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Instant Pot Salt Potatoes from Syracuse/Upstate, New York

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Instant Pot Salt Potatoes are a huge cultural summer staple in Syracuse, New York. The “recipe” is literally just potatoes boiled in salt water! These salt potatoes are soo creamy, smooth, and perfectly salty.

a bowl of salt potatoes in a dark blue bowl

What are salt potatoes?

Salt potatoes are, literally, potatoes boiled in salt water. The tradition hails from Syracuse, New York—a place that’s apparently the mecca of salt springs and production.

Back in the day, workers at the Irish Salt Spring (how cute would that job description be on your LinkedIn profile?!) would bring a bag of small potatoes to work and boil them in the spring.

Since then, these salty potatoes have become woven into the culture of upstate New York.

I posted about making salt potatoes on Instagram this weekend, and so many amazing New Yorkers messaged me with tons of enthusiasm about them!

They were so nice! I had multiple people offer to send me a bag of the correct potatoes and salt. They sell them packaged together in Syracuse!

What do Instant Pot Salt Potatoes taste like?

Here’s what the internet expert (Wikipedia) has to say about that:

As the potatoes cook, the salty water forms a crust on the skin and seals the potatoes so they never taste waterlogged, as ordinary boiled potatoes often do. The potatoes have a unique texture closer to fluffy baked potatoes, only creamier.

ingredients for salt potatoes- baby potatoes and a jar of salt with a green towel

Are salt potatoes too salty?

I was worried about the potatoes being toooo salty, but they turned out exactly how wiki said they would. The potatoes were not waterlogged, and instead, they were super creamy.

The skin kind of “popped” when I bit into them, and as they dried, they formed a perfectly salty little dusting on the outside. Not too salty at all!

The salt doesn’t get absorbed into the potatoes. They just magically create the perfect salt bath to flavor and tenderize the potatoes, which makes them irresistible! Don’t worry- you won’t be ingesting a cup of salt!

How to make Instant pot salt potatoes

When designing this recipe, I looked up authentic, traditional cooking methods for salt potatoes. Most suggested boiling potatoes for 30ish minutes with one pound of salt per every four pounds of potatoes.

WOW that’s a lot of salt!

I used a bag of gourmet mini potatoes I found at Costco. They were super tiny and ranged in size from a bouncy ball to a fingerling potato.

Instant Pot Salt Potatoes from Syracuse NY
“Delectable Delights Gourmet Fresh Medley Potatoes” from Costco

First, I set the Instant Pot to High Saute with a couple of cups of water and the salt. I only put a little bit of water in to help dissolve the salt before adding the rest of the water. If you’re in a hurry, you can skip this step with good results. Don’t stress about it.

The first time, I used 1/4 cup salt (because 1 cup felt like a LOT), but I thought they weren’t quite flavorful enough. The next time, I used a full cup of salt and preferred the taste and texture much more.

I’ve since experimented with different amounts of salt and find that a minimum of 1/2 cup of salt works best.

What Salt to use for instant Pot salt potatoes

I used the cheap, fine grain salt so it would dissolve quickly. Don’t use your expensive pink Himalayan sea salt for this one! (Use that in my Kalua Pork recipe!). You may also use kosher salt.

redmond real salt in a salt cellar

REdmond Real Salt

My absolute favorite salt on planet earth is Redmond Real Salt. I know it sounds insane that you can be a salt snob, but I have become… a salt snob.

Redmond Real Salt comes from ancient salt mines locally here in Utah, and the salt is truly superior to any other salt I’ve ever had! It includes natural minerals and has a cult following. You can use my link above and the code IPCOOKING for a discount!

I purchase my salt in a 25lb bag, so I use it for my salt potato cooking water. However, if you only have a smaller container, I would honestly recommend using your cheap table salt and then use the Redmond salt as the finishing salt after you add the butter.

I used "Delectable Delights Gourmet Fresh Medley Potatoes for my Instant Pot Salt Potatoes in my steamer basket

Salt Potatoes in Steamer Basket

I poured the potatoes into my steamer basket and washed them right in the basket. Then, I placed the basket in the Instant Pot and added enough water to cover. This allows me to quickly and carefully drain the potatoes much easier.

The second time, I measured 12 cups total (with the water that was already in the bottom). The amount will vary depending on how many potatoes you have.

an Instant Pot with a steamer basket full of potatoes with water flowing into the pot

I cooked them on manual high pressure for 5 minutes with a 10 minutes natural pressure release. Then, I lifted the steamer basket right out and set it on a plate to drip.

While experimenting with times, I previously recommended a 5 minute cook time with a quick release. I actually think that adding a bit of a natural pressure release adds a little more tenderness to the potatoes.

Please keep in mind that this time was for tiny, almost bite-sized potatoes. If yours are bigger, please add time accordingly!

These cute little potatoes are so pretty! I served them drizzled with melted butter and sprinkled with fresh parsley and additional kosher salt or Redmond real salt. You could also use a seasoned salt for some variety.

How to make Instant Pot Salt Potatoes without a Steamer Basket

If you don’t have a steamer basket, you can just put the potatoes straight in the liner with the water and salt. You’ll need less water to cover the potatoes but you should use the same amount of salt.

salt potatoes in a blue bowl while a white spoon drizzles butter on top

What to serve with Instant Pot Salt Potatoes

These potatoes were soooo creamy and fun to eat. I just popped them into my mouth — even my baby loved them! The recommended way to serve Instant Pot salt potatoes is to drizzle them with melted butter and a dash of a lovely finishing salt.

