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Syracuse Salt Potatoes in the Instant Pot

Salt potatoes are an Upstate Summertime staple, they are almost always served alongside a chicken BBQ, and are great to take to a picnic as a dish to pass, and are easy to prepare, especially in the Instant Pot! Not only do they cook cup faster, but the pressurized cooking results in a potato with an unbelievably creamy center. You’ll love making salt potatoes in your pressure cooker!

Overhead picture of salt potatoes in  a white bowl.

What are Salt Potatoes?

Salt potatoes originated in Syracuse New York. In the 1800’s, workers in the local salt mines would bring small new potatoes to work for lunch, and boil them in a salty brine. The result was a tender personal-sized potato, with a firm peel and crusty outer coating of salt, which keeps the potato from absorbing too much water while it is cooking and becoming mushy.

Sayracuse Salt Workers .
Syracuse Salt Workers By Keystone View Company (Keystone View Company) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

In the 1960s, a local food businessman named John Hinerwadel, who had been serving salt potatoes as a side dish at his clambakes, started packaging and selling 5 lb bags of young potatoes, with 12-ounce box of salt included right in the bag.

Bag of Hinerwadels Salt Potatoes
Hinerwadels Salt Potatoes

Hinerwadels still sells Salt Potatoes today and sells over a million bags a year. Finding Hinerwadels in the Rochester area can be tricky, but, luckily, we do have a few areas of muckland nearby and many farmers locally have followed suit and bag and sell salt potatoes at markets and in local grocery stores, of course, you can always pick up a bag of Wegman’s brand salt potatoes too!

An Instant Pot ona kitchen counter top,  set for 3 minutes high pressure to cook Syracuse Salt Potatoes

Why Cook Salt Potatoes in an Instant pot?

The traditional method of cooking salt potatoes is to cook these potatoes is one cup of salt to six cups of water, boiled for about 25 minutes or until the potatoes can easily be pierced with a fork. It is not a difficult cooking technique, but I really prefer to cook mine in the Instant Pot!

What I love about my Instant Pot during the summer months is that, for the most part, the heat and steam stay contained within the Pot, so I can cook up 4 lbs of salt potatoes for a picnic or potluck, without steaming up my whole kitchen! I also feel that the centers of the potatoes are consistently better when cooked in the Instant Pot. I suspect it may have something to do with the higher cooking temperature within the Instant Pot, but I haven’t found any articles or information to support my theory.

Syracuse Salt Potatoes in the Instant Pot

Syracuse Salt Potatoes in the Instant Pot

Yield: 15 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 3 minutes
Additional Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 18 minutes

Not only salt potatoes cook up faster, but the pressurized cooking in an Instant Pot result in a potato with an unbelievably creamy center.

Ingredients

  • 4.5 lb bag salt potatoes, or small new potatoes
  • 1 cup salt
  • 6 cups Water
  • 1 stick of butter

Instructions

    1. Pour the water into the Instant Pot.
    2. Add the salt to the Instant Pot. Stir to distribute the salt evenly in the pot.
      Add the new potatoes to the Instant Pot and stir the potatoes to coat with the saltwater.
    3. If needed, add just enough additional water to cover the potatoes.
    4. Close lid and turn valve to sealing.
    5. Cook potatoes on manual high pressure for 3 minutes.
    6. Once the Instant Pot beeps, press the "Keep Warm/Cancel" button to allow the pressure in the Instant Pot to naturally decrease for 10 minutes, then turn the valve to release the pressure the rest of the way.
    7. Pour potatoes into a colander to drain
    8. Serve with melted butter.

What to Do with leftover Salt Potatoes

Because it is so easy to cook up a big batch of salt potatoes, it is not uncommon to have leftovers. You have a couple of options to handle the leftovers: You can reheat those bad boys, add more butter, and serve them up again. Although, at my house, the second consecutive appearance of salt on our dinner table is not received as favorably as the first time. One of my favorite ways to give my leftover spuds new life is to give them a good smash, dress them up with some olive oil, salt and pepper, and fresh herbs, and bake them, but I have a friend who uses an air fryer with great results!

Have you tried cooking salt potatoes in your Instant Pot?

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Megan

Thursday 5th of September 2019

When do you put in the salt? In the beginning with the water?

Jennifer Morrisey

Thursday 5th of September 2019

Hi Megan, Sorry about that! I have corrected the recipe card and the recipe should now read:

Pour the water into the Instant Pot. Add the salt to the Instant Pot. Stir to distribute the salt evenly in the pot. Add the potatoes to the Instant Pot and stir the potatoes to coat with the saltwater. If needed, add just enough additional water to cover the potatoes.

Stacey

Monday 26th of August 2019

So glad the Instant Pot came along, I think it makes the best salt potatoes!