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Are red potatoes good for stew?

Red potatoes can make a great addition to beef stew. They hold their shape well when cooked, have a pleasant mild flavor, and add colorful visual appeal. However, the decision on whether to use red potatoes comes down to personal preference. Let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons of using red potatoes in beef stew.

The benefits of using red potatoes in stew

There are several advantages to using red potatoes in beef stew:

  • They hold their shape well – Red potatoes have a waxy texture that helps them maintain their form when simmered in liquid. This gives the stew nice hearty chunks of potato.
  • Colorful addition – The red skin of the potatoes adds vibrant flecks of color to the stew. This can make it more visually appealing.
  • Mild flavor – Red potatoes have a subtle earthy and slightly sweet flavor. This allows them to soak up the seasonings of the stew without overpowering the other ingredients.
  • Nutritious – Potatoes offer several nutrients including potassium, vitamin C, vitamin B6, and fiber. They help make the stew a more balanced meal.

Potential drawbacks of red potatoes in stew

Using red potatoes in stew also comes with a few caveats:

  • Texture – Some people feel waxy red potatoes have an odd texture when stewed. The chunks tend to be dense and dry rather than light and fluffy.
  • Starchiness – Russet or Yukon gold potatoes breakdown more when cooked, helping thicken and add body to the stew broth. Red potatoes don’t thicken the liquid as much.
  • Flavor – Since red potatoes are mild in flavor, some feel they get lost amongst stronger stew seasonings and ingredients. They may lack impact.
  • Cost – Red potatoes sometimes cost a bit more per pound than russet or Yukon varieties. This bumps up the overall price of ingredients.

How to select and prepare red potatoes for stew

If you do opt to use red potatoes in your beef stew, here are some tips for selecting and preparing them:

  • Choose small to medium potatoes, around 1-3 inches in diameter. Large potatoes don’t tend to cook evenly and can become mushy.
  • Pick potatoes that are firm and free of blemishes, sprouts, or green tinges.
  • Cut potatoes into 1-1.5 inch chunks. This size holds its shape well when cooked.
  • Add potatoes to the stew 30-60 minutes before serving. Let them simmer just long enough to become tender but not mushy.
  • Toss the potatoes in a bit of flour, broth, or cornstarch before adding to the stew. This helps prevent them from breaking down too much.

Other types of potatoes to consider

In addition to red potatoes, other varieties that work well in beef stew include:

Potato Variety Characteristics
Russet Fluffy texture, excellent at absorbing flavors, releases starch to thicken stew broth
Yukon Gold Creamy texture, rich flavor, tendency to break down helps thicken stew
Fingerling Small, firm, and waxy shape holds up well, fun visual appeal

Recipe idea: Beef stew with red potatoes

If you want to give red potatoes a try in beef stew, here is a tasty recipe to consider:


  • 2 lbs beef chuck roast, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 lbs red potatoes, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 2 stalks celery, sliced
  • 3 cups beef broth
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • Chopped parsley for garnish


  1. Pat beef dry and season with salt and pepper. Sear in batches in a skillet with oil until well browned.
  2. Transfer beef to a slow cooker and add onions, carrots, celery, broth, tomato paste, garlic, bay leaves, thyme, salt, and pepper. Stir well.
  3. Cover and cook on low heat for 6-8 hours.
  4. About 30 minutes before serving, toss potato chunks with flour. Add to stew and continue cooking until potatoes are fork tender.
  5. Mix 2 tbsp flour with 2 tbsp cold water. Stir into stew to thicken broth slightly.
  6. Remove bay leaves. Adjust seasoning as needed.
  7. Garnish bowls of stew with parsley before serving.


Red potatoes can be a tasty choice in beef stew for those who enjoy their dense, mildly flavored texture. However, their waxy nature means they don’t break down to thicken the broth. Keeping chunks small and pre-coating them in flour helps them hold their shape and absorb flavor. For a heartier, thicker stew, starchy russet or Yukon gold potatoes may be a better option. The beauty is you can customize beef stew to suit your personal taste by selecting your favorite potato variety.