Salt is one of those things that can be found in any house, as it's one of the most basic and crucial ingredients used in cooking from the Himalayan salt block to the gourmet salt or flavored salt. The salt crystal is your flavour mineral friend when cooking.
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Whether it’s for savory food or sweet food, used during the cooking process or as a condiment, or even if it’s for a ritual to keep away the evil spirits! The truth is, salt is essential.
But here’s the thing, there are many different types of salt!
And nope, not all salts taste exactly the same; they have slight differences that can seriously affect the overall flavor of the food you’re using it in. And that leads us to one main question: Which is the best salt for cooking?
Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as saying ‘this salt is the overall best for cooking’, because it widely depends on the food that you’re cooking and the kind of flavor that you’re going for.
You’re not going to use the same salt for soup and say, for example, making a cake. And different salts will have different sized flakes, and this also plays a role in what they work best for. Honestly, salt is a whole culinary world of its own.
Nevertheless, there are a few salts that are regarded as the best options when it comes to cooking, and you can easily switch between them depending on what it is you’re cooking.
These ‘best’ salts for cooking are Sea salt, Kosher salt, Himalayan salt, and a few Specialty salts. The four pillars of the cooking-with-salt universe!
The Best Salts For Cooking
Sea salt, Himalayan salt, Kosher salt, and some Specialty salts, are the best salts that you can use when cooking. They’re all pretty standard, and very versatile, making them the perfect types to have in your kitchen.
However, depending on which one you’re using, it will be better suited to certain types of foods and recipes. So let’s look at all four types of salt in a lot more detail!
Sea salt is salt that is produced when seawater evaporates, pretty straightforward and simple. And as the sea has a lot of salt, it’s an easy and common resource, making sea salt one of the most popular types of salt.
The more high-quality kinds of sea salt are produced from longer and slower evaporation processes. These can take up to around 5 years!
However, the average sea salt is cheap and refined, and the process for collecting it is pretty fast, which is why there’s so much of it! And although it’s not as high-quality as the one that takes more time, it’s still really good salt.
The main difference between high-quality sea salt, and average refined sea salt, is the different ways in which they are used within the kitchen.
So refined average salt has really small flakes, making it ideal for cooking, and seasoning foods such as potatoes or eggs. High-quality sea salt, on the other hand, has bigger flakes, and it is commonly used for seasoning salads and similar.
Let’s take a look at some of the best sea salts available in the current market
Maldon is one of the most renowned and popular brands when it comes to salt. The brand has been operating since 1882, and the product is made with traditional artisan methods, for the best result possible.
The Maldon Sea Salt Flakes are one of the most affordable options, as well as being very high-quality, and highly recommended.
The size of these salt flakes is quite large, so they are especially suited as a seasoning for salad, meats, and similar.
The product itself comes as an 85-ounce box of salt, full of soft and crunchy sea salt flakes. They have an excellent balance of natural minerals, and they are pure and natural, with no additives.
They provide a clean and fresh intense taste, and they are by far the most popular option in regards to sea salt.
Another excellent sea salt product option, also by the Maldon brand, is the Maldon Smoked Sea Salt. This is a refined and high-quality salt, also affordable and ideal for use in a variety of applications within the kitchen.
The main difference between this salt and the normal Maldon sea salt is that this one is smoked. This gives it a caramel color, and a very subtle smoky flavor that is especially suited for serving as a seasoning on grilled meats and fish.
The product itself comes in a 44-ounce box, and it is completely pure and natural, with no additives. The salt is smoked in a traditional way, over English Oak which is sourced from a sustainable forest.
The smokey flavor that it adds to the salt is a great extra layer of seasoning, and as it is very subtle, it is not overpowering in the slightest.
Celtic Sea Salt is a very popular brand when it comes to sea salt. This product in particular is fine ground sea salt, meaning it is very suited to cooking, although you can also use it for seasoning.
This salt comes in a 16-ounce bag, and it is completely authentic and unprocessed. It has no additives, and it is also paleo-friendly.
This salt is also a lot more nutritious than normal table salt, as it has a natural balance of essential minerals, making it a healthy addition to your food!
Himalayan salt is salt that is mined from the rocks found in the Himalayan mountains, most commonly from the Punjab region of Pakistan.
