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In a number of recipes, I see Diamond Crystal recommended as the kosher salt to use.

Where I live, only Morton's is available.

Is there some superior quality to Diamond Crystal kosher salt that I might not get out of another brand?

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    Just an effect of the marketing department at Diamond Crystal pushing out more recipes with their brand specified into the places you are seeing recipes from, I'm pretty sure. "Build market share by free recipes" and hope folks are gullible enough to think it matters.
    – Ecnerwal
    Sep 28, 2022 at 18:15
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    I read once (still looking for the reference, and if I find it, I'll contribute an answer), that both will work for cooking, but Morton's is denser. So if you swap an equal volume of Morton's for Diamond Crystal, you will likely be oversalting. You can use Morton's, just use less. Sep 28, 2022 at 19:52
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    Based in the UK, despite having done plenty of cooking, recipe reading and ingredient shopping, I'd never heard of this product. Interesting to hear how something as generic as salt can have such differences across the pond.
    – dbmag9
    Sep 28, 2022 at 21:30
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    @dbmag9 just wait until you read about flour ... but yeah, this is a big annoyance for folks around the world reading trendy US recipes.
    – FuzzyChef
    Sep 28, 2022 at 21:33
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    @dbmag9 - You can get it online, but if you look at sites 'explaining the difference' you'll see they all are trying to sell you it. It's just salt, but coarser. Seven quid a kilo, really?!? For salt? Yer 'avin' a larf, mate.
    – Tetsujin
    Sep 29, 2022 at 6:57

5 Answers 5

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Many recipes specify salt measurements by volume, but different brands of salt vary by density. In order to consistently predict the weight of salt used, recipe authors fix the density by fixing the brand.

If you want to know whether you can use the brand that's available to you, the answer is yes. You just need to convert the units to weight.

From Simply Recipes:

By weight, the brands are the same and can be used interchangeably. This is why you should ideally always measure large amounts of kosher salt by weight to be precise.

But if you’re measuring by volume — or if a recipe only lists the kosher salt by volume — you can run into issues. Since Morton kosher salt is has a finer grind, you’ll pack more into a cup than if you’re using Diamond Crystal. This can really throw off a recipe!

First off, look for (or ask!) which brand of kosher salt is recommended in the recipe, especially if the recipe calls for larger amounts of salt. (If you only need a teaspoon or so, you're usually ok using either brand without throwing off the recipe that much.)

Then either use the brand specified, or follow this conversion chart:

  • 1 cup of Morton’s Kosher Salt = 241 grams = 1 3/4 cup minus 1 teaspoon of Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt

  • 1 cup of Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt = 137 grams = 1/2 cup plus 2 teaspoons of Morton’s Kosher Salt

137/241 is approximately 0.568, or a bit more than half. If you need to be precise, measure by weight.

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    Hi, can you explain how this is an argument for always using Diamond Crystal? I have a hard time seeing how it answers the question.
    – rumtscho
    Sep 29, 2022 at 21:34
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    @rumtscho it answers why recipes specify brand of salt. That answers a huge portion of the question. Also, when measuring by volume, less dense product means lower errors in quantity by weight. If Diamond is least dense, that would be it.
    – Mołot
    Sep 29, 2022 at 22:00
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    The same is true for not kosher salt, btw. Sep 29, 2022 at 22:05
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    @rumtscho I primarily wanted to answer the question I read lurking behind the literal question, which was: All these recipes call for Diamond Crystal, but all I can get is Morton's; what do I do? But I edited to connect my answer more explicitly to the literal question. Sep 29, 2022 at 22:28
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    It does rather make one long for the day when US recipes are written by mass, not volume.
    – MadHatter
    Oct 1, 2022 at 7:26
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Superior quality is obviously a matter of opinion, and it is the opinion of several influential chefs that Diamond Crystal is superior. The main thing they like about it is that Diamond Crystal is formed by evaporation instead of Morton's mechanical action, making it lighter and more delicate.

For example, Samin Nosrat, author of Salt Fat Acid Heat had this to say:

Nosrat also notes that Diamond Crystal dissolves much more quickly than Morton. “The more quickly salt dissolves, the less likely you are to overseason a dish, thinking it needs more salt when actually the salt just needs more time to dissolve.”

Other chefs feel the same way about Diamond Crystal, also noting that because its structure makes it less dense, they are less likely to oversalt things.

You'll notice that all of the quotes are related to using Diamond Crystal as a general-purpose cooking salt. Clearly, these superior qualities do not apply when measuring it for baking or using it for its original purpose -- kashering meat. In fact, for the latter purpose, it's possible that Morton's is superior as the denser crystals do more to draw out fluids before dissolving. For the same reason, one might hypothesize that Morton's would be better for BBQ rubs and similar applications (sadly, though, no data here; Diamond's trendiness is strong enough that Morton champions aren't publishing).

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    these days apparently pretzel salt is often used for kashering meat, since its crystals are even larger and dissolve more slowly.
    – Esther
    Sep 29, 2022 at 14:06
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    I can’t comment on kashering specifically, but whenever I make gravlax or other dry salt-cured meats, I tend to get better results with Morton’s than Diamond Crystal (and my best results so far involved me manually recrystallizing Morton’s to get even coarser and denser grains, though that took way more effort than I’m willing to put in on a regular basis). Sep 29, 2022 at 17:01
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Pro cooks will always go kosher over table salt...easier to dose more consistently...and, Diamond is just found more in pro kitchens, so cooks are used to it. It is simply a matter of growing comfortable with the dosing and then being consistent. Salt is salt, brand matters little in that regard. However, Diamond crystals are slightly different from say, Morton crystals. If you use a lot of one brand, you get comfortable with how it behaves and therefore it gets "recommended."

