• 10 Best Salts for Cooking in 2021 (Chef-Reviewed) 1
  • 10 Best Salts for Cooking in 2021 (Chef-Reviewed) 2
  • 10 Best Salts for Cooking in 2021 (Chef-Reviewed) 3
  • 10 Best Salts for Cooking in 2021 (Chef-Reviewed) 4
  • 10 Best Salts for Cooking in 2021 (Chef-Reviewed) 5

10 Best Salts for Cooking in 2021 (Chef-Reviewed)

No spice rack is complete without salt. In fact, it's the most used spice in the world, highlighting and enhancing the flavor of virtually all foods. But with so many different kinds, it’s important to know what features to look for when purchasing salt for seasoning or finishing your cooking. 


Luckily, we've done all the hard research and come up with a list of the 10 best salts to use in your cooking. Our favorite is Celtic Sea Salt from Selina Naturally, because it's versatile and has a great texture. Take a look below for more options, and read on to the buying guide for more shopping tips that have been backed by an experienced chef!

Experts featured in this article

Danilo Specchiulli
  • Last updated: 10-22-2021
  • 23,426 views
Table of Contents

In Collaboration With Chef Danilo Specchiulli

In Collaboration With Chef Danilo Specchiulli

Danilo is an Italian chef who has grown up cooking traditional dishes under his nonna and mamma's tutelage. He has also worked in Italian restaurants in various countries such as Australia and Japan.


The skills he has acquired at home and in a professional kitchen have enabled him to preserve and expound on Italian cuisine while dabbling in recipes from other cultures. Read on to see his insight into how to choose the right salt for your recipes!

How We Chose Our Products

How We Chose Our Products

We chose our 10 best salts based on the following factors, backed up by an experienced chef:


  • The type of cooking it will be used for
  • The grain size of the salt
  • Whether or not it's a specialty salt


You can read more about each point in the buying guide below, but for now, take a look at our 10 picks!

Compare the 10 Best Salts for Cooking

Image
Selina Naturally Celtic Sea Salt 1

Selina Naturally

Sea Salt Shack Classic Variety Four Pack 1

Sea Salt Shack

Maldon Sea Salt Flakes 1

Maldon

San Francisco Salt Company Hickory Smoked Sea Salt 1

San Francisco Salt Company

Amabito no Moshio Amabito no Moshio (Seaweed Salt) 1

Amabito no Moshio

The Spice Lab Pure Himalayan Pink Crystal Salt 1

The Spice Lab

San Francisco Salt Company Fleur de Sel 1

San Francisco Salt Company

The Spice Lab India Black Kala Namak 1

The Spice Lab

Morton Iodized Salt 1

Morton

Charcoal Companion Himalayan Salt Plate and Holder 1

Charcoal Companion

Name

Celtic Sea Salt

Classic Variety Four Pack

Sea Salt Flakes

Hickory Smoked Sea Salt

Amabito no Moshio (Seaweed Salt)

Pure Himalayan Pink Crystal Salt

Fleur de Sel

India Black Kala Namak

Iodized Salt

Himalayan Salt Plate and Holder

Features

Best Kosher Sea Salt for a Variety of Uses

Best Sampler of 4 Famous Varieties

Best Soft and Flaky Sea Salt

Best Specialty Salt to Add a Natural Smoky Flavor

Best Salt for a Little Extra Umami

Best to Use With Your Grinder

Best Gourmet Salt for Gifting

Best Salt to Add Egg Flavor to Vegan Dishes

Best Iodized Salt for Accurate Measurements

Best Salt Block for Cooking and Presentation

Price$29.00$13.99$5.49$14.99$13.50$8.99$14.99$3.50$34.99
TypeSea saltSea salt, rock saltSea saltSea saltSea saltRock saltSea saltRock saltTable saltRock salt
Amount1 lb.2 oz. each8.5 oz.2 lbs.10.5 oz.2.2 lbs.8 oz.4 oz.26 oz.12 x 8 x 1.5 in.
Grain sizeKosherVariesSoft flakesFine and coarse availableFine to mediumCoarseFineFineFineBlock
Additional ingredientsNoneNoneNoneNoneSeaweed (used in processing)NoneNoneNoneCalcium silicate, dextrose, potassium iodideNone
Link

10 Best Salts for Cooking

Here is our curated list of the 10 best salts for cooking. We made our choices based on the points listed in the buying guide below, as well as reviewer comments when available.


