The types of salts in cooking – sea salt, kosher salt and table salt


I’ve heard of the various types of salt and I assumed that sea salt was mostly marketing.

But I keep hearing and seeing references to each type to salt when on a wiki-walk or google search.

– what do the various types of salt “bring to the table” (pun intended).

In: 5

Kosher salt is larger, rougher and is less prone to overuse in cooking.

Table salt is smaller, smoother, and would be easy to over use in cooking.

Sea salt is salt collected from a sea/ocean which is mostly the same as the previous two but has other impurities and salt types that are not present in iodized table salt

Reagent grade sodium chloride is just sodium chloride [molecules]( ), but it’s also $40 per kilo.

All other salt has impurities in it. Sea salt has impurities matching the composition of the ocean (which is not just water plus salt). Exotic Himalayan salt has different impurities, matching those found at that location.

You can taste a lot of chemicals, and those traces may provide a different taste profile. Kosher salt is just salt produced under the supervision of a religious leader who works to avoid contamination. It’s also coarser than most salts, which can give it different cooking properties. There may be coarse non-Kosher salt in your store, but there is a limit to the shelf space astore can offer for a low cost product.

Well, it IS marketing and it’s not marketing.

Kosher Salt generally has larger grains, and chefs often use it for multiple purposes, but in a dish it’s functionally no different from any other salt other than how you measure it. Granulated salt and Kosher salt are not a 1:1 in dishes due to the size difference, so if you see a recipe that calls for 1 teaspoon of kosher salt, you can’t just add one teaspoon of granulated salt and think it’s the same.

Table salt is granulated, and often comes with iodine, which was a well-needed supplement for people in the early 20th century. This is generally what you find in a shaker on the table, and is fine for seasoning dishes after they are done.

Sea salt is just that, salt from dried seawater. This has a slightly different taste compared to other salts, but is not enough of a difference to change the flavor of dishes.

Other than very minor differences in taste, they are all NaCl, salt. In cooking, if you use them in a way that they get dissolved in a liquid, then the same weight of salt will produce the same result, regardless of variety. Sometimes salt is left undissolved on the surface of food. In this case most recipes will specify kosher salt as the larger grains are more appealing.

Kosher salt is about half as dense, by dry measure. So a recipe that calls for 1 tsp of kosher salt dissolved in water could just use 1/2 tsp of table salt.

The main difference is that Kosher Salt is flakes, and thus have half the density of fine table salt. So if a recipe asks for a tea spoon of kosher salt, and you add a teaspoon of table salt, you have added twice as much salt as you should have.