It is known for being high-quality, and it has also become a highly popular type of salt due to the pinkish color that it has, which is due to the trace minerals from the same rocks it comes from.
Himalayan salt is used in many different ways, as a condiment and seasoning, for cooking purposes, as a ‘prettier’ alternative to other salts, and even in decorative lamps!
It is very similar to high-quality sea salt, and it contains plenty of important minerals such as iron, zinc, potassium, and manganese.
Himalayan salt is usually found in large flakes, and used in a salt grinder. However, it can also be found in finer grains for cooking purposes!
And as Himalayan salt comes from rocks, and therefore has many more minerals in it, it is considered to be one of the healthiest salt options. At the very least, pink Himalayan salt is healthier than regular white sea salt!
Let’s take a look at some of the best pink Himalayan salts currently available in the market:
As Himalayan salt is mined from rocks, it can sometimes contain some small tiny rock pieces, which you should take out before putting the salt in a grinder.
This Spice Lab Himalayan Salt comes in a bag full of large crystal flakes, making it ideal for seasoning and garnishing plenty of different meals.
The flavor it provides is a lot more subtle than that of sea salt or kosher salt, so it can be used in many different foods without it overpowering the taste.
It is 100% certified and natural and contains a beneficial amount of minerals. It is, therefore, a healthy addition to your seasoning, and can also be used for other health-related activities, such as a salt bath!
The San Francisco Salt Co. is another popular and highly recommended brand when it comes to salt. This Himalayan Salt product comes finely ground, making it an ideal salt alternative for cooking.
Although you can also still use it as a seasoning! This way, it’s a tasty and healthy addition to almost any meal you are cooking.
It is 100% certified and natural Himalayan pink salt, non-GMO, and free from any anti-caking agents, which many other brands use.
This product also comes with a satisfaction guarantee, so you can go right ahead and try it out with no worries!
Kosher salt is also more commonly known as kitchen salt, and it’s the most basic and common type of salt that can be used for cooking, and that can be found in a regular kitchen. This salt is taken from rock salt deposits, found in salt mines, or taken from evaporated seawater.
Kosher salt is usually the cheapest kind of salt, and it is also pure and all-natural, as it doesn’t include any of the common additives such as iodine.
It is coarse and perfectly edible, and the best thing about it is that it is the most versatile type of salt when it comes to its use.
In fact, Kosher salt is the staple of all salts and is the one that no kitchen can go without. Usable for cooking, seasoning, and good for all sorts of different foods and flavors.
So, let’s look at some of the best Kosher salts available in today’s market:
The Morton Kosher Salt is one of the most popular salts that you can find in today’s market, and one of the most recognizable.
It can be used in practically any type of food and recipe, as Kosher salt is the most versatile and standard option of salt.
The Morton Kosher salt comes in a 16-ounce container of large salt flakes, so they are also incredibly suited to seasoning, and can be easily pinched when measuring.
However, as they are large flakes, they have a stronger flavor than fine-ground salt, so keep that in mind!
The Diamond Crystal Pure and Natural Kosher Salt is the other incredibly popular option when it comes to Kosher salt, as it features an exceptional texture, and is usable in almost any recipe you can come up with.
It is pure, natural, and free of any additives. And as it is ground very finely, it is ideal for cooking, as it sticks to the food and blends in to provide the desired flavor in a subtle way.
It is also one of the most preferred salt options when it comes to baking, specifically because of how finely it is grounded!
Specialty salts, much like how the name indicates, are specific salts that can be used for certain specific applications. Basically, this type of salt isn’t for regular day-to-day cooking, but rather, to garnish special foods.
There are many different types of specialty salts, and they can belong to any of the other types of salts already mentioned.
Specialty salts usually have a stronger flavor, which is why they’re used for special occasions and meals, in order to add an extra layer of flavor or uniqueness to the food. They’re usually more expensive, and as we’ve already said, they aren’t really apt for everyday use.
Let’s look at some of the best and most popular Specialty salts available in the market:
The Caravel Gourmet Italian Black Truffle Sea Salt is one of the favorites amongst customers, and it is infused with Italian black truffle to provide a very distinct flavor.
