Red Potatoes vs Russet Potatoes: The Differences


Two popular potato varieties are red potatoes and Russet potatoes. Not all potatoes are the same causing many people to ask about their differences. Let’s answer, what’s the difference between red potatoes and Russet potatoes?

Red potatoes are smaller and rounder than the larger Russet potato which has a more oval shape. Russet potatoes have a brown skin with a white to yellow flesh. Red potatoes have a red skin with a white flesh. Russet potatoes have a thicker, tougher skin and taste starchier than the waxier red potatoes.

This article will do a side-by-side comparison of their nutrients. In addition, I’ll examine their textures, tastes, cooking methods, whether one can substitute for the other and their costs.

Disclaimer: Some links in this article are affiliate links which means I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. As an Amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Red Potatoes vs Russet Potatoes: Nutritional Content

You may have heard certain potatoes are similar in nutrients. This may be true to a certain extent. There are some differences and similarities. So, let’s take a look at the nutrients contained in each potato.

The following table is a side-by-side comparison of the nutrients contained in red potatoes and Russet potatoes:

  Red Potato Raw (100 g) Russet Potato Raw (100 g)
Calories 70 79
Protein 1.89 g 2.14 g
Carbohydrates 15.9 g 18.1 g
Fiber 1.7 g 1.3 g
Fat 0.14 g 0.08 g
Sugar 1.29 g 0.62 g
Vitamin A 0 IU 1 IU
Beta-carotene 0 mcg 0 mcg
Vitamin C 8.6 mg 5.7 mg
Vitamin B6 0.17 mg 0.34 mg
Vitamin B9 (Folate) 18 mcg  14 mcg
Vitamin B1 (Thiamin) 0.08 mg  0.08 mg
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) 0.03 mg  0.03 mg
Vitamin B3 (Niacin) 1.15 mg  1.04 mg
Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid) 0.3 mg  0.3 mg
Magnesium 22 mg  23 mg
Phosphorous 61 mg  55 mg
Potassium 455 mg 417 mg
Iron 0.73 mg 0.86 mg
Copper 0.13 mg  0.10 mg
Calcium 10 mg 13 mg
Zinc 0.3 mg  0.3 mg

Nutrient Resources 1 2 3 4

At first glance it may be difficult to determine which potato contains a higher percentage of nutrients. Both of them provide a good number of vitamins and minerals. Let’s answer, are red potatoes healthier than russet potatoes?

Red potatoes are healthier than russet potatoes due to their higher percentage of Vitamin C, fiber, B vitamins and minerals. Red potatoes contain more folate, niacin, phosphorus, potassium and copper. Red potatoes contain fewer calories and carbohydrates.

Russet potatoes are no slouch and are very healthy also. They contain more B6, iron and calcium than red potatoes. Both potatoes contain a similar number of thiamin, riboflavin, B5, magnesium and zinc.

The extra vitamin C, fiber and fewer carbs are what gives red potatoes the edge although you can’t go wrong eating either one.

If you want to try a low-carb diet, you may want to look for alternatives to potatoes altogether.

Keto Bread Tip: Great News! Did you know, you don’t have to give up your favorite bread, pizza or sandwiches to follow a 100% Keto diet. Find out more in the KetoBreads website by clicking here, Keto Breads.

Red Potatoes and Russet Potatoes Taste and Texture

Due to a different skin color and size, it’s easy to think they don’t taste the same. Let’s examine the taste and texture of a red potato and Russet potato.

Red and Russet potatoes have a mild, buttery and unsweet flavor. Red potatoes are less starchy than the creamier Russet potatoes. Russet potatoes have a thicker and tougher skin to chew after cooked. Red potatoes have a thin skin which is not tough to chew.

What does a red potato taste like? Red potatoes have a mild, slightly buttery and earthy flavor. Red potatoes are less starchy, waxy and dense.

What does Russet potatoes taste like? Russet potatoes have a neutral, mild flavor which is unsweet. There’s a starchy undertone and the flesh is creamy. If you eat the skin, russet’s skin is thicker than other potatoes.

Can You Substitute Russet Potatoes for Red Potatoes?

Russet potatoes can substitute for red potatoes especially when baking, roasting, mashing or making French fries. Red potatoes can substitute for russet when boiling, scalloping, steaming or grilling. Red potatoes are better for soups and potato salad because they hold their shape better when heated. 

Red potatoes are best for the following:

  • Soups containing potatoes
  • Potato salad
  • Stews
  • Curry
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Crispy roasted potatoes
  • Scalloped potatoes

Red potato flavor pairings:

  • Garlic
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Parsley
  • Dill
  • Basil
  • Herbs
  • Lemon
  • Rosemary

Use Russet potatoes for the following:

  • Baked potato
  • Tater tots
  • Hash browns
  • Mashed potatoes
  • French fries

Russet potato flavor pairings:

  • Olive oil
  • Onions
  • Cheddar cheese
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Chives
  • Bacon
  • Garlic

roasted red potatoes

Do red potatoes cook faster than Russet? Red potatoes cook faster than Russet due to their smaller size. Boiling times for small red potatoes is 15 minutes and 20-25 minutes for a regular size. The boiling time for Russet potatoes is 25 to 30 minutes.

