Learn about the basics of salt, plus the best salt for cooking (hint: it’s Kosher salt!) with this easy-to-understand guide to salt for home cooks. I break down all of the different types of salt for cooking and their best uses, including Kosher salt, table salt, fine sea salt, and flaky sea salt, so that you can learn how to salt your meals and baked goods like a professional!
When it comes to cooking, salt is one of my favorite topics to discuss. It’s a topic that is generally overwhelming for people, mainly because there are so many options with way too much information out there!
I’m here to break down only what you need to know as a busy home cook and teach you the basics when it comes to salt. Let’s get started. Here’s what we cover in this post.
Table of Contents
- What is the best type of salt for cooking?
- What is Kosher Salt?
- Why is kosher salt the best for cooking?
- Different types of salt
- Three types of salt I use in my cooking
- What kosher salt is best for cooking?
- Why is Redmond’s kosher salt pink?
- Kosher salt vs. sea salt
- Kosher salt vs. table salt
- What salt to use in baking?
- When to use which type of salt?
What is the best type of salt for cooking?
Kosher salt. Notice I didn’t say, “what is the best type of salt?” Or “what is the healthiest type of salt?” But rather, the best type of salt for cooking. I want to make these distinctions clear because I’m here to help you in the kitchen, not to be your doctor.
Generally speaking, most professionally developed recipes are created using kosher salt, including mine! Other salts can be subbed and certainly have their place, but it’s safe to say, when in doubt, use kosher salt. Check out all my recipes that use kosher salt including some of my favorites below.
What is Kosher Salt?
Kosher salt is a coarse, flat grained salt without iodine (more on this later). The wider grains make it easier to salt food more evenly due to its size and coarse texture.
Why is kosher salt the best for cooking?
Because of the larger grain, it’s easy to control while cooking. Notice how I always have a container of salt next to my stove while cooking? I’m 100x times more comfortable using pinches of salt with my fingers rather than pouring from a shaker or spice jar. I have much more control as I can feel the grains between my fingers and salt my food properly, evenly and to my liking.
Different types of salt
Before we get into the different types of Kosher salt (yes, there are different types), let’s quickly go over the different types of salt.
No wonder you’re confused! There’s an overwhelming amount of information out there and I think this chart does a great job of breaking it down.
I didn’t just randomly find this image on the internet. Robyn is a functional medicine dietitian and health strategist. I met her on a business retreat in 2019 and was blown away by her care and knowledge in the functional medicine space. In 2020 I hired Robyn to help me with some health issues I was dealing with and will forever trust anything she says. She taught me SO much about salt. Check out this whole Instagram post for more details on types of salt.
Three types of salt I use in my cooking
- Kosher salt – I use this 99% of the time for cooking and baking.
- Fine sea salt – Occasionally I’ll use in baking or if I really want the salt to dissolve easily in liquid or a batter.
- Flaky salt – I only use this if I’m feeling fancy to finish a dish, such as sprinkling over roasted veggies or on top of cookies.
What kosher salt is best for cooking?
While different brands have different levels of “saltiness”, it’s safe to say that you can use the three following brands interchangeably in your home cooking.
- Redmond Real Salt
- Diamond Crystal
I have used all three in my kitchen and my current favorite is the Redmond Real Salt for a couple of reasons. One, it tastes so good! If you’ve never done a side-by-side salt taste test, I highly suggest it. You will absolutely notice a difference and ultimately decide which one YOU like best! Two, Redmond salt is an unrefined mineral salt meaning it’s not processed and has no additives. It’s full of essential minerals our body needs.
Why is Redmond’s kosher salt pink?
Sometimes the salt is a little pink and/or red because it is unrefined and full of natural minerals. This is a good thing and I’m telling you, it tastes amazing. You can really see the difference in the photo below. Does it mean that other brands are bad? Absolutely not! Just different.
Kosher salt vs. sea salt
The advantage of kosher salt is its versatility. It’s easy to use because of the size of it’s grain and you can easily use it during any phase of cooking. Sea salt is produced by evaporation of ocean water or water from saltwater lakes. It still retains trace minerals which is great and is less processed than table salt. Sea salt is available as fine grains or crystals meaning you can’t always use it as an exact swap.
Kosher salt vs. table salt
What’s up with table salt anyway? Table salt is processed to remove minerals and impurities. It also has iodine added to it as well as other additives. While iodine is an essential mineral for our bodies, there are plenty of other food sources you can get it from. In fact, according to Robyn, the salt sitting on your shelve loses iodine over time. How much are you really getting from cooking with table salt at home?
Additional Sodium Sources
- Sea salt
- Pickles/pickle juice
- Sea veggies
- Coconut water
- Aloe Vera Juice
- Some veggies
- Sodium rich powders/products
What salt to use in baking?
Honestly, 9 times out of 10 I use kosher salt. If you’re making something really delicate you can use a fine sea salt, but for general quick breads, muffins, cookies and cakes, I use kosher salt.
When to use which type of salt?
Let’s keep it really simple. Use kosher salt for pretty much everything! It will keep your cooking consistent and delicious. Choose the brand that you like best and that fits into your budget and go from there! If you want to experiment with other salts, go for it! Just know that kosher salt will always be a home base for you, perfect every time.
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