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  • If it is flakes it is not kosher salt. Kosher salt is always coarse. You want coarse salt for curing whole pieces of meat.
    – Neil Meyer
    Sep 29, 2022 at 17:42
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    "Flakes" was used in quotation marks....I change to "crystals" to clarify for you.
    – moscafj
    Sep 29, 2022 at 18:03
  • @NeilMeyer I use David's kosher salt and it is flakes 100%: "... our coarse flake ..."
    – JimmyJames
    Sep 30, 2022 at 13:54
  • Salt is salt? I don't understand why people insist on something so clearly easily shown to be untrue. Table salt is mostly NaCl perhaps with added iodine. Kosher salt is purified and is therefore nearly pure NaCl. Sea salt varies but can be more than 10% other types of salt than NaCl giving it a 'fuller' flavor. Naturally mined salt (e.g. Himalayan) is essentially sea salt from prehistoric seas.
    – JimmyJames
    Sep 30, 2022 at 14:11
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    @JimmyJames Himalayan salt is something like 98 percent sodium chloride, while sea salt is about 90% or more sodium chloride. For all intents and purposes, especially in the kitchen...salt is salt.
    – moscafj
    Sep 30, 2022 at 14:57
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I've used Diamond Crystal in my home kitchen for over a decade now. I recently was doing an extended stay out of town and could only find Morton kosher salt. Aside from the density differences that people have pointed out, the big difference I found was that Diamond Crystal comes in thin flakes (but not as flaky as, say, Maldon salt), whereas Morton is fairly coarse grains, like coarse sand or very small pebbles. When I went to salt meat or other "wet" food, most of the Morton salt bounced off instead of sticking like Diamond Crystal, which has a higher surface area-to-volume ratio.

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    Great observation about the sticking to meat. Sep 30, 2022 at 16:38
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After even more confusion, let's bring this down to a straight answer to the exact question, as asked…

"Is there some superior quality.."
No. Salt is salt.

It seems people in comments below have been so preoccupied with whether or not we have kosher salt in the UK or EU - we don't - that they've forgotten the entire point of this answer…
There is no "best salt".
All salt tastes the same by the time it's mixed in with your food
[1]. Use it by weight not volume if you ever change your crystal size.
[1] this may not be true for iodised salt, but I don't think I've ever tasted it. It's not unobtainable here, but is very much a tiny slot on the salt shelf in a supermarket.

From comments again - apparently iodised salt has a metallic overtone.
I also just discovered why the UK doesn't need iodised salt - they 'fixed' the milk instead - https://www.bda.uk.com/resource/iodine-deficiency-in-the-uk-dietetic-implications.html


Pro cooks in the UK have been using table or cooking salt for far longer than we've had cooking shows or internet recipes. Until the invention of the interwebz we'd never heard of kosher salt. [This turns out to be because it's a US naming convention to indicate 'purity', apparently because most other US salt is iodised.]

Salt is salt, give or take the odd anti-caking agent.
The only difference in salt "types" is the volume/weight ratio… & price.

UK prices…
Table/cooking salt — £1 per kilo
Kosher salt [imported] — £7 - 15 per kilo
Himalayan salt [another outrageous money spinner that can only be qualified as "they saw you coming & laughed"] — £33 per kilo.
They all taste exactly the same.

You get used to the quantities you need in a recipe by experience. If you read an international online recipe, then whatever value it gives for added salt, use your prior experience - unless one or more of the ingredients is particularly salty, it will be the same quantity as you always use.
If it says use kosher salt & you only have table, then don't measure in spoons, measure by weight, or drop the usage by 2/3… or, as many recipes say - "season to taste"… a bit to start with, check it part-way through, make sure it's right at the end.

There is no such thing as a "best salt".
Don't believe the hype.

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    This is not really true. You get flakey, fine and coarse. You get flavoured, finishing and cooking and you get some with or without iodine. They also vary tremendously in regards to which trace elements they contain.
    – Neil Meyer
    Sep 29, 2022 at 17:46
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    @NeilMeyer - and yet they all taste exactly the same… [If someone's going to pump additional flavours in, then that's out of scope.]
    – Tetsujin
    Sep 29, 2022 at 17:51
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    @unlisted That just isn't true. It's somewhat more true if you fully dissolve the salt into liquid, but if it's still solid then the structure of the crystals and the trace impurities/added iodine absolutely make a difference. Also you say that no one had heard of Kosher Salt until the invention of the internet, but that's ridiculous, it's existed for far longer than that and even if most home cooks didn't use it that doesn't mean no one did
    – Kevin
    Sep 29, 2022 at 19:06
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    @Esther - agree… but you just can't buy kosher salt here [except on import]. I use 'rock salt' in my mill because it is less 'claggy' than sea salt - but for everything else, I just use ordinary table salt. I tend to know my quantities based on habit & don't follow recipes too carefully. I just discovered why the UK doesn't need iodine salt - they 'fixed' the milk instead - bda.uk.com/resource/…
    – Tetsujin
    Oct 3, 2022 at 16:27

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