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Types of Salt

Regarded as the most common ingredient in the culinary world, salt is the inexpensive wonder that takes any dish to the next level. Various origins create different types of salt with unique colors, textures, uses, and even flavors!

What Is Salt?

Mainly made from sodium chloride and other chemical compounds, salt is found throughout seawater and various rock formations. Salt is a naturally occurring mineral located almost everywhere in the world, from the ponds of France to the caves of Pakistan.

Salt is one of the most sought after substances in the world not only for its flavor enhancing, but for also being essential to the human body in order for the brain to send vital electrical signals throughout the body. It is so desired by humankind that it was once a form of payment in Ancient Roman times, which is where we get the word "salary."

Salt is most commonly used for flavoring foods as it enhances their aroma. It is also excellent for food preservation and cleaning due to its antibacterial properties. One thing that is important to note is that the size of the salt grain will impact the flavor strength and the amount of salt needed in a recipe. Therefore, you should not interchange one salt type for another as it will impact your final result.

Raw steak on butcher paper with hand sprinkling kosher salt on top

What Is Kosher Salt?

Kosher salt is known for its ability to draw out the blood from a piece of meat, which is a process known as “koshering”. It’s used in traditional Jewish cuisine, which requires the blood from meat to be extracted before being cooked or cured. Because of its coarse structure, kosher salt is the most efficient of the different types of salts for the koshering process.

Today, it is the most popular salt amongst almost all chefs in the industry. The versatility of  kosher salt extends to almost every corner of the culinary world: cooking, baking, finishing, and curing. Also, because of its coarser structure, kosher salt adds more pronounced bursts of flavor to your dishes, and it’s easier for picking up and sprinkling over food. Due to the lack of additives that are usually found in table salt, kosher salt lacks any metallic or bitter-tasting notes, allowing kosher salt to have a purer, cleaner flavor. 

What's the Difference Between Kosher Salt and Kosher Certified Salt?

While "koshering" is the act of extracting the blood, "Kosher" is a certification that can be used for any type of salt that is made properly under kosher supervision.

Sea Salt

What Is Sea Salt?

Sea salt is salt that is gathered from evaporated sea water. It is generally obtained naturally in dry climates where there are bays and ponds. Large salt crystals are produced when the water evaporates from the salt, creating the lightest and flakiest salt type. You will find the most variety of salt colors when it comes to sea salt.

Sea salt has various benefits. It:

  • Retains minerals and nutrients from the sea that are lost in refined salts
  • Gives food a more potent mouthfeel
  • Creates bigger bursts of flavor
  • Naturally contains zinc, potassium, and iodine, resulting in a more complex flavor profile with mineral notes

Types of Sea Salt:

Wooden spoon with brown smoked salt on top of burlap

Smoked Salt

This salt is slowly smoked over a fire for generally two weeks, and gives your meats and heartier vegetables a smoky and woody flavor. Each smoked sea salt is usually different depending on the wood it is smoked with, such as hickory, oak, mesquite, and alder.

Recommended for table use? Yes

Recommended for cooking? Yes

Recommended for baking? No

Common uses: Cooking or finishing meats and hearty vegetables for a smoky flavor

Red Hawaiian salt on left in light wooden spoon and black Hawaiian salt on right

Hawaiian Salt

Originally used to bless tools, homes, and canoes on the Hawaiian Islands, this salt is now used to add a finishing touch and robust flavor to seafood and meats, as well as traditional island dishes like poke and pipikaula. The coarse grains offer a slightly briny flavor. This salt comes in two varieties:

Lava Salt: sea salt that has been mixed with charcoal which gives it a black color and a slight hint of sulfur flavor (Also known as Hawaiian black salt or Hiwa kai)

Alaea Salt: sea salt that has been mixed with alaea clay which gives it a red color and a mild flavor (Also known as Hawaiian red salt)

Recommended for table use? Yes

Recommended for cooking? Yes

Recommended for baking? No

Common uses: Finishing seafood and barbecue meats

White fleur de sel in black dish on top of a gray surface

Fleur de Sel

Labeled as the "Caviar of salts" due to its high price, this salt is only produced off the coast of Brittany, France during the months of May to September. Because of its paper-thin delicate crystals, fleur de sel can only be extracted on sunny, dry, and slightly breezy days with a traditional wooden rake. This salt is perfect as a finishing salt for savory meals, and even sweets like chocolate and caramel. It features a light briny flavor and a highly desirable blue-gray tint.


