There’s nothing like a hearty vegetable soup when the weather cools down. Homemade soups are easy to whip up, and they keep you warm on cold nights, making them the perfect winter staple.
But if your recipe calls for potatoes, you might be wondering which kind to use. Or maybe you want to use the potatoes in your pantry, but you’re not sure if they’ll hold together in a soup.
So, what are the best potatoes for vegetable soup? Keep reading to find out!
When you think of potatoes, the first variety that comes to mind is probably the russet potato. Russets are ubiquitous in supermarkets, as they’re one of the most versatile potatoes. They’ve got a distinctive large, brown shape and rough skin.
Russets are high in starch and low in moisture, which makes them excellent for things like mashed potatoes and baking. However, soups are a different story. (1)
Russet potatoes soak up liquid quickly and lose their shape, making them a less-than-ideal choice for soups. Their high starch contact also causes the soup’s liquid to thicken and have a creamy texture.
Yet despite these apparent flaws, you’ll find that many soup recipes call for russet potatoes. They’re outstanding in a creamy potato soup, and if you like this variety, cooking it for less time is a good strategy. Russet potatoes can be enjoyed both peeled or with the skin intact.
Yukon Gold Potatoes
Yukon Gold potatoes are another ubiquitous potato type. Some people talk about Yukon Golds and russet potatoes interchangeably, but they’re different varieties with distinct properties.
Like the russet potato, Yukon Golds are a true workhorse. They’ve got thin, eye-free skin and yellow flesh. Yukons are small potatoes, and they have a medium starch content, making them pretty all-purpose. You can grill, fry, mash, saute, or boil them.
They also make excellent french fries.
Yukon Golds have a higher moisture content that’s more suited for use in soups than high-starch potatoes like russets. You have to be careful not to overcook them, as they tend to fall apart if cooked too long.
If your recipe calls for part of the potato to be mashed for thickening and the other half to be left in chunks, go with Yukon Gold potatoes.
It’s easy to find red potatoes at your local supermarket, and there are plenty of reasons to choose them.
This small, round potato has a firm density that makes them excellent for things like roasting, boiling, pan-frying, and grilling. Their skins are especially nutrient-filled, so if you’re looking for a healthier potato option, you may want to try this one.
Or if you’re just looking to add a bit more color to your dish, throwing in some unpeeled red potatoes is a perfect way to do so.
Red potatoes have a low starch content, which helps them keep their shape after cooking. As such, they’re fantastic for soups. Lots of beef stews call for red potatoes, where their flavor shines.
Another advantage to red potatoes is that they’re low in starch, so they won’t alter the thickness of a soup.
Sweet potatoes may not be the first potato that comes to mind, but you shouldn’t forget them. Sweet potatoes are some of the best potatoes for vegetable soup.
They’ve got copper-colored skin, distinct orange flesh, and a rich, sweet flavor. According to Erica Julson at Healthline, sweet potatoes also have loads of health benefits. (2)
They’re full of vitamins and minerals, including:
- Beta carotene
- Vitamin C
When cooked, the consistency of a sweet potato is comparable to that of a russet potato.
The skins are safe to eat, but it’s best to peel them for soup recipes. If you’re adding them to a slow cooker dish (which is highly recommended as these soups freeze very well!), keep in mind that sweet potatoes tend to get soft.
Less cooking time may be best.
So, if you’re looking to mix things up or merely trying to pack in a health punch, don’t be afraid to try the sweet potato. Plus, they add beautiful color and creaminess to a dish!
Fingerling potatoes are long and short.
As the name suggests, they look like fingers, and lots of people confuse them with baby potatoes or new potatoes. Fingerlings are super starchy, so they hold up well when cooked.
They come in various colors and have a unique shape and size that adds depth and texture to vegetable soups.
So don’t be afraid to try them the next time you make vegetable soup. Fingerlings are right at home in hearty stews, too.
When it comes to the skin, do what you please with it. Most people leave it on, as it adds delicious flavor and extra nutrients. You can also put the pieces in whole, but if they’re too large, all you have to do is halve them.
Finally, we have the unique purple potato. They’re not the most common potato type, so they may require a bit more effort to find.
However, Anne Danahy at Healthline claims that they have various health benefits. (3) They’re rich in antioxidants.
Not to mention, the unexpected purple color is reason enough to add them to your dish.
In terms of properties, purple potatoes rank about a medium in starch content. They’re similar to yellow potatoes, and they work excellently in most soups. Just don’t use them if your soup requires the potatoes to be used as a thickener.
Our recommendation is to cube them. The purple flesh is sure to surprise your dinner guests.
So what are the best potatoes for vegetable soup?
Potatoes are indispensable in any pantry, but knowing which kind to use can elevate a recipe. If you’re in a pinch, be sure to try these varieties in your soup:
- Red potatoes
- Yukon gold potatoes
- Fingerling potatoes
And one last tip: potatoes are extremely forgiving, so don’t be afraid to experiment. Happy cooking!