The following is a list of the 18 maha-puranas along with the important subjects contained in each purana.
Puranas with Lord Vishnu as the Predominating Deity (Sattva Guna):
1) Vishnu Purana – 23,000 verses.
Stories of various devotees; a description of varnasrama; the six angas of the Veda; a description of the age of Kali; description of Sveta-Varaha Kalpa, Vishnu dharmotara.
2) Naradiya Purana – 25,000 verses.
This Purana contains a synopsis of everything; it describes Jagannatha Puri, Dwaraka, Badrinatha, etc.
3) Padma Purana – 55,000 verses.
Contains the glory of Srimad-Bhagavatam; the stories of Rama, Jagannatha, Matsya, Ekadasi, Bhrgu, etc.
4) Garuda Purana – 19,000 verses.
Subject of Bhagavad-gita; reincarnation; visnu-sahasra-nama; description of Tarsya Kalpa.
5) Varaha Purana – 24,000 verses.
Describes different vratas; Lord Vishnu’s glories.
6) Bhagavata Purana – 18,000 verses. (included by some in the mode of goodness)
Puranas with Lord Brahma as the Predominating Deity (Rajo Guna):
7) Brahmanda Purana – 12,000 verses.
Describes the vedangas; describes the Adi Kalpa.
8) Brahmavaivarta Purana – 18,000 verses.
Contains the glories and pastimes of Radha and Krishna.
9) Markandeya Purana – 9,000 verses.
Stories of Rama and Krishna.
10) Bhavisya Purana – 14,500 verses.
Contains the glories of devotional service; prediction of Lord Chaitanya.
11) Vamana Purana – 10,000 verses.
Contains the story of Lord Trivikrama.
12) Brahma Purana – 10,000 verses.
Puranas with Lord Shiva as the Predominating Deity (Tamo Guna):
13) Matsya Purana – 14,000 verses.
Temple construction; describes Vamana and Varaha Kalpas.
14) Kurma Purana – 17,000 verses.
Contains the conversation between Krishna and the Sun-god (mentioned in Bhagavad-gita); Danvantari; Describes the Lakshmi Kalpa.
15) Linga Purana – 10,000 verses.
Contains the glory of Lord Nrismhadeva; Janardhana; the story of Ambarisa; the glories of Gayatri.
16) Shiva Purana – 24,000 verses.
17) Skanda Purana – 81,000 verses.
18) Agni Purana – 15,400 verses.
Contains the description of Salagrama; Describes the Isana Kalpa.
All these Puranas describe five subjects. The Amarkhosa describes the Puranas as follows:
sargas ca pratisarga ca
vamsa manvantarani ca
vamsanu caritam capi
puranam panca laksanam
A Purana describes five subjects:
1) sarga (creation)
2) pratisarga (recreation)
3) vamsa (history of the sages)
4) manvantara (periods of Manu)
5) vamsanucarita (geneology of kings)