You're gonna want to write this down…

You say potato, I say salt potato

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I was born and raised in Syracuse, New York, and growing up, my ma often made a side dish called “salt potatoes.” After moving to California, I had no idea that salt potatoes hadn’t made it all the way to the west coast…. no one out here knows what the hell I’m talking about. Even the BF, who grew up in southern New York, had never heard of salt potatoes.

How sad.

Well it looks like I have a perfect opportunity to introduce you to something so simple and amazing, you’ll wonder what the hell you’ve been doing without them this whole time. And then you’ll give me hugs for making your world just a little bit tastier.

Syracuse once had a booming salt industry (hence the nickname “The Salt City”) and rumor has it (according to the NY Times,) that workers would dump potatoes into boiling vats of super salty water to have for lunch.

So what, right? Oh how great Cathy, boiled potatoes. And I say how dare you! Boiled potatoes are water logged, gritty, sandy paste and bland mush. You have no idea how different and transformed salt potatoes become, just by the few slight differences in preparation.

First, the water in which you use to boil the potatoes is incredible salty; this salty water creates a magical, perfectly seasoned and creamy potato interior. Second, the outside of the potato is transformed: it is crusted in a dusting of sparkly salt, and is a vehicle for melted unsalted butter and tons of fresh chopped herbs.

In Syracuse, salt potatoes are sold in sacks, complete with the uncooked potatoes and a packet with the proper amount of salt. But anyone can make salt potatoes. All you need is small yellow (or white, or red) potatoes, kosher salt, and water.

Do NOT freak out when you see the amount of salt needed in this recipe. Ok? It is absolutely required.

  • 4lbs of small yellow/white/red potatoes
  • 1.5 cups of kosher salt
  • 8 cups of water
  • unsalted melted butter, or fresh herbs for topping
  1. Fill a pot with the 8 cups of water, and 1.5 cups of kosher salt and bring to a boil.
  2. Drop in your potatoes, and boil until tender (eh, this takes probably 15-20 mins)
  3. Drain water and top potatoes with melted butter and herbs

Go ahead and click on this.. check out the creamy inside-y parts of that potato.

See? So simple, and so delicious.

I do miss Syracuse, all the time… the salt potatoes, Wegmans grocery stores, and the NY State Fair. I make sure to go home at least once a year to visit with family and friends, and to cram-in all the ‘Cuse I possibly can, before having to come back to Cali.

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47 Notes

  1. Tamarah says:

    Thank you soooo much for posting this! I grew up in Ontario, Canada and would travel to Osceola with my grandparents for the Old Time Fiddlers (I was like 5). And every time we went, I CRAVED these potatoes! They are amazing! And yes, exponentially better than boiled spuds! But I never knew how to make them, and now I do! Once again, thanks!

  2. L. Pendragon says:

    Yes, NY salt potatoes are wonderful. One of the few great things from NY. (I grew up in Utica, myself.)

  3. Pam says:

    Since you only had 1.5lbs of potatoes, did you use a bit less than 3/4 c of salt and 4 c of water? These will be perfect tonight for our snowbound supper!:D

  4. Stephanie says:

    I lived in Liverpool outside of Syracuse for about 5 years in my teens. I remember these potatoes fondly. Thanks for the walk down memory lane.

  5. Christy says:

    I went to college in Syracuse and discovered these wonderful potatoes. I also moved to California after graduating, and was surprised at how regional this recipe is! No one else has heard of these wonderful gems! Thank you for taking me back to those wonderful 3 years in Syracuse. I really miss a lot about that place, these salt potatoes are one of them! (Dinosaur BBQ also).

  6. Carrie says:

    Wow, thank you so much for this! I went to grad school in Syracuse and had these amazing potatoes many times at a friend’s house, but haven’t been able to find them (or anyone who’s heard of them) since. I’ll have to make them.

    Mmmm. Salt.

  7. SunnyinSyracuse says:

    Salt potatoes kick all other potatoes’ butts every time! Yay for the Salt City 🙂

    • admin says:

      I miss the Cuse sooo much lately. It makes me sad 🙁 Hopefully I’ll be able to go home this Christmas. Then I’m gettin’ my Wegmans on! haha

  8. courtney says:

    My bff (^^@SunnyinSyracuse) turned me on to this recipe when she was rubbing it in my face she had salt potatoes for dinner. I went to SU, and now live Orange County and miss these summery delights like none other. Thanks for saving my summer!

  9. moog says:

    Wow! I was born and rised in Syracuse and I was shocked to learn upon moving to TX that not everyONE knew what these were! I’m now going to introduce Texans to a little piece of heaven known as salt potatoes!! Thanks for the article!

  10. Sandy says:

    Thanks for the recipe. Now I can share a part of my childhood with my family. This was a wonderful trip down memory lane of growing up in Marcellus.

  11. Michelle says:

    I am originally from Albany NY and moved to Syr in 2000. I never heard of salt potatoes til I moved and I was only 2 and 1/2 hours away. I am hooked on those potatoes!

  12. I, too, am a Syracuse native, have lived in CA for the past 35 years. Look forward to salt potatoes every time I go home to visit! Thanks for the “official” Syracuse recipe! Can’t wait to try these at home!

