The Most Popular Potato Dishes From Around The World

Did you know that the humble potato was the first vegetable to grow in space? Yes, that's right. In addition to gracing all of us earthlings with its starchy texture and delightful versatility, the potato has also made its way to infinity and beyond.

It's no wonder the vegetable favorite has found itself outside the confines of our planet. Potatoes are necessary to create the dishes of many regions across the globe, from Idaho to Ireland. With rich historical ties, the spud dates all the way back to approximately 8,000 years ago upon its debut harvests in Peru. As the Spanish colonists realized just how revolutionary the potato would be to their cuisine, they brought it back with them where the vegetable gained much notoriety throughout many other corners of the globe.

In our modern day, the potato wears many hats; sometimes it is bagged and flavored with sea salt and vinegar, and other times it can be found puréed into a smooth and silky consistency. Whether you prefer to consume your potato as a snack, side dish, or as the dazzling main event, you'll find that the starchy vegetable partakes in an exciting costume change as you travel from country to country. Here are some of the most popular potato dishes that can be found in various walks of life.

Ireland - Boxty

There is an old Irish rhyme that shows just how important boxty is to the region's cuisine. It goes like this:

"Boxty on the griddle, boxty on the pan; if you can't make boxty, you'll never get a man." 

If you want to make yourself a crispy starchy treat, (or in the olden days, get a man) the delicious potato patty is a simple yet delectable snack that is served for breakfast, lunch, and dinner alike. Thought to have originated from "arán bocht tí," Irish for "poor-house bread," boxty has much historical significance to Irish cuisine, and since the olden days has proven to be a staple in many households.

The potato pancake is made with cold russet mashed potatoes, grated potatoes, and a few baking essentials, all stirred together to make the fluffiest, most savory pancakes you'll ever try. And just as the rhyme goes, there are a few different options when it comes to cooking boxty. Many opt to pan-fry the snack, cutting it into pizza-like slices for serving.

Serve your boxty with sour cream, chives, bacon, a fried egg, or whatever you prefer. The great part about boxty is that it's a lot like bread — it serves as an excellent neutral medium designed to be topped with whatever you're craving.

Norway - Raspeballer

Norwegian for "shredded balls," raspeballer is a beautiful potato dumpling made from shredded potatoes and simmered for hours in broth until it is perfectly tender.

One interesting tidbit about the raspeballer dish is that, according to the general manager of Bergen restaurant Bryggeloftet & Stuene, raspeballer is typically eaten on Thursdays. This is perhaps because Thursday was once Bergen's liveliest day of the week — stores and restaurants remained open until later in the evening, attracting customers with the inexpensive and delicious dish.

Similar to a matzo ball, the potato dumpling serves as an excellent neutral base that is garnished with all sorts of toppings. Many choose to eat it with boiled veggies and meats, while others opt for toppings like brown sugar, lingonberries, and crumbled bacon. In other variations, it can even accompany a sauce made from Norway's beloved Brunost — a delightfully sweet and caramelly brown cheese that debuts in many traditional Norwegian dishes.

All in all, raspeballer is the epitome of comfort food. It's no surprise why the dish is so cherished in Norway — a long day of skiing in the frigid weather seems incomplete without a warmed dish of the revered potato dumplings.

Philippines - Camote Cue

While the Pinoy cuisine does not feature potatoes so much as yam, it is still worth mentioning the street food favorite that can be found throughout the Philippines, particularly during December, January, and February when the climate cools down and the potatoes find it suitable to grow.

But to make Camote Cue, you won't need a russet, nor a Yukon gold. The Filipino street food on a stick is made from the creamy sweet potato, providing the snack with all the confidence it needs to walk hand-in-hand with a coat of brown sugar.

Cut into rounds, skewered, caramelized, and served hot alongside a midday tea or coffee, the sweet snack acts as a carb-filled pick-me-up, contributing to a full belly and a few hours' worth of extra energy. Topped with whipped cream, toasted coconut, and other sweet treats, camote cue is one of the many Filipino street foods that are sure to brighten your palette with a refreshing and sweet potato snack.

Peru - Papa a la Huancaína

If you woke up feeling like a bright ray of sunshine, you may consider making this Peruvian favorite. Yellow from head to toe, Papa a la Huancaína is a dish featuring flattened yellow potatoes and topped with a spicy sauce made from the aji amarillo — the Peruvian yellow chile pepper — and served with a halved boiled egg and some olives. Papa a la huancaína is known for its all-around yellowness as well as its creamy texture and bold flavors.

