Kosher Salt: Explained

What is kosher salt? Here are all the reasons that you should use kosher salt vs table salt in your home cooking.

What is kosher salt? | kosher salt vs sea salt | kosher salt substitute | kosher salt to table salt conversion | kosher salt vs table salt

Ever wonder why many recipes call for kosher salt instead of table salt? When we first started cooking, we assumed they were interchangeable. However as we started to learn more, we found kosher salt is generally preferred by cooks for bringing out the flavor of ingredients. What is kosher salt, and why use it?

What is kosher salt?

Kosher salt is a coarse, flat grained edible salt without additives. It consists mainly of sodium chloride. Is kosher salt idodized? No! This gives it a big advantage vs table salt — keep reading for why.

Kosher salt vs table salt

So, why use kosher salt in your cooking? Here are the main differences of kosher salt vs table salt, and why Alex and I always use kosher salt in our cooking.

  • Kosher salt has wider, coarser grains vs table salt. The wider grains salt food in a gentler way than table salt. Using kosher salt enhances the flavor of foods instead of making them taste salty.
  • Kosher salt has no iodine, which can lend a bitter taste to foods salted with table salt. If you eat a balanced diet with fruits and vegetables, you likely consume enough natural iodine and don’t need the additional iodine in table salt.

Conclusion: The shape of kosher salt gently salts foods and enhances their flavor, and has no iodine which can taste bitter. We only use kosher salt in our cooking because it’s far superior to table salt!

What is kosher salt? Kosher salt vs. sea salt | Kosher salt vs table salt | Is kosher salt iodized?

What about kosher salt vs sea salt?

OK, so we know about why kosher salt is better than table salt. But what about kosher salt vs sea salt? Since sea salt is harvested from the ocean, it has micro nutrients and other subtle flavors that aren’t present in kosher salt. Kosher salt is pure salt and has a clean flavor. For cooking purposes, there is no difference between kosher salt and flaky sea salt. We recommend cooking with kosher salt because it is more consistent. If you’re using a rough, chunky sea salt, it will taste crunchy. Rough sea salt is better used as a finishing salt, like sprinkling over a salad or vegetables.

Fine sea salt can be used as a kosher salt substitute, because it is not iodized. However, you’ll need to consult the conversion chart below for the amount to use.

Kosher salt to table salt (& fine sea salt)

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

Table Salt (& Fine Sea Salt)Kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon1/4 teaspoon
1 teaspoon1 1/4 teaspoon
1 tablespoon1 tablespoon + 3⁄4 teaspoon

What brand kosher salt do you use?

The kosher salt we use is Morton Kosher Salt. All the recipes on this website have been developed with Morton Kosher Salt. This is important to note because there are differences between Morton Kosher Salt and the other leading brand, Diamond Crystal.

Per Food52: In each pinch of Diamond Crystal, there’s more space between the grains of salt—which makes it lighter and less salty than Morton’s (and fine sea salt or table salt). You’re less likely to over-salt if you use Diamond Crystal. Switch from Diamond Crystal to Morton’s without making adjustments and your food might burn a hole through your tongue.

Conclusion: Use Morton Kosher Salt when you cook the recipes on this website!

Need a salt cellar?

Due to the size of the kosher salt grains, if you switch to using kosher salt vs table salt you’ll have to ditch your typical salt shaker. Here are the salt cellars we use:

Final tips on salting food

  1. Try switching to kosher salt for a few weeks, then switch back to salting something with regular table salt. See whether you notice a difference (then let us know!).
  2. All of our recipes on A Couple Cooks use kosher salt! Use kosher salt if you can. If you do use table salt, convert the chart above.
  3. When salting food to taste, remember this rule: you can always add more. We try to add about half the salt we think is needed before adding the remaining half (just in case).
  4. A pinch or two of salt can work wonders in a recipe. Even desserts usually taste best with a small amount of salt.
  5. If you cook something and it tastes bland and flat, try adding a bit of kosher salt! It makes flavors pop in a way no other ingredient can (with a squeeze of lemon as a close second!).