It is ideal for rubbing on chicken and other meats before they are grilled, and it is also typically used on roasted potatoes.
This specialty sea salt is unrefined and 100% natural, with no added preservatives, making it a healthy option for your meals.
The smooth and rich flavor of the salt can make a big difference in your meals, and can truly add that unique and memorable touch to the taste.
Plus, the product comes with a 100% customer satisfaction guarantee, so you can try it out with your mind at ease.
There are many specialty salts to try out, with most of them being from specific locations. A popular option is to test out different Icelandic specialty salts, and this product comes in a gift box of four different specialty salt types.
Usually bought as a souvenir from Iceland, it contains Flaky Sea Salt, Lava Salt, Birch Smoked Salt, and Arctic Thyme Salt.
All of these salts come from the Westfjords of Iceland, and they are sourced in a 100% sustainable way. They come in large flakes, and most of them contain a mix of Icelandic herbs and flavors.
However, these specialty salts should not be used for cooking, as they are suited for seasoning and garnishing meals. They have quite a strong taste, so they will definitely add a unique kick to your food!
Questions About Salt for Cooking
Is table salt good for cooking?
Table salt is the cheapest and most common type of salt, the one that can be found is practically every single home.
It is very similar to Kosher salt, and both can be used interchangeably (although it is worth spending a tiny bit extra and getting the Kosher salt, as it is way better quality!)
Table salt is perfectly good for cooking, but it is usually heavily processed so that all minerals are removed, and it often contains additives that prevent it from clumping up. So it’s not really the healthiest salt to be cooking with.
What is the healthiest salt to cook with?
The healthiest types of salts are those that are the least refined, and those that are free from any additives or preservatives. Natural sea salt, for example, is a very healthy option of salt.
However, the salt that is considered to be the overall healthiest, is pink Himalayan salt. This is because Himalayan salt contains high levels of beneficial and essential minerals, such as potassium, magnesium, or calcium.
It is considered to be the purest of the salts, and it can be used in cooking and seasoning, depending on whether it is finely ground or not.
Should I use iodized salt?
Iodine is a chemical element that helps make thyroid hormones within the body. These hormones then help keep the cells and the metabolic rate nice and healthy.
Humans, therefore, need a small and necessary intake of iodine per day. The easiest way to get this intake of iodine is through the use of iodized salt in your meals. Table salt, which is the most basic type of salt, is iodized.
However, you don’t need to use iodized salt in order to get the necessary amount of iodine. There are plenty of other foods that will contain iodine in the necessary amount.
So for better cooking, and for tastier food, it is actually better to use salt that isn’t iodized, and that doesn’t contain any additives.
Where does salt come from?
All salt essentially comes from seawater. But over time, oceans have moved and shifted, so the salt can be found in different places, and not just necessarily in seawater (although it would have been part of seawater at once point in time).
Salt, nowadays, is harvested from two different main sources: seawater, and rocks that contain salt. The salt that is collected from seawater is collected by evaporating the water, so the salt remains.
And as for rock salt, it can be found in different mountains and sedimentary beds around the world.
The different types of salt are collected from different places, and that is what gives them the main differences between each other. Here are where the main types of salt come from:
- Kosher salt:
This salt is harvested from underground salt mines, that at one point in time would have been an ocean. (Table salt is also collected in this way).
- Sea salt:
Sea salt comes from the sea, duh. It is collected by evaporating seawater, and there are different methods that can be used. Depending on the method, the sea salt will be of a higher or lower quality.
- Himalayan salt:
Just as the name suggests, Himalayan salt is collected from the Himalayas mountains. Specifically, most Himalaya salt is harvested from a region in Pakistan.
It requires some mining, and as it comes from the rocks, it contains plenty of beneficial minerals.
To sum everything up, what is the absolute best salt for cooking? Well, it turns out there isn’t an exact answer, as it completely depends on what you’re cooking!
Nevertheless, there are four main types of salt that are the best for cooking and can be used for different types of foods and recipes.
These salts are:
- Sea salt
- Kosher salt
- Himalayan salt
- Specialty salts
You can also use other salts, such as the most basic and common type of salt: table salt. But these aren’t as good for adding the right flavor, and they also aren’t as healthy or as pure.