Sea Salt vs Kosher Salt—Which Is Better?

Published Categorized as Food
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Kosher salt is better for most cooking processes and sea salt is best sprinkled after cooking. Neither offers a health advantage.

Kosher is mined from salt mines while sea salt is the result of evaporated seawater. Both salts are typically coarse, though, both can also exist in finer crystals.

Though the two salts have more similarities than differences, sea salt is usually more expensive, and kosher salt makes more sense to use for certain cooking processes.

If the salt is decorative, or to add a crunch to the outside of a meal, use sea salt. If you need salt for general cooking, use kosher salt. In some situations, you can substitute one for the other.

Which Is Saltier: Sea Salt or Kosher Salt?

Sea salt and kosher salt are variations of salt—sodium chloride (NaCl)—so, in terms of sodium, both have a similar amount.

It could be argued that kosher salt might taste saltier because other elements found in sea salt, particularly minerals, may give it a more diverse taste.

However, you will probably not taste the difference between sea salt and kosher salt unless you had them both in front of you clearly labeled.

Added to a meal, unless your tastes are super sharp, as only a condiment added to a meal, you probably won’t know the difference between sea salt and kosher salt.

According to a post by Marge Perry of MyRecipes, because sea salt and kosher salt are coarse varieties of salt, they are less densely compact than finer salts like table salt.

What this can mean is that, per teaspoon, there is less salt than finer salts. So, if we threw table salt into the mix, technically speaking it could be considered the saltiest of the three.

Can You Use Sea Salt for Kosher Salt?

Often you can use sea salt for kosher salt and vice versa. The only exception to this is when baking where you should definitely not use sea salt over kosher salt.

On the topic of sea salt and baking, Rossi Anastopoulo of the King Arthur Baking Company explains, “It’s not great for baking because the salinity and crystal size are so irregular, so it’s difficult to use the appropriate measurement.”

And for flakier varieties of sea salt, Anastopoulo adds that they shouldn’t be used for making dough or batter because their size makes it difficult for them to dissolve.

Why Use Kosher Salt Instead of Sea Salt?

The primary reason you should use kosher salt over sea salt is that it is cheaper. For general purposes, kosher salt should be your go-to salt (or just keep to table salt).

Sea salt, on the other hand, should be more reserved for specific things that take better advantage of its unique taste and texture.

The reason kosher salt is cheaper is that the process to obtain get kosher salt is less resource-intensive than sea salt.

Kosher salt is mined from the ground while sea salt takes longer to be made as seawater needs to be dried out and the remaining salt collected.

An article by Master Class notes that kosher salt is best for brining, cleaning cooking pans, cooking, and making margaritas.

Sea salt, on the other hand, “works best as a finishing salt for meats and vegetables.” This is because of the ‘pleasing crunch’ it adds when sprinkled on top of food.

Lastly, Master Class also notes that sea salt can bring extra flavor to chocolates and sweets.

How to Substitute Sea Salt for Kosher Salt?

To substitute sea salt for kosher salt, and vice versa, depends on the composition of the salt—coarse and fine salts cannot be substituted one for one.

Sonja Overhiser of A Couple Cooks opines that one teaspoon of kosher salt equals ¾ teaspoon of fine sea salt.

However, if the sea salt and kosher salt you are using are equally coarse, it should be fine to substitute them for one another equally.

But it also depends on the meal you’re making and the method you’ll use.

Can I Use Sea Salt Instead of Kosher Salt for Brining?

You can use sea salt instead of kosher for wet brining, but it’ll be a waste of money because it wouldn’t taste any different from using any other salts.

When wet brining food, whether you use kosher salt or sea salt, the result will be the same—you will not be able to taste a difference.

Kosher salt is preferred for wet brining while sea salt is typically used at the end of cooking to add a crunch.

However, you could use sea salt for dry brining. Molly Stevens of Epicurious writes, “For dry brining, only use sea salts that have a delicate, flaky texture.” Test this by crumbling the salt in your fingers.

So, for the financial health of your wallet, use kosher or table salt for brining and leave sea salt for grander cooking ideas.

Can I Use Sea Salt Instead of Kosher Salt for Steak?

You could use either kosher salt or sea salt on a steak but use them appropriately. There are certain parts of the cooking process where kosher salt trumps sea salt, and vice versa.

Added when cooking, kosher salt is better at spreading flavor than sea salt, though fine sea salt can boost marinades.

Sea salt “is easier dissolved into the other liquid ingredients and less apt to settle out,” writes Darcy Lenz of MyRecipes.

At the end, when you take the steaks out of the pan or oven (or wherever you cooked them), to add a nice crunchiness to it, add a sprinkle of sea salt.

Be cautious when adding different salts to steaks, especially if they have been marinaded as you might end up accidentally making them too salty.

What Is Healthier, Sea Salt or Kosher Salt?

There is no significant health advantage gained from sea salt over kosher salt. When it comes to health, most salts are more or less the same, particularly regarding sodium levels.

Depending on where sea salt is harvested, it can contain potassium, calcium, and magnesium (which can give it a distinct color), but these quantities are so small health-wise that they would go unnoticed.

Sea salt can also naturally contain insignificant amounts of iodine which can be a benefit, but it is not always guaranteed.

Coarse sea salt and kosher salt could be considered healthier than table salt per teaspoon they both contain less sodium, while finer sea salt contains a similar quantity.

By Craig Britton

As children, we’re told not to play with our food. But I find that food tastes best when you experiment with it. I love trying out new recipes and cooking techniques almost as much as I love eating the end result.

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