And while the potato acts as the dish's steadfast base, the star of this meal is perhaps the spicy yellow sauce that helps to bring out all the good qualities of the spud. By blending the aji amarillo, some evaporated milk, vegetable oil, crackers (for a fun little crunch), salt, pepper, and a hint of queso fresco, you'll create a whole helping of sauce that makes papa a la huancaína so special to Peruvian cuisine.

Add all this to a plate of softened potato rounds and garnish with a boiled egg, parsley, and some olives.

Kenya - Irio

Irio, also referred to as mukimo, is an elevated version of your basic mashed potatoes. While the classic side dish is a favorite of many cultures, Kenyan cuisine really elevates this popular meal by quite a few notches.

As simple as just a few extra veggies, irio is made by infusing corn, peas, onions, carrots, and sometimes other unique additions like pumpkin leaves and watercress into a pot of boiling potatoes. Thick and chunky, these modest additions will make your mashed potatoes seem like the star of the show instead of a side dish that's meant to fortify the main course.

And while the added veggies supply the mashed potatoes with an exciting fresh flavor, the peas also pack a lot of color, making your dish significantly more exciting. Serve your irio alongside a hearty meat, or just heap spoonfuls of it into your mouth if you so choose.

Either way, the Kenyan take on mashed potatoes is a refreshing dish that all potato lovers should try, either alone or with a hearty plate of meat.

Switzerland - Rösti

If there's one thing you should know about the Swiss, it's that they love their potatoes — so much that it comprises their national dish. Rösti is a Swiss-German snack that serves as the trusty sidekick to a warm schnitzel or roast chicken.

Made by crisping a round of shaved potatoes, rösti is the close friend of the American hash brown. While they are quite similar, the major difference between the two dishes is that hash browns are shredded, soaked in a bath of cold water, dried and fried to perfection. Rösti, on the other hand, features grated raw potatoes cut into thin strips, fried, and often served into larger rounds. Another major difference is that rösti tends to have a fluffier middle underneath its crispy, crunchy exterior.

Mostly, though, the two dishes are quite similar — perhaps even siblings — as they both contain the same crunchy potato essence.

If you want to make your own, it's important to note that the size of your rösti will influence its crisp. If you want a fluffier dish, pack your shredded potatoes into a larger pan. If you're feeling crunchy, make smaller and skinnier rösti rounds that will resemble the taste and texture of potato chips.

USA - The Loaded Baked Potato

Loose meat, melty cheese, green onions, bacon, BBQ sauce piled high on a warm, velvety spud. It doesn't get much better than the good old-fashioned baked potato.

This delicacy is highly revered in the USA, particularly alongside a hearty plate of pulled meat. Many BBQ joints, particularly in Texas, will pile some of their best cuts atop a halved and baked russet. The juices of the meat melt flavorfully into the softness of the potato's flesh, creating the ultimate dinnertime experience.

While eating a classic baked potato garnished with its conventional toppings — sour cream, chives, cheddar cheese, bacon — is a must-try, it's also important to mention that baked potatoes are meant for experimentation. Try stuffing your baked russet with cream cheese and Everything But the Bagel seasoning. Maybe you're feeling potatoes meet pizza and want to smother your spud in marinara sauce, followed by sprinkles of mozzarella and your other favorite pizza toppings.

Whatever the case, this tasty dish is not to be overlooked. From BBQ to the choice side of a home-cooked meal, baked potatoes are quite the staple in American cuisine.

Nigeria - Sweet Potato Porridge

Despite its warm, less-than-ideal climate for growing spuds, Nigeria utilizes the potato in one of its meatless dishes: sweet potato porridge. While much of Nigeria's cuisine features meaty soups and stews, sweet potato porridge is a uniquely sweet vegetarian dish with a fresh aromatic veggie base.

A warm and comforting dish that brings joy to all who try it, sweet potato porridge is like a delightful hug inside of your stomach. The sweetness of the yams pairs nicely with the pungence of its veggies, making for a delightfully well-rounded dish.

Similar to plenty of other dishes of the region, sweet potato porridge is made by adding a tomato and pepper blend to a pot of sautéing veggies. After adding a few globs of ginger and garlic pastes, as well as a blend of spices and seasonings, it's time to incorporate the star of the show: the delicious sweet potato. Once the potatoes begin to crumble apart, they are mashed and served either alone or with a hearty protein such as chicken or fish.

