10 Alternatives To Kosher Salt
Kosher salt (sometimes referred to as: “kitchen salt,” “coarse salt,” “cooking salt,” “flake salt,” or “kashering salt”) is the premier choice of salt for professional chefs around the world, particularly Diamond brand. The reasons are plentiful! Kosher salt is medium coarse salt that is lightly flaked. It is coarser than traditional table salt (more on this later) but less coarse than rock salt or pickling salt.
Because of its larger flakes, it is said to be less likely that a chef would oversalt something, especially when using their fingers to pinch the salt and sprinkle. Kosher salt typically contains just salt and an anti-caking agent to reduce clumps and does not contain any iodine which some chefs believe has a slightly bitter or metallic taste.
Another reason kosher salt is favored over other salt is that it is extremely consistent and reliable — every box you buy will be the exact same!
Kosher salt is readily available in just about any store and at a reasonable price (mid-range for salt) so you should have no problem sourcing it. In fact, some folks even use kosher salt as a cleaning agent because of its natural grit!
If you cannot find kosher salt or just want to play around a little, here are some great kosher salt substitutes for you to choose from.
1. Pickling or Brining Salt
The main difference between pickling salt and kosher salt is the fact that pickling salt never contains the anti-caking agent that kosher salt does.
The reason for this is that with pickling salt, you tend to use a lot of salt in clear liquid like water, and the anti-caking agent could make the liquid cloudy, so pickling (sometimes called brining salt) salt is preferred when making fermented foods, pickled items or quick pickled foods.
Pickling salt can definitely be used as a replacement for kosher salt at a 1:1 ratio and you will hardly be able to notice any difference at all!
2. Rock Salt, Maldon Salt, or Pink Himalayan Salt
Unlike kosher salt which is technically a ‘sea salt,’ rock salt is from the earth, not the sea! Rock salt comes in large blocks or chunks and needs to be grated (on a microplane or special extra fine grater) whereas pink Himalayan salt is more readily available in health food stores and is prized for its high iron levels.
Both rock salt and Himalayan salt will also have a crunchy texture which is desirable in certain applications! Maldon salt is another great variety of rock salt (sometimes called fleur de selwhich comes in very large flakes, and is used primarily as a finishing salt that adds a unique crunch to high-end dishes.
3. Sea Salt
Kosher salt is a variety of sea salt, but there are lots of different types of sea salt. Regular sea salt is likely the most readily available and least expensive, and therefore it makes a great substitute for kosher salt!
Because regular sea salt is much finer, it takes up less space when measured, so you should use 2 parts sea salt per 3 parts kosher salt, otherwise, your dish may come out extra salty.
4. Table Salt
The reason table salt is called table salt is that it is the salt most commonly found on table tops in restaurants and homes. The reason for this is that table salt is very finely ground, making it free-flowing and ideal for shakers.
It also contains anti-caking agents and a very important ingredient that makes it different from all other salts—iodine!
Folks with iodine allergies should not eat table salt. However, the fact that table salt has added iodine makes it an ideal product for the developing world, where iodine deficiencies are rampant. Either way, table salt is a wonderful product that sometimes gets a bad rap. It can definitely be used to replace kosher salt, using a 2:3 ratio.
5. Soy Sauce, Miso, or Fish Sauce
Soy sauce is known for its salty, savory flavor, and can be added to any recipe to increase the salt content! Soy sauce ranges in salt content—dark soy sauce can contain a large quantity and will be very salty, whereas light or low sodium salt contains less salt, so read the labels!
Fish sauce is another very salty condiment, made from salted, fermented anchovies.
Both of these products will add a delicious and subtle salt content to any soup, broth, marinade, or sauce. Miso paste is also quite salty, but less so than soy sauce or fish sauce.
You will need to taste whatever you are cooking several times if you are subbing miso, soy, or fish sauce for salt… it is also possible to oversalt when adding these ingredients so you may need to play around a bit.
6. Natural Salt
There are certain aspects of salt mining that have activists favoring natural salts, which are typically rock salts that are collected or processed with solar or wind energy, and using skilled labor.
These salts are less processed than any other salt product and it is said that the flavor is quite superior. Natural salt is said to have a buttery, vegetal, oystery, crisp flavor and is therefore not always the best replacement for kosher salt… but is worth trying if you ever get the chance!
7. Potassium Chloride
Potassium Chloride is a salt substitute recommended for folks with high blood pressure because blood pressure is raised with a high-sodium diet.
It can be hard to stop eating salt cold turkey, so many people will try this ‘fake salt’ alternative. Mrs. Dash is a popular brand. There are health concerns to consider when it comes to potassium, so it is best to consult a doctor or nutritionist before making this switch for the long term.
8. Parmesan, Blue, or Cheddar Cheese
…or any cheese for that matter! Cheese is a naturally salty ingredient, meaning you can add it to certain dishes to increase the salt content. Some great examples are adding grated parmesan to the top of a pasta dish for a little extra salt, or crumbling blue cheese in a salad for an extra salty bite.
Cheddar cheese ranges in saltiness, but a good, mature, aged cheddar will actually have small salt crystals which can add a delightfully salty component when melted into sauces or grated onto other foods. Sounds cheesy, right?
9. Olives, Capers, or Anchovies
Two of the saltiest foods there are — are olives and capers. Both these foods are picked when underripe, and then brined for long periods (and even sold in that brine) making them quite salty!
You can add chopped olives or capers (or a splash of olive juice) to pasta, sauces, and risotto (or martini!) for a subtle salt flavor.
Anchovies are also added to salad dressings, sauces, and even on pizza for an extra salty, smokey, zesty flavor. In a pinch, you can use any one of these ingredients directly from your pantry or fridge, to salinate any dish!
10. Salted Butter
One final suggestion, especially for baked goods, is adding salted butter. Salted butter drizzled on popcorn, melted and used for cooking, or added to baked goods (in small amounts) will add a subtle amount of salt to anything you’re making.
Even a blank piece of toast can be uplifted by spreading a thin amount of salted butter on top!
Overall, kosher salt is a treasured ingredient in many kitchens and is hard to replace. But we think you will love some of our suggestions. One other quick note: kosher salt is sometimes confused as a ‘certified kosher’ product, but the name actually derives from the process of kashering meats in Jewish delis. If you are seeking actual kosher salt, make sure you check the labels carefully.
Related: Most Expensive Salt in the World