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What is a Yellow Potato?

Tricia Christensen
Updated May 16, 2024
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White potatoes are certainly not the only spuds in town as evidenced by the growing popularity of the yellow potato. In some parts of the world, yellow varieties are far preferred to their creamy or starchy white cousins, and this led in the early 1980s to a Canadian company developing the Yukon Gold. Chances are when shoppers search for yellow potatoes in the grocery store in the US, the most likely type they’ll find is this Canadian creation, although other variants exist. There are plenty of reasons why yellow ones are giving russets and others a run for their money.

First, the yellow color comes from a chemical called anthoxanthins, a special pigment loaded with antioxidants, which may make the potato nutritionally superior. The chemical is also present in a few other edible plants like apples. Second, the yellow variety is often sweeter, and for cooks this means they may be able to use flavoring for these potatoes in smaller amounts. Most are waxy instead of starchy, which translates to fewer total carbohydrates too.

The average size of a Yukon Gold potato is a little smaller than many russets. It weighs about 5 ounces (141.75 grams) and has just 100 calories. Some of its nutritional offerings are highly superior. A single potato of this size offers 21% of the US Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of potassium. It’s also a great source of vitamin C, with about 45% of the US RDA. They also give people about 10% of the vitamin B6 they need for the day and have 3 to 4 grams of dietary fiber. They are lower in total carbohydrates than most white potatoes as well.

When shopping for yellow potatoes, there are a few things that consumers should look for. They should avoid potatoes with tons of eyes, and if they have small eyes, these should be nearly pink in color. Potatoes that look green have been exposed to too much air or stored improperly and shouldn’t be purchased. Skin should be light brown in color and shouldn’t have visible bruises or huge markings.

Once these potatoes are home, they should be used right away or stored in a dark place — not in the refrigerator. Very cold conditions can change their texture and turn them green.

Many cooks enjoy substituting yellow potatoes in recipes calling for white ones. They have a slightly less tough skin that is easier to peel, and they can be inspiration for plenty of dishes. Cooks can use yellow ones in mashed or smashed potatoes, in soups, steamed and drizzled with a little bit of butter, placed in potato salad, or served as the essential element in au gratin dishes. One very attractive use is to make a combination yellow and red potato salad (or red and yellow roasted potatoes). These add color and delicious taste to plenty of meals.

DelightedCooking is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen , Writer
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a DelightedCooking contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.

Discussion Comments

By bagley79 — On Nov 08, 2012
I made the mistake once of buying a bag of potatoes that were a little on the green side, thinking they would ripen and be OK. They never did and I ended up throwing most of them away.
By myharley — On Nov 08, 2012

A yellow potato is different from an orange colored sweet potato or yam. These have a distinct taste that is much different than the taste of a Yukon Gold.

I think yellow potatoes make the best mashed potatoes. I find them to be creamier and a little bit sweeter and my family just loves them. When I am buying potatoes to make for my holiday dinners, I always look for the yellow ones.

Potatoes sometimes get a bad rap from nutritionists, but I think they have a lot of good nutrition in them. If you load them up with butter, cheese and sour cream, that is a lot different than eating a potato with just a little bit of butter on it.

By Mykol — On Nov 07, 2012

@misjasmine -- It is easy for me to tell the difference between gold and white potatoes simply by the color. Yellow potatoes have a light yellow skin that set them apart from the potatoes that have red and brown skins.

I like all kinds of potatoes, but have found that I still prefer a russet potato most of the time. I have also found the Yukon Gold potatoes at my store to be more expensive, and I can feed more people for less with the russet potatoes.

By dudla — On Jul 15, 2010

I personally love yukon gold potatoes better than white potatoes, by the way!

By Ferenghi — On Jul 13, 2010

@misjasmine - I don't think it's so easy -- they look awfully similar from the outside. The color is slightly different and probably the only way to know by site is to take one each and study them. I'd say that the yellow potato -- not surprisingly -- has a more yellow colored skin.

By misjasmine — On Mar 31, 2009

How do you tell the difference at first glance between yellow and white? Thank you!

Tricia Christensen

Tricia Christensen


With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a DelightedCooking contributor, Tricia...
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