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Are gold or Russet potatoes better for stew?

Both gold and Russet potatoes can make excellent additions to beef stew. The type of potato used comes down to personal preference and what texture you’re looking for. Russet potatoes will break down more and thicken the stew, while gold potatoes hold their shape better.

Quick Answer

If you want a stew with tender chunks of potato, use gold potatoes. If you want a thicker, creamier stew, use Russets. Both work well!

Gold vs Russet Potatoes

Gold and Russet potatoes have some key differences that impact their performance in stews:

Starch Content

Russet potatoes have a higher starch content at 18-22%, compared to gold potatoes which have 14-18% starch. The additional starch in Russets makes them better at breaking down and thickening the stew.

Moisture Content

Gold potatoes have a slightly higher moisture content at around 80%, versus Russets which are around 79%. This helps gold potatoes retain their shape when cooked.


Russet potatoes become soft and fluffy when cooked. Gold potatoes hold their shape better and have a creamy, smooth texture.


Russets have a fluffy, mild flavor that absorbs surrounding flavors well. Gold potatoes have a richer, earthier flavor.

Stew Thickening Ability

The higher starch content in Russet potatoes makes them better for thickening and adding body to beef stew. As the Russets simmer, their starches are released which thickens the surrounding broth.

Gold potatoes have less starch, so they won’t break down as much. They add texture but won’t thicken the stew significantly.

Starch Content Comparison

Potato Starch Content
Russet 18-22%
Gold 14-18%

As shown in the table, Russets have 4-8% more starch than gold potatoes which makes them better stew thickeners.

Texture Retention

Gold potatoes hold their shape and retain a creamy, smooth texture when simmered in stew. Their lower starch content and higher moisture prevents them from breaking down too much.

Russet potatoes become very soft and fluffy in stews. They disintegrate easily, thickening the stew but losing their potato chunkiness.

Moisture Content Comparison

Potato Moisture Content
Gold Around 80%
Russet Around 79%

The extra moisture in gold potatoes helps them retain their shape better when cooked.

Flavor Differences

Russet and gold potatoes have noticeably different flavors when used in stew:

Russet Potatoes

  • Mild, earthy flavor
  • Fluffy, starchy texture
  • Soaks up surrounding flavors

Gold Potatoes

  • Richer, nutty flavor
  • Smooth, creamy texture
  • Adds potato flavor

Both Russets and golds add great flavor to beef stew. Russets absorb flavors while golds add more potato flavor.

Should You Peel Potatoes for Stew?

Peeling is optional for both Russet and gold potatoes in stew. Leaving the peel on adds fiber, texture, and nutrients. However, peeling may help lower starch content and prevent potatoes from over-thickening the stew.

Benefits of Leaving the Peel

  • Adds fiber
  • Provides texture contrast
  • Retains nutrients like vitamins C and B6

Benefits of Peeling

  • Lowers starch content for better texture
  • Prevents over-thickening
  • Allows seasonings to penetrate better

For gold potatoes, leaving the peel provides great texture. For Russets, peeling helps prevent too much thickening.

Preparing Potatoes for Beef Stew

Preparing Russet or gold potatoes properly helps ensure they turn out right in beef stew:

Cut Uniformly

Cut potatoes into even 1-2 inch chunks so they cook evenly.

Parboil Slightly

Parboiling potatoes 2-3 minutes before stewing softens them so they absorb flavors while still keeping their shape.

Don’t Overcook

Avoid overcooking potatoes in the stew or they will get mushy. Cook just until a fork pierces them but there is still some resistance.

Season and Brown

Toss parboiled potato chunks with oil and seasonings. Roast in the oven at 400°F for 10-15 minutes to lightly brown before adding to the stew.

Choosing the Right Potato for Your Stew

When choosing between Russet and gold potatoes for beef stew, consider these factors:

Stew Texture

For a thicker, creamier stew, use Russets. For chunks of tender potatoes, use golds.


Russets let the beef and seasonings shine. Golds add rich potato flavor.


Russets break down and disappear into the stew. Golds keep their shape and add color contrast.


Both Russet and gold potatoes can add great flavor and texture to beef stew. For a creamy, thick stew, Russets are the better choice. If you want tender potato chunks with rich flavor, go for gold potatoes. Just be sure to prep and cook them properly for the best results either way!