*Please note that these products were chosen after extensive research by mybest writers. The choices are not necessarily affiliated with or recommended by Danilo Specchiulli.

Selina NaturallyCeltic Sea Salt

$29.00

TypeSea salt
Amount1 lb.
Grain sizeKosher
Additional ingredientsNone

Sea Salt ShackClassic Variety Four Pack

$13.99

TypeSea salt, rock salt
Amount2 oz. each
Grain sizeVaries
Additional ingredientsNone
TypeSea salt
Amount8.5 oz.
Grain sizeSoft flakes
Additional ingredientsNone

San Francisco Salt CompanyHickory Smoked Sea Salt

$14.99

TypeSea salt
Amount2 lbs.
Grain sizeFine and coarse available
Additional ingredientsNone

Amabito no MoshioAmabito no Moshio (Seaweed Salt)

$13.50

TypeSea salt
Amount10.5 oz.
Grain sizeFine to medium
Additional ingredientsSeaweed (used in processing)

The Spice LabPure Himalayan Pink Crystal Salt

$8.99

TypeRock salt
Amount2.2 lbs.
Grain sizeCoarse
Additional ingredientsNone

San Francisco Salt CompanyFleur de Sel

$14.99

TypeSea salt
Amount8 oz.
Grain sizeFine
Additional ingredientsNone

The Spice LabIndia Black Kala Namak

TypeRock salt
Amount4 oz.
Grain sizeFine
Additional ingredientsNone
TypeTable salt
Amount26 oz.
Grain sizeFine
Additional ingredientsCalcium silicate, dextrose, potassium iodide

Charcoal CompanionHimalayan Salt Plate and Holder

CC6064

$34.99

TypeRock salt
Amount12 x 8 x 1.5 in.
Grain sizeBlock
Additional ingredientsNone

How to Choose Salt for Cooking - Buying Guide

Most salts will have a similar flavor, but there's still a lot to consider when choosing the right one for your cooking. Let's look at the different types, as well as how a salt's grain size affects your recipes.

Choose a Type of Salt for Your Type of Cooking

Salt can either come from evaporated seawater or the ground, and from there it can be divided into three main categories: table salt, rock salts including Himalayan, and sea salts.

Table Salt for Accurate Measurements

Table Salt for Accurate Measurements

Table salt is very fine, with regularly-shaped crystals, and usually contains anti-caking agents to prevent it from clumping. Some also have added iodine.


If you've ever tried to sprinkle salt from a shaker over a steaming pot, you know the futility of your task! The holes in the shaker will quickly get clogged up with salt. So, while it makes for accurate measurements of teaspoons and tablespoons, this salt's main use is for seasoning finished dishes at the table, and for baking.

Himalayan Salt Can Color From Minerals to Dishes

Himalayan Salt Can Color From Minerals to Dishes

When water from ancient inland seas evaporated, the salt in them crystallized, and became the salt deposits we mine today.


The most famous gourmet rock salt you'll find is Himalayan pink salt, which derives its color from trace minerals like copper and magnesium found in the crystals. However, any minerals in salt are in very small amounts compared to the rest of the foods in your dish, so nutrition shouldn't be a deciding factor in choosing.


Himalayan pink salt can also be carved into various shapes, such as a slab or block that you can cook on directly! These can be used to sear meats, cook pizza, or cook eggs. They can also be chilled to serve cold foods like sushi. It's hard to think of a more impressive way to add seasoning to your food.

Danilo Specchiulli
Italian Chef
Danilo Specchiulli

Despite its initial reputation that Pink Himalayan is healthier or the more bougie option, the pink hue is mainly due to the level of impurities in the salt crystals, including rust or iron oxide. Personally, I've never fallen for the marketing hype of this salt except for presentation purposes. 


