soup or stew a naturally thick, creamy consistency that’s just oh-so-comforting.

Plus, they’re like little flavor sponges, soaking up the tastes of the other ingredients in your dish, which makes everything more delicious. In my experience, you can’t go wrong with Russets if you are into thick soups.

What Potato Varieties Work Well for Soups and Stews?

So, you’re standing in the grocery store, staring at the potato aisle, and wondering which variety will make your soup or stew shine. Well, let me tell you, my friend, you’ve got options.

• Yukon Golds are a fan favorite (source). They’re all-purpose, with a buttery flavor that can enhance any soup or stew.

They hold their shape well and add a bit of creaminess without turning to mush, which is ideal for soups and stews that need tender potato chunks, such as potato corn chowder or chicken stew.

• Red potatoes are another great choice. They’re waxy, so they’ll stay intact. Moreover, they have a subtly sweet flavor that can add depth to your dish.

Red potatoes are great for soups and stews that need firm potato chunks, such as potato leek soup.

• Fingerlings are in a category of their own. These small, waxy potatoes are perfect for adding a bit of rustic charm to your stew.

Plus, their thin skin means you don’t even have to peel them. Just give them a good wash, and they’re ready to go. They are excellent whenever you need tiny but solid chunks in your soup.

• Purple potatoes are something else (data). These all-purpose potatoes with purple skins and flesh have a nutty, earthy flavor and firm texture.

They are great for soups and stews that need colorful potato chunks, such as potato kale soup or lamb stew.

Russet potatoes shouldn’t be overlooked. These starchy potatoes with thick brown skins and white flesh have a neutral, bland flavor and a fluffy texture.

They are great for thick soups and stews that need mashed or pureed potatoes, such as potato cheese soup or clam chowder.

How do the Various Potato Types Affect the Texture of Soups and Stews?

Have you ever had a soup or stew where the potatoes were just… off? Too mushy, or maybe too firm? That’s all down to the type of potato you use.

Waxy potatoes, on the other hand, hold their shape even after long cooking times (reference). This means you’ll get a nice, firm bite of potato in every spoonful. But they won’t do much to thicken your soup or stew.

All-purpose potatoes like Yukon Golds strike a balance. They’ll hold their shape better than a Russet but still break down a bit to give your soup or stew body.

Starchy potatoes like Russets can absorb a lot of liquid. This can be great for thickening your soup or stew, but it also means they can easily become overcooked and mushy.

In Which Way the Different Potato Varieties Can Affect the Taste of Soups and Stews?

Now, let’s talk flavor. Potatoes might seem plain, but different varieties can bring unique flavors to your soup or stew.

Red potatoes are fantastic for mild and earthy soup or stew. They have a subtle and neutral flavor that won’t overpower other ingredients. You can also season them with salt, pepper, herbs, and spices to enhance their taste.

Yukon Gold or yellow potatoes are the right choice for a buttery, sweet stew. They have a rich and pleasant flavor that provides depth and sweetness to your dish. You can also toss some butter into the mix, cheese, or bacon to complement their flavor.

Purple potatoes or fingerling potatoes are advised for hearty soups. They have a unique and complex flavor that adds interest and contrast to your dish. Sprinkle with some nuts or seeds to match their flavor.

Russets have a mild flavor that can easily take on the taste of whatever they’re cooked with. This can be great if you have a really flavorful broth and don’t want the potatoes to compete with it.

In the following video, you will see a classic example of how stewed potatoes are done:

How to Choose the Right Potatoes for Soups and Stews

When choosing potatoes for soups and stews, there are some factors to consider.

The type of soup or stew you are making: Depending on the style, texture, and flavor of your dish, you may want to use different potato types and varieties.

For example, if you make a French-style potato leek soup, you may want to use waxy red potatoes for a smooth and delicate texture. An Irish-style potato cabbage soup may demand starchy russet potatoes for a thick and hearty texture.

