In every culture around the world, salt is seen as the most important ingredient for flavoring food. It is popular because it works; food that contains salt tastes much better than food without it. Aside from health reasons, most chefs would never seriously consider leaving salt out of their recipes. Sea salt is one type of salt that is prized for the purity of its flavor and for the fact that it has large crystals. Its large crystals make it an excellent finishing salt; it is often sprinkled onto food to provide a textural enhancement along with its flavor. If you have run out of this spice, are there any worthwhile substitutes for sea salt? Fortunately, you have a few decent options.
An exceptional finishing salt, sea salt is full of flavor. And fine crystal options, like this one from Cris-Sal are perfect for using as you would table salt. The flavor is clean with no underlying bitterness.
Table of Contents
- Your best sea salt substitute: Kosher salt
- A decent second choice: Pink Himalayan salt
- In a pinch: Iodized table salt
- Other alternatives
- Must-read related posts
Your best sea salt substitute: Kosher salt
Kosher salt was originally used to draw the blood from meat to render it ceremonially pure. One of the things that makes it an excellent sea salt substitute is that like sea salt, it has larger crystals than table salt. This means that you can use kosher salt as a finishing salt in cooking since it can provide a satisfying crunch and is not likely to dissolve as quickly as table salt will.
Those large crystals make it easy to pick kosher salt up with the fingers and apply it to food precisely; this is one of the reasons that both sea and kosher salts are popular with chefs. Another reason to use kosher salt as a sea salt substitute is that both are made without the additives used in iodized table salt, which means that they provide a cleaner flavor.
–> Learn More: Kosher Salt Vs. Sea Salt – How Do They Compare?
A decent second choice: Pink Himalayan salt
This salt comes from the Khewra Salt Mine in Pakistan and is pink because it contains small amounts of iron oxide. It also contains a few other minerals such as potassium and calcium.
The most notable feature of this salt is its color, which can be visually striking when it is used as a finishing salt. Pink Himalayan salt can be purchased in crystal form or in block form. Food can be cooked on the blocks of salt; this method of cooking infuses the food with a mild salt flavor.
Pink Himalayan salt is typically sold as coarser crystals, so you can use it in equal amounts to regular sea salt in recipes.
In a pinch: Iodized table salt
While some chefs may be able to tell the difference between the flavor of iodized table salt and other salts like the ones mentioned above, most people cannot. Chemically speaking, all salts are virtually identical in that they all consist of 99 percent sodium chloride. When they are dissolved in food, the flavors are essentially the same. Table salt is no different and aside from the matter of smaller crystal size, it too can serve as an effective sea salt alternative.
Just note, iodized table salt does have additives. The taste may not be as clean as sea salt, so it’s not a perfect seasoning substitute here.
As well, substitute table salt conservatively to start. Sea salt typically has coarse crystals, so you may over-salt if you go by a 1:1 ratio with table salt. Table salt dissolves quickly because those salt crystals are finer, so it can really permeate your dish if you use too much.
Pickling salt is a more concentrated form of salt that you can use for more than just pickling. For example, it can be used for brining poultry. Like sea salt, it has no iodine and therefore will not cause the bitterness some people associate with iodized salt.
Fleur de sel is widely considered to be the best of all the finishing salts and comes from France’s Guerande region. It has large crystals and a clean flavor thus allowing it to be an effective stand-in for sea salt when cooking.
And – most other types of salt can work, too. In fact, there are many types of sea salt, including Hawaiian, Maldon, and Celtic. There are slight variations in flavor here among sea salts, but as a whole, they work across the board for most recipes.
Must-read related posts
- Cooking With Sea Salt: Learn the dos and don’ts of using sea salt in cooking. What should you keep in mind?
- Too Much Salt? How To Fix Your Dish: If you’ve gone past a sprinkling, learn how to handle that extra salt and save your meal.
- Himalayan Salt Vs. Sea Salt: How do these two salt types compare? Is one better for cooking than another?