I suggest serving them with any main protein for dinners like steak or my BBQ Instant Pot Ribs, or on a charcuterie board/fondue plate!

If you like this recipe, you’ll love my super simple Chicken Drumstick recipe! Dinner will be on the table in less than 30 minutes!

You can serve these in place of any other potato dish (like mashed potatoes or potatoes au gratin).

Creamy, salty, smooth Instant Pot Salt Potatoes

Air Fryer Salt Potatoes

These salt potatoes would be perfect for Valentines dinner, Easter brunch, or Sunday dinner.

I crisped some up in my Air Fryer (400 for 2-4 minutes, shaking between) and served them as home fries with a veggie omelette for breakfast. SO good.

I don’t think these would be great mashed or cut into a soup because there would be a LOT of skin. I hope you’ll try these out! They were really yummy, and the easiest potato side dish.

Don’t Forget to Pin this Post!

Graphic of Salt Potatoes an Upstate New York Classic with one picture of salt potatoes

About Lisa

Lisa childs holding an instant pot lid with a mickey instant pot

Lisa Childs is the food blogger behind Tried, Tested, and True. Join the hundreds of thousands of people each month that learn from Lisa-

Subscribe to her website, follow her on Instagram at @tried_tested_true, follow her on Pinterest, and find her on Youtube at Tried Tested and True. She is passionate about giving home cooks confidence using their Instant Pots. Make sure to sign up for our email newsletter to hear from personally from her weekly! Learn more about Lisa.

salt potatoes in a blue bowl while a white spoon drizzles butter on top

Instant Pot Salt Potatoes from Syracuse, New York

Yield: 6
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes

Small, creamy, salty potatoes that are native to Syracuse, New York. This is the easiest potato side dish ever! 

Ingredients

  • 2.5 pounds mini potatoes
  • 1 cup fine grain salt
  • ~12–15 cups water to cover potatoes
  • 1/2 cup butter or olive oil
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • Fresh parsley to taste
  • Pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Place the potatoes into a steamer basket or colander and wash/rinse.
  2. Place the basket into the Instant Pot liner and add the salt and enough water to cover the potatoes. Alternatively, wash the potatoes in a colander and pour them into the Instant Pot liner.
  3. Lock the lid, turn the knob to sealing, and cook on manual high pressure for 5 minutes, adding more time for potatoes larger than bite-sized. Allow a 10 minute natural pressure release, then release the rest of the pressure by turning the knob from sealing to venting (if the pin has not already dropped).
  4. Open the lid. Using a heat proof mit, carefully lift the steamer basket out of the water and drip dry for about 2-5 minutes. Alternatively, carefully drain the water and potatoes into a colander.
  5. Pour the potatoes into a serving bowl and drizzle with melted butter (or olive oil for dairy free).
  6. Sprinkle with additional kosher salt and fresh chopped parsley for a beautiful presentation!

Notes

An earlier version of this recipe used to recommend a 5 minute pressure cooking time with a quick release. I have since updated my recommendation to add an additional 10 minute natural pressure release. This helps to tenderize and potatoes even more, resulting in an ultra creamy consistency. In a pinch, you can definitely do the 5 minutes with a quick release and still get great results; however, if you have the time, I do recommend the natural pressure release.

My favorite salt to use is Redmond Real Salt—once you use it, you'll never be able to go back to table salt! Use my code IPCOOKING for a discount!

I used "Delectable Delights Gourmet Fresh Medley Potatoes" for my mini potatoes purchased at Costco, but any mini potato medley will work great.

Many have asked me if they can re-use or repurpose the cooking water after pressure cooking. I do not recommend you re-use this water because the water will be dirty and may even have some scum from the potatoes after cooking. If you're worried about the cost, I recommend you buy a pound of salt at a dollar store or grocery store. The cost is usually a dollar or less for the salt.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1 grams
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 359Total Fat: 18gSaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 41mgSodium: 19060mgCarbohydrates: 46gFiber: 5gSugar: 3gProtein: 6g

*The sodium in these nutritional facts is not reflective of the amount of salt that is actually ingested in the potatoes. It instead calculates the total amount of salt used in the recipe as if you would drink all of the cooking water. It is not possible to calculate how much salt is actually absorbed by the potatoes during pressure cooking, but you will find that the potatoes do not have an overly salty flavor. The salt creates a very subtle "skin" around the potatoes.

Did you make this recipe?

Tag me @tried_tested_true on Instagram!

Cami

Saturday 16th of April 2022

Looking forward to trying these! Is it possible to double the recipe?

Vivian

Tuesday 12th of April 2022

I'm a salt snob, too! Redmond Real Salt is my favorite. Yeah, it does sound weird to actually type that out, but I can taste a difference. Anyway, I am definitely going to make these potatoes for Easter Brunch. Thanks!

Amy Daniels

Thursday 17th of March 2022

The video shows adding salt on top of the potatoes then hot water. But the recipe says to dissolve the salt on water on sauté mode before adding potatoes. Which is it?!?

Lisa Childs

Monday 21st of March 2022

Hi Amy, you can honestly do either! The directions in the recipe just ensure the salt dissolves all the way. I was being lazy when I recorded that video you're referring to and it will work either way!

Lisa Childs

Tuesday 5th of May 2020

As long as the ratio is the same and the potatoes are completely covered, then you can adjust as necessary! I only did a handful of potatoes for my family for easter and I used about a quarter of the water and salt. They just need to be covered!

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