There are a few things you should consider before substituting these potatoes with each other.

  • Increased cooking times is recommended when substituting Russet for red potatoes. This is due to their larger size.
  • If you’re substituting red potatoes for Russet, remember shortening the cooking time.
  • The weight quantity of each potato called for doesn’t change when substituting one potato for the other.

Red Potatoes vs Russet Potatoes: Costs

With the rising prices of everything, the cost of potatoes may be a consideration. The price may sway your decision about which potato to use. Therefore, which costs more, red potatoes or russet potatoes?

Red potatoes and Russet potatoes have a similar price. Both potatoes average cost is $0.99 per pound for loose, large potatoes.

I checked Shoprite supermarket for the prices of red and russet potatoes:

  • Red potatoes
    • $0.99 per pound
  • Russet potatoes
    • $0.99 per pound

I also checked Walmart for red potatoes and Russet prices:

  • Red potatoes
    • $0.98 per pound
  • Russet potatoes
    • $0.98 per pound

Red potatoes and Russets are easy to find on Amazon. Check out the current prices, potatoes.

How to Store Red Potatoes and Russet Potatoes

How to properly store potatoes may make a difference when choosing one over the other. In addition, you’ll want either one to last as long as possible. Therefore, how do you store red potatoes or Russet potatoes?

Store red potatoes or Russet potatoes in a dark place away from heat. Both potatoes should be kept out of the refrigerator. A humid basement or root cellar is the best area. They should be kept in a burlap bag or ventilated container and stored between 40°F and 60°F.

Storing potatoes in a refrigerator can change the cell structure, make the center of the potato hard and diminish the flavor. If you don’t have a cool basement, be sure to store them in a ventilated place, away from heat and light.

Don’t wash the potatoes before storing them. This is especially tempting with Russet potatoes picked out of a supermarket bin. The moisture will promote the growth of bacteria and fungus 5.

Why store potatoes in a humid basement? Potatoes are approximately 80% water and will dry out if not stored in a humid location. Commercial storage facilities store potatoes at 90 to 95% relative humidity.

Find out if Idaho and Russet potatoes are really the same in my article, Idaho vs Russet Potatoes – Are They The Same? Let’s Compare.

Red Potatoes and Russet Potato Alternatives

If you’re on a low-carb diet, most potatoes are off limits because they are almost pure starch. While most people on this type of diet swear by cauliflower as a perfect substitute for potatoes, it doesn’t have the same consistency and can be a disappointing experience.

Here are some better non potato alternatives for Russet and red potatoes:

  • Kohlrabi
  • Daikon radish
  • Turnips
  • Celery root
  • Rutabaga

Many of these can be used as French fries or in dishes like Au gratin or scalloped. If you want something to replace mashed potatoes, you might try parsnips, which are related to carrots.

Here are some other potatoes which can be red potato alternatives:

  • Yukon Gold potatoes
  • Yellow potatoes
  • White potatoes
  • Red Bliss potatoes
  • Baby potatoes
  • Fingerlings potatoes

Here are some other potatoes which can be Russet potato alternatives:

  • Carola potatoes
  • Yukon Gold potatoes
  • Inca gold potatoes
  • Katahdin potatoes
  • Red Bliss potatoes
  • Fingerlings potatoes

If you’re interested about how sweet potatoes held up against pumpkin for health and nutrition, check out my article, Pumpkin vs Sweet Potato: A Complete Comparison.

Red Potatoes and Russet Potatoes Glycemic Index

Knowing the glycemic index of potatoes is important especially if blood sugar levels are a concern. Blood sugar levels are an important thing people should be aware of, diabetic or not.

The Glycemic Index (GI) is a scale measuring how fast a particular food raises the blood sugar in the blood 6. Blood sugar spikes can lead to health complications with the kidneys, nerves, heart and eyes 7

Foods on the GI scale are categorized as:

  • Low-GI foods: 55 or under
  • Medium-GI foods: 56-69
  • High-GI foods: 70 or over

How blood sugars levels are affected:

  • Foods with a glycemic index 70 or more cause a more quicker spike in blood sugar levels.
  • Foods with a glycemic index 56 to 69 cause a moderate spike in blood sugar levels.
  • Foods with a glycemic index 55 or less cause a slow spike in blood sugar levels.

If you’re wondering which potato has a higher GI, let’s answer, does red potatoes or Russet potatoes have a higher GI?

Russet potatoes have a lower GI than red potatoes depending on the cooking method used. A boiled russet potato has a GI of 54, and a boiled red potato has a GI of 89.

Not every potato has an equal GI. Russet and other white/red potatoes all have different GI scores. In addition to how a potato is cooked, the heat of the potato when eaten affects the GI.

A study published in the Journal of the Diabetic Association found boiled potatoes eaten cold had a GI score of 56. When eaten hot the boiled potato had a GI score of 89 8.  

Find out how white sweet potatoes compared to sweet potatoes in my article, White Sweet Potato vs. Sweet Potato: What’s The Difference?

