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Salt Potatoes

I was almost 20 before I realized that most of the world has no idea what  a salt potato is.

Salt Potatoes - The best potatoes you'll ever eat

Apparently it’s only a central New York thing. I was shocked. Never  had a salt potato? Didn’t know  what they were?

I’ve since made it a mission to share the buttery delight of salt potatoes with the world.

If you live in the central New York area (I’ve seen them in Syracuse and the Utica/Rome area but I’m sure the reach is greater than that) you can just buy a bag like this:


Depending on the store it’s $4-5 for a five pound bag. If you can get a bag like this I’m going to assume you know what salt potatoes are and you’re probably eating a bowl right now. If not, this is what you’d find inside one:

New Potatoes and Salt for Salt Potatoes

Small, white new potatoes and salt. The bag lists 4.5 pounds of potatoes and 12 oz of salt. We usually cook about half at a time for the two of us.

They don’t keep on the shelf long though, the potatoes will sprout within a few weeks if you let them sit so you want to cook them quickly.

Before you start clutching your pearls in distress over the amount of salt, you don’t actually end up eating much of it at all. The salt is what makes the potatoes so magical so don’t be stingy.

Salt Potato Ingredients:

  • White new potatoes, in the golf ball size range or a bit bigger scrubbed clean with DO NOT PEEL
  • Salt
  • Water
  • Butter

How to Make Salt Potatoes:

  1. Fill a big pot with water, leave room for bubbling and potatoes.
  2. Add lots of salt, about one cup per 6 cups of water. Bring to a boil.
  3. Add potatoes and boil for 20 minutes or until you can easily stab with a fork.
  4. Strain
  5. Serve hot with lots of butter

The Magic of Salt Potatoes

Why are these tiny lumps of heaven so good? The key is the salt.

It raises the boiling temperature of the water so the potatoes cook more completely breaking down more starch than with other methods.

And it forms a protective barrier around the potatoes so they don’t get waterlogged. The result is the creamiest potato you’ve ever eaten.

Salt potatoes are historically from the salt mines of Syracuse, NY. In the 1800’s the workers used to bring bags of potatoes to work and cook them in the salty brine.

They obviously had a good thing going and the practice of eating small potatoes boiled in super salty water caught on. Around here you’d be hard pressed to find any summer gathering without a giant bowl of them.

Do you have any local delicacies that the world need to know about? Share them in the comments, I’m always looking to try new things.

Check out my Recipe page for more ideas or start with these:

glass jar on a wooden table layered with strawberries, whipped cream, lemon pound cake and blueberries topped with fresh blueberries and a strawberry
taco dip on a frito, taco dip in a white bowl on a stone tile with fritos

Tim Smith

Saturday 8th of February 2020

Had a coworker from Upstate NY tell me about these and brought some back from NY and let me try them. My goodness they are good. Wish someone would ship a bag or 12....


Thursday 16th of July 2015

I've never heard of salt potatoes before - I bet you can make some great things w/ these!


Wednesday 15th of July 2015

I have never heard of nor have I ever (obviously) had these. It looks as if it would be simple enough to make with just regular small white potatoes not in a special bag. I must try them soon. I LOVE creamy potatoes.


Wednesday 15th of July 2015

I love post with cooking tips, since i don't like to cook . These type of post motivated me and I have to say I love potato!


Wednesday 15th of July 2015

I recently heard someone talking about these, but I've never heard of them before either! I love potatoes so I'm sure I'd be a fan!