Did you know that when you heat Himalayan salt with hot water and let it rest for some time to separate the rust and minerals, the remaining water will produce white salt


That's why I believe regular rock salt will suffice for your cooking needs. You can use rock salt for boiling pasta water, for crust on food, as chunks in ice cream, or boosting the flavor of fish and meats when baking or cooking, as long as it is not used directly on food for consumption.

Sea Salt Is Great for Finishing and Adding Texture

Sea Salt Is Great for Finishing and Adding Texture

Sea salt is another form of salt that has trace minerals. They can include potassium, iron, and zinc. However, because it is sourced from seawater, it will usually also contain microplastics. We don't really know if consuming the tiny bits of plastic in our oceans is harmful to human health, but it's something to be aware of.


Sea salts are typically flakier in texture than rock salts, creating a crisp mouthfeel for enhancing dishes. The grain size can vary, from fine-textured salts that are great for seasoning during cooking, to larger crystals that add crunchy saltiness to a finished dish.

Danilo Specchiulli
Italian Chef
Danilo Specchiulli

Although rock and sea salt are almost the same chemically and nutritionally, how they are processed may affect your decision. Rock salt is derived from old ocean sea beds that have dried up. They are mined in their solid rock form, so you get a coarser texture that often includes impurities from the refining process. 


On the other hand, sea salt is an all-natural process of using the sun and wind for evaporating seawater. Therefore, there are a bit more of the essential oligo-elements (namely, iron, zinc, and iodine in salt) found in sea salt. The briny taste of sea salt reflects the leftover minerals from the ocean, creating a more complex flavor.

Take a Look at Grain Size

Take a Look at Grain Size

Kosher salt is the most popular grain shape and size, and it can be made from sea or rock salt. The reason it's so useful is its grain size and texture. Its grains are flaky, unevenly-sized and coarse, making it more effective at drawing the blood out of meats, which is what koshering means. It doesn't contain many trace minerals and usually doesn't have added iodine, but it might sometimes contain anti-caking agents.


The large grain size makes it easy to add a pinch of salt to a dish while you're cooking. It's popular for adding to boiling pasta water, brining, and just about any other use. But the uneven grains produce unreliable measurements by volume, so it's not good for baking.

Take a Look at Grain Size

Salt is prized for its texture and visual appeal just as much as its taste and ability to enhance the natural flavor of foods. Depending on how you plan to use the salt, you'll want to pay attention to the size of the crystals you buy.


Fine-grained salts are able to dissolve and mix well into soups, batters, and other dishes. You generally won't be able to see the grains after using it. However, some fine-grained salts, such as Fleur de Sel, add light, crunchy texture to dishes as a finishing salt.


Coarse salts also add texture, and you can use a grinder to break up the chunks into smaller pieces. These are best for finishing dishes where you want the salt to hold its shape and not dissolve.

Consider Specialty Salts for Unique Flavors

Consider Specialty Salts for Unique Flavors

If you're looking for additional seasoning, you can find many salts that are blended with herbs or infused with other flavors. There's an almost endless array of these in various combinations for any type of cuisine, and it's easy to make your own by mixing dried herbs or other ingredients in a food processor with salt.


Smoked salt provides extra flavor while not containing additional ingredients. Salt can be dried while absorbing the smoke from any number of woods. Smoked salts offer a strong aroma and work best as rubs or finishing salts.


Indian black salt contains sulfur as part of the manufacturing process, which gives it the distinctive aroma and taste of eggs. It's popular for vegan dishes. Moshio is a Japanese salt produced using seaweed, which imparts a subtle umami flavor.

Danilo Specchiulli
Italian Chef
Danilo Specchiulli

Speaking of sweets, salt is a crucial ingredient in bringing out the flavor of the other ingredients. I have tried baking cookies or a cake without the salt, and weirdly enough, the finished recipe didn't taste as complete, full, or right. 


When using salt on bread, it helps contain yeast activity and the dough rising too quickly during the crucial proofing step. You can consider salt as the essential agent that controls and enhances the components of the ingredients you use in desserts and bread. 


