Early, or new potatoes are fast and easy to grow. Dug fresh from the garden, they're a melt-in-the-mouth delight that taste so much better than shop bought ones.


They also require much less space to grow than later varieties, so are ideal for small gardens. Try growing in the ground, in large containers or potato growing bags.

January is the time to buy seed potatoes, but with so many varieties out there, it's worth knowing which ones have the best flavour and biggest harvests.

To help you decide, we grew and taste-tested 12 varieties. We chose mix of old and new varieties that are readily available and have reasonable pest and disease resistance. Most varieties hold the RHS Award of Garden Merit (AGM).

Discover the best new potatoes to grow and eat, below.

Advice for buying potatoes

  • Potatoes are available from a range of garden centres and nurseries, with many offering online sales. If you're a member of an allotment association, you may be able to buy potatoes direct from the 'allotment shop' at a reduced price
  • Check the seed potatoes thoroughly when they arrive/before you buy. Make sure they're firm and avoid any with very long roots or any with signs of mould

Where to buy seed new potatoes online

Growing method

We planted five tubers of each variety. Seed potatoes were set to 'chit' or sprout, placed with 'eyes' at the top in egg boxes, indoors on a cool windowsill at the end of February, to start the growing process.

The tubers were planted in the ground in late March. Harvesting was done on on the first of July. Our tips for growing great new potatoes are shown at the bottom of the page.

Chitting potatoes
Potatoes placed eyes up in egg boxes for chitting

1st choice: 'Vivaldi' AGM

High yield of good-sized evenly shaped tubers and the favourite with our tasters, who loved the texture and flavour. Also the winner of our jacket potato trial in 2014, so a great all-rounder.

Type Second early

Yield 6.1kg

Potato 'Vivaldi'

2: 'Accent' AGM

Second for taste and the waxiest with nice texture and good flavour. A heavy yield of attractive pale yellow tubers that included some very large potatoes.

Type First early

Yield 6.9kg

Potato 'Accent'

3: 'Charlotte' AGM

A high yield of potatoes with long, smooth tubers and yellow skin. Has a good waxy texture, though our testers felt it was let down by flavour, which wasn't strong enough.

Type Second early

Yield 6.5kg

'Charlotte' potatoes

4: 'Jazzy' AGM

A new variety, this produced a middling yield by weight, with a large quantity of small tubers. Came third for taste with a good flavour, nice waxy texture and very well-flavoured skin.

Type Second early

Yield 4.6kg

'Jazzy' potatoes

5: 'Casablanca' AGM

Although by far the highest yield, including a good proportion of large, round, white tubers, our tasters rated it second from last with a bland flavour and fluffy texture. There was a little slug damage.

Type First early

Yield 7.6kg

'Casablanca' potatoes

6: 'Lady Christl' AGM

A middling yield with a mixture of large and small tubers: attractive looking, smooth and oval in shape, with yellow flesh. A nice flavour and good, firm texture, but more prone to slug damage than most.

Type First early

Yield 4.6kg

Lady Christl
'Lady Christl' potatoes

7: 'Winston' AGM

An excellent crop of extremely large tubers with an attractive creamy white colour. Bottom for the taste test though, dissolving in the mouth and with a bland flavour.

Type First early

Yield 6kg

Potato 'Winston'

8: 'International Kidney'

This is the variety sold as 'Jersey Royals' in the shops. Handsome, yellow tubers with thin skins, though a bit too fluffy and bland when it came to taste. More prone to slugs than most.

Type Second early/early maincrop

Yield 4.6kg

International Kidney
Potato 'International Kidney'

9: 'Red Duke of York' AGM

A great looker with red skin, yielding good-sized tubers although with thicker skins than most. Fluffy texture, with nice buttery flavour, and our testers thought they'd be good for mashing.

Type First early

Yield 3.8kg

Red Duke of York
'Red Duke of York' potatoes

10: 'Sharpe's Express'

An older variety giving a lower yield of moderately-sized white tubers. Just average for flavour and our tasters disliked the thick skins.

Type First early

Yield 3kg

Sharpe's Express
Potato 'Sharpe's Express'

11: 'Epicure'

Not popular for taste; thought to be really fluffy and flavourless. The tubers were on the small size with some slug damage, and plants were showing signs of blight, too.

Type First early

Yield 3.7kg

'Epicure' potatoes

12: 'Vales Emerald' AGM

This was the first variety to show signs of blight both on foliage and tubers, which contributed to the low yield. Moderate for taste: reminiscent of a jacket potato with a buttery flavour.

Type First early


Yield 2.1kg

Vales Emerald
'Vales Emerald' potatoes

Avoiding potato blight

To avoid potato blight, try growing blight-resistant new potatoes like 'Desiree', 'Rocket' and 'Orla'.
Wooden garden trug
Lifting new potatoes
Lifting new potatoes

Tip for growing great earlies

  • Choose a sunny site, ideally sheltered, with well-drained, fertile soil. For the best yields, dig during autumn/winter, adding well-rotted compost or manure. Alternatively, when planting new potatoes, dig a trench and put garden compost into the base
  • Incorporate a specified potato fertiliser before planting
  • Buy your seed potatoes from a reputable source
  • Chit potatoes for an earlier crop. Potatoes are frost tender, so can't be planted too early
  • Plant 15cm deep. Optimum spacing is 30cm, with 45cm between rows, but closer spacing still gives decent yields
  • Use a rake or hoe to draw up the soil around newly developing shoots into a ridge along the length of the row. This is called 'earthing up' and increases yield. Need a new hoe? Check out our guide to the ten of the best garden hoes.
  • Keep some fleece to hand to cover the crop if frost threatens
  • Water thoroughly once or twice a week during dry spells
  • Start harvesting when the first flowers open. Eat when fresh; early potatoes don't store very well