Kosher Salt vs. Table Salt: What’s the Difference?

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Photo by: Radu Sebastian ©Radu Sebastian

Radu Sebastian, Radu Sebastian

It’s probably happened to everyone: You’re trying out a new recipe, and you get to the step that instructs you to add salt, but you realize you don’t have kosher salt on hand, only regular table salt — or maybe vice versa. So you figure: “What’s the difference, anyway? Salt is salt, right?”

Well, yes and no. And if you substitute one for the other, you may end up with something that is either way too salty or bland as can be. Why?

Kosher salt “has much larger, much lighter, much flakier crystals,” Chef John explains in a new Food Wishes video on YouTube, “whereas the crystals for our fine table salt are much smaller and much more uniformly sized.”

Why does that make a difference? If a recipe calls for 1/4 cup of kosher table salt, that’s about 39 grams. If you substitute 1/4 cup of fine table salt for the kosher salt, as Chef John demonstrates, you’ll be adding about 76 grams of salt by weight — about twice what the recipe really calls for. That’s why — even though you measured correctly by volume — your soup tastes like the bottom of the ocean and raises your blood pressure 10 points with each bite.

While it doesn’t matter which kind of salt you choose when you’re salting food to taste (all salts basically taste the same), when it comes to recipes in which salt is added strictly by measurement, you want to make sure you pay attention to what kind of salt the recipe calls for, Chef John notes. Sound kosher?

Photo courtesy of iStock

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