Let's Enjoy Potatoes! (FN1967, July 2020)

This handout provides tips and recipes for preparing and preserving potatoes.

Julie Garden-Robinson, Ph.D., R.D., L.R.D., Food and Nutrition Specialist

Availability: Web only

Field to Fork logo

Potatoes are a nutritional bargain. A 5 1/3-ounce potato (about the size of a standard computer mouse) has 100 calories, no fat, 26 grams carbohydrate, 3 grams fiber, 21% of the daily recommendation for potassium, 45% of the daily recommendation for vitamin C, and other nutrients. Nutrition labels are based on a 2,000-calorie daily diet, so a potato would provide 1/20 of the daily calorie needs for an average adult.

The complex carbohydrates in potatoes provide energy to fuel our muscles and brain. However, potato toppings can add excess calories and fat. For example, a 100-calorie potato with no fat becomes a “stuffed potato” with 463 calories and 35 grams of fat when you add 2 tablespoons of butter, ¼ cup of cheddar cheese and 2 tablespoons of bacon bits. Consider using “reduced fat” or “light” products or use smaller amounts of higher-fat/calorie toppings.

This handout provides tips and recipes for preparing and preserving potatoes. See the section about potatoes at for more information.

Safety Tips

  • Keep “hot foods” hot (at least 140 F) during serving. Cooked potatoes and other perishable foods should spend no more than two hours at room temperature.
  • Place leftover baked, boiled or mashed potatoes in shallow containers and refrigerate at 40 F promptly. Unwrap leftover foil-wrapped baked potatoes before refrigeration and cut in half to speed cooling.
  • Use leftover potatoes within three days. Peel and grate to use in hashbrowns or potato pancakes, for example.

One Potato, Two Potato …: Potato Equivalents

One pound of potatoes equals three medium-sized (about 5-ounce) potatoes = 3 c. peeled and sliced = 2¼ c. peeled, diced = 2 c. mashed = 2 c. french fries

Key to abbreviations
c. = cup
oz. = ounce
tsp. = teaspoon
Tbsp. = tablespoon
g = gram
mg = milligram

Baked Potatoes

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wash potatoes thoroughly, pierce with a fork in several spots and bake approximately 40 to 45 minutes until soft. If you are baking potatoes with other items at lower oven temperatures, adjust baking time.


potato-vegetable packets for the outdoor grill or oven
NDSU Extension

Potato-vegetable Packets for the Outdoor Grill or Oven

½ c. canola oil (or other oil)
¼ c. cider vinegar
½ tsp. minced garlic
1 tsp. seasoned salt
½ tsp. pepper
½ pound green beans, trimmed
1 red bell pepper, seeded, cut into ½-inch strips
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded, cut into ½-inch strips
1 small zucchini, trimmed, cut into ¼-inch rounds
2 medium red potatoes cut into ¼-inch rounds

Rinse then prepare vegetables as directed.

Grill directions: Preheat grill to medium heat. Cut six (12- by 18-inch) pieces of heavy-duty foil. In a large bowl, whisk oil, vinegar, garlic, seasoned salt and pepper. Add vegetables and toss to coat. Divide vegetables evenly among foil pieces. Drizzle with any remaining dressing from the bowl. Fold long sides of foil toward each other, crimping edges to seal. Fold and crimp remaining edges to form a sealed packet. Place packets, seam side up, on grill. Close grill and cook for 20 minutes. To check for doneness, remove one packet from grill, open carefully and taste a vegetable: It should be crisp-tender. Carefully pull back foil at the top of each packet to allow steam to escape. Let sit for five minutes. Serve.

Oven directions: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Prepare as directed. Cook for 40 to 60 minutes. To check for doneness, remove one packet from oven, open carefully and taste a vegetable; it should be crisp-tender.

Makes six servings. Each serving contains 240 calories, 19 g fat, 3 g protein, 19 g carbohydrate, 4 g fiber and 250 mg sodium.


oven fries in a bowl

Oven Fries

4 medium potatoes, peeled and cut in wedges or strips 
2 Tbsp. salad oil
Paprika (if desired)

Preheat oven to 450 F. Wash potatoes thoroughly and peel. Place strips in a bowl of ice water to crisp. Drain and pat dry. Place strips in an even layer on jelly-roll pan. Sprinkle with oil. Shake pan to distribute oil evenly over potatoes. Bake at 450 F until golden brown and tender, about 30 minutes, turning frequently. Sprinkle with salt and paprika if desired.