The seasonality and availability of potatoes: According to the season, you may find different potato types and varieties in the market. For example, if you are making a summer soup or stew, you may want to use fresh, small, tender, and flavorful new potatoes.

Winter soups or stews may need stored potatoes that are large, dry, and starchy.

The quality and freshness of potatoes: When buying potatoes for soups and stews, you should look for ones that are firm, smooth, and free of bruises, cuts, sprouts, or green spots.

Avoid ones that are wrinkled, soft, or moldy. Store them in a cool, dark, and dry place away from sunlight and moisture. Remember to use them within a few weeks of purchase to get the most out of your spuds.

What Potatoes Should be Avoided for Soups and Stews?

Now, we’ve talked about the potatoes that are great for soups and stews, but what about the ones that should get a hard pass? Well, it’s not so much about avoiding certain types of potatoes but more about knowing what you want from your dish.

If you’re after a soup or stew with chunks of potato that hold their shape, you might want to steer clear of starchy potatoes like Russets. They can break down and become mushy, which might not be the texture you’re after.

On the flip side, if you’re looking for a thick, creamy soup, waxy potatoes might not be your best bet They hold their shape well but won’t break down and thicken your soup like a starchy potato.

Common Mistakes When Using Potatoes in Soups and Stews

Potatoes can be tricky, can’t they? But don’t worry; we’ve all been there. Here are a few common mistakes to avoid when using potatoes in soups and stews.

Overcooking: This is especially easy to do with starchy potatoes, which can quickly go from perfectly tender to mushy. To avoid this, make sure to check your potatoes regularly as they cook.

Uneven cutting: Another common mistake is not cutting your potatoes into uniform pieces. This can result in some pieces cooking faster than others, leading to a mix of mushy and undercooked potatoes. So take your time and cut your potatoes into even pieces.

Under-seasoning and over-seasoning: Potatoes need a fair amount of salt, so don’t be shy. Also, remember you can always add more, but you can’t take it away. It’s all about the right balance.

How to Prepare Potatoes for Soups and Stews

How do you prepare potatoes for soups and stews? Well, it’s pretty simple.

First, you’ll want to peel your potatoes. Some people like to leave the skin on for extra texture and nutrients, but for a smooth soup or stew, peeling is the way to go.

Next, cut your potatoes into even pieces. This ensures they cook evenly. The size of the pieces will depend on your preference and the recipe you’re following.

Then, it’s just a matter of adding the potatoes to your soup or stew at the right time. You want to give them enough time to cook through, but not so much that they start to fall apart.

Delicious Potato Soup Recipe

If you’re looking for a creamy, flavorful, and comforting soup that’s easy to make, try this delicious potato soup recipe. You’ll need the following:

potato soup with milk and other ingredients

Total time: 35 minutes

Servings: 4 people

Ingredients:

4 tablespoons of butter
1 onion, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 cups of chicken broth
4 large russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 cups of milk
salt and pepper to taste
cheddar cheese, bacon bits, and green onions for garnish (optional)

Procedure:

1. In a large pot over medium-high heat, melt the butter, and sauté the onion, celery, and garlic until soft (around 15 minutes).

2. Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Toss the potatoes into the pot and reduce the heat to simmer until tender (approximately 20 minutes).

3. Using a masher or immersion blender, mash or puree some potatoes until you reach the desired consistency.

4. Stir in the milk and season with salt and pepper. Ladle into bowls and top with cheese, bacon bits, and green onions. Enjoy!

Final Thoughts

So what potatoes are best for soups and stews? Well, it all depends on the dish you plan to make and your personal taste. Whether you prefer the creamy texture of Yukon Golds, the firmness of Red Bliss, or the fluffiness of Russets, there’s a potato out there for your soup or stew.

Just remember, the key to a great potato soup or stew is to choose the right potato for your desired texture, cut them into even pieces, and don’t forget to season well. With all this information in mind, you will be on your way to a delicious, comforting meal!