Pickling Salt Vs. Kosher Salt: SPICEography Showdown

Pickling salt and kosher salt give your food a salty flavor. What’s more, they are both great options for a cleaner salt taste. Does this mean that they are exactly the same and that you can switch them out in dishes as you like? Not exactly. There are a few things that you will want to take into account with these salts. Consider how they stack up in this SPICEography Showdown.

How does pickling salt differ from kosher salt?

One of the most obvious differences between pickling and kosher salts is the size and shape of the particles. Pickling salt has small, uniform granules with more or less regular shapes. Kosher salt consists of larger irregularly shaped flakes. Kosher salt crystals are flatter than rather than the block-like pickling salt crystals.

Pickling salt and kosher salt both have specialized uses. Pickling salt is made for pickles since compounds included in regular table salt — like iodine and anti-caking agents — can discolor pickles or make the brine cloudy. The smaller granules of pickling salt also help it to dissolve quickly. Kosher salt’s original use was for koshering, which is the Jewish ceremonial practice of drawing blood from butchered meat.

The size and shape of the granules play will affect how you use these salts. Consider the fact that the larger irregular shape of kosher salt crystals means that less of it will fit into a measuring spoon. A tablespoon of kosher salt will contain more air than a tablespoon of pickling salt since the kosher salt will contain more air — there are more spaces between the granules. The finer and more regular shape of pickling salt granules allows for a denser fit and less air. You will get a more accurate measurement when you use pickling salt when compared to kosher salt.

Can you use pickling salt in place of kosher salt or vice versa?

Neither pickling salt nor kosher salt contains additives that can cause issues in pickles, which means that you can use either of them in your pickles; kosher salt is the best substitute for pickling salt. However, you will have to make adjustments to compensate for their differences in some recipes.

Pickling salt may not make a good substitute for kosher salt if you need it to enhance the presentation of your dishes. Its fine crystals dissolve much too quickly when you sprinkle them on the surfaces of foods. However, it works fine as a condiment for addition to your food at the table. It is especially good for seasoning french fries and similar items since the fine crystals stick to the surfaces better than large kosher salt crystals.

If you are using kosher salt in place of pickling salt for making pickles, you may have to add as much as 50 percent more than the amount specified in the recipe to compensate for spaces between the irregularly shaped crystals. Another way to do it is to simply measure by weight when making the substitution easier.

When should you use pickling salt and when should you use kosher salt?

Use pickling salt for its original intended purpose of making pickles. It works well as a table salt alternative in dishes where you want it to dissolve quickly.

Use kosher salt as a finishing salt. It is great for seasoning steaks both before you throw them on the grill and if you want an attractive finishing salt. It makes a great seasoning for salads and for desserts where a clean salt flavor is desired.