What is a Salt Potato?

The origin of salt potatoes can be traced to the 19th century in the Syracuse, NY area where Irish immigrants working in salt mines prepared the dish on their lunch break. Throughout the Onondaga Lake region, miners would boil small, unpeeled potatoes in salinated brine that was mined from salt springs.

In the cooking process, the salty water forms a crust on the potato’s skin and seals it which helps to prevent salt potatoes from tasting waterlogged as ordinary boiled potatoes sometimes do. As a result, salt potatoes have a unique texture that is similar to that of a baked potato.

In the decades following their inception, salt potatoes became a regional dish of Central New York and – in more recent years – they are typically served in the summer when young potatoes are first harvested. Salt potatoes are currently a staple food at fairs and barbecues throughout the Central New York region.