Is a Potato a Vegetable


Is a potato a vegetable? Is it a fruit? Or, is it something totally different? A potato tends to be one of the more confusing items to classify and folks tend to not know what it is. In this post we’ll clear up any confusion you might have for how to classify a potato, the varieties of potatoes, the best ways to cook potatoes, and some of our favorite potato recipes.  

red and yellow potatoes on marble
red and yellow potatoes on marble

Is a Potato a Fruit or Vegetable? | A Detailed Explanation

Following is a detailed explanation for generally speaking, as well as scientifically speaking of the details of a potato and how it’s classified.

Why Potatoes Are Vegetables

The potato (a starchy vegetable that grows underground) is an example of a vegetable tuber. Potatoes are a bit different in the way they grow and the edible portion that’s consumed.

While potatoes are not your typical leafy green vegetable, they do provide nutrients that are beneficial.

potato plant with roots and potato tuber
potato plant with roots and potato tuber

What is a Tuber?

A tuber vegetable is an underground plant part, such as a stem or root, that swells and stores nutrients. Some tubers, such as potatoes, double as vegetables and grow underground, but must be dug out when it’s time to harvest them.

What is a Potato?

Is a potato a fruit or vegetable? Often people are confused as to the classification of a potato. However, a potato is actually a tuber vegetable. 

finger pointing to potato
finger pointing to potato

Why People Mistake Potatoes for Fruit

A fruit is a part of a plant that develops from a flower and creates seed. This is not true of a potato. Therefore, a potato is not a fruit. 

Is a Sweet Potato a Vegetable?

Sweet potatoes are classified as root vegetables.

What Is the Difference Between a Potato and a Sweet Potato? 

Both a potato and a sweet potato are vegetables. A potato is a tuber, and a sweet potato is a root vegetable.

Are Potatoes More Like Vegetables or Grains?

In our opinion potatoes are unique because they’re formally known as tubers. 

red and yellow potatoes
red and yellow potatoes

What is a Fruit?

Generally speaking, a fruit is defined as a generally sweet, fleshy product that grows on a bush, tree, or other plant and can be eaten raw.

Scientifically speaking, a fruit is the structure that includes seeds, it grows on a plant from the ovary after the plant flowers. Fruits are how flowering plants distribute their seeds.

What is a Vegetable?

What is the definition of a vegetable? Generally speaking, a vegetable is the edible portion of a plant eaten as food by humans or animals. It can include leaves, stems, bulbs, flowers, tubers, and roots.

Scientifically speaking, a vegetable is a part of an herbaceous plant that is edible. An herbaceous plant is a non-woody plant as contrasted with a woody plant such as bush or a tree.

Are Potatoes a Carb?

Potatoes are a carbohydrate or starchy root vegetable also known as a healthy carb. When the skin is eaten, they’re considered high in fiber, low in calories, and include vitamins and minerals that are good for you.

Yes, the starch breaks down into sugar when a potato is consumed, but they also contain almost every valuable vitamin and mineral needed for human life.

potato plant from garden
potato plant we dug from our garden

Nutritional Value of a Potato

Following is the estimated nutritional value of 1 potato, including the flesh and the skin. Nutritional information can vary based on the size and type of potato as well as the brand of potato, so be sure to check the nutritional information for your potato to confirm.

Calories 131
Total Fat 0.2g
Saturated Fat 0g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 10mg
Total Carbohydrate 29.7g
Dietary Fiber 3.7g
Total Sugars 3.7g
Protein 3.4g
Vitamin D 0mcg
Calcium 20mg
Iron 1mg
Potassium 716mg

Are Potatoes Good for You?

Whether potatoes are good for you can partly depend on your dietary restrictions. But here are some health benefits of potatoes.

Heart Health. Potatoes are low in calories and high in fiber. They are also rich in Vitamin C, B6, potassium, and low in cholesterol. This combination helps to lessen the chances of cardiovascular disease.

Bone Health. Potatoes help to contribute to bone health because they’re rich in calcium, zinc, and magnesium. They also help to strengthen bone structure.

Reduces Risk of Cancer. Folate rich foods like potatoes help to prevent the development of cancer cells.

Improves Immunity.  Because they’re rich in Vitamin C, potatoes can be used to help combat colds as a home remedy.


Potatoes Aren’t Necessarily Bad for You

But are potatoes one of your five a day? No, because potatoes are considered a starch, they are also not a part of your five a day because of their starch content.

They are, however, a good source of energy, fiber, potassium and other vitamins and minerals.

Starchy vs. Non-starchy Vegetables

The main difference between starchy versus non-starchy vegetables is that starchy ones have a greater carbohydrate content than non-starchy ones.  Here are a few examples:

Sweet Potatoes


Starchy vegetables contain around 3-4 more times the carbohydrates than the non-starchy kinds.

Types of Potatoes

There are many varieties and types of potatoes and root vegetables similar to potatoes that are available for cooking and eating. Here are a few of the more popular varieties.

Yukon Gold
Sweet Potato

Best Ways to Cook Potatoes

Following is a list of what we consider the best ways to cook potatoes. Which methods are your favorites?

pressure cooking
air frying
slow cooking

Potatoes can also be cooked in the microwave, but we don’t recommend this method as one of the best ways to cook them. Potatoes in the microwave usually come out somewhat dried or shriveled. At least that’s been our experience.

How To Serve Potatoes

There are so many ways you can serve potatoes. We think they’re one of the most versatile foods as far as the number of ways they can be prepared.  Here are some of the many ideas for how to serve potatoes:

In Soup
In Salad

Click on the methods above for our favorite recipe for each one.

Potato Resources:

How To Cube a Potato
How Much Does a Potato Weigh with Photos & Chart

how much does a potato weigh sizes
various potato sizes

Frequently Asked Questions

Following are frequently asked questions about is a potato a vegetable. If you have a question that’s not answered here, feel free to drop your question in the comments box below and we’ll be happy to answer it.

Are mashed potatoes a vegetable?

It depends what kind of potatoes the mashed potatoes are made from as to whether they are a vegetable. If the mashed potatoes are made from sweet potatoes, then they are vegetables.

If they’re made from yellow potatoes, red potatoes, white potatoes or any of the common potato types, then most likely they’re tubers.

Is a potato a vegetable or grain?

A potato, scientifically speaking, is neither a vegetable or a grain. It is a tuber.

Is a sweet potato a vegetable?

Yes, a sweet potato is defined is a vegetable.

Is a potato a vegetable or a tuber?

Most potato varieties are defined as a tuber. 

Why isn’t a potato a vegetable?

Potatoes aren’t solely a vegetable. More specifically, they are tubers which are a type of root vegetables.

Popular Potato Recipes:

The Best Scalloped Potato Roll
Aunt Peggy’s Sweet Potato Souffle
Amazing Rafferty’s Potato Soup Recipe
Red Skin Potato Fries
Loaded Potato Salad
Ultimate Emeril Twice Baked Potato Casserole
Better than Costco Potato Salad

is a potato a vegetable pinterest pin
is a potato a vegetable pinterest pin

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Sarah is known for her extra fancy yeast breads, melt in your mouth pies, and everything salads. She has won awards as a home cook, and is passionate about helping others feel smarter in the kitchen. Sarah is the cooking genius of the sister duo.

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