HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >


Morton Coarse Kosher Salt or Diamond Crystal?

I've been using Morton Coarse Kosher Salt for years. Lately I've read a few things here and there suggesting that Diamond Crystal is better for various reasons, so I bought a box. To me it seems to be almost too fine to use for some purposes. For example, I sprinkled some short ribs with Diamond Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper before browning, and the salt just about dissolved on the meat.

I'd love to hear from folks who have a preference for either the coarser Morton or the finer Diamond, to learn the reasons for your preferences. Thanks!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I've wondered the same thing for years ... waiting for replies.

      1. If you're talking Morton's Kosher v. Diamond Crystal Kosher, then it's more marketing than anything.

        8 Replies
        1. re: ipsedixit

          I just "salt to taste" pretty much, but according to this
          there's a difference. Maybe the difference doesn't make a difference.

          But Diamond weighs 5 ounces per cup, Crystal 8 ounces per cup, table salt 10 ounces per cup. That must make a difference, yes?

          1. re: blue room

            No, I agree that depending on the application it will make a difference, esp. if you are using them as "finishing salts". If you are, then definitely go with Mortons.

            But if you are just cooking with them, then I don't really feel like there's a difference. All those testimonials about how Diamond tastes "cleaner" or "purer" is just hogwash.

            I will admit, however, Diamond is great at softening hard water!

            1. re: ipsedixit

              If you're cooking with 3 teaspoons of table salt, you're using 6 teaspoons of Diamond -- if the stated weights are correct. Not a taste difference, just the total amount of saltiness. I just have to be careful with some recipes. If it says kosher salt I use 1/2 that amount of table salt.

              1. re: blue room

                I hate it when recipes are sooo general - ie: one teaspoon of Kosher Salt.. which varies between Morton and Diamond by twice as much. Thanks.

              2. re: ipsedixit

                Morton's tastes different. Probably from the additives.

              3. re: blue room

                Aren't Diamond and Crystal the same thing?

                1. re: blue room

                  blue room made a slight typo. The article says a cup of Diamond Crystal weighs 5 oz. and Morton's Kosher weighs 8 oz. a cup. It was a bit confusing at first.

                  1. re: Feed_me

                    Aaagh -- thank you for seeing this (fat, not slight) error! I did indeed confuse the issue.

              4. I'm like you. I've used Mortons for years, then read of the supposed superiority of Diamond Crystal. Bought some, didn't like it better, in fact liked it less. Stopped using it.

                I tend to use as a finishing salt but am also known to drop a generous pinch into soup, other things cooking stovetop.

                1 Reply
                1. re: tcamp

                  I use Maldon Sea Salt flakes for finishing. I like the crunch.

                2. This may simply have to do with what you're accustomed to using. I've been a long time Diamond Crystal kosher salt user. A few months ago I ran out of the small container I kept at my mom's house and bought Morton's at the grocery store because that's all that was available. Without reading any of the taste test comparisons, I can tell you that my own first taste of Morton's turned me off sampling it right out of the box. It has a metallic edge and bitterness compared to Diamond Crystal.

                  Besides the taste, I'm sure my preference for the fine flakes of Diamond Crystal is mostly because that's what I'm used to reaching for in a pinch between thumb and forefinger. The fast dissolving properties you describe are exactly why to use it. Also, because it does not have anti-caking additives like Morton's, brines stays crystal clear. I like that the uneven flakes adhere well to food.

                  Should you have a need for other food processing grade salts, here's my post on Cargill’s CMF Evaporated Salt (same company that owns Diamond Crystal) from the SF Bay Area board.

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: Melanie Wong

                    I don't think I ever stopped to consider that the two salts might actually taste different, but now I'm inspired to do a side-by-side taste test. I also didn't realize that Morton's has anti-caking additives. I was all set to toss the big box of Diamond Crystal and replace it with Morton's, but now I think I'll experiment a little. It might take some getting used to in terms of the right amount to use for various purposes. Thanks!

                    1. re: CindyJ

                      As I said on a similar thread, I own 19 kinds of salts (mostly from our travels) and they are all different. There are a few that are similar to one another but most have their own characteristics, whether it is the size/shape of the crystal or different flavour (i.e. alder smoked). I've done taste tests and definitely discern big differences. Many of mine are finishing salts that I do not cook with but finish dishes with.

                      It is worth experimenting. There are some excellent books on salt out there, too, speaking from experience!

