not all salts are created equally

[Updated in 2021] Have you ever used kosher salt in a recipe and found the end result to be like a salt lick and you couldn’t imagine how on earth a recipe tester could have not noticed how horribly, horribly oversalted the dish would end up? Let me guess: You weren’t using Diamond Kosher Salt, a favorite of chefs, test kitchens, and the Smitten Kitchen. I know: Now we tell you!

Does this mean you should change brands? Absolutely not. There is no need to hunt down Diamond brand if it’s not available or is preposterously expensive where you are. But if you’d like to know how to adjust for this in recipes where one is measuring salt by the spoonful, you’ve come to the right place.

First, here’s the basic math on salt weights:

1 teaspoon table salt = 6 grams
1 teaspoon Diamond kosher salt = 2.8 grams
1 teaspoon Morton kosher salt = 4.8 grams
1 teaspoon David kosher salt = 6 grams (i.e. the same as table salt)

Or, in plain language:

1 teaspoon table salt has the same saltiness as 2⅛ teaspoons of Diamond.
1 teaspoon Morton kosher salt has the same saltiness as 1¾ teaspoons of Diamond.
1 teaspoon David kosher salt has the same saltiness as 2⅛ teaspoons of Diamond.

“But aack, this stresses me out because how am I supposed to know what a recipe tester used?” Here’s my advice: Pretend they used Diamond salt and if using any other brand, start with half. We can always increase the amount of salt later (and hey, “season to taste” is the gold standard for a reason) but scrubbing it out is not an option.

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86 comments on not all salts are created equally

  1. Heather

    Thank you so much for this! I have Morton’s at home, and I have wondered about this very issue lately. Morton’s always looked pretty much like table salt to me–I couldn’t understand why Kosher salt was supposed to have larger fluffier crystals when mine clearly didn’t, and your post explains it perfectly. I now know what to look for when I next need to buy salt!

    1. Donna

      I have a bread recipe that calls for 1 teaspoon Himalayan salt. I only have regular table salt and coarse ground sea salt. How much do I substitute for the Himalayan salt?

      1. deb

        It’s usually a coarse salt so I’d suggest you use 1/4 or 1/3 for a table salt and maybe 1:1 for a sea salt. However, how big is the loaf? 1 teaspoon of a very coarse salt for a whole loaf seems low.

  2. Morton’s also puts anti-caking agents in their kosher salt, so you shouldn’t use it for lacto-fermented foods like homemade sauerkraut or kimchi – the “agents” mess with the good bacteria. I use Diamond or sometimes David’s, depending where I’m shopping, but I stay usually stay away from Morton’s.

  3. Brian

    A better solution for the recipe authors is to specify WEIGHT. 5g of Morton = 5g of Diamond = 5g McDonalds

    I know most folks aren’t used to weighing ingredients, but I’ve found it to be a simpler and faster method most of the time. YMMV

    I use Mortons, only because that’s what’s on my store’s shelf. I’ll look for Diamond and try to compare.

  4. I switched over to Diamond after reading Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc, where he basically said it was their choice of Kosher salt. I don’t remember the specifics of why, but I saw it at my local Persian grocery and picked it up there. I’ve only seen it at a few large grocery stores, but I definitely notice the difference.

    1. mike r

      I realize this is an ancient post but thought I’d add some insight none-the-less.

      Dry salts: weight = weight = weight. after all, its just ionically-bonded sodium and chlorine. Shape and physical density doesn’t matter

      An issue does accur if you use an unprocessed sea salt fresh from the salt farm (I do). The first thing you notice is that it’s a little moist. I’ve tried letting my salt air dry for weeks with no discernible change. To get the level of dryness in the famous brands, the salt needs to be baked…I don’t do that. What I did do however was contact the packager who sent me some data. In short 100 grams, by weight of ‘raw’ sea salt that is not huge rock salt chunks, contains about 75grams of sodium. So 1 Tbsp (nominally 15grams) of raw sea salt equals 12 grams of salting power. Flip it the other way…1Tbsp+1tsp of raw salt (20g) equals the salting power of 1 Tbsp (15g) of dry salt

  5. For me the big realization was using iodized sea salt, which I use for everything, instead of kosher. (Hain’s iodized sea salt is more accessible at my local store than kosher, believe it or not.) Sea salt is so much saltier (maybe this is obvious to everyone else but anyways) so I always use a lighter hand when using, and usually use half the amount than the recipe instructs.

