Irish Potatoes / A Primer

January 21, 2014

what kind of irish potatoes to buy

Today I’m very excited to share with you a helpful little primer on Irish potatoes. Obviously, the whole world knows Irish for its potatoes, so I thought it would be fun to outline some of the different kinds you might come across in the grocery store or farmer’s market.

It’s not a myth, the Irish really do eat a lot of potatoes. It’s not uncommon to see menus that offer lasagna or pizza that comes with a side of roast potatoes or french fries. We’ve also been to weddings where the main entree was served and then dishes of various different kinds of potato sides were placed on the table – you get your choice of roast, mashed and fried potatoes, or all three!

But I am a little embarrassed to admit that the sheer range of potatoes in this country has always baffled me. Despite being surrounded by potatoes for the last five years, I haven’t been able to master which type is best to choose for which dish. This primer is five years too late for me, but I’m hoping you’ll find it useful or at least interesting! And if you are an ex-pat who has recently moved or is thinking of moving to Ireland, I think you should print this little primer out and bring it to the grocery store with you! It will be a big help!

With the help of resident Irish potato expert, Aoife Cox from Daily Spud, I narrowed down the long list of potato varieties here in Ireland to six types of potatoes you’re likely to see in a grocery store or farmer’s market. Then I asked food stylist Jette Virdi and food photographer Yolene Dabreteau to put together a little old school infographic to tell you exactly what you need to know. Here’s the download!


Queens are your best bet if you’re making baked potatoes, which have quickly become one of my favorite comfort foods. There is nothing like the crispy skin on a good baked potato. You’ll find them during the summer months and have a good floury texture.

Baby Potatoes

Baby potatoes are firmer than most, so they make good salad potatoes. They also come in varieties like Charlotte and Emily – I am dying to find the Emily potatoes!

Golden Wonder

Golden Wonder potatoes are great for roast potatoes, but they fall apart wen you boil them, so they’re not great for making mashed potatoes.

Maris Piper

Maris Piper has a golden skin colour with dry creamy white fluffy flesh of good flavour, that rarely discolours on cooking.Β  They are a a versatile β€˜all rounder, excellent for roasting and the one of the best chipping variety available, indeed, they are the variety of potato most favoured by chippers throughout Ireland.


Rooster potatoes are the best choice for making chips (or fries, as we say in America) because they’re a little wetter and firmer than other varieties. Because they have a more uniform and less lumpy shape makes them a little easier to peel. You’ll know them because of their pink skin.

Kerr’s Pink

Kerr’s Pink has a more earthy flavor than other varieties, which Aoife explained “you either like or you don’t.” But they make great roast potatoes or mashed potatoes if you like their flavor.

Happy cooking, friends!

Photography by Yolene Dabreteau / Food styling by Jette Virdi


  • Reply French Foodie in Dublin January 21, 2014 at 7:46 pm

    Great post ladies! Love the styling!

  • Reply lois January 22, 2014 at 9:00 pm

    All these years and finally a primer I can refer to on potatoes! Thanks Emily!

  • Reply Aoife @ The Daily Spud January 22, 2014 at 9:31 pm

    Lovely to see the post finally come to fruition Emily and nice job on the styling by Jette and Yolene!

    • Reply emily January 26, 2014 at 10:08 pm

      Thanks, Aoife! And thank you so much for your help and potato wisdom!

  • Reply Gerry January 24, 2014 at 12:51 am

    Sounds like heaven, Emily. A lovely post.

    • Reply emily January 26, 2014 at 10:07 pm

      We’ll test out the primer when you get here!

  • Reply Lucy February 3, 2014 at 1:56 pm

    Love this post! Thanks for sharing, Emily. My favourite Irish potatoes are taking Roosters, boiling them for about 15 minutes, putting them onto a roasting pan and drizzling juice from a roast chicken and then finishing them off in the oven to roast. I’m getting hungry just thinking about it!

  • Reply kerri February 4, 2014 at 6:32 pm

    and which are the best for mashed potatoes?

  • Reply Tuesday Links – February 25, 2014 at 5:12 pm

    […] Ever wondered which type of potato to use? A good guide to Irish potatoes […]

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  • Reply Andrew Connolly October 21, 2016 at 11:06 am

    If you are still in Ireland Emily, your sought after same name variety is available in Dunnes Stores today,. I just bought 3 bags from planting. They are lovely with butter,and make a splendid mash. Not always baby potatoes either.

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