To skip the risk of your finished dish having a slightly bitter, unpleasant taste, you can go for salt with minimal to zero iodine.

If You Need to Reduce Your Sodium Intake, Consider These Salts

Most Americans consume far more salt than the recommended amount, and it can have serious health consequences. If you're looking to cut down, one way is to use more herbs and other seasonings. But sometimes you just need that salty flavor.


There are two substances that are close in chemical composition to salt, and have a similar taste: potassium chloride and monosodium glutamate.

Potassium Chloride Is a Common Substitute

Potassium Chloride Is a Common Substitute

Potassium chloride is produced and sold by big brands, making it a readily-available salt replacement. It can be used in all the same ways because it has the same properties as regular salt as far as food chemistry goes.


You can also use it like table salt when finishing dishes, but it can taste bitter. In addition, it's best to talk to your doctor before switching to potassium chloride. It may not be appropriate for those who have heart, liver or kidney disease, high blood pressure, or take certain medications.

MSG Is a Salt That Packs in Flavor With Less Sodium

MSG Is a Salt That Packs in Flavor With Less Sodium

Monosodium glutamate is a naturally-occurring salt of glutamic acid, and found in large amounts in foods like tomatoes, mushrooms and cheese. It's the chemical behind the umami, or savory, taste.


It has one-third the sodium content of regular salt, and because it interacts with and enhances savory flavors, you'll get more impact with less of it. It won't work with sweet recipes, but can be used in any savory food application.


However, like salt, it can still increase blood pressure if consumed in very large amounts. You may also have heard that it can cause headaches and other symptoms, but studies have consistently shown this not to be the case, and participants can't tell the difference between it and a placebo when given amounts normally used in foods.

So Which Salts Do You Need, Exactly? According to an Italian Chef

So Which Salts Do You Need, Exactly? According to an Italian Chef

Danilo says, "Salt is considered the most important ingredient in the kitchen. It is present in all flavors, from sweet to savory. However, it can get confusing what you need in your kitchen arsenal with the many kinds of salt available. 


I recommend having one of each of the four types of salts: table, for everyday cooking and baking; kosher, a flakier option without iodine for dehydrating; sea salt, for a less refined option and achieving that powerful salty kick; and finishing salts if you are meticulous about presentation."

Frequently Asked Questions

Now you know that all salts aren't created equal, but you might still have some questions. We've tried to answer some of them here.

Should I use iodized salt?

There's no argument about whether or not you need iodine in your diet - you do! But does it have to come from an additive in your salt? The answer largely depends on where you live and what you eat.


In the US, dairy products often contain iodine. When iodophor cleansers are used as part of the milking process, iodine is accidentally introduced into the milk and passed along to the consumer. Iodine is also present in soil, and crops grown in this soil pick it up. But, iodine soil levels vary widely across the country.


The most reliable dietary source of iodine is anything that comes from the ocean. Seaweed is an excellent source, and fish and shellfish will also provide some of your recommended daily allowance. Some other foods that provide iodine are eggs and prunes. If you don't eat enough of these foods, you should consider using iodized salt.

Which is the healthiest salt?

You'll often see manufacturers tout their salt as healthier than others because it has more minerals. Himalayan pink salt, in particular, has been marketed this way. But these claims need to be taken with a grain of salt!


Salt is 90 to 99 percent sodium chloride. Himalayan pink salt and sea salt both contain trace amounts of minerals, whereas refined table salt has lost many of them in the process. However, the key point here is "trace amounts." You'd need to consume far more than the recommended daily allowance of sodium in order to get anywhere near the RDA of those minerals.


All those minerals can really provide is color and a more complex flavor profile. So, which salt is the healthiest? The one you consume in moderation!

Create Flavor-Packed Meals With These Other Items

Create Flavor-Packed Meals With These Other Items

The world of condiments, spices, and herbs is a vast one. Besides salt, there are so many other flavorings you can use to enhance your dishes.

Amazon's Best Selling Salts and Salt Subsitutes

If you want a few more options to look through, check out Amazon's bestseller list! You may even recognize a few choices on there.

Updated by: Susan Lucier-Ogawa, 10/21/2021

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