Alternate instructions for easy cleanup: Wash potatoes, leaving on the peel. Cut into strips and place in a large plastic bag. Add the oil and seasonings. Shake to coat. Place strips on jelly-roll pan. Discard bag.

Bake potatoes.

Makes four servings. Each serving has 220 calories, 7 g fat, 4 g protein, 37 g carbohydrate and 4 g fiber. Sodium varies depending on amount of salt added.



garlic mashed potatoes in a bowl

Garlic Mashed Potatoes

1 pound red potatoes
½ c. skim milk
2 large garlic cloves, chopped
½ tsp. white pepper
1 Tbsp. fresh chives, chopped (optional)

Peel potatoes, cut into quarters and place in cold, salted water for about 15 minutes. Drain in colander, rinse well and place in 2-quart saucepan containing 2 cups of boiling water. Cover and cook for 20 to 25 minutes or until tender. Meanwhile, have milk warming over low to medium heat. Add garlic to hot milk and simmer until garlic is soft, about 20 to 25 minutes. Remove cooked potatoes from heat, drain in colander, replace in saucepan and cover to keep warm. Add milk-garlic mixture and white pepper to potatoes, mash with potato masher and then whip with an electric mixer. If desired, garnish with chopped fresh chives.

Makes four servings. Each serving has 100 calories, 0 g fat, 4 g protein, 22 g carbohydrate, 3 g fiber and 20 mg sodium.


potatoes o'brien in a bowl
NDSU Extension

Potatoes O’Brien

4 small firm-fleshed potatoes
6 small scallions cut into ½-inch slices
½ small green pepper, ½-inch dice
½ small orange or red pepper, diced
2 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper
Chopped chives (optional)
1 Tbsp. olive oil

Boil potatoes until just done; chill in cold water and drain. Cut into ¾-inch dice. In a medium bowl, toss potatoes, onions, peppers, Parmesan cheese, salt, pepper and chives, if desired. Heat olive oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat and add potato mixture. Press flat with a spatula. Cook uncovered for one minute. Cover and cook two minutes. Remove cover and continue cooking for three to four minutes, but don’t stir, until a dark brown crust forms on the bottom. (Check for brownness by gently lifting an edge with the spatula.) Serve immediately.

Makes four servings. Without added salt, each serving has 180 calories, 4.5 g fat, 5 g protein, 32 g carbohydrate, 4 g fiber and
70 mg sodium.


German potato salad in a bowl
NDSU Extension

German Potato Salad

7 c. boiled red potatoes, skins on
2 Tbsp. oil
1 medium onion
¼ tsp. pepper
½ tsp. salt
3 Tbsp. sugar
6 Tbsp. vinegar
½ c. cream

Boil potatoes in skins until tender. Cool slightly and cut into bite-sized pieces. Heat the oil, and add the chopped onion and cook until soft and lightly browned. Add potatoes, pepper, salt, sugar and vinegar. Simmer for five minutes on low. Season to taste. Add cream and simmer until ready to serve. This reheats well and tastes better the longer it simmers. For serving purposes, place in a preheated slow cooker on low to keep warm.

Makes 14 (half-cup) servings. Each serving has 100 calories, 3 g fat, 2 g protein, 17 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber and 260 mg sodium.

Source: Adapted from a recipe from Carol Fey, from her great-grandmother, NDSU Germans from Russia Collection.

Freezing Potatoes

Wash, peel and cut into ½-inch cubes. Blanch in boiling water for three to five minutes depending on size. Cool by plunging into ice-cold water. Drain thoroughly. Package in freezer containers (leaving ½ inch space between the food and lid), seal and freeze.

For hashbrowns, cook in peelings until nearly done. Peel, grate and form into desired shape. Place in freezer bags or other freezer container, separated with plastic wrap.

Funding for this publication was made possible by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service through grant AM190100XXXG028.

Creative Commons License
Feel free to use and share this content, but please do so under the conditions of our Creative Commons license and our Rules for Use. Thanks.