My husband is on a low sodium diet. I have been thinking that Calcium chloride might work for making pickles, smoked fish, etc, because the sodium is the bad actor, not the chloride. Who knows about this?

3 Answers 3


This is an interesting idea. I have heard of using some potassium chloride to make reduced sodium pickles, but never calcium chloride. So I did some googling:

Here is a PDF from OragonState that says you can use potassium chloride it for quick pickles, but not brined pickles. I'm assuming calcium chloride can technically do the same, but I don't know what the conversion ratio from table salt is. They say:

Reduced-sodium salts (such as potassium chloride) may be used in quick pickle recipes. However, the pickles may have a slightly different taste. Don't use reduced-sodium salt in brined pickles or sauerkraut - these products need a specific amount of sodium to control bacterial growth and to give a firm texture.

Also, I found several recipes for "no salt pickles" that are just brined with pickling spices with no salt at all.

As for smoking fish: it should work but I would be VERY CAREFUL. Calcium chloride is extremely hygroscopic. It is used as an industrial desiccant. You may end up with petrified fish.


The wikipedia article of CaCl2 lists it as generally regarded as safe by the FDA and mentions the exact use you are going for. However, it may taste significantly saltier than sodium chloride by mass so you'll want to be careful about amounts.



you can go to the commercially available low sodium salt. Using calcium chloride alone in substitution of sodium chloride is a bad idea.

  • 4
    Maybe you are right, but could you please give an explanation why you consider it a bad idea? This being food safety related, we would also appreciate links to reputable sources.
    – rumtscho
    Feb 23, 2012 at 13:50

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