Should You Soak Potatoes In Salt Water Before Baking (Explained)

  • By: VidJovanovic
  • Date: October 12, 2022
  • Time to read: 6 min.

Have you ever wondered if you should soak potatoes in salt water before baking them? I’m here to tell you that you definitely should.

Soaking potatoes in salt water before baking them helps to draw out moisture from the potatoes. This results in a crispier, less soggy potato when it comes out of the oven. In addition, the salt adds flavor to the potato skin, making it even more delicious.

So next time you’re wondering whether or not to soak your potatoes in salt water, remember that it’s always worth it! Your potatoes will thank you.

Key Takeaways

potatoes soaking in saltwater
Should You Soak Potatoes In Salt Water Before Baking

Here’s The Answer To Should You Soak Potatoes In Salt Water Before Baking

Soaking the potatoes in salted water can make your baked potato crispier and tastier, but baking them without soaking will also result in delicious spuds.

And if you don’t want to leave the oven door open while baking, you might not want to risk leaving them out on the counter for an hour while they soak up some extra sodium.

But if all things were equal—and perhaps this is just my bias showing—I would choose the ones that were soaked first.

Saltwater Loosens The Skin On The Potato

potatoes boiling in saltwater
Saltwater Loosens The Skin On The Potato

Soaking potatoes in salt water helps to loosen the skin on the potato. However, once baked, the potatoes cannot be eaten whole. Instead, they must be peeled and their flesh consumed, leaving behind just their skins.

If you want to remove the skin after boiling or frying a potato, try soaking it in salt water for about 30 minutes before peeling it off.

Salt Water Helps Keep The Potatoes From Turning Brown

Salt water helps keep the potatoes from turning brown by increasing the pH of their skin, which slows down oxidation and prevents them from getting dark.

This is especially helpful when using a delicate potato like an Idaho or red potato, as it’s easier to prevent discoloration without sacrificing flavor.

The two main causes of potatoes turning brown are exposure to light and being cut open.

When you slice a potato open and expose its flesh, enzymes in the potato react with oxygen in the air, creating an oxidized compound called melanoidin that gives off a yellowish cast.

Salt Water Helps The Potato Cook Evenly

Soaking potatoes in salt water can help the potato cook evenly. This is because salt water causes the cells of your potato to expand and allows it to absorb more moisture.

This helps reduce dry spots on your potato, which can happen if you don’t soak them first.

If you don’t soak them first, the outside will be more done than the inside – like when you’re roasting a chicken wing and get that crispy skin while leaving everything else raw inside (we’ve all been there).

But if you soak them first, all parts will cook at about the same rate—like when baking a steak or making French fries on your grill.

You can also cook potatoes in other ways if, for some reason, soaking doesn’t work for you: microwaving works well or baking in an oven set to anywhere between 400°F (204°C) and 500°F (260°C).

Salt Water Helps Stop Bacteria From Growing

a person slicing potatoes with a knife
Salt Water Helps Stop Bacteria From Growing

The salt water also helps keep bacteria from growing on the potato. If you’re not cooking them soon, it’s important to keep them in a cool place and ensure the temperature stays below 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

You can even make an ice bath for them if you want to be extra cautious.

Salt Water Does Not Hurt Potatoes

So, you might be wondering if salt water will harm your potatoes. The answer is no—the salt doesn’t get absorbed into the potato, and it’s not harmful to the potato either.

While some people might be worried about adding salt to something they’re going to eat, there’s nothing to worry about here.

The only thing that happens is that it helps them cook evenly—making them easier and faster to prepare in many delicious ways.

Saltwater Makes The Potatoes Crispy

Soaking potatoes in salt water is common to make baked or fried potatoes crispy. The saltwater causes the potato skin to brown and crisp up, but it also makes the potato soft and juicy inside.

It’s not just for baking, either—you can also use this technique to make french fries.

Potatoes absorb some salt while soaking in them, so you’ll need to rinse them off before cooking them. The result is an extremely flavorful (and salty) baked potato that’s crispy and soft on the inside.

Do Not Soak Potatoes If They Have Green Skin Or Sprouts

potatoes in the hands
Do Not Soak Potatoes If They Have Green Skin Or Sprouts

Don’t soak potatoes with green skin or sprouts. Potatoes with green skin indicate that they’ve been bruised and/or exposed to light, both of which can cause the potato to decay and become toxic.

If you’ve noticed sprouts growing from your potato, don’t eat it either—this is a sign that it has been exposed to light after being purchased at the grocery store or farm stand, making it unsafe for consumption.

How to Properly Soak Potatoes In Salt Water

  • Fill a large bowl with cold water.
  • Per one quart of water, add one spoonful of salt. For example, if you want to soak four potatoes, use four tablespoons of salt (and so on).
  • Place the potatoes in the water and let them sit for 30 minutes.
  • Rinse off the potato skins and pat them dry before baking or frying them in oil or butter until they’re crispy and delicious.

How Long To Soak Potatoes In Salt Water?

potatoes in the hands
How Long To Soak Potatoes In Salt Water

The time you need to soak potatoes in salt water depends on what you plan to do with them. For example, if you’re making mashed potatoes, soaking them for 30 minutes is enough to get a creamy texture.

If you’re planning on roasting your potatoes, soaking the spuds in salt water for up to 2 hours will give them an extra boost of flavor and moisture.

And if you’re planning on boiling or steaming your spuds (or using them in another recipe), then soaking them in salty water overnight will help bring out their natural flavor even more.

Soaking potatoes for up to 24 hours in salt water is recommended by most chefs and experts because it allows all kinds of flavors from spices and other ingredients added after cooking time have passed through potato skin into the flesh beneath the surface layer, where nutrients are stored.


After reading this piece, maybe you’ll be more certain about whether or not you should soak your potatoes before baking.

If you enjoy eating baked potatoes and want them to come out crispy, then the salt water method is worth trying.

It’s important to remember that this method only works well if the potato has been properly prepared (i.e., no green spots or sprouts), and it may not be suitable for everyone; if these conditions are met, then go ahead and give it a shot.

Just ensure not to leave your potatoes soaking in the saltwater solution too long because they can develop an off-putting taste over time.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I soak my potatoes overnight?

If you’re in a rush, simply place the potatoes into a large pot and cover them with cold water. Boiling is followed by covering and lowering the heat. Ten minutes or so should pass before the vegetables are fork-tender. Drain well before serving.

How much salt should I add to the water when soaking my potatoes?

You should add about one tablespoon of salt for every 4 cups of water.

Can I Soak My Potatoes Ahead Of Time?

You can soak potatoes in water for a few hours or even a day before you cook them, but they’ll need to be cooked immediately after drying. Snippets: You can soak potatoes in water for a few hours or even a day before you cook them. However, they’ll need to be cooked immediately after drying.

Is using salt water to soak and bake potatoes healthier than frying them in oil?

While salt water is often used to preserve potatoes, it can also be a healthy alternative to oil for potato soaking and baking.


Vid Jovanovic

I’m Vid Jovanovic and I’m 36 years old. I’m a teacher by profession and my passion lies in baking. I have been baking since my early teens, when my grandmother taught me how to make a simple cake that you can find in any supermarket. My passion for baking grew as I got older and I started experimenting with different ingredients and recipes.