  6. Wow, I’ve only ever used Morton’s. If I see Diamond around, I’ll have to try it. Though, I love salt, so if it winds up saltier than the recipe says, that’s usually fine by me anyway.

    1. Jim Orr

      Use the Morton’s. Multiply the volume amount of Diamond Kosher Salt you’ve been using by 5/8 (or 0.625, if you’re using a gram scale to measure) and use that amount of the Morton Kosher Salt. If you bought Morton table salt, multiply the volume amount of Diamond Kosher Salt you’ve been using by 1/2.

  7. Julienne

    I am a regular reader and admirer (I blame and thank you for the fearsome glory of cold-brewed iced coffee), but I’ve never commented – until now. I am bothered by the lack of citation and credit given to the author of the CHOW article. Your blog post title lifts a line from the CHOW essay and all of the information is paraphrased, but the only credit you give to the author is for the equivalencies she created (based off of other, properly attributed sources). It’s not enough just to link her article and expect that people will click it and realize your information was derived from that source. And if the CHOW post wasn’t the sole source of information, the other sources should be mentioned, as well. I realize that blog posts are not research papers, but you have always cited recipe sources in past posts.

    I hope this is not taken as part of the “slander, bile, insults” category because it is meant to be constructive, not offensive.

  8. Lisa

    Throw the box of Morton’s out. Since I had to also throw out the double batch of pickles I had made, I figured it was necessary. I can find Diamond at Publix grocery stores; if you are in the Southeast, start there.

  9. deb

    Ish — No reason not to use Morton’s salt. But any time a recipe calls for Kosher salt, just start by using half.

    Julienne — My sources for this post are the following: The CHOW post, which I linked and called out, Edward Schneider at the NYTimes Diner’s Journal, a Slate article and a Chowhound post on the topic. If anything, it is the other sources that got stiffed.

    The title of the CHOW post is “That’s So Salty! It’s Not Salty Enough”, not this title, so it would have no impact on CHOW’s “Google juice”.

    I always make a point to use attributions (my background is journalism) and posts are always in my own language. This may not be the most linked-out post I’ve written, but it is well within the bounds of Fair Use.

  10. Sally

    Thanks for posting this – Ina Garten (aka Barefoot Contessa) wrote about this in one of her cookbooks, so I’ve always been careful to use diamond crystal (which I think tastes better anyway). We only use Morton’s for salting edamame…

    By the way, love the post on technique…

  11. What a revelation!! I’ve been lightly sprinkling Morton Kosher Salt (what a great box) on top of my Chocolate Chip Cookies. I wonder about using diamond next time I buy salt. Or maybe I’ll just buy some. Better Huh?
    Thank you so much. I had no idea.

  12. Tarheel Kate

    Good info – I have been puzzled by the salt issue for years. I love Diamond but found it difficult to find for a while and had to switch to Morton’s. Then I found Diamond’s again but in a cannister and it was not the flakes! It had more of a table salt texture. I am on the search for some more Diamond Flakes kosher salt now because I have always thought it was the best and most delicate. BTW – if you search on Google for Diamond salt they have a great educational piece hosted by Alton Brown.

  13. Katie

    “If you’d like to swap sea salt or table salt in a recipe for Diamond salt, use double.”
    Shouldn’t this be, “use half”? Meaning, if you are making a recipe that calls for 1 tspn Kosher salt (assuming they used Diamond) and you want to use table salt or Morton Kosher salt, you would use 1/2 tspn. Right?
    I’ve been confused about the table salt/Kosher salt thing for a while now, so I just want to make sure I understand.

  14. Jessi

    Katie.. I agree.
    We have a serious salty situation. I just made these pickles, quintupled the recipe and doubled the salt recipe (because we used regular sea salt). I think we must have done it wrong because they are salty little puppies. Holy dina!!! I don’t think the pickles are edible on their own. Eulll.
    We’re definitly going to try them again. Everything else was delish.