Fancy salt recipes

Want to spice up your salts? You can add herbs, spices and other citrus to make salt into special blends for your cooking. Here are a few salt recipes to get your wheels turning — they’re also perfect as DIY gifts!

Looking for info on cooking & eating food?

Here are a few more informational posts you might enjoy:

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How to make garlic salt

Kosher Salt Seasoning


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (11 votes, average: 4.36 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 6 tablespoons 1x

Description

This kosher salt recipe is a perfect all-purpose seasoning filled with our favorite herbs and spices. Try it on meat, fish, veggies, and more.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon mustard powder

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and whisk to combine! Keeps for up to 6 months.

  • Category: Spices
  • Method: Stirred
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: kosher, salt, seasoning

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About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.

Alex Overhiser

Cookbook Author and photographer

Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.

12 Comments

  • Reply
    Sonja Durkee
    April 18, 2020 at 1:34 pm

    Lest we forget. There is a reason for using iodized salt.

  • Reply
    m
    May 11, 2020 at 3:01 am

    i just wanted that this might probably be sensible advide/a good idea for Norther America – however, there are a lot of countries (in Middle Europe e.g.) where we definitely do not get enough iodine through our normal diet. so, not using iodized salt might have severe negative impacts on health!

  • Reply
    Donna Key-Babb
    May 20, 2020 at 10:00 am

    I have a question about the contradicting statements in a couple of the paragraphs in this article.

    In the paragraph titled “What is kosher salt?” you clearly state that; “It consists MAINLY of sodium chloride.”, which implies that it’s PARTLY something else, but you neglect to say exactly WHAT this other part is. Then, in the paragraph titled “What about kosher vs sea salt?”, you also state that; “Kosher salt is PURE salt…”. This implies that it cannot be partly something else, as previously stated.

    WHICH IS IT..?

    I didn’t fully understand what kosher salt was, before reading this article. I still didn’t AFTER reading it. It’s quite evident that neither did you before writing it.

    C –
    Must try harder.

    • Reply
      Alex Overhiser
      May 20, 2020 at 12:27 pm

      Hi!

      Kosher salt often includes an unflavored anti-caking agent such as soda to keep the salt from clumping. Sea salts and other gourmet salts often have additional minerals and organic material that imparts a flavor to the salt.

      Thanks for reading!

  • Reply
    Jubaidah
    May 31, 2020 at 9:05 pm

    Hi, what about Himalaya Salt. What makes the different?

    • Reply
      Alex Overhiser
      June 1, 2020 at 8:23 am

      Hi! Himalayan salt is a sea salt and can come in different levels of coarseness.

  • Reply
    Shelly
    June 5, 2020 at 1:44 pm

    Himalayan salt is a type of rock salt from Pakistan. It may have a reddish or pink colour due to iron in the crystals.

    The above is a quote from the Toronto Globe & Mail from an article about the differences in various types of salt. Just an FYI – because now I don’t know what is the correct answer!!
    But basically they agree with you that kosher salt might be the best way to go.

    • Reply
      Alex Overhiser
      June 5, 2020 at 3:40 pm

      Haha! Both are correct — lthough mined in Pakistan, it’s a sea salt from seas long ago. And yes, we still recommend kosher salt for everyday cooking :)

  • Reply
    Fern
    June 15, 2020 at 5:16 pm

    How is kosher salt different from curing salt.

    • Reply
      Alex Overhiser
      June 15, 2020 at 6:53 pm

      I think curing salt contains nitrites, while kosher salt is pure salt.

  • Reply
    Carey
    July 26, 2020 at 2:35 pm

    Everything I see for Morton’s says “course kosher salt” – is that what is intended or is there a fine version I just can’t locate? I’ve always been confused on cooking shows where it calls for kosher salt if it’s suppose to be course or fine…thanks!

    • Reply
      Alex Overhiser
      July 26, 2020 at 4:49 pm

      Hi! Yes, coarse is the standard size.

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