                      1. re: chefathome

                        I recall reading about a shop in NYC that sold only salt, and thinking I ought to stop in on my next trip to the city. My recollection is that it's owned by a celebrity chef who may have also written a book about salt. Wish I could recall the details, but my memory isn't what it used to be. I'll Google it when I get a chance.

                        1. re: CindyJ

                          Would it be Mark Bitterman perchance? He does have a salt shop. I own his book, "Salted" which is AMAZING if you are interested in salts (and recipes!).

                          1. re: chefathome

                            Yes... Mark Bitterman! (Maybe I was confusing him with Mark Bittman when I was thinking "celebrity chef." And now that I HAVE googled it I see that the shop, The Meadow, not only sells salt and salt-related products, but chocolate and other products, too.

                            I just put a hold on "Salted" at my local library.

                            1. re: CindyJ

                              The names are very confusing, aren't they? Just two wee letters. :) I would be very, very interested to hear your thoughts on The Meadow if you get there (I live thousands of miles away but can live the experience through you!).

                              Glad your library has "Salted". It is incredibly interesting. So much so that my teenage niece and nephew pored over the book on a visit to their house until well after midnight. They literally could not put it down (reading the descriptions of the salt flavours are sometimes humourous and always enlightening). Post back, please!

                  2. I use both. I prefer Diamond when I'm going to crumble the salt grains between my fingers as I add it to a dish. The larger Morton grains don't crumble as easily, and can almost hurt the pads of my fingers if I do it too often. But I prefer to pour Morton's from the box into pasta water, as the Diamond clumps up from the steam coming off the pot.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: Jay F

                      Morton's is crushed rock salt, whereas Diamond is evaporated, which explains why the former hurts your fingers! I don't like either the harsh aggressiveness of the Morton's flavor nor the fact that it does NOT melt into the meat - pre-salting (which is what I always do) requires the meat to be salted, not coated, and when it melts into the meat it's going to work. Doesn't take much, either.

                      We hardly use any table salt anymore - I keep a wide-top jar of Diamond next to the cooktop and that's where all the salt in the house comes from. Takes about two months for a two-pound box.

                      1. re: Will Owen

                        From mortonsalt.com:

                        "Morton® Coarse Kosher Salt is made by compacting evaporated salt into thin flakes. Evaporated salt is made by dissolving the salt deposit to make a brine and then evaporating by a vacuum pan method to produce small crystals."

                      2. re: Jay F

                        That's exactly how I'm working through this box of Morton's, pouring it into boiling pasta water. It stays free-flowing due to the anticaking agents.

                        1. I just checked my pantry - I have Morton coarse sea salt from Spain, plus the customary table salt. I like the coarse salt on roasted brussels sprouts, and other applications, because it doesn't completely dissolve and one gets just the right burst of salt - is this the same stuff? Anal me thinks of salt as chemical NaCl, and it can be jazzed up with smoke and truffles and other additives, and can be ground to different sized particles, and it's cheap enough by the ton to melt icy roads, but what are the essential characteristics of salt that makes one preferable to another?

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: Veggo

                            There are many that buy into the "terroir" of sea salts in that the salt brings some of it's local sea's characteristics with it once dried. While there may be some factual basis for distinguishing the dirt that adheres to salt grains (e.g. mineral composition) I find that it's mostly marketing. The key differentiators are grain size and density.

                            For the most part, the fancy salts are "finishing salts" that are used sparingly atop a dish to add crunch and flavor, but nearly all of that flavor is salt.

                            The flavored salts are anything from Lawry's at the less expensive end of the spectrum to truffle, fennel pollen and smoked at the other end.

                            But salt is salt is salt. The molecules in the North Sea and Himalayas are the same as those mined domestically.

                            1. re: ferret


                              I am always befuddled when people say they can discern differences in salt in either cooking or baking preps. No freaking way.

                              I do believe, however, that there can be differences in taste and texture when you use finishing salts. But like you said, that's more because of additives in those salts and the size and shape.