  15. Susan Stefun

    Katie, I think the problem is the use of the word “swap,” which is often misused or misunderstood. If you wish to substitute Diamond flake salt for kosher or sea salt, use double the quantity called for. If the recipe specifies Diamond and you want to use another type, use only half as much.

  16. Suzan

    For the benefit of non-New-Yorkers here (I’m thinking in terms of Lenny Bruce’s “If you’re from New York City, you’re Jewish, even if you’re goyish”) kosher salt is called that because it’s used in “kashering” meat & poultry. It’s a fairly involved process — no, the rabbi does not “bless” it — part of which is salting heavily to draw out the blood, which observant Jews are forbidden to eat. Nowadays meat usually comes to the cook with that already done(although not always!). Anyhow, kosher salt tends to be extra-coarse and extra-salty so that it can do its job more effectively. BTW this process is why kosher poultry and hotdogs are so transcendently delicious. FWIW

  17. Sandy

    I never knew what kosher salt was — in spite of being Jewish and living in Israel for 22 years — but now I do. Thanks for all the explanations. The only problem for me will be finding kosher salt in my supermarkets in the Tel Aviv suburb in which I live and figuring out its level of saltiness. I will not find Morton’s or Diamond, so I’ll just have to wing it.

  18. Chris

    My sister and I had awesome guacamole last weekend at Rosa Mexicana and I was so excited to find the recipe on epicurious:
    After she could no longer listen to my nonstop raving about how fabuloust his guac was, my daughter made the recipe last night and guess what— –it was way too salty and was inedible!! I couldn’t figure out what happened, but I just read this post, ran downstairs and found that yes–we used Mortons. Mystery solved!!!–You are the best Deb!!!

  19. gardener

    Thanks for a great recipe and a hard lesson! I made the scalloped tomato dish with the kosher salt we had on the shelf–the one my husband uses for making his corned beef. The dish was WAY too salty…but clearly one to make again soon with less salt. I came back to this site and noticed the link to the kosher salt lesson. Problem solved. THANKS! I had no idea about the differences in kosher salts. I love it when I find a great recipe and also learn something to use again.

  20. Kitchen Witch

    I’m also confused by the post. It seems the directions should be to use half (not double) if you are using sea, table or Morton’s kosher salt. Or is my brain too addled from thoughts of the raspberry gratin and scalloped tomatoes? Either way, thanks for the awesome recipes and clueing the rest of us in to the salt mystery…

  21. Lisa

    Last night on Top Chef, one of the contestants ended up in the bottom because her dish was too salty. Guess what product’s use was showcased throughout the show? Yes, the Morton’s Kosher salt! After I threw out an entire batch of inedible pickles, I am a true believer. They should be reading Smitten Kitchen.

  22. deb

    I saw that! I literally said to my husband that I hope she knows that Morton can be much saltier than Diamond! (I know many restaurant kitchens say they only stock Diamond just in case a chef doesn’t know this.) Tsk-tsk.

  23. Xai

    OH MY! I saw that episode… and I use morton’s, no wonder everything’s so salty. i thought i was just oversalting everything. now off to the store since i have to return the dymo tape i bought… i have p-touch. i am organizing my spice rack ala smitten kitchen! i am so excited!!! :)

  24. Monica

    Now that explains why my Artisan in Five bread is a little on the salty side. I don’t mind it that way and neither does the husband. I thought I had read that if a recipe calls for just salt, doesn’t specify which kind, and you are using kosher, again no specific brand, to use just a little more because table salt has a higher density. Can anyone speak to that?

    Guess none of us are too old to learn something new. :0)

  25. Brittany

    This just happened to me other night with a meal that I’ve made dozens of times and never oversalted until then. I was thoroughly confused, but now I know why it happened! Thanks Deb!

  26. ava

    This is great info to know – thank you for sharing! When a recipe on your site just calls for “salt,” is it safe to assume you’ve used Diamond Kosher? I’m going to make the oreo recipe and want to increase the salt a bit…but don’t want to overdo it, since I usually use morton’s table or sea salt when I bake.