  13. Sandy says:

    THANK YOU!!! Lived in Rome NY back in 1984-1990, got stationed in Oklahoma then and boy do I miss these potatoes!! Im in PA now and even asked the produce dept. if they could try to order these. LOL They looked at me like I had lost my mind!! Got a bag of small potatoes tonight and salt and gonna make my own tomorrow!!

  14. Pepe says:

    Fourth of July today and I will be grilling steaks today and making salt potatoes. I grew up in Syracuse and have not had a salt potatoe in years! They just don’t do them on the west coast. I will try your recipe. Looking forward to them!

  15. Erika Hanson says:

    I had family in the Binghamton area, went to college in Rochester. I too miss Wegmans! My aunt used to make these, I’ll have to try. Thanks for the recipe!

  16. stefi fodor says:

    I also was raised in Syracuse, NY on the west side, the Park Ave and Genesee St. area. Yeah, I MISSSSS the fair salt potato with butter and a side of corn and clams. So delicious! Wegmans was my mom’s favorite and P&C. Is Burnett Park still the same? Anyway, thanks for the memories. Hope to visit Cuse real soon. Stefie

  17. Jeanette Allen says:

    Oh! Now I am Homesick!! My Husband and I were Missionaries in Upstate, NY. Newton Falls (about an hour S. of Lake Placid) Anyway, these were at all our church BBQ’s and Potlucks. I am making some tonight to introduce to some S.Oregonians at a Big Dinner for a Missionary who is home from Africa. Can’t Wait! But I miss New Youk now :'( Thank You for some great memories.

  18. Kati says:

    just wanted to say thanks…I to am from Syracuse, daughter still lives in Clay & I go back myself to visit and bring back to TN all I miss like salt potatoes..and down state NY is the on.y place you can get awesome hard rolls…got a get together on the 23rd of this month & thanks to you I will be introducing salt potatoes to them 🙂

  19. Melissa says:

    i was raised in Dolgeville NY a little town about 45 minutes from Utica and was raised on salt potatoes every summer we would have them with BBQ and when I grew up got married and moved to NC thanks to the military we lost our salt potatoes when I went home I made sure mom would make us some. Now I can make them all the time thanks for the recipe I always knew how to make them just didn’t have measurements and could never find the right size potatoes until recently

  20. Amy says:

    Grew up in Lafayette, home of the Apple Festival….Salt potatoes were the BEST! Miss them so much, I’m gonna make these for a BBQ tomorrow…only hope that someone GETS them…. Thank you for posting and for all the rest of you for sharing about Syracuse XOXO

  21. Tanya says:

    Hi! I grew up in Watertown, N.Y. and miss salt potatoes, too! I live in NC now… They’re not here, either! It must be a total upstate NY thing because my husband is from Long Island and had never tried them until I introduced them to him. I miss everything about up there! Thanks for sharing!

  22. Joyce Hamilton says:

    I’m from Georgia and I haven’t heard of salt potatoes. I plan to try this recipe tomorrow. Thanks for sharing it.

  23. Tammy says:

    Thank you my friend kept telling me about these. So I will make they for him the week. Sound good.

  24. Liz says:

    I am from Trumansburg and miss these so much. Making them for dinner tonight!

  25. Julia says:

    I grew up in Rochester and now live in the Cayman Islands. My mom used to make these every summer. So glad I stumbled upon this recipe! Thanks!

  26. Heather says:

    I grew up in Susky, PA but my mother grew up in Deposit, NY so I grew up eating these all the time. We’re now in Oklahoma and no one down here knows about them. Thanks for sharing the recipe! I love them.

  27. Wrenn says:

    My DH is also from the Syracuse area. He brought home small potatoes yesterday and went on and on about salt potatoes he remembered as a kid. SO I found your recipe on Pinterest. Thanks for sharing! We’ve been married over 30 years and he’s never mentioned them til yesterday. I guess we’re still learning new things about each other! He said he used to get them along with clams at fireman field days.

  28. Barb Potts says:

    From Buffalo N Y know what you mean about going home for all the good Western N Y food

  29. PAM REITH says:

    We also were born and raised in Syracuse NY and these are ONE of many things we miss. We have lived in Florida for over 20 years and people look at me like I have 7 heads when I say salt potatoes or Clam Bakes!!!! Great pin!!!! Good to know there are still salt potatoes lovers out there!!

  30. Linda Meredith says:

    These are really good. Thank you for the recipe.

  31. Shelly says:

    I too was born in Syracuse and grew up on salt potatoes! Most of my family now lives in the south and my aunt always complains about not having Wegmans!!! Thanks for this reminder – I’m going to make these tonight!

  32. Darlene says:

    Thank you for the recipe! I grew up in Malone and remember my mom making this. Didn’t know the ratio of salt and water. Glad you posted!

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  35. Kerri Todd says:

    I am from Watertown NY but live in Nashville TN now. I bought potatoes and salt yesterday so I can make these for my husband. He’d never heard of them! Was looking to see how much salt to use. Thank you for the recipe! I’ve not had these since the late 90’s!

  36. Christine says:

    I LOVE salt potatoes…I grew up in AUBURN N.Y & always had them as a kid…at home,cookouts fairs (NY state)/carnivals etc. I live on Cape Cod now & no one has ever heard of them, so i make my own version with baby boomer potatoes all the time & they are a huge hit! Thanks for the post!