Whenever I think I must know every single way to cook potatoes, I seem to find a new method I just have to try. From duck fat to mayonnaise, the range of ingredients that can make a roasted spud crispier and more flavorful are endless. Most recently, I came across a recipe that suggests baking potatoes in two pounds of salt to make a well-seasoned, buttery delicacy.
What does baking potatoes on a bed of salt do?
Of course, seasoning potatoes with salt and pepper before roasting is a no-brainer. However, the experts at D’Artagnan note that baking potatoes in a bed of salt traps in the juices — creating a cooking environment that roasts and steams these root veggies at the same time. I tested the unique method, often used for meat and fish, to see if it actually works on spuds.
How to Make Salt Baked Potatoes
This salt baked potatoes recipe, from food influencer Carolina Gelen (@CarolinaGelen), calls for using an inexpensive brand of kosher salt (since you’ll be needing a couple pounds of it). She also notes that the cooked salt can be reused afterwards.
“Reuse the salt for the same purpose, for up to one week (if using egg white in the recipe) rehydrating it as needed. After that, use it as a scrub for pots and pans or as a pie weight,” she writes in her Instagram caption.
Here’s how to make these salt baked potatoes at home.
Ingredients (Makes 2 servings):
- 1 ½ pounds petite gold potatoes or another small waxy potato type
- 4 to 5 cups (2 to 2 ½ pounds) kosher salt
- 3 to 4 egg whites or 1/2 cup water, plus more as needed
- 3 tablespoons fresh herbs such as rosemary and thyme
- Combine the salt, herbs, and egg whites (or water) in a bowl. Mix until it reaches the texture of wet sand. Add more water or egg whites if necessary.
- Heat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Evenly spread 1/3 of the mixture on a skillet, cake pan, or baking sheet. Pat it down using your hands.
- Place the potatoes over the salt, then cover with the remaining 2/3 of the mixture. Tightly pack the salt using your hands, covering all potatoes.
- Bake the potatoes for one hour in the oven, or until the salt looks light brown and it’s hard to the touch.
- Knock the salt off the potatoes using a rolling pin, meat pounder, or any other tool.
- Let the potatoes cool for 3 minutes, serve on a platter, and enjoy.
My Taste Test
Making this recipe myself, I got lucky: using four cups of kosher salt and four egg whites did the trick for creating the wet sand texture, and I didn’t need to add any extra liquid. So, prepping the potatoes before baking them in the oven took me less than 10 minutes.
I could taste the saltiness from the potato skin in my first bite, and the flesh was fluffy with a starchy, buttery flavor. It reminded me of steakhouse-style baked potatoes, where there’s flakes of salt on the outside that provide a crunchy texture — which in this case is all thanks to the bed of salt, of course.
I won’t be making this recipe every time I’m craving a baked potato — it requires a lot of salt! However, I’ll keep it in my repertoire for dinner parties or special occasions where I have plenty of salt to spare for a delicious treat.