What is Canning Salt and How Is It Used?

salt spelled out in salt on table
Canning salt is known as pickling salt or preserving salt. Made of pure sodium chloride, it is a fine-grain salt without the anti-caking agents or other additives that are typically used in table salt.

What is Canning Salt?

Canning salt is also known as pickling salt, pickle salt, rock salt (halite), NaCI, preserving salt, sodium chloride, or table salt. It is a type of salt that is used for canning and preserving food.

Unlike other types of salt, canning salt is a pure form of sodium chloride. Canning salt has fine granules that dissolve easily in a canning or pickling brine.

Morton's canning and pickling salt box
Canning salt

How is Canning Salt Used in Canning?

Canning salt is added to recipes to help preserve the food. The lack of additives means that it doesn’t cause the liquid to become cloudy and doesn’t negatively affect the flavor of canned goods.

It may be added directly to canning jars or used to make a brine for pickled, canned goods.

What is the Difference Between Canning Salt and Regular Table Salt?

One major difference between canning salt and regular table salt is that canning salt is pure salt with no additives, while regular table salt is iodized. Canning salt leaves little to no sediment in jars, while table salt does.

For example, Morton’s Table Salt contains ingredients such as salt, dextrose, potassium iodide, and calcium silicate (an anti-caking agent). All of these added ingredients can affect the quality and flavor of pickled and canned goods.

It is important to note that canning salt, unlike table salt, must be stored in airtight containers to avoid clumping since it has no anti-caking ingredients.

Salt shaker spilling table salt on table
Table salt

Is Kosher Salt the Same as Canning Salt?

No. Canning salt is similar to Kosher salt in that it has coarse grains and is not iodized, but many brands include additives and anti-caking agents. If you wish to substitute canning salt for Kosher salt, check the label and ensure that the only ingredient listed is salt.

Kosher salt in seashell bowl
Kosher salt

What Can You Use in Place of Canning Salt?

Here are some good salt substitutes to consider:

1. Kosher Salt

Kosher salt is a good substitute for canning salt because it is usually a pure granulated salt with no iodine or additives. Kosher salt results in a clear brine and the color and flavor of pickles won’t change if you use the right amount of salt.

When using Kosher salt, it is recommended to use 1.5 cups of Kosher salt for each cup of canning salt.

2. Coarse Sea Salt

Coarse sea salt is another good substitute for canning and pickling salt since it has no additives.

When substituting sea salt for pickling salt, half a cup of sea salt is equivalent to one cup of canning or pickling salt.

3. Non-iodized Table Salt

Non-iodized table salt is another alternative to pickling salt since it doesn’t affect flavor or color. One teaspoon of table salt is equivalent to one teaspoon of pickling salt.

It should be noted that this substitute does contain anti-caking ingredients, which can result in a cloudy brine.

4. Himalayan Salt

Himalayan salt is sourced from the Punjab province of Pakistan. This rock salt has a unique pink color derived from the mineral composition of the salt.

It makes a good substitute because Himalayan pink salt doesn’t contain artificial ingredients or anti-caking agents.

Himalayan pink salt in bowl with large salt chunks next to the bowl
Himalayan salt

How Much Canning Salt Do You Need to Add to Canned Food?

Many canning and pickling recipes call for a high amount of salt, so you may be concerned about the sodium in your canned goods.

You can safely eliminate salt from home-canned meats, fish, poultry, and vegetables. In these home-canned foods, salt is used to boost flavor and not as a preservative.

In pickling recipes, the recommended amount of salt should not be altered. Low-sodium salt can be used in quick pickle recipes, but you can expect a different aftertaste. Don’t use low-sodium salt or change salt concentrations when preparing sauerkraut or fermented pickles. Fermentation requires the right amount of salt.

Photo showing jars of pickles, carrots, and sauerkraut which are all fermented foods
Fermented foods

Where to Buy Canning Salt

As with most items, you can buy canning salt in grocery stores and hardware stores near you. For online shopping, consider Amazon or buy directly from manufacturer websites. Popular brands of canning salt include Ball, Morton, and Mrs. Wages pickle salts.


Patrick has a farming background and is a full-time food writer and recipe creator. His goal is to help you discover how fantastic canning is by sharing his knowledge. Outside of the kitchen, Patrick enjoys outdoor activities and exploring nature in all its beauty.

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