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11 Different Types of Salt

A close look at various types of salt on wooden spoons.

Salt is one ingredient many of us do not want to live without in our food. I will admit I am not a fan of a heavy salty taste, but I use salt when I cook. Salt enhances the flavor of your food, even the sweet ones.

Anytime I walk down the spice aisle in my grocery store, I am surprised by the amount of salt available. It is challenging to know which salt is best to use when. Continue reading this article to find out all about the different types of salt. 

Related: Kosher Salt vs. Table Salt | Cleaning with Salt | Kosher Salt vs. Sea Salt | Salt Substitute Options | Salt and Sugar Curing | Himalayan Salt Lamp Benefits

What is Salt?

Salt is a mineral that is crystallized. Sodium (Na) and Chlorine (Ch) make up salt. These minerals are important for the body. They help your nerves and brain send electrical impulses. The majority of the salt is found by evaporating sea water or mineral-rich water. Salt is also harvested from salt mines.

Many use salt to flavor food but also to preserve food. Bacteria are less likely to grow when there is a large presence of salt. A downside of salt is it can increase blood pressure in large amounts. All of the different salts bring many different taste options to your table. 

Types of Salt

Black Hawaiian Salt

A close look at black Hawaiian salt on a wooden spoon.

Black Hawaiian salt is also referred to as black lava salt. You will find this salt in the volcanic islands of Hawaii. The activated charcoal in the black salt gives it a dark black color. Black Hawaiian salt is crunchy and is a coarse salt grain. It is best for seafood and pork.

Celtic Sea Salt

A bunch of Celtic sea salt on a wooden table.

Celtic Sea salt is also referred to as sel gris, which means grey salt. You find this salt at the bottom of the tidal ponds off the coast of France. This grey salt holds on to water and is moist. Celtic Sea salt appears chunky and has small amounts of minerals. It has a briny flavor and a light gray salt color. Celtic salt is ideal for finishing food and is used for baking and cooking meat and fish. Celtic Sea salt has less sodium than regular table salt. 

Flake Salt

A close look at a heap of flake salt.

Flake salt is harvested by evaporation, boiling, or some other way. This salt is irregular shaped and crunchy. It dissolves fast and gives you a pop of flavor. This pop gives it a bright and salty taste making it best as a finishing salt. It has low mineral content. 

Fleur De Sel

A close look at a bunch of Fleur de Sel crystals.

Fleur De Sel is similar to Celtic sea salt. Fleur De Sel is a French word meaning flower of the salt. It is harvested from evaporated seawater. It typically comes from the coast of Brittany. Many say this salt tastes and smells like the sea. It is a moist salt and feels sticky. Because of its moist qualities, it helps the salty flavor to stay on your tongue. It is a great finishing salt. 

Himalayan Kosher Salt

Himalayan Kosher salt on a small dish.

Himalayan Kosher salt is the purest salt you can find. It is mined in the Himalayan Mountains in Pakistan, which is the second largest salt mine. It must be harvested by hand. Himalayan Kosher salt contains small amounts of iron oxide, also known as rust, which gives it the color you see.

Himalayan salt has a color that may range from off-white to deep pink. This Himalayan pink salt has numerous minerals and elements found in the body, including potassium, calcium, and magnesium. This sale has less sodium than regular salt. 

Himalayan Kosher salt is used for food and in spas as part of treatments. It has a bolder flavor making it excellent for cooking salt or finishing food. It is a preferred type of salt. Many use it on the rim of margarita glasses. Slabs of this pink salt are used for cooking and serving as it retains heat. Himalayan Kosher salt is the salt that is used in salt lamps.

Kosher Salt

A close look at a glass bowl filled with kosher salt.

Kosher salt is also called koshering salt. It is coarser and flakier than traditional table salt. In addition, it has large grains, making it ideal for koshering process. This salt is not considered kosher but used during the process. The structure of kosher salt is perfectly suited to remove blood from meat, which is a traditional Jewish law.

It can be sprinkled on meat as a finisher to give it a large amount of flavor. This type of salt dissolves quickly when used in all purpose cooking. It has no iodine and no anti-caking agents. The structure of the flakes separates this salt from kosher salt. It is easier to pick up with your fingers because of the large flakes and spread on food. You should not equally substitute kosher salt for table salt because a teaspoon of kosher salt weighs less than a teaspoon of table salt. 

Pickling Salt

A burlap sack filled with pickling salt spilled.

Pickling salt is used for brining and pickling. It does not have anti-caking agents or iodine in it. It does not have the trace minerals that are contained in natural sea salt. As a result, it does not cause preserved food to discolor. 

Red Hawaiian Salt

A wooden bowl filled with red Hawaiian salt.

Red Hawaiian salt is also referred to as alaea salt. Red Hawaiian salt is unrefined salt. It has a red color because of the volcanic clay alaea that is rich in iron. This salt has been used in ceremonial cleansing for centuries. It is also used to purify and bless tools. Red Hawaiian salt adds a nice color to finish food along with flavor. It is great in meat, seafood, and traditional Hawaiian meals. 

Sea Salt

This is a close look at a natural salt formation of the sea.

Sea salt is harvest by evaporating seawater. This type of salt is not refined and has a coarse grain, more so than table salt. It is mainly sodium chloride and some trace minerals based on where it is harvested, including iron, zinc, and potassium. These minerals make sea salt have a more complex flavor. The darker the sea salt means it has, the higher concentration of impurities.

Sea salt is a term that can be used broadly to include some specialty salts. It can be an excellent finisher for food by sprinkling it on top. However, sea salt is less ground, which means it is more coarse. 

Smoked Salt

A close look at a steel bowl filled with smoked salt.

Smoked salt is smoked slowly for as much as two weeks over some type of wood fire. The wood for smoking may include apple, oak, alder, hickory, or mesquite wood. The smoke brings an intense and smoky flavor to your food. The taste of the food differs based on the type of wood used and the amount of time it smokes. Smoked salt is a great seasoned salt that is excellent for hearty vegetables like potatoes and meats. 

Table Salt

A spilled salt shaker that contains table salt.

Table salt is the most common type of salt you will see and probably use. It is also referred to as iodized salt. It is refined and ground after it is harvested underground. The refinement process removes impurities and traces of minerals. It typically contains anti-caking agents to prevent it from clumping.

Table salt is at least 97 percent sodium chloride. When it is iodized, iodine has been added to the salt to help prevent iodine deficiency, which is common in some areas. Iodine deficiency can cause severe health problems. Iodized table salt is an ideal way to help prevent those problems. 


Which Salt is Considered the Best Salt?

Many people think that the best salt is pink Himalayan salt. It is the healthiest because it has no preservatives added. It is considered the purest of the sea salts. This salt does tend to clump. 

How Many Types of Salt are There?

There are 12 different types of salt. All salt is considered sea salt, even traditional table salt. Despite this, not all salt is the same or should be used in the same manner. 

What is the Most Expensive Salt?

The most expensive salt is Amethyst Bamboo 9x. This is a Korean gray sea salt. It is found sealed in a cylinder of aged bamboo using clay.