    1. deb

      I haven’t practice with other brands but whenever you work with salt, especially if you’re not sure of how salty it is, it is best to go by weight, not volume.

  27. Strangely, I can’t get ANY kosher salt in Australia… I’ve been using Murray River Salt, which I thoroughly recommend to anyone if you see it in the shops. It’s pink! flaky, delicate and deeply savoury, and every box helps with desalinating one of our most important river systems.

  28. Erica

    This is so helpful! But I am still confused–for baking (in general, not just one this site) when it just says “salt” does that mean table salt or kosher salt? I never know and it always stresses me out! I usually use kosher salt but always wonder if I’m actually under-salting the baked good, which I feel like may be harder to pick up on than just salting a savory dish. Thanks!

  29. deb

    “Salt” usually means table salt. Since I’ve written this post, I’ve made an effort to just use table salt measurements in recipes, and use the word “table” to make sure it’s clear. I do enjoy salts with more varied textures, but I figure most people have table salt and would grab it first when baking.

  30. minnette fink

    Another one bites the dust..i too..didnt know anything about the ive been using Mortons…jeeez…surprised that i still have a girlfriend..thanks for the great tip…

  31. April

    Thanks so much for this post. I couldn’t figure out why my jalapenos pickels came out salty and inedible! I griped to the poster of the recipe, and he sent me this link. Makes total sense now… I used Morton’s because that’s what the major grocery stores in rural Westen NC carry.

  32. Oddly enough, the last time we ran out of Morton’s the only thing at the store was Diamond, so we bought it. Hubz didn’t like the texture as much, so now I just mix the two in my salt box, which has probably saved me from oversalting on occasion. I think you’re right that it’s always best to undersalt from the beginning, just in case.

  33. Nicole

    If you live somewhere like southern California, where no grocery store or even kitchen supply store carries Diamond Crystal kosher salt, you can order from the company directly (you have to call their 800 number). A 13 oz container will set you back $9 unfortunately because of shipping. (I need it for cheese making: essential to not disrupt that baterial magic with any forgein anti-caking agents). If anyone else has any regional location tips, they would be appreciated. Otherwise FYI these places do not carry it: Whole Foods, Sprouts, Albertsons, Vons, Cost Plus

    1. I live in SoCal and have never seen or heard of Diamond kosher salt. We have bought Morton’s kosher my entire life because it is the only one available although wonder if small kosher markets in LA would carry Diamond’s? I rarely go to Jewish LA (or LA generally) as traffic and lack of easy (accessible and free) parking. What i want most is Manischewitz Extra Heavy Melaga wine which is impossible to find outside of Jewish LA in SoCal and shipping is prohibitively high. Interestingly enough most Asian markets carry Manischewitz Concord grape for less than any of the big markets, perhaps they will carry Diamond’s kosher salt. Generally i under always under salt or no salt everything because my dad is on a low salt diet. So i always use far less salt than stated in a recipe and just add salt to taste, unless it is a baking recipe where the salt is needed for a chemical reaction (same goes for cane sugar vs artificial)

  34. Janet

    I could never understand why some of my recipes ended up too salty — but with your explanation, I now know why — I was using Morton’s Kosher Salt. Love your website!

  35. thomas cappiello

    Ever since salt became popularly more than “if it rains, it pours” I’ve used about half a dozen different types of salts, kosher, sea, canning and pickling, Hawiian, Celtic, Himalayan, all more or less interchangably (except the canning and pickling, which I only use for that purpose). A good friend of mine, when he comes over for dinner, brings his own specialty Celtic gray, and claims its the only salt he likes, and he puts it on everything, even things that are already salted, like chips.

    I have to admit, having tried a variety of salts, and having this salt-freak good friend, I’m still confused by the particularity of all this salt talk. Maybe the “salt” part of my tongue is not developed very well.

    Morton table salt is like $.99 a pound, with others going into the teen$ or higher per pound. Guess which I use most of? Also, iodized is an essential for some people in some areas.

