Syracuse Salt Potatoes


Some Syracuse Salt Potatoes recipes call for three cups of salt, but we found that to be excessive. We reduced the salt content dramatically to create a potato recipe with a well-seasoned (not too salty) crust and ultra-creamy interior. Both kosher and non-iodized salt worked equally well. And small white or red potatoes, left whole and unpeeled, worked best in our Syracuse Salt Potatoes—if cut or peeled, the potatoes absorb too much salt. Adding chives and black pepper brought this dish to a new level.

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A little salt sure makes everything taste better. But in Salt City (Syracuse, N. Y.), the only way to cook potatoes is with a lot of salt.

Season 3: Northern Cookout

Season 3: Northern Cookout

Serves 6 to 8

You will need 1 1/4 cups of non-iodized table salt, 11/2 cups of Morton kosher salt, or 2 1/2 cups of Diamond Crystal kosher salt to equal 14 ounces.


*       8 cups water

*       14 ounces salt (see note)

*       3 pounds small red potatoes or small white potoates, scrubbed

*       8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces

*       2 tablespoons minced fresh chives

*       1 teaspoon pepper


*       1. Bring water to boil in Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Stir in salt and potatoes and cook until potatoes are just tender, 20 to 30 minutes. Drain potatoes and transfer to wire rack set over baking sheet. Let dry until salty crust forms, about 1 minute.

*       2. Meanwhile, microwave butter, chives, and pepper in medium bowl until melted, about 1 minute. Transfer potatoes to serving bowl and serve, passing butter at table.

Salt Magic


Just out of the salty water, the potatoes will look like any other boiled potato.


One minute after they’ve been drained, the characteristic salt crust will appear on the potato skins.


The high salinity means the cooking water gets hotter than normal, resulting in extra-creamy potato flesh.

Salt of the Earth (and Sea)

A variety of salts are available in supermarkets today: table, iodized, kosher, and sea salt. What’s the difference? Table and iodized salt (simply table salt with iodine added) have fine grains and contain anti-caking agents that help them flow freely. Kosher salt, so named because it is used in the koshering process, has larger crystals and typically contains no additives. Both table and kosher salts are considered “refined salts” because they are mined from rock salt deposits and then purified. Sea salt is harvested by evaporating seawater and therefore has a full, slightly mineral flavor. Though we use table salt in the vast majority of our recipes, the choice is a matter of preference—except when it comes to our Syracuse Salt Potatoes. While table, kosher, and sea salts all performed equally well in this recipe, we advise against using iodized salt as it gives the potatoes a noticeably chemical flavor.