Potatoes are a staple food for many people around the world. The russet potato, with its brown, netted skin and white flesh, is one of the most popular varieties. When cooking with potatoes, it’s helpful to know how many you’ll need per pound to have the right amount for recipes. So how many large russet potatoes are in a pound? Let’s take a closer look.
Counting Potatoes Per Pound
The number of potatoes per pound depends on the size and variety. Russet potatoes, even when categorized as “large,” can have quite a range when it comes to individual sizes. Here are some general guidelines for large russets:
- Smaller large russets (6-8 oz): About 3 potatoes per pound
- Average large russets (8-10 oz): Around 2 potatoes per pound
- Larger large russets (10-12 oz): Approximately 1-2 potatoes per pound
So in most cases, you can expect 2-3 large russet potatoes in a one pound bag. But potato sizes can fluctuate quite a bit. To get a more precise count, you’ll need to weigh and count out the potatoes yourself.
Factors That Affect Weight
Why so much variation in the number of potatoes per pound? There are a few key factors that affect the weight of individual potatoes:
Quite simply, the larger each individual potato, the fewer potatoes you’ll get per pound. Large russets can range from 6 ounces on the small side to 12 ounces or more for truly huge spuds. If each potato is close to a pound itself, you may only get 1 or possibly 2 in a pound.
The moisture content of potatoes can vary, accounting for differences in weight. Waxier, drier potatoes will be lighter than very starchy, moist potatoes.
Growing conditions like weather, soil quality, and the amount of space each plant has to grow can influence the size and moisture content of potatoes. Ideal growing conditions typically produce larger, heavier potatoes.
Potatoes lose moisture over time after harvest. The longer potatoes are stored before sale and use, the more moisture they’ll lose and the lighter they’ll become. Newly harvested potatoes weigh more than those that have been stored for months.
Weighing Potatoes for Accuracy
To get the most accurate count of potatoes per pound, you’ll need to weigh them yourself. Here are some tips:
- Select potatoes as uniformly sized as possible.
- Weigh each whole, unpeeled potato on a kitchen scale.
- Calculate the average weight of your sample.
- Divide 1 pound (16 ounces) by the average weight.
For example, let’s say you weigh 5 large russets and get the following:
|Potato #||Weight (ounces)|
The average weight of these 5 potatoes is 9.2 ounces. Dividing 16 ounces by 9.2 ounces gives you approximately 1.7 potatoes per pound. So for these potatoes, you’d get about 1-2 in each pound.
Weighing is the best way to be sure, since potato sizes vary so much. It takes a bit more time but gives you the most accurate number.
Estimating Based on Hand Size
If you don’t have a scale, you can make a rough estimate using your hand size. Hold the potato in your dominant hand and guess whether it would weigh more or less than your closed fist. The average clenched fist is around 1/2 pound.
Use that approximation to guesstimate how many potatoes look like they’d add up to a pound. This method isn’t extremely precise but can give you a ballpark idea.
Common Uses for Large Russets
Once you know how many large russets you need per pound, you can start putting them to use in recipes. Here are some of the most popular ways to use large russet potatoes:
Russets are perfect for baking whole with a crispy skin and fluffy interior. Allow 1 medium to large russet per person.
Larger russets make smooth, creamy mashed potatoes. Plan on 1/2 pound per person for a side dish.
Dice russets into 1/2 to 1 inch pieces to make fried or roasted home fries. Figure 1/2 pound per person.
Grate russets or shred them into long pieces to make delicious pan fried hash browns. 1 medium russet makes 2-3 servings.
Dice russets into 1/2 inch cubes for potato salad. Allow 1/2 to 1 pound per 3-4 servings.
Cut larger russets into thick fries. 1/2 pound makes 2-3 side servings.
Cut into 1-inch chunks and roast with oil, herbs, and garlic. Figure 1 pound for 4 side servings.
Soups and Stews
Add diced russet potatoes to soups, stews, and chilies. Plan on 4-6 ounces per person.
Storing Large Russet Potatoes
To maximize freshness and shelf life, store large russets properly:
- Keep potatoes in a cool (45-55°F), dark place. Avoid exposure to light.
- Store in a well-ventilated container, not sealed in plastic.
- Don’t wash potatoes before storage.
- Use within 2-3 weeks for best quality.
With proper storage, russets will stay fresh for everyday use for 2-3 weeks or longer.
Buying Large Russets
When purchasing large russet potatoes:
- Choose potatoes that feel firm and smooth.
- Avoid potatoes with cuts, bruises, or green spots.
- Pick potatoes of similar size for even cooking.
- Buy only what you think you’ll use within a couple weeks.
Inspect potatoes and pick out any that are sprouting or show signs of decay. These can cause the rest of the batch to spoil faster.
Freezing Cooked Potatoes
You can prep and freeze potatoes for later use:
- Cook potatoes until just fork tender.
- Chill cooked potatoes completely in fridge.
- Portion potatoes into freezer bags or containers.
- Remove as much air as possible and seal.
- Freeze for up to 10-12 months.
To use frozen potatoes, thaw in the refrigerator overnight and reheat gently on the stove or in the oven.
Home canned potatoes can be stored at room temperature for over a year. To can:
- Prepare potatoes – boil, steam, or pressure cook until partly tender.
- Pack hot potatoes into sterilized jars, leaving 1 inch of headspace.
- Cover with boiling water, broth, or sauce, leaving 1 inch of headspace.
- Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace.
- Wipe jar rims clean and seal lids.
- Process pint or quart jars in a water bath canner for 35-90 minutes based on altitude.
Once cooled, label jars and store in a cool, dry place. Canned russets will keep 12 months or longer.
Dehydrating is another way to preserve potatoes long-term. To dry:
- Wash, peel and cut potatoes into thin 1/8-inch slices.
- Blanch slices for 6-10 minutes until pliable but not fully cooked.
- Drain, cool, and pat dry.
- Arrange in a single layer on dehydrator trays.
- Dehydrate at 140°F for 6-10 hours until crisp.
- Cool, package in airtight bags or jars, and store in a cool place.
Dried potato slices will keep for 4-6 months. Rehydrate before using in recipes.
When cooking with russet potatoes, you can expect an average of 2-3 large potatoes per pound. But potato sizes vary quite a bit, so weighing them yourself yields the most accurate count. Store potatoes properly in a cool, dark place and use within 2-3 weeks for best freshness. Beyond that, freezing, canning, and dehydrating let you preserve potatoes to have them on hand anytime.