There are many different types of salt from all over the world. Not only is salt an important commodity for many countries, but it also has a rich history in various local cuisines and cultures. Each type of salt is special and comes with its own unique qualities and specific purposes.
This post is sponsored by Mountain Rose Herbs.
How Many Different Types of Salt are There?
You might think that all salt is interchangeable. After all, salt is salt, right?
Dig a little deeper and you’ll soon learn that there are noticeable differences in flavor, appearance, texture, and mineral content. (source, source)
Since Mountain Rose Herbs is my favorite place for high-quality herbs, spices, teas, and essential oils, I thought it would be fun to go through their catalog of gourmet salt and describe each type one by one.
I had so much fun taste testing these different salts! I hope you have as much fun exploring these options as I did.
Originally, I felt skeptical that a different salt could make that much of a difference, but I was wrong!
Noticing the subtle differences between each kind of salt was an eye-opening experience.
Types of Cooking Salt
My attention first turned to salt when I started a keto diet because it is essential for electrolyte supplementation on keto. Using salt correctly is needed for an easy keto-adaptation and helped me avoid keto flu.
Now, I am currently on a carnivore diet, and salt remains an important component of energy regulation.
Each different type of salt adds a unique flavor to the meal without any extra effort.
If you’d like to learn what to eat on a carnivore diet, start by downloading my free printable pdf Carnivore Diet Food List.
Seasoning with different salts is a great way to add variety to ultra-simple carnivore diet recipes!
7 Different Types of Salt
Here are 7 different types of salt, plus 26 recipes for how to use them that are sure to intrigue and excite your taste buds.
Perhaps the purest in flavor, sea salt is the most well known and easy to recognize variety of gourmet salts.
Usually, sea salt is processed with all-natural methods and solar evaporation and comes in fine or coarse grinds.
Sea salt is low in moisture, and therefore, the ideal ingredient for homemade herbal salt and seasoning blends.
How to use sea salt:
Sea salt is a great all-purpose salt to have in your kitchen. I use a medium grind for most of my easy keto recipes.
- A ring of finely ground salt is exactly what you want around the rim of your Watermelon Margarita. Enjoy!
- Savory recipes take to finely ground sea salt as well. Homemade Pancetta shows just how useful it can be.
- Sprinkle a coarse grind of sea salt over your next batch of Salted Caramel Mocha Chocolate Bark.
- Coarse sea salt looks beautiful on top of Double Dark Chocolate Chip Muffins. The salty-sweet flavor is not to be missed!
Smoked Sea Salt
The smoking process relies on the Pacific Red Alder tree for flavor. Once the process of solar evaporation is complete, natural sea salt, from the Pacific Ocean off the coast of California is smoked. The flavor is very alluring but does not have any trace of tinge or burnt aftertaste like other brands I’ve used before.
How to use smoked sea salt:
Like white sea salt, this salt option will have a similar all-purpose application for savory foods. I would avoid using it in desserts and sweet dishes.
I use it most often in Smoked Salt Keto Dinner Rolls from The Ultimate Guide to Low-Carb Baking.
- Flavor Homemade Sauerkraut with smoked sea salt.
- Choosing smoked sea salt for a Traeger Smoked Salmon will deepen the smoky flavor and be a delight for everyone. I can see this being a good recipe with black lava salt too.
- Using smoked sea salt in this Salt Fish recipe is going to impart an extra layer of smoky flavor.
Kiawe Smoked Sea Salt
Hawaii has produces many speciality foods, this type of smoked salt is just one of them. The distinctively sweet and smoky flavor comes from the Kiwi tree, a naturalized species of the mesquite tree.
How to use Kiawe smoked sea salt:
I find this salt is best over seafood and many of my favorite Quick and Easy Low-Carb Recipes for Dinner.
- Of course, you could use regular sea salt for Fresh Herb Salt, but how much more amazing would it be with Kiawe smoked salt?
- I will definitely bring out the Kiawe smoked salt when I make these low-carb and gluten-free Homemade Chicharrones!
Cyprus Flake Salt
This salt is by far my favorite decorative salt. It has a wonderfully light flavor and delicate texture, making it ideal for finishing sweet and savory dishes. A unique pyramid shape is created during the evaporation process which is set to very specific standards and may take up to 2 years to complete.
How to use Cyprus Flake Salt:
Cyprus flake salt is beautiful on top of sweet treats and any sugar-free chocolate candy.
- A simple homemade dark chocolate almond bark looks lovely dressed up with this finishing salt!
- I can picture how pretty the pyramid-shaped flakes will be nestled in the center of these Salted Caramel Thumbprint Cookies.
Red Alaea Salt
This deep red crystal salt is a traditional salt used in local Hawaiian Island cuisine both for the purposes of flavor and preservation. Red Alaea salt also has a unique role in religious culture and ceremony. Its role to cleanse, purify and bless tools, canoes, homes, and temples is revered.
