Kitchen Hack – How to Measure Salt Like the Pros Without Using Measuring Spoons
Different kinds of salt in my pantry
You can check out how to do this in under a minute using kosher salt via my Youtube channel right here.
Ever wonder how to cook like the pros? Ever wonder how to become #saltbae? I developed a pretty simple method for learning how to measure salt like the pros in no time.
As a professional cook, we learn by doing. We season everything, over and over again, until it becomes second nature. The truth about salt, when used correctly, is that it makes anything and everything taste more like itself. Chocolate simply is not as good without seasoning. Period. Don’t believe me? Try it out yourself right now. Go on. I’ll wait…
Here are some facts if you’re interested:
All salt comes from the sea in one way or another. So “sea salt” is really just a marketing scheme.
Speaking of marketing schemes, there are so many different types of salt out there. It can be hard to decide which one to use. In terms of sodium content, all plain (read: unflavored) salts are just about the same. Some might have different mineral contents that turn them a certain color (pink Himalayan*). The truth is, unless you are eating a spoonful of salt (don’t ever do this), you can’t actually tell the difference in flavor between salts when seasoning your food.
So why choose different salts? For me, it’s about texture. Salts come in all different shapes and sizes depending on how they are manufactured. A flaky Maldon salt looks nicer as a finishing salt and adds a touch of crunch on top of whatever you’re putting it on. Black salt may not impart any flavor to a dish but could look striking on a canvas of white-hued foods.
Salt used to be iodized because iodine is a critical nutrient for humans and we weren’t getting enough of it. A lack of iodine in our bodies can cause goiter (not going to link it, but look it up if you dare). The truth is, if you have a balanced diet, you will get more than enough iodine than your body needs.
OK, enough of the boring stuff, let’s get to it!
*There is a huge difference between pink curing salt (aka InstaCure aka Prague Powder) and pink Himalayan Salt. THE TWO ARE NOT INTERCHANGEABLE. The former contains, sodium nitrite, sodium nitrate, or both. It is essential in the prevention of pathogen formation when making cured meats, but can make you extremely sick or even be lethal in large doses. Pink Himalayan salt, on the other hand, is just like any other salt, but is naturally tinged pink due to its unique mineral content.
How to Measure Salt Like the Pros
I have the link up top, but in case you missed it and would like to see how it’s done in under a minute, check it out right here.
Step 1: Grab some Kosher salt (I prefer Diamond brand), a small funnel, and a set of measuring spoons
You’re going to want to get a set of spoons that goes all the way down to 1/8 teaspoon. They don’t need to match in shape, but you do need a funnel that is small enough to fit into the 1/8 teaspoon.
Step 2: Measure your finger pinches
Place your funnel over the 1/8 teaspoon measure, and naturally grab a pinch of salt with your thumb and forefinger. Don’t try to pile it on because that isn’t what you’ll do while cooking. Just use a fluid motion. Place the salt in the spoon and see how much it is.
If the spoon is full, congrats! You’re one finger pinch is 1/8 teaspoon (like mine). If it isn’t about full, try it again. If 2 one-finger pinches equals about 1/8 teaspoon, now you know. If it overflows after one pinch, try it in a 1/4 teaspoon measure. The point is to figure out what fits in your fingers.
Step 3: Repeat step 2 ten times.
What?? I thought this was supposed to be easy!
It is. Chill bruh. It’s just a safe way to get your actual measurements. Do it ten times, then take the average (total amount of 10 one-finger pinches of salt divided by 10, for anyone who isn’t clear on that…).
Step 4: Repeat steps 2 and 3 with two fingers and three fingers.
This part is super important. Almost every time I reach for the salt, I use a two finger pinch. Two finger pinches are not double the amount as a one finger pinch.
Optional Step 5: For the uber nerd with time on their hands (highly recommended)
For this step, you will need a digital scale that can accurately measure 1/10 grams.
Measure the weight of a flush 1/8 teaspoon, 1/4 teaspoon, 1/2 teaspoon, etc. Repeat each measurement 5 times and take the average to make sure you have an accurate measurement. Write all of them down.
Then, do steps 2 and 3, but on a scale rather than into a measuring spoon. See where I’m going with this?
Compare your one-, two-, and three-finger pinches with the weight of the salt measurements. Now you have exact measurements by weight and by volume.
Step 6: Repeat this exercise with different salts if you use them frequently.
I didn’t do this step myself because I use Kosher salt for about 99% of my cooking. But if you use different kinds often, this tool can be useful. You can then, if you are so inclined, make a table of the weights and measurements with each different kind of salt in an Excel spreadsheet (Have I lost you? Come back. I promise I’ll stop).
It’s important to note here that every different type of salt is going to feel different in your hands. If you cook a lot, pick one that suits you and stick with it. Remember, don’t be fooled by marketing (there is no such thing as healthy salt). Get a pure salt without any additives, and stick with it for most of your work.
Put Your Practice To Work
Now, when a recipe calls for a teaspoon of salt, don’t reach for the spoons! Get in there with confidence and get cooking!