To some cooks, fleur de sel is an overpriced and unnecessary ingredient marketed to the gullible and the pretentious. To others, it is the source of the uniquely clean and briny salinity sought after by lovers of fresh seafood. It is widely considered to be among the very best finishing salts, which means that you should keep it on hand for sprinkling onto food just before serving. If you cannot find fleur de sel near you, there are still options that will provide many of the same benefits. Consider the fleur de sel substitutes below.
Table of Contents
- Your best bet: Kosher salt
- A decent second choice: Sel gris
- In a pinch: Maldon sea salt
- Other alternatives
- Must-read related posts
Your best bet: Kosher salt
Kosher salt is the large-grained salt named for its role in drawing the blood out of meat to render it ceremonially clean, according to Jewish religious guidelines. The large grains of kosher salt keep it from dissolving as quickly as finer-grained salts, which is also one of the benefits of fleur de sel. When it is sprinkled on food, fleur de sel crystals will remain on the surface and provide bursts of salt flavor and a crunchy texture. Kosher salt is readily available and relatively inexpensive when compared to other coarse salts that are popular for finishing dishes.
When using kosher salt to replace fleur de sel, use exactly the same amount that your recipe requires for fleur de sel.
–> Learn More: Fleur De Sel Vs. Kosher Salt – How Do They Compare?
A decent second choice: Sel gris
Sel gris would have been the top choice were it not for the fact that it is harder to find than fleur de sel. Fleur de sel is sometimes referred to as the cream of salt because it is harvested from the top layer of salt from evaporated ocean water. Sel gris comes from raking the bottom layer of that salt. Its crystals are smaller and less regular in shape, but have an even stronger briny flavor and a pale gray color due to its increased mineral content.
Like fleur de sel, sel gris is a moist salt and can provide largely the same texture in dishes. Use it as a finishing salt on meat, in casseroles, and on hearty vegetable preparations, including those that feature beans and carrots.
Use sel gris as a 1:1 substitute for fleur de sel.
In a pinch: Maldon sea salt
Maldon sea salt comes from Essex in England rather than from the coast of Brittany in France. This salt is known for being one of the few worthwhile ingredients that England has contributed to the culinary world and for its pyramid-shaped crystals. Popular with chefs, Maldon sea salt has large crystals that allow it to provide the same bursts of salinity as those provided by fleur de sel. Maldon sea salt is not as moist as fleur de sel, so it may be easier to sprinkle it consistently on foods.
Like the other options above, you can use Maldon sea salt as a 1:1 substitute for fleur de sel.
–> Learn More: Fleur de Sel Vs. Maldon Salt
Sea salt is a broad term, so some may be more refined than fleur de sel. They may have coarse or fine crystals, but all are distilled from seawater and can provide the salt flavor you want. Opt for coarse sea salts to get the crunch along with (potentially) a hint of the oceanic salinity that makes them excellent finishing salts.
Himalayan pink salt is mined from the Khewra salt mines in Pakistan. This salt is pink in color due to its mineral content. The pink color makes it a visually appealing finishing salt that can enhance the visual appeal of salads, steaks, and seafood.