  36. Barbara Kahn-Langer

    I live down a dirt road in the Puna District of Hawai’i island (the Big Island. Thanks for the treatise on ‘salty business’.

  37. marie

    ahhhh why did I not read this sooner!? I made your bread and butter pickles a week or so ago and I saw the note about diamond salt, and though ‘aw what ever it cant matter that much” ahh but it did. The pickles are good, but also intensely salty for a bread and butter pickle. Round two will happen today with salt adjustments! :)

  38. wendy

    I’ve never posted a comment before in my life. But my personal response on the salt issue is this. We all have prefernces. Some like it salty and some doesn’t. I respect both sides of the arguing situation. What is good for me doesn’t mean that taste good to someone else. I use both types of salt. But hence the comment my granmother told me before she passed away. ” Baby taste it. If ur not happy with it no one else will be either ,and always leave open ground for them to season to suit themselves and never season for just yourself or all food would taste bad”. We all have different tastes. That is why this website is important. So we can share ideas. But like I said. Just my opinion.

  39. Angie

    Wow, found this website because I used Morton Kosher Salt on my Peppered Crusted pan seared Ahi and WOW was it way too salty. The recipe called for 1 1/2 tsp salt and I only put in 1 tsp. Your site explains it all! Thank you so much. Just wish I would have read this first.

  40. Megan

    Hi Deb, I have been reading your blog for a few days now and it’s great! As an extremely unpredictable cook (I rock at making an Old Fashioned Caramel Cake but am, alas, incompetent at instant mashed potatoes), I’ve never really been educated on the best ingredients to use. I looked in our pantry and we have Morton’s un-iodized table salt, which is all I’ve ever used. Is there really that much of a difference between table salt, kosher salts, diamond salt (which I’d never heard of til this post), etc.? Please help…I’d love to become a better cook but am fairly clueless about what ingredients are truly inferior. Also, my boyfriend uses said Morton’s un-iodized salt to cure wild bird meat that he gets. Would fancier salt be better for that? Thanks!

  41. Meredith

    I buy all my spices, including Kosher Salt, at Penzey’s. And have just happily discovered that the Penzey’s salt is Diamond brand. Very reasonable $2.29 for a 1lb bag.

  42. Pamela

    It would have been great to have photos of the different salts in the blog article itself. A tablespoon of each. Then weigh each one. I am still confused. I guess table salt is the smallest in size and therefore the most dense. I have never seen kosher salt, actually.

  43. nicky

    Hi Deb,

    Been reading you for years, and love the site!
    When I was reading this article today I came across a link that no longer works because the url was changed by the publisher.

    The link goes to, and it should read as follows:

    The “bad” link is (located in “The intrepid Jill Santopietro at”):

    Keep on rockin’ the totally delicious recipes!

  44. Ann

    Hi Deb. I travel 3 hours to Buffalo to purchase items and Morton’s salt has always been on my list. It is very salty!! I don’t like to use table salt and I read that sea salt is not really for cooking or baking, it’s more of a finishing salt. Do you know if Diamond has a kosher salt that is “fine” and not coarse? I can’t seem to find it on their website. I can’t even find fine kosher salt anywhere.


  45. Lilllian

    Weight, always weight. All of my cooking teachers in college were European, and the recipes we used were in grams, etc. So much more accurate, especially for baking and confections which, to me, always seemed more chemistry based than regular cooking. Unfortunately, few recipe quantities are given by weight, so I keep different brands of salt in my cupboard and use whatever type the recipe calls for. It’s not like it will go bad…

  46. stephanie

    we use diamond brand…sea salt. for everything. i’ve not had an issue with amounts, except for occasionally wanting a bit more salt, so for me it all works out. i have used it for everything from baking to sauces to salt potatoes to pickling, and boyperson uses it at the table. (i never use salt at the table, but he would put salt on a salt lick, i’m pretty sure.)

  47. I made it all the way past 60 before realizing there was something other than Morton’s table salt….. anywhere…. for anything.
    Today, if asked, (which I apparently wasn’t) I will tell any that wishes to listen that: Diamond Kosher tastes like salt. Morton’s tastes like a mutation of salt.
    However, I know several French-fry freaks that would take serious issue with this analysis.:)

  48. All my pickle recipes call for “canning salt” and I’d like to use Himalaya salt. Would I use half of what recipe calls for?

