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Pickling Salt vs Kosher Salt Difference Comparison (with Table)

Maria Foster
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by Maria Foster

There are more types of salt than most people realize, each with varying textures, uses, and culinary ingredients. Among the most common types are pickling and kosher salts. But, which salt best suits your cooking needs?

Pickling and kosher salts will both give your food the salty taste and flavor you’re looking for. They’re not iodized and lack additives. But, is kosher salt the same as pickling salt? Can you use pickling salt, also known as canning salt, in place of kosher?

Pickling Salt vs Kosher Salt

The main difference between pickling salt and kosher salt is in the size and shape of their grains. While the grains of pickling salt are small and uniformly shaped, those of kosher salt are larger and irregular.

The differences don’t stop there. Some of the best ways to tell pickling salt and kosher salt apart include the following.

  • Because of its larger crystals, kosher salt will not dissolve in water as fast as pickling salt. For this reason, kosher salt isn’t often used in baking – especially if other wet ingredients are absent.
  • You can use kosher salt as an all-purpose salt, but you can’t say the same about its counterpart. To use pickling salt like table salt, you first have to add a few rice grains to the container to prevent this salt from caking.
  • The primary purpose of pickling salt is to make pickles. That’s because this salt isn’t iodized and doesn’t contain additives. With this, pickling brines don’t get discolored or cloudy.
  • Pickling salt doesn’t contain any additives, while some brands of kosher salt have anti-caking agents.
  • Compared to pickling salt, kosher salt doesn’t measure correctly in most cooking recipes due to its large irregular crystals. It’s best to weigh it in grams, rather than measure in teaspoons.

Comparison Table

Features to look atPickling saltKosher salt
AppearanceSmall and regular grainsLarger grains that are irregular
Original useUsed in making picklesUsed in the ancient Jewish practice of preparing meat foe eating, according to religious guidelines
Other usesUsed in canning, baking, and food seasoningSince only a few of its crystals will fit in a measuring spoon, kosher salt isn’t used in baking, though you can use it in any other form of cooking
TextureIt has a fine texture, making it possible to stick to foods easily. Its small size and fine texture allow it to dissolve easily in water and other liquids.Kosher salt has a rather coarse texture, making it hard to dissolve
AdditivesPickling salt contains no iodine or additivesKosher salt contains no iodine. However, other brands may contain anti-caking additives
Shelf lifeIt has an indefinite shelf lifeIt doesn’t expire if stored properly
Comparison table for pickling and kosher salt

Can I Use Pickling Salt in Place of Kosher?

You can alternate pickling salt for kosher in limited situations. When making pickles, you can use pickling salt instead of kosher salt and vice versa.

Before doing so, ensure that the kosher salt you’re using doesn’t contain any anti-caking additive. Anti-caking agents reduce the solubility of kosher salt, which will make your brining liquid cloudy. This won’t alter your pickles’ taste, but it will affect their visual appeal.

Another factor to consider when using pickling salt or kosher salt is the difference in texture and size of the crystals. When using kosher salt as a substitute for pickling salt, you’ll have to adjust the amount of kosher salt you’re adding. Doing so ensures you get the same results as when using the same amount of salt your pickling recipe calls for.

For example, if making pickles requires a teaspoon of pickling salt, add one and a quarter teaspoons of kosher salt (or use a kitchen scale). Kosher salt crystals are bigger and will occupy more space. A spoonful of kosher salt might not be the same as a spoonful of pickling salt.

In some situations, you can’t substitute kosher salt for pickling salt. Kosher salt has more prominent irregular grains, making it perfect for food presentation. But, you can’t use pickling salt for presentation since its smaller particles dissolve faster once you sprinkle it on your food.

Pickling salt is an excellent choice when seasoning food such as French fries. It will stick better on the fries’ surface than the larger kosher particles. Pickling salt also comes in handy as a substitute for popcorn salt.

What Is Pickling Salt?

Pickling Salt
Pickling Salt

Pickling salt – also known as preservative or canning salt, is purely granulated salt, free of iodine and additives.

