What is kosher salt? Here are all the reasons that you should use kosher salt vs table salt in your home cooking.
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 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 teaspoon||1/4 teaspoon|
|1 teaspoon||1 1/4 teaspoon|
|1 tablespoon||1 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
- 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!).
- 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.
- 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).
- A pinch or two of salt can work wonders in a recipe. Even desserts usually taste best with a small amount of salt.
- 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!).
Looking for info on cooking & eating food?
Here are a few more informational posts you might enjoy:
- Hummus Ingredients: What’s In Hummus?
- How to Buy Sustainable Fish & Seafood
- How to Eat More Vegetables
- How to Organize Your Spices…the Minimalist Way
About the Authors
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 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.