Learn all about purple potatoes and the different ways you can cook them including boiling, baking, and air frying. Find out which methods are best to make these vibrant color potatoes.
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Many years ago my potato world was pretty limited.
Baking or Russet and red, sometimes Yukon Gold potatoes is all I knew growing up. A lot of people I imagine are the same way. These are our "regular potatoes".
There is more to three options in the potato world. I hear more and more people asking for purple potatoes. Not only are these potatoes beautiful both inside and out, they are good for you. They are purple of course!
The popularity of purple potatoes has increase even more ever since Dr. Oz claimed that will help lower your blood pressure. Whether that is true or not I am excited none the less that purple spuds are making it to more American's dinner tables.
🟣 What are Purple Potatoes?
They are simply potatoes that have a purple skin. Most are also purple on the inside but you can find ones that are white inside. All the recipes we will be talking about use ones that are purple inside because they are simply beautiful.
🏆 What is the Best Way to Cook?
That leads me to a question. Do we know how to cook purple potatoes? Potatoes are known for their versatility and that is true too with the purple potato. I have cooked purple potatoes several different ways - roasted, boiled, pan-fried, air fried, and sous vide. I have made mashed potatoes and French fries with them.
Which is the best then? I got to say I like them all. But there can be pros and cons to each cooking method. Let's look at them all.
👍 Pros & 👎 Cons - Boiling is the quickest way to cook purple potatoes, however they are easy to overcook if you don't watch out.
Let's start with the easiest method - boiling. You can boil them with the skins on, give them a good washing first.
The skin is similar in texture to red potatoes. I covered them with enough water, brought them to a boil, then reduced to a simmer until tender.
Keep in mind there are multiple varieties of purple potatoes, so some may behave differently. The ones I bought from the farmer's market held up really well.
Ones I have gotten from the grocery store in the past have become more easily waterlogged and the color on the inside turned a not as pretty little purple or blue.
If you are going to boil them watch them carefully, so you don't overcook them. I actually suggest using a thermometer to know exactly when they are done. I explain all about that in my post on Perfectly Boiled Purple Potatoes.
They are a delicious, easy to make delicious side dish for any night of the week. Top with fresh herbs and Irish butter to make them extra special.
You can make stunning mashed potatoes out of them. I like to make mashed potatoes with both purple and yellow skinned potatoes and then swirl them together. For this made I made the mashed potatoes via sous vide in two separate bags.
🍽️ RECIPE - Boiled Purple Potato Salad, made from boiled purple potatoes.
🥔 Roasted or Baked
👍 Pros & 👎 Cons - This method creates less mess as you can do it without having to dirty a dish. It does take the longest.
I roasted or bake the purple spuds in a 400 degree oven until done through. Again no peeling necessary. I don't bother dirtying a baking sheet, I put them right on the oven rack. Make sure to poke holes in them to let out some steam.
I don't think the purple potato bakes up quite as fluffy as the Russet. But it still is very good and looks great with a dollop of sour cream on top.
🍽️ RECIPE - Baked Purple Potatoes
🌬️ Air Fryer
👍 Pros & 👎 Cons - The air fryer makes it easier to "bake" a purple potato without having to heat up your kitchen with the oven. The fries I made in the air fryer did not get super crispy.
Air frying is really similar to roasting or baking. An air fryer is basically a small convection oven. I love them because they are doing convention in a smaller space which I think makes for a better end result.
I have made purple potatoes whole in the air fryer just like you would for a baked potato. And I have done fries. They weren't the most crispy fries ever, but my daughter still loved them, so I will count it as a win.
🍽️ RECIPE - Air Fryer Whole Purple Potatoes
🍳 Sautéed or Pan Fried
👍 Pros & 👎 Cons - The potato browns nicely and look great. Taste great as well. You have to be careful not to burn the outside before the potato are done.
Of the methods this one is my favorite way to cook purple potatoes.
I quartered the potatoes and put them in a cast iron skillet (you can use any large sauté pan) with oil, salt, garlic powder, and black pepper. Set them over medium heat and cooked them until they are golden brown on each side. They brown a lot better this way than in the oven.
You may find that you need to turn the heat down some if the begin to brown too fast or start to burn. Serve them up as it, or with ketchup, especially if it's homemade (I will save that for another post!) Or parmesan cheese is fantastic on top.
Or maybe best yet, cook some caramelized onions in your skillet before you cook the potatoes and then stir them back in when the potatoes are done. I know you are thinking "now you are talking!"
🍽️ RECIPE - Pan-Fried Purple Potatoes
🙋 Frequently Asked Questions
Here are the most frequent questions people have about purple potatoes.
Can You Eat the Skin?
I did not peel the potatoes for any method - I don't feel it's necessary. The skins are full of nutrients too. The skin isn't tough. The only time I don't eat eat the skin is if baked them whole in the oven.
Does the Color Fade When Cooked?
Unlike purple asparagus, purple potatoes keep that lovely color when you cook them. The skin will turn brown on the outside when baked, but the inside stays that vibrant color.
What Do They Taste Like?
Do they taste any different? I would say they have a more earthy flavor, like a beet, but it's not overpowering or drastically different. The texture is more like that of Russet potatoes than yellow potatoes or red skinned potatoes.
What Size Are They?
You can find them in various sizes. Most of stores only carry small ones in bags that are all purple or a mix of different colored potatoes including purple. Sometimes you will see them labelled as purple creamer potatoes. These are baby potatoes in size.
When you do find them sold by the pound that is when you can find some larger ones. The big ones are perfect for baking in my air fryer.
Are There Purple Sweet Potatoes?
Yes, you can also find sweet potatoes that are both purple inside and outside. They are less sweet than standard sweet potatoes.
Can You Grow Them?
Yes you can grow them yourself. You can find them in seed catalog under names like Purple Majesty or Adirondack Blue (they look more purple than blue I think!). You also might find Purple Viking potatoes but you need to know that those are actually white on the inside and only have a purple skin.
Where to Buy
Most large grocery stores carry them only have them in mixed bags. They are less often sold by the pound. I think one of the best sources for them is Whole Foods Market. I worked at one before and we had them around most of the time.
They are available year-round.
RELATED - Where to Buy Purple Potatoes
🍴 Purple Potato Recipes
Here are all our purple potato recipes for you to check out