Recommended for table use? Yes

Recommended for cooking? Yes

Recommended for baking? Yes

Common uses: Finishing meats, seafood, vegetables, and baked goods

Gray Celtic salt in a pile on marble surface with glass jar in background

Celtic Salt

Also recognized as "sel gris," Celtic salt is extracted from the mineral-rich seawater on the coastal shores of France. It is harvested using the traditional Celtic methods of raking the salt from the bottom of tidepools after it has sunk and collected further minerals. This slightly moist artisan salt holds a briny taste with a gray hue that is perfect for cooking with or serving on meats and fish!

Recommended for table use? Yes

Recommended for cooking? Yes

Recommended for baking? No

Common uses: Finishing meats and seafood

Flake salt piled on a black dish

Flake Salt

Typically taken and crafted from the coastal regions of England, flake salt has most of its water content evaporated, producing a dryer, and more pyramid-like crystal. It dissolves more quickly than some other sea salts, adding dynamic pops of flavor in your dish. It's perfect as a finishing salt on meats, blending with herbs and spices to create a unique spice blend, or adding onto baked goods for a bold flavor contrast.


Recommended for table use? No

Recommended for cooking? No

Recommended for baking? No

Common uses: Finishing meats, seafood, baked goods, or creating spice blends

Rock Salt

What Is Rock Salt?

Rock salt is salt that has been extracted from underground salt mines through the process of mining with dynamite and then crushed further for food use. It can be found under the rugged layers of the earthâ??s surface and is scientifically known as halite.

Rock salt has various benefits. It:

  • Contains more natural minerals and elements found in the human body
  • Adds eye-appeal when used for rimming cocktail glasses
  • Gives flavor dimensions and additional texture on breads and other baked goods
  • Can be used to cure and remove toxins from meats

Types of Rock Salt:

Himalayan salt lined in a baking sheet with fish, lemon, and thyme on top

Himalayan Salt

Being the purest salt in the world and containing 84 minerals that are found in the human body, it is no wonder that Himalayan salt is the go-to flavor booster for health-conscious people all over the globe. This vibrantly pink salt, with iron ore and ivory traced throughout, is mined from the Khewra Salt Mine in Pakistan. It has a bolder flavor from the highly complex mineral content, and is great for cooking and baking of all kinds. Himalayan salt also has a high heat tolerance and is often used for spa treatments to release ions into the air.


Recommended for table use? Yes

Recommended for cooking? Yes

Recommended for baking? Yes

Common uses: Cooking, baking, finishing, and spa treatments

Wooden spoon full of white kosher salt on black bowl

Kosher Salt

Initially used in Jewish cooking to follow the food guidelines in the Torah, kosher salt is used for extracting blood from meat, thus, koshering the food. It is now used more and more in all different cuisines due to its versatility. Chefs particularly love the salt since it’s easier to pick up and evenly distribute. Large, coarse, and uneven white grains give this salt its favorable texture, while the briny, crunchy, and slow melting characteristics make this flavor profile so desired.


Recommended for table use? Yes

Recommended for cooking? Yes

Recommended for baking? Yes

Common uses: Cooking, baking, finishing, curing, and last minute seasoning

Raw salmon with green herbs on outside and curing salt sprinkled on top

Curing Salt

Removing toxins from meat before cooking roasts, steak, poultry, and sausages, this curing salt makes serving meat safe for consumers. This large grained, coarse salt is even sometimes dyed pink with food coloring in an effort to inhibit the growth of bacteria, as well as help to further distinguish it from table salt.


Recommended for table use? No

Recommended for cooking? Yes

Recommended for baking? No

Common uses: Curing meats before cooking

Two soft pretzels with white salt on top in a basket with mustard

Pretzel Salt

As you’ve always remembered them, iconic golden brown pretzels are notorious for their large, rectangular shaped specks of salt thoroughly dispersed on top. These rectangles are created on purpose as the flat edges stick onto egg wash more easily. This salt is also non-melting, which makes it perfect for finishing not only pretzels, but other breads too.


Recommended for table use? No

Recommended for cooking? No

Recommended for baking? No

Common uses: Finishing breads such as pretzels, focaccia, bagels, and rolls

Red and black kala namak salt in glass dish with spoon full of salt on wood surface

Kala Namak Salt

“Black salt” in Nepalese, kala namak is a mixture of Himalayan salt, charcoal, bark, herbs, and seeds that has been sealed in a ceramic jar and fired in a furnace for 24 hours. It is then cooled down and stored away to be aged before being sold. Kala namak is a pungent salt with a beautiful, reddish-black color. This unique salt has a faint sulfurous aroma similar to eggs, and is often used in heartier dishes, as well as vegan dishes to mimic the taste of eggs.