                              1. re: ipsedixit

                                Just want to clarify I discern distinct flavours/textures in salts BUT not in baking or cooking - only finishing or the salts by themselves. I would never use finishing salts in baking or cooking/heating. That would just be silly. :)

                              2. re: ferret

                                Thank you. You have to have a pretty sensitive palate to taste the difference beyond the textural differences. I've done blind tastings and one might be saltier due to crystal size but I have yet to taste the minute differences in the mineral composition

                            2. I prefer Diamond to Morton primarily because it is pure salt without additives. However, for reasons I've never understood, Diamond isn't available everywhere in the US. Where I live (central PA), it's hard to find. Instead, I've been using David's Kosher Salt, which Wegmans sells. It's a bit overpriced, and somewhat coarser than Diamond, but I like it better than Morton.

                              If you are into home cheesemaking, you definitely want Diamond. Its flakes dissolve faster and are more readily absorbed into the surface of the cheese than the coarser crystals of other kosher salts. Also, many cookbooks consider Diamond to be the standard and some state that explicitly. If you're using Morton, you need to use a third to a half less by volume than the recipe calls for.

                              1. I've only used Diamond, and it doesn't feel that powdery to me. But if I want salt flakes for the look and crunch, I use Maldon sea salt.

                                1. Kind of stupid, but I use Diamond because the math is easier - if a recipe calls for a certain volume of table salt I can easily remember to just double it with my Diamond no matter how many cocktails I've had.

                                  EDIT: Or no matter how many Cruncchy Bloody Marys' I've had:

                                  1. There's a big difference in the saltiness. Morton's is more so. That and the metallic edge of Morton's has made me stick with Diamond Crystal. Some big grocery store chains no longer carry Diamond Crystal; so I've become a hoarder...

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: Milliezz

                                      Well, the table of equivalences bears this out: 1 volume unit of table salt = 1.5 volume units of Morton's kosher = 2 volume units of Diamond. Diamond is easier to measure for equivalences and a better texture than Morton's. Which is possibly why, in American cookbooks, when kosher salt is specified but no brand, Diamond is the default in the professional world.

                                      1. re: Milliezz

                                        They are equally salty. They are both 99% NaCl.

                                      2. The only differences between one salt and another are mechanical structure and purity. I don't believe it matters which brand of kosher salt one uses, but consistency does matter because of differences in density. I use only Morton Coarse Kosher Salt for cooking, because it is available everywhete. This is 99.9% or better purity, with yellow prussiate of soda added as an anti-caking agent. The YPS is limited by law to no more than 13 ppm, too low to affect the taste (if it has any taste at all).

                                        I'm not concerned about lack of information on type of salt in recipes. If the recipe assumes table salt, kosher salt will be less weight for the same volume, which is a good thing. If I think the salt needs adjusting after making a recipe by the book, and I want to make it again, I can annotate the recipe. I generally use less salt than specified anyway.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: GH1618

                                          I use Diamond because it doesn't contain the anti-caking agents in Morton.

                                          I use it as my everyday cooking salt and would never consider it a finishing salt -- I use more interesting sea salt for that.

                                        2. Try Diamond Crystal Course, I can use less Morton's and get great flavor. I don't like Diamond Crystal Fine.

                                          1. The following is a VERY long topic, so you might not want to wade through all of it, but the pickle recipe it is all about specifically calls for Diamond salt rather than Morton's. Somewhere in the topic there is discussion of the reasons.


                                            3 Replies
                                            1. re: Midlife

                                              The author recommended Diamond kosher salt only because his recipe gives the amount of salt by volume for that salt. The amount of salt is critical to best results, and different salts will have different weights for the same volume. He also claims that Diamond kosher will dissolve faster, which is merely a matter of convenience. Morton coarse kosher or Morton pickling salt will give the same result for an equal amount of salt by weight.

                                              1. re: GH1618

                                                I weigh my salt when making a brine.

                                                I use Diamond most often in my salt shaker when preparing food and can eye a correct amount most of the time.

                                                The most common salts I use are
                                                Diamond Kosher for general cooking
                                                Morton's pickling for brines. Finer and dissolves faster

                                                Maldon as a finishing salt where I want texture.

                                                1. re: GH1618

                                                  Thanks for clarifying. I had forgotten the reason but did remember the preference because I have Morton's in my pantry. I was never really happy with the results of my 4 or 5 trial batches. Wondered if the salt brand had anything to do with it.

                                              2. Whatever you're used to becomes best, I think.

                                                Here, Morton's is on the shelves but I rarely see Diamond. So my view is they're both worthy, although you do sometimes need to take account of the differences in the weight/volume area in salt-sensitive applications, and that's a hassle.

                                                Plus very few recipes specify brand when they call for Kosher salt, which is aggravating.