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Best Salt Substitute?

I have heard AlsoSalt is a good one. I haven't tried any but have heard that some have a bitter after taste.

Has anyone found a good salt substitute?

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  1. Really, there is no substitute for salt. Nothing else performs like it in cooking.

    6 Replies
    1. re: pikawicca

      Yes, that is so but for health reasons (not voluntarily!) we are drastically cutting out soduim and have been trying (in vain!) to find something that might do. Not salt but something close.

      I suppose we are looking for something like stevia is to sugar.

      1. re: Yes Please

        They make "salt substitute"; I'm pretty sure they sell it in supermarkets. I don't know if it contains other stuff too, but it's mostly potassium chloride. (What, if any health concerns the extra potassium might raise, I have no idea.)

        Noting that I don't watch my sodium intake for health reasons, I've never used KCl in my own cooking and can't stand it in low/er sodium processed foods, but if you can live with stevia, you might be able to tolerate it. ;)

        1. re: MikeG

          Thanks! The sugar was given up kicking and screaming also, not by choice but for health. The salt I think will be a harder one to give up. I guess I will have to try some out myself and report back.

          Wow, I'm sure everyone is on the edge of their seats to find out what the best fake salt is ;)

          1. re: Yes Please

            I'm sure you've heard this before, but the best thing is to go cold turkey - no fake salt. It took me about 2 weeks, many years ago, but after that most commercially-prepared food seems unpleasantly salty. A canister of salt lasts me at least a decade. I use half the recipe amount in baked goods, and omit it completely in just about all my other cooking.

            1. re: greygarious

              I agree with greygarious. the only salt in my house is a small box of pink sea salt that will last me years. Oddly, most of the cooking I do doesn't call for it - usually recipes from (or inspired by) Africa, Middle East, India, etc. They have lots of spices and herbs, but no salt.

              Salt seems to be a European/North American obsession, but even when cooking recipes that call for it, I just up something else flavourful in the dish and eliminate the salt.

              1. re: Dan G

                Not so sure. I'm from India and every meal has salt in it unless it's a dessert. Yes, lemon/pepper does kind of compensate for the taste.

    2. The late Frugal Gourmet, Jeff Smith, minimized salt in his cooking after having heart problems. He always said that increasing other seasonings, particularly pepper and lemon, compensated well for the absence of salt.

      1 Reply
      1. re: greygarious

        Thanks for the tip! Will try it out. Should make for some zesty eggs!

      2. I agree with pikawicca that there is no real substitute, performance-wise or flavor-enhancing-wise, for salt, and I do use moderate amounts of salt.

        However, I've found for me, at least, there's something about vinegar that satisifies some of those salt cravings, even though it has no sodium. I don't know if in some way it interacts with the same taste receptors that salt does, but I know it works to a pretty good degree for me. (And more so even when it's not cooked.) So you might try experimenting with some of the different vinegars out there.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Normandie

          Thanks, but unfortunately thats not going to work. Due to a restricted diet vinegar's out. Salt was the last thing to indulge in!
          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/654495

        2. I find that a little balsamic vinegar can replace some of the salt in some of the soups that I make (minestrone in particular).

          1 Reply
          1. re: southernitalian

            Any acid will act as a salt substitute to some degree.

          2. And is it salt or sodium you are avoiding? MSG changes the flavour.

            1 Reply
              1. re: ipsedixit

                I've heard good things about this one. Have you tried it yourself?

              2. This sea salt has 57% less sodium than table salt:

                http://www.oceansflavor.com/

                9 Replies
                1. re: Sean

                  I'm not sure how that's possible. Isn't all salt just sodium chloride? Different salts have different minerals that affect flavor but I'm not sure how one salt can have less sodium.

                  http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/sea-...

                  1. re: Sean

                    Thanks for the link! Have you been able to find this in stores? Because the shipping is twice the cost of the salt! And have you tried it yourself?

                    1. re: Yes Please

                      I have not tried it, but I am a culinary student with a focus in nutrition and every chef/instructor I have had makes a major point about sea salt and it's lower sodium content as compared to table salt.

                      1. re: Sean

                        Sea salt has the same amount of sodium as table salt.

                        They contain the same amount of NaCl by weight.

                        I'm surprised that culinary instructors are so misinformed (and pass it on).

                        1. re: C. Hamster

                          You hear this over and over and I don't know where it came from!

                          1. re: fldhkybnva

                            You hear that table salt contains more NaCl, too.

                            My theory is that they are confusing a comparison based on weight with one based on volume, which depends on crystal size.

                            More table salt than kosher (or most sea salts) will fit in a teaspoon. More NaCl will be contained in the table salt's teaspoon.

                            But that doesn't mean that table salt contains more sodium than kosher or sea salt. They are all the same.

                            I think some people acquired this misinformation when brining Thanksgiving turkeys became popular because recipes have to be adjusted if they call for table and you want to use kosher. The didn't understand that it was a volume adjustment

                            1. re: C. Hamster

                              Yea, I understand that most are confusing the issue of volume and weight but I don't get why it's been promoted by people who should know better...oh well.

                              1. re: fldhkybnva

                                I totally agree.

                                Culinary instructors ? Ask for a tuition refund.

                                1. re: C. Hamster

                                  I have to remind myself sometimes too, even with different kinds of kosher salt the amount looks completely different. I happen to have flaked and crystal and the flaked looks like an ocean dried up for the same weight.