    And is there a shelf stable process for fermented pickles? Ive run out of refrigerator space.

  49. Patricia

    What about TJ sea salt or WF 365? I buy those alternately. We salt lightly while cooking and use Maldon at the table when anyone needs salt.

    1. deb

      I haven’t bought it so I don’t know the weight but it’s often listed on the package under nutrition information (i.e. “1/4 teaspoon serving size (.6 grams)) and is usually accurate. If you use it regularly, it might be useful to know how it clocks in against other salts so that you know whether you might want more or less in general in a recipe that calls for it.

  50. Sosie

    Because I know that we are seeing more and more patients with hypo-thyroid, I only use iodinized salt. The current push to use kosher salt has left many people without enough iodine intake for proper thyroid function/readings.
    As a cook , I often don’t know the comparative amounts between the salts.

  51. Morgan

    I learned about Diamond salt years ago from Alton Brown and have been using it exclusively since. I have had great results and I am one who really likes salt, but as Deb said, you can always add more if needed. Compare the sodium levels of Diamond with other salts and you will see that Diamond is lower in sodium.

  52. Sally M.

    I was reading through a recipe on your site this week and noticed it called for “fine sea salt”. Do you use a particular brand? Salt varies so much, I wouldn’t like it to overpower the dish. Btw, I cannot wait for your new book and meeting you in Dallas on the book tour!

  53. Susan Bies

    Help. I am trying to make caramel apples.. I can not find anything in my town besides Morton kosher salt. Would crushing the salt help it incorporate better? I live in a small town now and can not find any salt other than Morton. Ridiculous I know. Sigh~ I dont want the caramel to be grainy. What about table salt? Can I use regular table salt instead of kosher? I saw the article so I understand adding a little more bit I am mostly concerned about the melting ability. I am adding toppings to most of my apples so salt will make it’s way in the full end product. I just dont want to waste my time and I have already spent 2 days driving and walking all over town looking for salt ( walmart SAID they had it but did not) TIA. I have no one to ask.

  54. Julie

    So, when YOU say “kosher salt,” do you mean Diamond? That doesn’t seem right for the lazy pizza dough recipe, in which you call for “1 1/2 teaspoons sea or Kosher salt,” but in this post you say that you generally use Diamond, so do you mean Morton there? I can’t really taste for the right amount of salt in baking recipes…. I’m going to guess on this one (guess on the low end, as you suggest), but I’d love to know for future recipes, since I use SO MANY OF YOUR FANTASTIC RECIPES. Thanks!

    1. deb

      I use Diamond most of the time but try to warn people if another brand will mess up the recipe, i.e. if the salt is at a potentially sensitive level (I’ll say “use half of another brand” or the like). For the pizza dough, it’s not.

  55. Aurelia Michaels

    II appreciate this article but I am still confused. In the 4th paragraph, it ends with the phrase “use double.” (Updated to clarify).
    I can’t find out how to get to the “Clarification” which I would like to read because the sentence implies that I should use double Diamond salt, but I think you meant to say, use double the amount of sea salt, Mortons, or table salt to equal the Diamond salt in terms of “saltiness.” Correct or not?
    According to the article, If you measure brands of salt by volume, the measurements are equal. If you measure the brands of salt by weight, Morton’s is twice the weight of Diamond. So, is it also twice as salty?

  56. The Sonoran

    Nosrat’s book “Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat” (an amazing book for those that want to go beyond cooking from recipes) has a long discussion on types of salt and Diamond vs. Morton’s.
    Also McGee’s “On Food and Cooking” but he never mentions the brand name differences.

  57. Salt has been essential part of cuisine all over the world since ancient times. it can be called King of spices due to its importance.

    Salt is the major item in various manufactured goods that are used in our daily life such as paper, paint ,

  58. Wayne

    Not all salts are created equally, but more importantly, not all salts are created equal. It’s not the process so much as the product that counts.