Recommended for table use? No

Recommended for cooking? Yes

Recommended for baking? No

Common uses: Cooking hearty dishes and vegan meals

Fine Salt

What Is Fine Salt?

Fine salt is a salt with extremely fine salt grains that are extracted from salt brines. This practice creates a higher yield, cleaner product, and is generally more inexpensive. By pumping water below the earth’s surface, salt deposits are dissolved, which creates salt brines. From there, the salt brine is brought to the earth’s surface and the water is evaporated from it to create the salt that we find on our tables and in our cabinets.

Fine salt has various benefits. It:

  • Dissolves more easily
  • Measures in volume more accurately
  • Perfect for last minute sprinkling and seasoning

Types of Fine Salt:

White square dish on light wood surface full on fine white table salt

Table Salt

Considered the perfect all-purpose salt, table salt is used as an ingredient or seasoning in most cooking and baking recipes. Table salt will usually contain added iodine as iodine deficiency has become common in many parts of the world. Anti-caking agents are usually added into table salt to prevent clumping and keep the salt flowing freely. Table salt has uniform crystal size, which is great for concise and consistent cooking when measuring in volume.


Recommended for table use? Yes

Recommended for cooking? Yes

Recommended for baking? Yes

Common uses: Cooking, baking, and last-minute seasoning

White powder salt in a pile on a blue surface with white spoon holding salt on top

Salt Powder

Also known as flour salt, salt powder is an even finer grain than table salt. Blending easily into recipes and ensuring a uniform taste, salt powder is ideal for coating snack mixes and sprinkling on salads, as well as using on a larger scale in sauces, soups, and batters.


Recommended for table use? Yes

Recommended for cooking? Yes

Recommended for baking? No

Common uses: Cooking and last-minute seasoning

bright green pickles in white dish with garlic on left and herbs and white salt in background

Canning and Pickling Salt

As the key ingredient in the pickling and canning process, the type of salt you choose really does matter. This finer grain salt features a small grain that keeps the quality of the produce in its best condition. This salt does not contain additives, minerals, or iodine, and is a much more concentrated salt that will not discolor your produce!


Recommended for table use? No

Recommended for cooking? Yes

Recommended for baking? No

Common uses: Canning or pickling fresh produce

clear container with red lid pouring white popcorn salt onto a yellow pile on popcorn with bags of p

Popcorn Salt

Popcorn salt is excellent for giving extra flavor to popcorn, fries, nachos, corn on the cob, and other savory snacks and dishes. It is a super fine salt that easily adheres to freshly cooked items, and is especially beneficial for getting in the nooks and crannies of popcorn. Coming in different flavorings from butter, sour cream and onion, garlic, and jalapeno to name a few, this is an easy way to dress up your snacks and differentiate them to offer more flavoring options!


Recommended for table use? No

Recommended for cooking? No

Recommended for baking? No

Common uses: Last-minute seasoning of snacks

Cleaning Salt

What is Cleaning Salt?

Cleaning salt is sodium chloride mixed with other chemicals and minerals to boost its antibacterial properties and breakdown calcium and magnesium. It can be used in a variety of ways to clean everything from kitchens to bathrooms and can prolong the life of appliances.

Cleaning salt has various benefits. It:

  • Softens water to avoid hard water stains and calcium build up
  • Polishes and / or deodorizes various appliances
  • Wipes away rust
  • Shines brass or copper

Types of Cleaning Salt:

Tablets of white softener salt on left with white bag full of more softener salt tablets on right

Water Softener Salt

Available in a crystal, cube, or pellet form, water softening salt works with your water softener to remove the calcium and magnesium from your water that result in hard water. Eliminating hard water helps reduce unsightly spots on your dinnerware, glassware, and flatware, as well as cleaning your towels, sheets, and clothes more efficiently for shorter results.


Recommended for table use? No

Recommended for cooking? No

Recommended for baking? No

Common uses: Softening hard water for effective cleaning

There are various types of salt that form naturally in the world and knowing their differences can help you provide a better experience with them, whether it be for cooking, canning, curing, or cleaning!

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