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Kosher salt vs sea salt: what’s the difference between these distinct types? Here’s what you need to know about using them in cooking.

Kosher salt vs sea salt

Kosher salt vs sea salt: what’s the difference? Learning to use salt correctly is one of the best things you can do for your cooking. But which one should you stock in your kitchen? What can you substitute in recipes? Here’s what to know you these two distinct types of salt.

Kosher salt vs sea salt: the differences

What’s the difference between these types of salt? Here’s a breakdown:

  • What is kosher salt? Kosher salt is a coarse, flat grained edible salt without additives. It consists mainly of sodium chloride. Where standard table salt is iodized, which add a bitter aftertaste to foods, kosher salt is not. Its flavor is clean and straightforward, and it seasons food in a gentler way than table salt. Kosher salt is mined from underground salt deposits.
  • What is sea salt? Sea salt is made from drying salt water from the ocean or salt water lakes into crystals. Because it’s harvested from water, it has micro nutrients and other subtle flavors that aren’t present in kosher salt. You can buy sea salt in different sizes: flaky or chunky sea salt and fine sea salt.

How does table salt shake out? Go to Kosher Salt: Explained.

Kosher salt vs sea salt: in cooking

When should you use each type of salt in cooking? Can you substitute one for the other? Here’s what to know:

  • In cooking, kosher salt and flaky sea salt can be used interchangeably. We recommend cooking with kosher salt because it is the most consistent. But you can use flaky sea salt in a recipe that calls for kosher salt! Note that a rough, chunky sea salt will have a crunchy texture if you use it raw, but it melds into the texture when you cook it. Because of that, sea salt is best as a finishing salt.
  • Flaky or rough sea salt is best used as a finishing salt because of its crunchy texture. It’s great for sprinkling over a salad or vegetables when you want to have a burst of salty flavor.
  • Fine sea salt is ground finer, so you have to adjust the quantities. Fine sea salt is ground very finely, much like table salt. It can be used as a kosher salt substitute, but you’ll need to consult the conversion chart below for the amount to use.

Kosher salt to fine sea salt ratios

Here is a conversion chart that shows the amount of salt to use if you’re converting kosher salt to fine sea salt, and vice versa. (Source Morton Salt)

Fine Sea SaltKosher salt
¼ teaspoon¼ teaspoon
1 teaspoon1 ¼ teaspoon
1 tablespoon1 tablespoon + ¾ teaspoon

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes for memorable kitchen moments! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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16 Comments

  1. I love all of your recipes and follow you faithfully. I especially love your bread recipes.
    You say to use Kosher salt while cooking and your explanations make perfect sense. I accidentally bought Kosher sea salt. Is that interchangeable? The crystals are square not flakey.
    Thank you.

    1. Hi! It should be roughly equivalent for items like soups where it dissolves. For other food, the flakiness makes a big difference in how it flavors.

  2. Deposits of salt in the soil are created due to water filtering through the soil and also contains trace elements of minerals and nutrients.

  3. Many thanks for explaining the differences between Kosher salt and Sea salt. In my dad’s way of thinking, salt is salt and there is no variation.

  4. I configure recipes in grams and ounces rather than Ts and ts. Does that serve more or as an equalizer between kosher and sea salt? Or does the structure of the crystals make a difference?

    1. That definitely helps! The structure difference depends on the recipe, when sprinkling salt at the end of a dish there is a big difference between size and shape of crystals and flavor impact.

    2. Hi George,

      It is better to weigh your ingredients, but when it comes to salt, some have more minerals than others (sea salt is rich in minerals compared to many other salts. As a result, the most accurate way to measure it is testing for salinity. I have found sea salt to be less salty than table salt, and kosher salt to have more anti-caking materials than my fine sea salt. This probably explains why sea salt sticks to my fingers but fine salt does not.

      I suggest tasing your way to this (scale, water, salt, & tastebuds) if you do not have a way to easily measure the salinity (9v battery, 2 electrodes, and a volt meter).

      Yes, some of us take this way to seriously.

  5. I smoke foods from meat to potato chips. I switched to Sea Salt years ago because of the added flavor and the fact that it doesn’t require as much to use in my brines.

  6. Hello, I just saw a video about kosher sal being ground into a very fine powder to sprinkle over homemade popcorn. I did not see a way to ask if it is okay to use sea salt instead. So, I’m asking you. do you think that it is okay to use sea salt ground into a powder to sprinkle over popcorn? Thank you.

  7. Nice article. I guess I’ve been using them correctly. I use regular “table salt” to salt pasta water (it’s less expensive). What do you think?

  8. I’ve been using sea salt to brine chicken breast (3 tbsp to 4 c water for 30 min). Can I use kosher salt at the same ratio?

    1. Hi! If it’s a fine sea salt you’d want to do a little more kosher salt (maybe 4 tablespoons). If it’s a flaky sea salt it should be about the same!

    2. David,

      The rule of thumb is:
      1 tbsp fine salt =
      1 1/2 Tbsp of Mortons Kosher salt =
      2 Tbsp of Diamond Kosher salt

      It has to do with the crystal sizes.

      So, if you use 3 Tbsp of Fine salt, use 4 1/2 Tbsp of Mortons Kosher salt or 6 Tbsp of Diamond Kosher salt.

      How did I get to these results? Simple. One of my daughters is a chemical engineer and we experimented our way though this by measuring the salinity of the solutions. That said, we found that Mortons and fine table salt have more “other stuff” in them (anti-caking agents) than Diamond does (and that sea salt does) so we are using the Diamond salt.