Red Potatoes vs Russet Potatoes Health Benefits

Vitamin C

Red potatoes contain 8.6 mg of vitamin C per 100 grams and Russets 5.7 mg. Vitamin C acts as an antioxidant and helps with the following:

  • Collagen production.
  • Help maintain healthy gums.
  • Prevent damage to cells.
  • Increases iron absorption.
  • May help boost the immune system.
  • Help heal wounds.

Potassium

Red potatoes provide 455 mg of potassium and Russet potatoes 417 mg. Potassium helps the body get rid of excess sodium reducing fluid build-up. These help keep systolic and diastolic blood pressure lower 9.

According to Harvard Health, a number of studies have shown a connection between low potassium levels and high blood pressure 10. The more potassium, the more sodium your body will lose.

Consuming too much sodium or not enough potassium throws off the delicate balance the kidneys need to remove the excess water 11.

Fiber for Gut Health and Digestion

Red potatoes and Russet potatoes both contain fiber. Fiber remains in the digestive tract and provides gut related health benefits. Fiber rich diets have been linked to regular bowel movements and a lower risk of colon cancer 12.

B Vitamins

The B vitamins provided by red potatoes and Russet potatoes include the following:

  1. B1 (thiamin)
  2. B2 (riboflavin)
  3. B3 (niacin)
  4. B5
  5. B6
  6. B9 (folate)
  7. B12

B vitamins help support the following:

  • Brain function.
  • Nerve function.
  • Red blood cells.
  • Cardiovascular disease.
  • Digestion.
  • Energy levels.

Find out how taro compared to potatoes in my article, Taro vs. Potato – A Complete Comparison.

A lack of B vitamins has been associated with oxidative stress and neural inflammation. In a study released in 2018 32 healthy adults were given B vitamin supplementation for six months. The results indicated preliminary evidence B vitamin supplementation reduced oxidative stress and inflammation 13.

Additional Article Resources 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23

Read Next – More Potato vs Food Articles!

Red Potatoes vs Yukon Gold Potatoes: What’s The Difference?

Sweet Potato vs. Butternut Squash: A Comparison

Purple Sweet Potato vs Sweet Potato: What’s The Difference?

Are Sweet Potatoes Healthier Than Regular Potatoes?

Sweet Potato vs. Russet Potato: What’s The Difference?

Yukon Gold Potato vs Russet Potato: What’s The Difference?    

 

Article Resources: Foods For Anti-Aging follows strict guidelines to ensure our content is the highest journalistic standard. It's our mission to provide the reader with accurate, honest and unbiased guidance. Our content relies on medical associations, research institutions, government agencies and study resources. Learn more by reading our editorial policy.
  1. USDA: Potatoes, russet, flesh and skin, raw[]
  2. Nutrition Value: Potatoes, raw, flesh and skin, russet[]
  3. USDA: Potatoes, red, flesh and skin, raw[]
  4. Nutrition Value: Potatoes, raw, flesh and skin, red[]
  5. University of Idaho: Options for Storing Potatoes at Home[]
  6. Harvard Health Publishing: Glycemic index for 60+ foods[]
  7. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases: Know Your Blood Sugar Numbers: Use Them to Manage Your Diabetes[]
  8. National Center for Biotechnology Information: Glycemic index of potatoes commonly consumed in North America[]
  9. American Heart Association: How Potassium Can Help Control High Blood Pressure[]
  10. Harvard Health: Potassium lowers blood pressure[]
  11. National Center for Biotechnology Information: The Effect of the Sodium to Potassium Ratio on Hypertension Prevalence: A Propensity Score Matching Approach[]
  12. National Center for Biotechnology Information: Mechanisms linking dietary fiber, gut microbiota and colon cancer prevention[]
  13. National Center for Biotechnology Information: The Effect of a High-Dose Vitamin B Multivitamin Supplement on the Relationship between Brain Metabolism and Blood Biomarkers of Oxidative Stress: A Randomized Control Trial[]
  14. Wikipedia: Russet potato[]
  15. California Department Of Education: Potatoes, Russet[]
  16. USDA: Potatoes, Russet, Flesh and skin, baked[]
  17. The University of Maine: Potato Facts[]
  18. University of Rochester Medical Center: Potatoes, russet, flesh and skin, raw, 1 Potato large (3″ to 4-1/4″ dia) []
  19. Oxford Academic: Potatoes and risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease in apparently healthy adults: a systematic review of clinical intervention and observational studies[]
  20. National Center for Biotechnology Information: Skin Color Retention in Red Potatoes during Long-Term Storage with Edible Coatings[]
  21. University of Rochester Medical Center: Potatoes, red, flesh and skin, baked, 1 potato medium (2-1/4″ to 3-1/4″ dia) []
  22. Food Source Information Colorado Integrated Food Safety Center Of Excellence: Potatoes[]
  23. Wikipedia: Potato[]

Kevin Garce

Kevin Garce is a Certified Health Coach who encourages people by informing them on nutrition and food topics important to them. His years of research and knowledge inspire people to achieve their goals. Read more here About Me

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