Poland - Kopytka

Unlike the potato dumplings of other cuisines such as Norway, the Polish kopytka are quite small — almost gnocchi-like in appearance, yet pierogi-like in essence. They have a smooth and temperate flavor, and not to mention are quite small and cute.

Served as either a side or a main, kopytka are made from a rolled-out log of potato dough, boiled in water, then strained and plated — sort of like pasta.

Also similar to pasta, the star of the kopytka show is all about what goes on top. Try your dish with just about any meaty or creamy sauce that might pair well with pasta — or you can opt for the classic butter and breadcrumbs like a true Pole. Other classic renditions are kopytka with gravy, beef stew (gulasz), pan drippings, or perhaps melted butter and brown sugar.

There are plenty of ways one could enjoy the potato-based dish. The Polish favorite makes for an excellent family dinner, not to mention that it's nostalgic for all those who grew up eating the delectable little dumplings.

India & Pakistan - Aloo Tikki

A common theme we've noticed in the potato world is that many cultures like to eat them flattened and fried in patty or cake form. The same goes for this Pakistani Indian dish, which translates to "potato patty." It's a street food that Indian and Pakistan natives can't seem to have enough of.

Served with chutneys and yogurts of all sorts, aloo tikki is pan-fried until crispy and flaky perfection is achieved. This potato patty is quite versatile, as many regions have modified and upgraded the dish throughout the years. Some versions of the snack are thin, while others are stuffed to the brim with a green pea filling. In Northern India, you can find your aloo tikki served with warm chickpea gravy and topped with a helping of tamarind chutney and onions.

The process of making aloo tikki is quite simple. Like plenty of other potato-making journeys, it mostly consists of pan-frying a starchy dough. After adding coriander and chili powder diluted in ghee, flour, and bread crumbs are added to the mixture, where it is separated into balls, stuffed or flattened, then fried in oil.

With a flaky golden exterior, the favorite potato rendition of India and Pakistan makes for a great snack and chutney dip.

South Korea - Gamja Jorim

Imagine a side dish with the flavor of potatoes and the consistency of butter. That's the experience biting into the Korean braised potato gamja jorim will bring you. Full of buttery, salty potato, and soy goodness, gamja jorim is a lunchbox favorite. Its sweet, salty, and buttery notes will forever hold a special potato-shaped place in your palette.

The very definition of home-cooked comfort, gamja jorim is braised in a honey, soy, and garlic concoction until the sauce is reduced to a gooey consistency. It can stand alone or be served as a side dish along with your favorite meat. If you're feeling particularly adventurous, try making a potato-modified bibimbap with gamja jorim as your starchy base.

However you like your braised potatoes, the bite-sized Korean classic will never let you down. And if you've missed the call to dinner and your potatoes have chilled in the fridge, try eating them as a cold potato salad — we promise it's just as good.

Italy - Gnocchi

While the Italian "gnocchi" means "knot" or "lump" in English, its decadent flavor is quite a bit more elegant than its translated name. Similar to many potato dumplings of Italy's counter-cuisines, gnocchi is made from a boiled and peeled potato-based flour. Formed into a long snakelike tube, the dough is cut into bite-sized pieces and rolled on a board into its signature shape — featuring rows of lines and ridges that serve as a sauce adhesive.

Similar to pasta, gnocchi makes for an excellent culinary canvas that inspires sauce creativity. Try your gnocchi topped with a tomato and herbs, fresh basil pesto, a creamy alfredo, a meaty ground beef sauce, or even a concoction of brown butter and sage.

The little Italian dumpling is the potato cousin of traditional pasta — it sports all the same sauces and has a similar size and shape. The gnocchi's potato-inspired density, though, is what sets it apart.

Mexico - Empanadas de Papa

The joy of biting into a steaming empanada is unlike any other. Add potatoes and it becomes a little patty from heaven. Empanadas de papa is a popular dish eaten in plenty of Mexican households, and it's a great alternative for vegetarians who want to enjoy the snack alongside their meat-eating friends.

Made by kneading a blend of mashed potatoes and mozzarella cheese and placing the filling inside of an empanada shell, empanadas de papa are fried or baked until delightfully crispy. And while this dish is great as it is, many families prefer to eat empanadas paired with queso, chorizo, or any type of meat they have on hand.

The empanada is a dish that's meant for any occasion. Whether you're hosting a dinner party and want to impress your friends with your best rendition of empanadas de papa, or you're craving the comfort of a home-cooked meal, empanadas are an excellent means to achieve all your food-related dreams — especially when they involve the delicious potato.