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When boiling potatoes, most guidance is to heavily salt the water which in turn internally seasons the potatoes.

When it comes to steamed potatoes, I’ve achieved fine results salting after they’ve steamed. I’m wondering if seasoning or marinating the potatoes in advance of steaming would be better.

What is the best way to achieve flavorful results when steaming potatoes?

Edit: for context, I am tossing russet potatoes into the steamer basket of a rice cooker while the rice cooker cooks white rice. I typically cut the potatoes in halves or quarters to ensure they fit. I keep the skin on.

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  • How are you steaming them: in a pot with water, in the microwave? Do you peel them before cooking or after?
    – Luciano
    Jan 20, 2023 at 15:34
  • This might be a "try it and see" question. There just aren't that many recipes for steamed potatoes period. Boiled potatoes are, of course, not marinated except to the extent of seasoning the water. Roasted potatoes frequently are. Steamed potatoes fall somewhere in between, so it's not clear how things would work out.
    – FuzzyChef
    Jan 20, 2023 at 19:45
  • There's also the question of "marinate and then steam" vs. "steam them in a marinade, like Chinese steamed fish". I think you're going to have to try it.
    – FuzzyChef
    Jan 20, 2023 at 19:46
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    I like to toss russet potatoes into the rice cooker steamer basket. I keep skins on but cut them into halves or quarters to ensure they fit. Jan 21, 2023 at 4:34
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    @FuzzyChef I wonder if the lack of recipes is just that it's too simple. I've only ever steamed particularly small new potatoes, and am more likely to boil potatoes (unsalted) and steam veg over the top.
    – Chris H
    Jan 21, 2023 at 11:07

2 Answers 2

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I had a lot of steamed potatoes growing up, but it's almost always seasoned afterwards with sauces. I find it's a good alternative to boiling, as you still get the moist texture, but it's much harder to overcook. If you season the water, it might not work for some types of seasoning (e.g. salt), therefore marination will probably work better:

  • Increase the marination time to overnight.
  • Increase the surface area (e.g. cut them into thick slabs instead of large chunks, cut grooves, poke holes, etc.)
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Interesting… I can't abide unsalted boiled potatoes. There's some kind of 'chemical reaction' that takes place which simply cannot be replicated by salting afterwards. I can smell the difference as they're cooking & that difference remains in the finished product. [It only ever happens by accident & if I smell it soon enough, I can fix it whilst cooking.]

Steamed veg I sprinkle salt lightly on before cooking [after rinsing quite often, if otherwise it wouldn't stick.] Perhaps that could be an option.

I'd wonder why you would consider potatoes would be good steamed, though. It doesn't feel like it would add anything, just make the process more difficult.

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