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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.

Read more: Kosher Salt vs Sea Salt

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
¼ teaspoon¼ teaspoon
1 teaspoon1 ¼ 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!

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How to make garlic salt

Kosher Salt Seasoning


  • 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.


Ingredients

Scale
  • ¼ 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

Want more?

Here are a few more informational cooking posts you might enjoy:

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Meet Sonja and Alex Overhiser: Husband and wife. Expert home cooks. Authors of recipes you’ll want to make again and again.

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40 Comments

  1. 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!

  2. 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.

    1. 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!

      1. If Kosher salt has an additive, then it isn’t Kosher anymore. That’s part of the reason iodized table salt can’t be Kosher. Check the Wikipedia page. This whole article has a smell to it.

        I’m giving it a C+ because you were nice enough to not tell me your whole life story before getting to the recipe. That usually drives me nuts.

  3. 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.

    1. 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 :)

  4. 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!

  5. Iodized salt supplies Iodine, a necessary nutrient for the thyroid.
    Iodized salt contains 0.006% of Potassium Iodide. Potassium is another essential nutrient.
    That amount does not affect the taste.
    The typical 26 ounce container of Iodized Salt has 67 MICROGRAMS of Iodine.

  6. Salt is salt is salt. If you are paying many times the price for fancy salt you are delusional or have more money than sense.
    In the UK at least coarse cooking salt is even cheaper than table salt (£0.80 for 1.5Kg) and at very high purity.

  7. Are the recipes on your web site included in your cookbook?

    They look great…anxious to try them.

    1. Hi! The cookbook recipes are all different from the website but similar in style — all easy, vegetarian everyday meals.

  8. I’m exhausted by all of these cooks who perpetuate kitchen myths like the idea that Kosher salt or sea salt is anything other than salt. Grain size may be valid if you are salting just the surface of a dish and are looking for a nice crunch. Other than that, there is no difference and no reason to use Kosher or sea salt or anything other than salt. The vast amount of time you salt a dish it is dissolving into the food. Salt is NaCl and the same elements are in all food salt except for KCl, which is used by people who can’t tolerate sodium. And in fact the process for making Kosher salt is almost the same as table salt, just tweaked to allow for larger grains. So please stop perpetuating this myth and cook for real.

    1. We would disagree with you. The larger flakes of kosher salt compared to sea salt allow you to season in a completely different manner than fine table salt or sea salt.

      1. You say that, but when mixed the salt dissolves either way. You can say “it’s different” all you want but unless you can explain the difference, you probably don’t actually know it.
        Also in some/many places you can get table salt both with and without iodine. I get it without iodine so the chemical make up is identical and so I have no reason to use kosher salt unless it’s for looks.
        So both “reasons” you’ve supplied aren’t really a thing.

  9. Couple of points, some referred to already.

    Kosher and sea salt are useful if the structure is the salt is to be maintained, but if the salt is going to be dissolved, in a soup, stew, sauce, etc. then table salt is a cheaper, easier to measure and apply alternative. Chemically and taste-wise you will not be able to tell the origin of the salt in a solution.

    Alex mentioned that Himalaya pink salt is a sea salt but the sea was long ago. However rock salt is also ancient sea salt. Himalayan pink salt is a rock salt that contains many impurities and has not been processed or crushed to a powder.

  10. So kosher salt, in plain language, is granulated sea salt.
    We do not have kosher salt in Australia
    We do also have iodised salt, as that mineral does not occur naturally in our soul.
    Thanks for the pineapple and pulled pork recipe. A great flavour.

  11. I’m not sure I understand the statement that “Kosher Salt enhances the flavor of foods instead of making them taste salty.” If your table-salt shaker is making your food taste noticeably-salty, use less of it. In wet foods (where the salt is going to dissolve, no matter what kind you use), X grams of salt is X grams of salt, no matter what shape or size the crystals are. It’s all Sodium Chloride in the end.

    (In drier foods, sure, use what you want, and salt grains can be pleasant. Though in things like breads, the dough may not be wet enough to fully dissolve kosher salt; unless you want salt pockets inside your baked good, table salt is probably a better choice.)

    And in the microgram doses used in table salt, you are unlikely to notice any taste from the iodine, unless you are using a truly ridiculous amount of it. (And, of course, non-iodized table salt is readily available if you truly think you can taste the iodine.)

  12. Kosher salt got its name from it’s use for kosherizing meat that has been slaughtered according to Jewish law. The salt needs to be coarse so it draws the blood out rather than being drawn into the meat as fine salt would be. The salt is then thoroughly rinsed off the Kosher meat. Because of that, cooks who use Kosher meat reduce the salt that is called for in recipes. I never use salt when cooking or roasting meat, unless I am making soup.

  13. Hi, you two !
    …..from Lancashire, in the North of England, UK
    I don’t think we get the salt that you know as ‘kosher salt’ over here (?) But what I do use , is a brand called “Maldon” which is named from the Coastal Town of Essex where it’s been hand-harvested since 1882. On the back of box it says it’s Approved Kosher, and it carries the Royal Warrant ”By Appointment to her Majesty The Queen” etc, and I’m guessing our King CharlesIII has continued with this Warrant.
    I’ll let you know how I went-on with your recipie, post Christmas 👍
    BTW I’m gonna try Parsnips 50:50 with the Carrots, cos I ate some braised ones with your other mix, and they fit in grand. Rating your recipie is therefore on hold!

    1. Hi! Kosher salt in the US is a medium, flaky salt harvested from mines. Although it’s kosher, we like it more for the flakiness! We do use Maldon as well, it is a little larger flakes, so in theory you may need just a bit more Maldon than our recipe calls for (since the larger flakes make it less dense for measuring).

      All the best and Merry Christmas!

  14. What makes it Kosher? Isn’t it, like, blessed by a Jewish priest or something? Isn’t that what Kosher is? I feel like it’d be helpful if you explained how it becomes “Kosher” for those of us who aren’t Jewish.

    Thank you. I just don’t know!

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