Ever have a recipe call for new potatoes and you did not know what to buy? Or are you in possession of some new potatoes and have some questions on what to do with them.
You are in the right place! See how the size of your potatoes matters.
Recipes at times can be a cause for confusion. A misunderstanding of a term can cause much trouble, leaving you wondering if you have purchased the right thing.
Take a recipe that calls for the new potato. I have seen many recipes that call for new potatoes. But what are they? Can I use any old regular potato? Or do I need something special?
❓ What are New Potatoes?
New potatoes are potatoes have been freshly dug up from the ground. I would call this the farmer's market definition.
Often these immature potatoes (still good to eat) are on the smaller sized because they were harvested to make room for the rest of the potatoes to grow larger in size. Often they are harvested in the early summer.
However the grocery store definition is different. Since new potatoes don't store as well as "regular potatoes" you don't find them in the grocery store. Instead a new potato is considered to be any small sized potato. Those potatoes are usually just smaller in size and have reached full maturity. It's more common for the stores to call them baby potatoes than new potatoes nowadays.
When a potato is harvested they have thin skins. They need time to cure and toughen up. Then they can be stored for a long time.
Because of this, the new potatoes cook faster. So if you get them or freshly dugged potatoes from a farmer's market, they will cook faster than store bought. I think they taste better too. Since they have not been cured yet, they have a higher moisture content right out of the ground.
The skin of a freshly dug potato is more tender, has a better texture, great for recipes where you keep the skin on.
🕯️ Are They Waxy?
The definition of a waxy potato is a potato that is low in starch and has a high moisture content.
Most of the potatoes you find in the stores are waxy. The Russet potato is usually the exception, it is high in starch and lower in moisture.
For your new or baby potatoes they are more than likely going to have a waxy texture, which means they will cook up creamy and delicious.
♻️ What Can I Substitute?
If your recipe specifically calls for new potatoes and you are having trouble finding them or you are not sure what to pick from the store here is what you can do.
My experience is that smaller sized potatoes have more tender skin than the larger types. For your recipe calling for new potatoes buy the smallest potatoes you can find. Bags of small potatoes of multiple colors are common nowadays.
Fingerling potatoes are a good choice as well.
If at all possible, go to the farmer's market and look for freshly dug potatoes - these will be the ideal.
📚 RELATED - Are your potatoes looking green at all? Learn all about when potatoes go bad.
🥔 What is a Creamer Potato?
Another type of potato you will see is called a creamer potato. These can be one of two things.
- Some say they are potatoes that are picked before they are mature to keep them small and tender. They are still allowed to age or cure so the skin isn't going to be thin and flaky like farmer's market new potatoes.
- Other people define a creamer potato has a potato that is bred to be in the small size. They don't get very big and are fully mature at a small size.
The Little Potato Company
There is a company that specializes in little potatoes, called the Little Potato Company out of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. They sell creamer potatoes in all different varieties and colors.
They have some propriety varieties you can't get elsewhere.
Here are some stores I have seen or heard their potatoes are in.
- Sam's Club
- Stater Bros
- Woodman's Market
🛒 Where to Find Other Little Potatoes
Most stores now carry some type of small potato. I love the selection at Whole Foods Market. They carry multiple types of fingerling potatoes, particularly in the late fall and winter around the holiday season. I have also seen bags of small potatoes in a mix of yellow, red, and purple colors.
Trader Joe's offers you several options - Dutch Yellow Baby Potatoes, Baby Red Potatoes, and Teeny Tiny Potatoes. These all come in bags ranging from 16 to 24 ounces each.
💡 Cooking Tips
Here are our best tips for cooking with new potatoes.
- If you are boiling them in cold water. You don't need to wait for the water to boil, give your potatoes a little head start. Add just enough water to cover the potatoes. Just like I salt my pasta water, I add kosher salt to my potato water. This will season them while they cook. Since they are smaller, count on less cooking time then regular sized.
- If you are frying them in a pan, cook them on medium heat. You don't want the outside to burn before the inside is done. If they are still getting too dark before the inside is done, turn the heat down. Also medium heat will help your oil not smoke, especially if you are using olive oil. I once toured an olive oil farm and the tour guide said she uses the good stuff whenever she cooks, she just learned to protect the oil flavor but not using too high of heat.
- If you are roasting them, even thought they are smaller and could be roasted whole, I still cut them in half. The exposed part of the potato will be golden brown and yummy. Be sure you arrange the potatoes in a single layer on your roasting pan for even cooking and browning.
- Looking to add fresh herbs? Rosemary is my favorite. Dill would be second. Also freshly cracked black pepper is a must.
What method is the best way to cook them? Frying or roasting are going to give you the best flavor. But if you have a sous vide cooker (immersion circulator) then they do really well when you add a bit of butter to your cooking bag. It will be easier if the butter is cold when you place it in the bag.
📚 RELATED - How to Make Sous Vide Potatoes (for mashed, but you can skip the mashing if you want).
🥗 Do They Work in Potato Salads?
What if you want to use them in a salad?
Keep in mind since they are smaller in size, they are harder to peel without peeling your fingers as well. I would skip them if you don't want the skins in your final dish. That being said I think they work great for potato salad. I think keeping the skin on adds nice color to the salad. And why create extra work for yourself if you don't have to.
🧹 Cleaning the Potatoes
I usually just use my hand and water to remove any excess dirt. You want to do a light scrub to keep the skin from peeling off if you have true new potatoes - unless you want some of the skin off. I only would use a vegetable brush if they are really dirty. Most supermarket potatoes are relatively clean. A quick run under water is all they need.
Wondering if new potatoes will work for your favorite recipe. Leave a comment below and let us know how you want to use them. Also tell us what you are finding at the stores or markets.