Not all potatoes are the same causing many people to ask about their differences. Let’s answer, what’s the difference between Yukon Gold potatoes and Russet potatoes?
Yukon Gold potatoes are smaller and rounder than the larger Russet potato which has a more oval shape. Russets have a brown skin with a white flesh. Yukon Gold has a light tan to yellow skin with a yellow flesh. Russet has a thicker, tougher skin and taste starchier than Yukon Gold.
This article will do a side-by-side comparison of their nutrients. In addition, I’ll examine their tastes, textures, cooking methods, costs and whether one can substitute for the other.
As a Certified Health Coach many of my clients ask me about potatoes. For this reason, I’ve purchased, researched and consumed both prior to, during and after writing this article.
Yukon Gold Potato vs Russet Potato Nutrition
You may have heard certain potatoes are higher in some nutrients than others. This may be true to a certain extent. There are some similarities and differences. Therefore, let’s take a look at the nutrients contained in each potato.
The following table is a side-by-side comparison of the nutrients:
|Yukon Gold Potato Raw (100 g)||Russet Potato Raw (100 g)|
|Protein||2.03 g||2.14 g|
|Carbohydrates||17.5 g||18.1 g|
|Fiber||1.4 g||1.3 g|
|Fat||0.05 g||0.08 g|
|Sugar||0.68 g||0.62 g|
|Vitamin A||0 IU||1 IU|
|Beta-carotene||0 mcg||0 mcg|
|Vitamin C||18.2 mg||5.7 mg|
|Vitamin B6||0.13 mg||0.34 mg|
|Vitamin B9 (Folate)||11 mcg||14 mcg|
|Vitamin B1 (Thiamin)||0.07 mg||0.08 mg|
|Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)||0.02 mg||0.03 mg|
|Vitamin B3 (Niacin)||1.08 mg||1.04 mg|
|Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid)||0.3 mg||0.3 mg|
|Magnesium||16 mg||23 mg|
|Phosphorous||41 mg||55 mg|
|Potassium||419 mg||417 mg|
|Iron||0.73 mg||0.86 mg|
|Copper||0.05 mg||0.10 mg|
|Calcium||14 mg||13 mg|
|Zinc||0.2 mg||0.3 mg|
|Manganese||0.15 mg||0.15 mg|
Both of these potatoes provide a wide variety of vitamins and minerals. At first glance it may be difficult to determine which one is healthier. Let’s take a closer look and find out which potato is healthier.
Yukon Gold potatoes are healthier than Russet potatoes due to its higher percentage of vitamin C. It contains a little over three times the number of vitamin C per 100 grams than Russets. Yukon Gold provides 18.2 mg of vitamin C per 100 grams, and Russets provide 5.7 mg.
The vitamin C is what gives the Yukon Gold the slight edge over the Russet potato. All the other vitamins and minerals are very similar between the two, and most people can’t go wrong choosing either potato.
Which is Better for Your Lifestyle
Which one you choose may depend on your goal. People have different goals which may change which variety is desired from person to person. Let’s examine the most common goals.
Weight Loss and Calories
Yukon Gold is better for weight loss due to its fewer calories, carbs and more fiber per serving.
Low Carb Diets and Carbohydrates
Yukon Gold potatoes are lower in carbohydrates and calories making them better for low carb diets.
Russets are better for bodybuilding due to its greater percentage of protein, carbs and calories. The protein helps to repair and build new muscle fibers while the extra carbs help to fuel energy for workouts.
Yukon and Russet are both gluten free.
Yukon Gold and Russet: Taste and Texture
Due to a slightly different color flesh and skin color, it’s easy to think they don’t taste the same. Let’s examine the taste and texture of both potatoes.
Yukon Gold potatoes and Russet potatoes have a mild, unsweet flavor. Yukon Gold is more buttery and less starchy than Russet. Both are creamy but Russets have a thicker and tougher skin to chew after cooked.
Yukon has a mild and slightly buttery flavor. It is less starchy than other varieties and are creamy and moist. If you’re looking for a good texture Yukon fits the bill.
The gold are definitely more waxy and dense.
A Russet has a neutral, mild flavor which is unsweet. There’s a starchy undertone and the flesh is creamy. Russet potatoes have thick brown skins.
Yukon Gold potatoes can substitute for Russet potatoes in recipes when making mashed potatoes, scalloped or adding potatoes to a soup. Russets can substitute for Yukon when cooking French fries or scalloped potatoes. Both can substitute for each other when cooking baked potatoes.
Don’t substitute Russet potatoes for Yukon Gold in soup recipes because they are too starchy and don’t hold their shape when boiled. Yukon Golds hold their shape better than Russets.
Yukon are better for mashed potatoes due to their slight buttery flavor and moist flesh when cooked properly and mashed.
Yukon Gold potatoes are the best for the following:
- Soups containing potatoes
- Mashed potatoes
- Baked potatoes
- Crispy roasted potatoes
- Scalloped potatoes
Use Russets for the following:
- Baked potato
- Mashed potatoes
- French fries
- Scalloped 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.
Yukon Gold potatoes cook faster than Russet due to their smaller size. Boiling times for whole Yukon is 15 to 20 minutes and 25 to 30 minutes for a Russet.
There are a few things you should consider before substituting them with each other.
- Increased cooking times is recommended when substituting Russet for Yukon Gold. This is due to their larger size.
