Syracuse Salt Potatoes are not only quick and easy to prepare, but they're always a huge hit. They're the perfect side dish for any occasion, with a thin salt crust on the outside and a deliciously creamy texture on the inside.
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Don't be scared away by the amount of salt in this recipe. It looks like a lot, but because the potatoes aren't cut before boiling them, the salt stays on the outside and creates the most delicious, moist potatoes that are almost too good to be true! Sounds crazy, but this upstate New York specialty works.
Syracuse Salt Potatoes are the perfect side dish for any occasion, from busy weeknight dinners to dinner parties and special occasions. The perfect blend of salt and the natural flavor of new potatoes in this recipe creates a dish that's both elegant and homey. The potato skin has a crispy bite to it still with a salty crunch, while the insides are creamy and buttery.
For more versatile side dishes, check out my Green Beans with Bacon and Pine Nuts, Heirloom Tomato Salad with Burrata, Creamy Pea Salad with Bacon, Bacon Wrapped Asparagus, and these Garlic Mushrooms!
Why does this recipe work? It's science.
Even though the amount of salt required for this recipe is a lot, the potatoes won't actually taste too salty. The real reason for all that salt is that when extra-salty water boils, it actually raises the boiling point of the water by about 15-20°F.
This cooking method, with high heat and copious amounts of salt, creates a thin salt crust on the outside while ensuring the inside is soft and creamy. Cooking the potatoes at that higher boiling point results in a super creamy texture inside the potatoes.
The salt won't actually penetrate the skin of the potatoes very far, but it will develop a wonderful salty crust on the outside of the potatoes at the end. And unlike baked or roasted potatoes, boiled salt potatoes don't lose moisture in the oven while they cook.
Why We Love This Recipe
- Use your favorite kind of herbs or spices mixed with melted butter to dip the potatoes in for serving.
- Made with very simple ingredients, this potato recipe is versatile, pairing well with almost any main dish!
- With a total cooking time of under 20 minutes and a few more for resting, you can have this dish ready in no time.
What You'll Need
Scroll down to the recipe card below this post for ingredient quantities and full instructions.
- Small New Potatoes - Poppable, bite-size mini gold potatoes are a great choice for this dish. You can use baby red potatoes, but they aren't traditional in Syracuse.
- Fine Salt - The star of this dish, giving it the iconic salty crust on the outside of the potato. While the recipe calls for fine salt, sea salt or kosher salt can be used as alternatives. However, you might need to adjust the amount as grain sizes differ. Our rule of thumb is to add 1½ cups of fine salt (regular table salt is just fine) to 1 quart of water.
- Water - For boiling the potatoes. Always ensure there's enough water in the pot so the potatoes are fully submerged.
- Butter - Adds a rich, buttery complement to the salty potatoes for a dipping option. For a healthier option or for those with dairy restrictions, olive oil or melted ghee can be used.
- Garlic - If you're a garlic lover, adding minced garlic to the melted butter elevates the dish with an aromatic punch.
- Finely Chopped Parsley or Chives - Fresh herbs always bring a dish to life. Parsley or chives not only add color but also a fresh, herbaceous flavor to complement the potatoes.
How to Make This Recipe
- Prepare potatoes. Wash the potatoes and set them aside. Do not peel, poke, or cut the potatoes, or they will absorb too much of the salt and not cook properly. Add salt to a large pot of water. Stir until the salt is fully dissolved. Place potatoes in the bottom of the pot.
- Boil potatoes. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat and simmer until the potatoes are fork-tender but firm, this will take about 15 minutes. Drain the potatoes, but do not rinse them, then immediately cover the pot with a lid. Let the potatoes sit for 10 minutes to allow the salt crust to form.
- Add melted herby butter and serve. Combine melted butter and optional garlic and parsley or chives to serve with the potatoes for dipping (the traditional way), or just drizzle it over the tops of the potatoes before serving.
Using unpeeled potatoes ensures that the potatoes do not absorb too much salt during boiling, which maintains their creamy interior texture.
If you make these salted potatoes and they taste just like regular boiled potatoes with salt and a salty crust that doesn't form on the outside, chances are your salt-to-water ratio is off.
While traditional methods use a regular pot, you can make them in an instant pot, though I haven't personally tried this before. Be mindful that the salty crust formation might vary if you make them this way, so always keep an eye on them to avoid overcooking.
Place your cooled, leftover salt potatoes in an airtight container to ensure they remain fresh. Properly stored, these potatoes can last in the refrigerator for up to 4–5 days. Keeping them sealed protects them from absorbing the odors of other foods in your fridge and maintains their unique flavor.
Absolutely! Reheat them in the microwave, on a skillet, or until warmed through. If you have leftover salt potatoes, they can make amazing home fries if they are sliced and fried in a little butter for breakfast or you can use them to make a potato salad!
Tips for Success
- The size of the potatoes matters. Other types of potatoes will work for this recipe, but small or mini potatoes are best. Large potatoes will be too big to cook like this, and if whole potatoes are sliced, the salting method won't work.
- Simmer the potatoes. The potatoes should not be cooked at a rolling boil for the whole of the cook time. A more gentle simmer is what really helps develop their signature texture.
- Let them sit. The resting period allows the salty crust to form, which is a signature feature of these potatoes. Skipping this step might leave you with less-than-perfect results.
Substitutions and Variations
- Other fresh herbs like dill, thyme, or chives can be used in the melted butter, or you can opt for dried herbs if fresh ones are not available.
- Garlic powder can be used for convenience if you want garlic butter, or you can skip it altogether for a simpler taste.
- Unsalted butter works fine, and you can add a pinch of salt to it when melted if desired. For a dairy-free option, use melted ghee or olive oil.
More Potato Recipes
- Homemade French Fries
- Duchess Potatoes
- Creamed Peas and Potatoes
- The BEST Mashed Potatoes
- Baked Greek Fries
Did you make this recipe?
Let me know what you thought with a comment and rating below. You can also take a picture and tag me on Instagram @houseofnasheats or share it on the Pinterest pin so I can see.
Syracuse Salt Potatoes Recipe
- 4 pounds new potatoes (bite-size mini Yukon gold potatoes are best)
- 1 ½ cups fine salt (1 pound)
- 1 quart water (4 cups)
- 8 Tablespoons salted butter, melted (for serving)
- 1-2 cloves garlic, minced (optional)
- Finely chopped parsley or chives (optional)
- Wash potatoes and set aside. Do not peel, poke, or cut the potatoes or they will absorb too much of the salt and not cook properly.
- Add water and salt to a large pot. Stir until the salt is fully dissolved. Add potatoes.
- Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat and simmer until the potatoes are fork tender but firm, about 15 minutes. Drain, but do not rinse, then immediately cover the pot with a lid. Let the potatoes sit for 10 minutes to allow the salt crust to form.
- Combine melted butter and optional garlic and parsley or chives to serve with the potatoes for dipping (the traditional way) or just drizzle it over the tops of the potatoes before serving.
- Storage: Keep any uneaten salt potatoes in an airtight container in the fridge for 4-5 days.