Its compound chemical is sodium chloride – similar to table salt. However, pickling salt has finer granules and lacks iodine and anti-caking agents. Pickling salt ensures that a brine remains clear when used, unlike table salt.

When comparing canning salt vs kosher salt, the difference is in the granules. Pickling salt has tiny, uniformly-shaped granules. That’s what makes it so perfect for wet brines and pickles because you don’t have to worry about finding large granules that didn’t dissolve when you’re ready to take a bite of your food.

How To Use Pickling Salt

Pickling salt is most often used to make pickles thanks to its fine, regular crystals, and solubility in water. But, it’s not a one-trick pony. You can use pickling salt in other ways, like canning, and as a preserving agent in other foods.

You can also substitute table salt with pickling salt. But, be careful because this salt easily forms clumps whenever it gets into contact with moisture. You can quickly add a few rice grains to absorb the excess moisture in the container you store pickling salt. Another alternative is heating the salt to draw out moisture.

Still not sure if you’re using pickling salt the right way? Keep these main points in mind.

  • Pickling salt is a fine grain salt that’s highly soluble in water and other liquid solutions.
  • It’s 100% sodium chloride with no additives, so you don’t have to worry about your pickled food having other unhealthy ingredients.
  • Since pickling salt has no iodine and anti-caking agents, it doesn’t discolor your brine, leaving it very bright and attractive.

What Is Kosher Salt?

Kosher Salt
Kosher Salt

Kosher salt has coarse and irregular grains with no iodine. While some brands make it without any anti-caking agents, others include them. Butchers, who follow Jewish religious practice, use this coarse-grained salt in preparing their meat through a process called koshering.

Since the ancient days, the Jewish religion had strict dietary guidelines regarding the type of foods that may be eaten, and how to prepare them. This tradition was known as kashrut, and it is still followed today by observant Jews around the world.

Because Jewish law forbids the consumption of blood, those observing kashrut must have the meat koshered (or “kashered”), a process that involves soaking and salting the meat to draw out all the blood before eating it. Kosher salt is used in that process.

That’s how kosher salt came into use. In everyday use, the term refers only to this type of coarse-grained salt. It does not mean the salt necessarily adheres to Jewish dietary guidelines. (In order for kosher salt to meet kashrut requirements, it must be certified by a Jewish religious authority to ensure it abides by these guidelines.)

The main ingredient used in kosher salt manufacturing is natural sodium chloride, which is either drawn from salt mines/rocks or through evaporation of salt lakes. Other brands will add anti-caking agents. Before using it for pickling, you must first read the packaging to ensure it doesn’t have any additives.

The most common brands of kosher salt are Morton and Diamond Crystal. Diamond Crystal relies on a pan-evaporation process to manufacture pyramid-shaped crystals.

On the other hand, Morton crashes its granules between rollers. The results are thin salt crystals that are less coarse than Diamond Crystal salt.

How To Use Kosher Salt

You can use kosher salt in several ways while cooking, but it’s especially great for meat. The large crystals stick to meat very well and absorb into it. Doing so makes it possible for the particles to draw out blood and all the remaining liquid from it.

Besides koshering, you can also use kosher salt in the kitchen for your general cooking needs. This salt lacks bitter-tasting additives such as fluoride and iodine commonly found in table salt. Since it has more prominent grains than table salt, it becomes easier to estimate or measure the required amount for your food.

Most people also use kosher salt to create dry brines on meat, mixing it with herbs and spices.

In a nutshell, you can use kosher salt in every form of cooking except in baking. Keep these points in mind when you’re trying to remember the right salt for your next cooking/baking project.

  • Use this salt to season your meat and vegetables. Its large particles will spread evenly on meat and vegetables before cooking
  • Best used in smoking meat since smoke penetrates the less dense particles easily
  • You can also use it in pickling and brining

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About Maria Foster
Maria Foster
Maria Foster is a mother of 3 and she and her husband of 23 years share their home with 2 faithful dogs. Besides being CEO of the household and active in her community, Maria is the lead contributor to Food Champs and loves to try new food ideas and kitchen accessories to make easier and more delicious meals.
Maria Foster
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