                  2. I do have a container of SeaSeasonings Kelp Granules that I use from time to time: 1/2 teaspoon contains 45 mgs sodium. It does have a salty taste.
                    Mrs. Dash is great when you are trying to give up salt...but as others have said, going cold turkey is a good thing because your palate will change and you will start tasting the actual flavors of your foods...and then you won't WANT that sodium so much. Anymore, so many foods taste over-salted to me.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Val

                      I have the Bragg's Kelp seasoning I think and like it though only use it rarely as it's such a distinct taste.

                    2. If you cut out all the over salted, overprocessed supermarket foods and just season fresh vegetables, meat, salads and homemade sauces and gravies with sea salt, you won't have to go through the pain of giving it up. A little salt is necessary for our health; and taste! diana

                      1. I never used to like salty tastes, but lately I'm all over seasoning everything with tamari and fish sauce- I guess it's that salt just has the harsh, minerallic 'bite' whereas these magical potions have multiple dimentions. In seasoning 'at table', I think making your tastebuds 'zing' is key- try the lush lemon-tamarind-salty zap of sumac, musky depth of ras-el-hanout, or amazing zillion-flavour hit that is chat masala- my current fave sprinkle!

                        1. Penzeys Spices -- Mural of Flavor is a great salt substitute. They have great curry powders if you like that as well

                          1. Please be very aware of the high potassium in salt substitutes. I recently had some blood work done and found out I am above the "normal" range for potassium and have had to cut out Mrs. Dash. My rec would also be to go cold turkey or significantly reduce your intake rather than use a salt sub.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Diane in Bexley

                              The highest potassium Mrs Dash seasoning blend is 10 mg while the highest potassium content in the marinades is 35mg per serving.. Nat'l Academy of Sciences recommends 4700 mg daily (for those with regular levels) but most often recommended daily intake is 2000 mg. You're better off cutting out a myriad of other things rather than Mrs. Dash.

                            2. I've been working on lowering my salt use per doctor's orders. I use none in regular cooking and then use sea salt at the table... I think it's mainly than the crunchy granules are more flavorful and you, therefore, need less. My problems all come with eating out. and with my adoration of pickled veggies. (anyone have ideas there?) Middle Eastern is better than most but my favorites... Thai, Vietnamese and Korean are sooooo salty.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: debbypo

                                Well, here's a recipe from Epicurious for pickled red onions to consider...I've made it a gazillion times with only about 1/8 tsp salt (recipe calls for 1 1/2 teaspoons) and it's great! You certainly don't NEED tons of salt in some pickle recipes, I think. For this particular recipe, the vinegar and lime juice give the sharp flavors...love the habanero thrown in there too:

                                http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

                              2. I agree debbypo--its the crunchy granules and the extra flavor due to the trace minerals and other things that aren't refined out that makes the difference. In the last several weeks I've begun using high quality sea salt almost exclusively on my food (for culinary, not health reasons) and have been astounded over and over again at the explosion and depth of flavor that comes with it, as compared to regular table salt.

                                1. I've tried Alsosalt and I love it. It tastes so much more like salt than the other salt substitutes. It's not bitter. Only one of my local grocery stores carries it, but sometimes (like now) they have free shipping online.

                                  1. try gomashio! you can make your own or get a prepared brand at the store. it's not entirely salt free but depending on the recipe can reduce sodium down to 1/5th to 1/10th, plus you get some flavor and nutrition. when i am lazy i just buy a prepared gomashio with seaweed in it. i forget the brand but can find it if you are interested. the flavor profile doesn't work with every recipe but i love it on vegetables and grains.

                                    1. Dug this out of the archives:
                                      3 Navel oranges
                                      3 Lemons
                                      1/4 lb Shallots,slice paper thin
                                      10 lg Garlic clove,slice paper thn
                                      1/4 c Thyme,dried
                                      2 T Rosemary,dried
                                      1 T Marjoram,dried
                                      1 T Sage,dried
                                      1 T Oregano,dried
                                      1 T Red pepper flakes
                                      1/4 c Black pepper
                                      1 t Cayenne


                                      Remove thin outside layer of rind from oranges & lemons, being careful
                                      not to include any pith. Let rinds dry on rack at room temp 3-4 days
                                      until shriveled & brittle. Dry shallots & garlic in one layer on baking
                                      sheets in preheated 170 F. oven 45 min until dry but not browned. In
                                      blender grind to a powder in batches the orange & lemon rinds, shallots,
                                      garlic, thyme, rosemary, marjoram, sage, oregano & red pepper flakes,
                                      transfer powder to fine sieve & sift into bowl. Stir in pepper & cayenne.
                                      Store mixture in airtight container in cool dry place. Keeps indefinitely.
                                      Use to season meats & chicken before roasting or vegetables after cooking.

                                      1. I rely on Trader Joe's 21 Seasoning Salute, which has no salt and to me tastes far better than any other seasoning blend, whether or not they contain salt.

                                        Today I was watching an Indian cooking show. The presenter used an electric coffee grinder to turn equal measures of cumin seed and black peppercorns into a fine powder which, she emphasized, is an excellent substitute for salt in savory applications.

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: greygarious

                                          I just bought this on Friday and have been using it at least twice a day :)

                                          1. re: greygarious

                                            <she emphasized, is an excellent substitute for salt in savory applications>

                                            I think that really depends on the definition of "excellent substitute"

                                          2. There are quite a few seasonings without salt that I enjoy and use regularly - Trader Joe's Salute 21, Mrs. Dash Original and Onion and Herb, Spike salt-free, Cavendar's salt-free.

                                            1. AlsoSalt is hands down the BEST salt substitute. As with other salt substitutes, it's primarily postassium chloride, but has lysine, an amino acid, added which cuts down KCL's bitter taste. As a result, this stuff tastes pretty much exactly like table salt. I use this stuff on popcorn and in cooking all the time. Regular ol' salt is GONE from my household!