Thanks to its versatility, unique taste, and coarse texture, kosher salt is a common ingredient found in kitchen cabinets around the globe.

Despite its popularity and widespread availability, many people are unsure exactly what kosher salt is and how it compares with other salt varieties, including sea salt, Himalayan salt, and table salt.

This article takes a closer look at kosher salt, including what it is, how it’s used, and how it stacks up against other types of salt.

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Kosher salt is a type of salt with large, coarse grains. It’s mined from salt deposits.

Despite the name, not all brands of kosher salt are kosher certified or considered kosher.

It’s called kosher salt because its large grain size makes it suitable for the koshering process, which involves removing the blood from meat or poultry prior to preparation (1).

It’s sometimes favored over other types of salt for cooking because of its larger flake size, which makes it easy to pick up and sprinkle over food.

Unlike some other types of salt, it’s made solely from sodium chloride and doesn’t usually contain additives or iodine (2).

It weighs less than table salt and therefore shouldn’t be substituted in a 1-to-1 ratio in recipes.

Summary

Kosher salt is a type of salt with a large flake size that is suitable for the koshering process, but not all kosher salt is kosher certified. Unlike other types of salt, it usually doesn’t contain additives or iodine. It weighs less than table salt.

Besides kosher salt, there are many other types of salt available. They all vary slightly in terms of appearance, composition, and culinary uses.

Here is a closer look at how kosher salt stacks up against other common types of salt (3, 4, 5, 6, 7):

Kosher saltHimalayan saltTable saltSea salt
Sourcemined from salt depositsmined from the Khewra Salt Mine in Pakistanmined from salt depositsmade by evaporating seawater
Compositionsodium chloride,
usually not iodized
sodium chloride and trace minerals,
usually not iodized
sodium chloride and anti-clumping agents,
typically iodized
sodium chloride and trace minerals,
usually not iodized
Colorwhitepinkish tintwhitewhite, gray, or pink
Grainlarge, coarse flakeslarge flakesfine, even flakesuneven flakes
Culinary uses• for seasoning dishes during or after cooking
• for curing or smoking meat, for pickling and brining
• for seasoning dishes during or after cooking
• for baking
• for seasoning dishes during or after cooking
• for baking
• for seasoning dishes after cooking
• for curing meat
Summary

Varieties like kosher, Himalayan, table, and sea salt each vary slightly in terms of their source, chemical composition, appearance, and culinary uses.

Kosher salt is often preferred for cooking because its large grains are easy to pick up and sprinkle over dishes.

Some people prefer using it instead of other varieties of salt, like table salt, because it’s less refined and usually doesn’t contain additives like anti-clumping or anti-caking agents.

Since it isn’t fortified with iodine and doesn’t contain any trace minerals, many also prefer its pure flavor and lack of aftertaste.

It’s also incredibly versatile and boasts a wide range of culinary uses, including seasoning dishes, curing or smoking meat, and pickling or brining foods.

Plus, like other types of salt, it’s a good source of sodium. Although some people need to closely monitor their intake, sodium plays a central role in nerve and muscle function and maintaining fluid balance in your body (8).

Summary

Kosher salt is sometimes preferred for its flavor, large flake size, and versatility. Like other salt types, it’s a good source of sodium, which your body needs to maintain fluid balance and support nerve and muscle function.

Because kosher salt is less dense than table salt, it shouldn’t be used as a 1-to-1 substitute unless you make other adjustments to your recipe.

Here’s a simple conversion chart for kosher salt and table salt (9, 10):

Kosher saltTable salt
1/4 teaspoon (1.2 grams)1/4 teaspoon (1 gram)
1 1/4 teaspoon (6 grams)1 teaspoon (6 grams)
1 tablespoon + 3/4 teaspoon (18 grams)1 tablespoon (18 grams)
1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon (72 grams)1/4 cup (73 grams)
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons (144 grams)1/2 cup (146 grams)
3/4 cup + 3 tablespoons (216 grams)3/4 cup (219 grams)
1 1/4 cup (288 grams)1 cup (292 grams)
Summary

You can use the table above when substituting kosher salt for table salt in your favorite recipes.

When it comes to taste, kosher salt varies slightly from other types of salt.

Because it’s made of only sodium chloride and isn’t iodized, it typically has a pure, clean flavor.

Some people may find that salt that contains iodine — such as iodized table salt — tends to have a slightly bitter aftertaste.

Other impurities like trace minerals can also affect the taste and appearance of certain types of salt, including Himalayan and sea salt.

However, while there may be minor variations, any taste differences are insignificant. This holds especially true if you’re just using small amounts or dissolving it in a dish during cooking.

Summary

Kosher salt has a pure, clean flavor. Iodine and trace minerals may affect the taste of other types of salt, including table, Himalayan, and sea salt.

Unlike other types of salt, kosher salt is made solely of sodium chloride. It usually doesn’t contain any trace minerals, iodine, or anti-clumping or anti-caking agents.

Conversely, iodized table salt is fortified with iodine, an essential mineral that plays a key role in thyroid health and hormone production (11).

Some types of salt, such as Himalayan salt and sea salt, also contain small amounts of minerals like potassium, magnesium, iron, and calcium.

Here’s a closer look at the mineral content of table salt, Himalayan salt, and two types of sea salt — Celtic and Maldon sea salt — according to a 2010 study (4):

CalciumPotassiumMagnesiumIronSodium
Table salt0.03%0.09%<0.01%<0.01%39.1%
Maldon sea salt0.16%0.08%0.05%<0.01%38.3%
Himalayan salt0.16%0.28%0.1%0.0004%36.8%
Celtic sea salt0.17%0.16%0.3%0.014%33.8%

Keep in mind that the amount of trace minerals found in these varieties is low and unlikely to significantly affect your daily nutrient intake (7).

Summary

Kosher salt is made of sodium chloride. Some other types of salt are fortified with iodine or contain minimal amounts of certain trace minerals.

Although certain varieties of salt may differ slightly in terms of taste, appearance, texture, and mineral content, each type has a similar effect on your health.

That being said, you may want to opt for iodized salt if you don’t regularly consume foods high in iodine, such as fish or dairy products (12).

Iodine deficiency is common in many parts of the world and can have a serious effect on health (13).

For example, getting too little iodine can cause goiter, hypothyroidism, and neurological abnormalities in infants and children (14).

If you suspect you may not be getting enough iodine, talk with a doctor and consider adding iodized salt or other iodine-rich foods to your diet.

Summary

Different types of salt likely have a similar effect on health. However, those who don’t regularly consume foods with iodine may want to opt for iodized salt to prevent a deficiency.

Kosher salt is a type of salt with a large flake size, which makes it a good option for the koshering process. Not all kosher salt is kosher certified.

Many people prefer using kosher salt because it isn’t iodized and doesn’t contain any additives or trace minerals.

Although there may be slight variations between different types of salt in terms of taste, grain size, culinary uses, and appearance, the health differences between them are minimal — especially if you’re getting enough iodine from other foods in your diet.

Therefore, the type of salt that you stock up on and use should be based on your personal preferences rather than considerations about health.

Just one thing

Try this today: Kosher salt has several uses that go beyond cooking. In fact, it can be used to soothe bee stings, defrost car windows, and exfoliate dry skin naturally!