What is Kosher Salt? Differences, Substitutes, & Where to Find It
If you’ve only ever used table salt in your kitchen and on your dining table, you may not have given much thought to using another type of salt like kosher salt.
After all, salt is salt, right? Well, yes and no. There are a surprising number of different types of salt available. And they do make a difference in your cooking, though it isn’t often a big one.
So, what is kosher salt and how does it compare to other types of salt?
Want to skip ahead?
- What is kosher salt
- How is the salt made
- Is this salt better than other salts
- The difference between kosher and table salt
- Which salt is better for you
- Frequently asked questions
This salt has much larger grains than table salt and is comprised solely of sodium chloride. Despite its larger size, this salt is usually lighter than other forms of salt.
The salt isn’t actually certified kosher (the term used to describe food that’s okay to eat by strict traditional Jewish standards).
But it got its name because it’s the type of salt that is suitable for koshering meat, which is the process of drawing out all the blood from the meat.
How is kosher salt made?
The salt is mined from salt deposits underground, which is also where table salt is sourced from. It is then processed above ground to form the right size of grain.
Is this salt better for cooking than other salts?
Not always; kosher salt is preferred for certain recipes because it has a larger size that gives a much saltier kick when sprinkled on food.
For example, using this grainier salt to season a steak may be preferable to normal table salt. It is also sometimes preferred because it has a purer taste.
Though most people won’t be able to tell the difference unless they try both without any other food.
This salt and table salt are both mined from salt mineral deposits, but there are a few key differences.
While kosher salt contains exclusively sodium chloride and is rarely iodised. Table salt usually contains additives like anti-clumping agents and is usually iodised.
Another key difference is the size of the grains; kosher salt has large irregular grains while table salt has the classic small white grains like sand.
It’s this difference that gives them different uses; kosher salt is preferable for smoking and curing meat (and true kosher salt can be used for koshering meat). As well as pickling and brining, while table salt is best used for seasoning and baking.
Kosher salt has a pure salty taste, while table salt can have a slightly bitter aftertaste if it has been iodised or has other additives. That said, it’s very difficult to taste the difference and virtually impossible once you’ve added salt to food.
You won’t end up with a ruined meal if you do, but since kosher salt is less dense than table salt. You should increase the amount of kosher salt you use if you’re using it in place of table salt, and vice versa.
If you’re weighing it, you need make no adjustments, but you should if you’re using teaspoons and tablespoons. Here’s a conversion guide:
Table Salt = Kosher Salt
¼ tsp = ¼ tsp
1 tsp = 1 ¼ tsp
1 tbsp = 1 ¾ tbsp
Both forms of salt are relatively good for you – while salt gets a bad reputation for driving up blood pressure.
it’s usually excessive amounts of salt added to processed foods that cause this kind of problem.
If you’re eating home-cooked meals, adding salt is unlikely to do you any harm. Unless you have a preexisting condition and your doctor has advised you to avoid adding salt.
Sodium is essential for the healthy function of the body.
Iodised salt may be a better choice for your meals in general if you aren’t getting enough iodine in your diet naturally.
Iodine is essential for your thyroid and hormone health and can be found in foods like seaweed, meat, dairy, and seafood.
If you’re vegetarian or vegan, you may need to consider adding iodine to your diet via iodised salt or an iodine supplement.
If you’re looking to avoid all additives to your food, kosher salt will be preferable since it’s pure.
Yes – while sea salt is sourced by evaporating seawater, it won’t give your recipes a hugely different taste and you will likely notice no difference.
Can I use the salt for canning?
Yes, in fact, kosher salt is one of the best kinds of salt for canning because it’s so pure.
Can I use this grainier salt for pickling?
Yes – again, because kosher salt is so pure, it’s ideal for pickling, canning, and curing meat.
Can salt go bad?
No, no form of salt should go bad and it is a useful way to preserve food. Provided it’s stored properly, salt in any form should last indefinitely.
Yes, you can find kosher salt in the UK in most supermarkets, but you’ll usually find it under the name “coarse salt” or “rock salt” instead of kosher salt unless you’re shopping somewhere with a large Jewish community.
If you’re looking for certified salt you may need to go online to find suitable salt. But you should be able to find it under coarse salt or rock salt at your local supermarket.
Using kosher salt is a great way to ensure your salt is pure and to get a slightly stronger flavour when you season meals right before serving, but don’t fret if you don’t have it to hand.
Unless you’re feeding someone who is following a strict kosher diet. You can substitute kosher salt for any other kind of cooking salt and you’ll still get delicious results when you serve your meal!