- If you’re substituting Yukon Gold for Russet, remember shortening the cooking time.
- The quantity called for doesn’t change when substituting one for the other.
Fried potatoes might include the following types of dishes:
- Fried potato slices and onions.
- French fries.
- Corned beef hash.
Yukon gold are going to be your best bet for these dishes, as they hold up better than Russets. Also, the inside flesh is creamy when cooked, making the food taste so much better.
Find out how plantains compared in taste and texture in my article here.
Casserole dishes like scalloped potatoes or Au Gratin potatoes are better suited to Russet. This is because when they are heated for a longer time, they tend to fall apart due to the higher starch content.
When you boil them, the starch breaks down and creates a creamy and fluffy texture. Au gratin and scalloped potatoes are perhaps best when slightly creamy and chewy, making them better options.
Yukon Gold or Red for International Cuisine
Many international cuisines use several common ingredients, including:
- Several types of meat
- Several different grains
If you notice, potatoes are one of these common ingredients throughout the world. But what type are best for international cuisine? For dishes where you want the potatoes to stand up to the cooking process, you’ll want the gold or red.
Indian cuisine, for example, uses them in many dishes and the waxier, the better. Due to the natural yellow color, they go well with Yukon.
Find out how white sweet potatoes compared to sweet potatoes in my article, White Sweet Potato vs. Sweet Potato: What’s The Difference?
Gold Potatoes or Red for Potato Salad?
Gold is an all purpose potato which works okay for potato salad. Although, red potato is better for their waxy substance and ability to hold together.
With the rising prices of food, the cost of potatoes certainly matters to most people. The price may sway your decision about which one to use. Therefore, let’s take a close look at which one costs more.
Yukon Gold potatoes and Russet potatoes have a similar price. Both average cost is $0.99 per pound for loose, large potatoes.
To conduct original research, I decided to visit some local supermarkets and compare the prices of each potato.
First I visited the Shoprite supermarket:
- $0.96 per pound
- $0.99 per pound
I also checked Walmart:
- $0.98 per pound
I then checked Stop & Shop:
- $0.99 per pound
- $1.26 each
Find out how cassava compared in my article, Cassava vs. Potato: Are They The Same? Let’s Compare.
How to Store
How to properly store food may make a difference when choosing one over the other. If you have both and routinely buy one or the other, you’ll want to know how to store them for longevity and quality.
Store Yukon Gold or Russet 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 55°F and 60°F.
Storing them 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.
Find out if Idaho potatoes are the same as a Russet in my comparison article.
When you’re on a low-carb diet, most potatoes are off the menu because they are almost pure starch. While most people doing this type of diet swear by cauliflower as a perfect substitute, it doesn’t have the same consistency and can be a disappointing experience.
Here are some better alternatives for Russets:
- Daikon radish
- Celery root
Many of these can be used as fries or in dishes like Au gratin or scalloped “potatoes.” But if you want something to replace mashed potatoes, you might try parsnips, which are related to carrots.
Here are some Yukon alternatives:
- Red Bliss potatoes
- Inca Gold potatoes
- Fingerlings potatoes
- Katahdin potatoes
- Carola potatoes
- Dutch Cream potatoes
- Russet potatoes
Find out how red potatoes compared in my article here.
Knowing the glycemic index 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 4.
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.
Now we know what GI is, and how it affects blood sugar, let’s take a look at both potatoes and determine which one has a higher GI.
Yukon Gold and Russets have a similar medium to high GI depending on the cooking method used. A boiled russet has a GI of 54, and a boiled Yukon Gold has a GI of 58.
All white potatoes have different GI scores. In addition to how it is cooked and the heat of the potato when eaten affects the GI.
A study published in the Journal of the Diabetic Association found a boiled potato eaten cold had a GI score of 56. When eaten hot it had a GI score of 89 5.
Find out how potato and rice nutritional values compared in my article.
Health Benefits of Yukon Gold Potatoes and Russet Potatoes
Gut Health and Digestion
Russet potatoes and Yukon Gold potatoes both contain soluble and insoluble 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 6.
Potassium helps the body get rid of excess sodium reducing fluid build-up. These help keep systolic and diastolic blood pressure lower 7.
According to Harvard Health, a number of studies have shown a connection between low potassium levels and high blood pressure 8.
The B vitamins provided include the following:
- B1 (thiamin)
- B2 (riboflavin)
- B3 (niacin)
- B9 (folate)
B vitamins help support the following:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Red blood cells.
- Energy levels.
- Brain function.
- Nerve function.
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 9.
Find out how turnips compared to potatoes in my comparison article.
If you have any questions about this article don’t hesitate to email us. You can find an email on our contact page.
Read Next – More Food Articles!
- USDA: Potatoes, russet, flesh and skin, raw
- USDA: Yukon Gold Potatoes, Yukon Gold
- USDA: Brookshire’s, Yukon Gold Potatoes
- Harvard Health Publishing: Glycemic index for 60+ foods
- National Center for Biotechnology Information: Glycemic index of potatoes commonly consumed in North America
- National Center for Biotechnology Information: Mechanisms linking dietary fiber, gut microbiota and colon cancer prevention
- American Heart Association: How Potassium Can Help Control High Blood Pressure
- Harvard Health: Potassium lowers blood pressure
- 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