The salt is collected in tidal pools that are made of iron-rich volcanic clay. Mineral deposits affect the color of the salt and give it a beautiful red color.
How to use Red Alaea Salt:
The red alaea salt is my second choice for decorative salt. The reddish-pink crystals look so pretty on top of sweet and savory meals, especially those with strong contrast. It’s stunning on Maple Buttercream Frosting!
I notice this salt has a slightly sweet flavor, making it perfect for sweet and salty recipes.
- Finish Dark Chocolate Chunk Cookies with the red salt before baking, then serve with a cold glass of full-fat, whole raw milk.
- Light or dark backgrounds both look visually appealing with red salt, Salted Caramel Blondies are no exception.
Black Lava Salt
Black lava salt isn’t burnt, it’s infused with activated charcoal! Activated charcoal is used to detox the body and remove various sources of stomach pain, distress, diarrhea, and even certain types of poisoning. (source)
How to use Black Lava Salt:
This is another salt that brings so much pop to a recipe but actually has quite a muted flavor. I usually use a bit of sea salt for taste and then add black salt for the visual wow-factor.
- I can’t think of a more stunning contrast than these Salty Marshmallow Cookies with light browns and white, paired with Black Salt.
Himalayan Pink Salt
Himalayan Pink Salt has an important role in local culture; it is used to preserve fish and other foods for trade.
Pink salt may be one of the most well-known specialty salts, however, not all pink salt is created equal. Low-end salts are exported under toxic labor conditions and often have environmental contamination that may be doing more harm to your health than good. (source)
To be honest, I wouldn’t recommend any pink salt other than this one from Mountain Rose Herbs. Their salt is exemplary and harvested from ancient sea salt deposits, extracted “by hand, according to long-standing tradition, and without the use of any mechanical devices or dynamite techniques. After being hand-selected, the salt is then hand-crushed, hand-washed, and dried in the sun”. (source)
How to use Himalayan Pink Salt:
The light pink color is another very pretty choice for decorative purposes. This salt has a properly salty flavor and can be used in equal proportions to table salt or sea salt. It’s great in everything from Beef and Broccoli Stir-Fry to Low-Carb Blueberry Scones!
- Pink salt is great in authentic Syracuse Style Salt Potatoes, it imparts the deliciously salty flavor this dish is known best for.
Read my Mountain Rose Herbs review to learn more about this company.
Best Salt for Cooking
All of these yummy recipes clearly illustrate a variety of ways to use salt in cooking. From sweet to savory dishes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert, salt has an important role in flavor, appearance, and even texture.
It’s fun to have all of these salts on your spice shelf so you can pick and choose which one you want under different circumstances.
Using different salts is the easiest way to add variety to a meal without changing anything else. There are many recipes that come out noticably different by simply substituting one type of salt of another.
The bottom line is that you want a clean, unrefined, natural salt that is affordable and budget-friendly.
Deciding what the best salt for cooking is will depend on the specific purpose it is used for. Some are best for adding smoky flavor and others lend a touch of sweetness, while still others are more eye-catching than anything else.
You may be able to find a quality local salt that isn’t listed here, in that case, try it out! Support local producers as much as possible. Look for regional food production in your area to see what you might find and share your success with us in a comment below!
- Sea salt vs table salt – Medical News Today
- Types of salt – Healthline
I originally published this article on March 29, 2018 and updated it on August 9, 2020.
11 thoughts on “7 Different Types of Salt + How to Use Them”
I like Himalayan pink salt. I have different spice that I’ve bought and enjoy using them. I’m trying to eat better, but it’s hard when it’s just u and ur in disability. I like to cook at home, and don’t eat out much anymore. On the recipes that say use a crock pot, can u use an instant pot instead?
Hi Sandra! The short answer is YES you can make slow cooked recipes in the instapot, the long answer is …but it takes certain adjustments. I recommend you read over this post here to learn how to adapt slow cooked recipes to the insta pot. Thanks for stopping by!
I like magnesium salt, also colima and redmond
Hello guys! This is my first time doing keto but not my first attempt. I live in South Louisiana and I’m a beekeeper. Needless to say, I sweat a lot and I’m feeling so bad on keto. I’m drinking bone (low quality) from the stores and taking K2 vitamins, D3, Magnesium with ionic trace minerals, and seasoning with pink salt and sea salt. I’ve been doing keto for about 3 weeks. Why do I have pounding headaches and extreme muscle fatigue? Why do I feel like crap all the time? I just want to feel mediocre for one day. I’m not trying to whine or quit, I doing everything I know to do but nothing seems to help. Can you help me?
Hey Joshua! We’d be happy to advise you – if you are interested in our coaching, please check out http://www.primaledgehealth.com/coaching. We begin the next session of the Keto Collective this Sunday – you’d right on time! Give us an email through the contact form on the coaching page if you want to get started. Sorry, these things aren’t always a quick fix over the internet – it’s hard to give general advice without knowing more about the specifics of your situation and lifestlye.