Best Substitutes For Salt In Baking

best substitutes for salt in baking

Salt is a key ingredient in baking, providing flavor and enhancing the taste of various baked goods. However, there may be times when you run out of salt or need to reduce your sodium intake. In such situations, having alternatives to salt can come in handy to ensure that your baked goods still turn out delicious.

In this article, we will explore the best substitutes for salt in baking, detailing their flavor profiles, uses, and how to incorporate them into your recipes.

Key Takeaways

  • Salt is crucial for flavor enhancement in baked goods, but there are alternative options available.
  • Choosing the right substitute for salt depends on the desired flavor profile and dietary restrictions.
  • Common substitutes for salt in baking include sea salt, kosher salt, herbs and spices, citrus zest, and homemade seasoning blends.
  • Remember to adjust the measurements when using a substitute to maintain the desired taste.

Why You Need A Substitute For Salt In Baking

While salt is a staple ingredient in baking, it’s important to have alternatives available for various situations. Here are a few reasons why you might need a substitute for salt in your baking:

  1. Salt Restriction: Some individuals may need to adhere to a low-sodium diet due to health concerns or personal preferences. Using a salt substitute allows them to enjoy baked goods without compromising their dietary needs.

  2. Health Consciousness: Many people are becoming more conscious of their salt intake and are actively seeking alternatives to reduce sodium in their recipes. Using substitutes allows for healthier baking options without sacrificing flavor.

  3. Running Out of Salt: It happens to the best of us – running out of an essential ingredient while in the middle of baking. Having a substitute on hand can save the day and ensure that you can continue with your recipe.

  4. Flavor Experimentation: Using substitutes for salt can add unique flavors and dimensions to your baked goods. By exploring other options, you can create a wider range of flavors and tailor your recipes to your preferences.

Types Of Substitutes For Salt In Baking

Salt being measured for baking

When looking for a substitute for salt in baking, it’s essential to consider the flavor profile you desire. Here are some common alternatives you can use:

  1. Sea Salt: Sea salt is a popular choice, known for its distinct flavor and texture. It is made by evaporating seawater, leaving behind trace minerals that provide a more nuanced taste compared to regular table salt. Use sea salt as a 1:1 substitute for regular table salt in your baking recipes.

  2. Kosher Salt: Kosher salt has larger, coarser grains than table salt, making it a favored choice among chefs. Its texture and unique taste can enhance the flavor of your baked goods. When substituting kosher salt for table salt, use a 1:1 ratio.

  3. Herbs and Spices: Adding herbs and spices to your baked goods can provide a burst of flavor without the need for salt. Common herbs and spices used in baking include cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cardamom, and vanilla. Experiment with different combinations to create unique flavor profiles.

  4. Citrus Zest: Citrus zest, obtained from the outermost layer of citrus fruits, is an excellent substitute for salt in recipes that require a tangy or refreshing flavor. Lemon, lime, and orange zest can add a bright and vibrant taste to your baked goods. Use the zest of one citrus fruit as a substitute for 1 teaspoon of salt.

  5. Homemade Seasoning Blends: Creating your own seasoning blends offers a customized alternative to salt. Mixtures such as Italian seasoning, Cajun seasoning, or a simple blend of dried herbs can provide a flavorful impact. Adjust the measurements of the seasoning blend according to your taste preferences.

Best Substitutes For Salt In Baking

Salt being measured for baking

Now that we have explored the various types of substitutes available, let’s dive into the best options for salt alternatives in baking:

  1. Sea Salt: As mentioned earlier, sea salt is a versatile substitute for table salt in baking. Its distinctive taste and slightly larger grains can elevate the flavor profile of your baked goods. Whether you are making bread, cookies, or cakes, using sea salt can add a touch of sophistication to your recipes.

  2. Kosher Salt: Kosher salt is another excellent option for baking. Its coarse texture makes it easy to handle, and the size of the grains allows for better control over the salinity. Kosher salt works well in bread dough, enhancing the gluten development and contributing to a well-rounded flavor.

  3. Herbs and Spices: When it comes to adding flavor to your baked goods, herbs and spices can be your go-to substitutes for salt. Cinnamon, for example, pairs well with apple-based recipes, while nutmeg is a great addition to pumpkin-flavored treats. The versatility of herbs and spices allows you to experiment and create unique flavor combinations in your baking.

  4. Citrus Zest: For a burst of fresh and tangy flavor, citrus zest is an outstanding substitute for salt. It works particularly well in recipes for lemon bars, citrus-infused cakes, or refreshing sorbets. The bright notes of citrus zest can uplift the flavors of your baked goods and provide a delightful twist.

  5. Homemade Seasoning Blends: For those who prefer a more complex flavor profile, homemade seasoning blends are an excellent substitute for salt. By mixing together various herbs and spices, you can create blends tailored to your specific taste preferences. These blends can be used in a range of baked goods, from savory bread to flavorful cookies.

Choosing The Right Substitute For Salt In Baking

Salt being measured for baking essential

Selecting the ideal substitute for salt in baking requires considering several factors. Here are some things to keep in mind when choosing the right alternative:

  1. Flavor Profile: Consider the flavor profile you desire in your baked goods. If you want a touch of sea saltiness, opting for sea salt as a substitute would be the most suitable choice. On the other hand, if you want to explore new flavor dimensions, herbs and spices will provide a vast range of options.

  2. Saltiness Level: Different substitutes have varying saltiness levels. Sea salt and kosher salt have a similar saltiness to regular table salt, making them easy 1:1 replacements. In contrast, herbs, spices, and homemade seasoning blends do not have the same saltiness, so you may need to adjust the measurements accordingly.

  3. Texture Considerations: Texture can also play a role, particularly in baked goods where coarse salt crystals are preferable. If texture is important to you, consider using sea salt or kosher salt instead of finely ground substitutes.

  4. Allergies or Dietary Restrictions: Take into account any allergies or dietary restrictions you or your intended audience may have. For example, if a recipe calls for salt and you are following a low-sodium diet, opt for a salt substitute that meets your dietary requirements.

  5. Experimentation: Don’t be afraid to experiment with different substitutes to discover new flavors and tailor your recipes to your preferences. Keep track of the changes made in your recipe so that you can adjust them in the future.

Pro Tip: When using a substitute for salt, always taste the batter or dough before baking to ensure the desired flavor is met. Adjust as needed to suit your taste preferences.

Cooking With Substitutes For Salt In Baking

Salt being measured for baking essential

Once you have chosen a substitute for salt in your baking, it’s important to understand how to incorporate it into your recipes effectively. Here are some guidelines to follow:

  1. Measurements: When substituting salt in a recipe, it is generally safe to use a 1:1 ratio with sea salt or kosher salt. However, for herbs, spices, or homemade seasoning blends, you may need to adjust the measurements according to the desired flavor intensity. Start with smaller amounts and gradually add more to achieve the desired taste.

  2. Taste Testing: Remember to taste the batter or dough before baking to assess the flavor. This will help you identify any adjustments needed. If you find that the flavor is too mild or lacking, add a little more of the substitute ingredient and taste again.

  3. Balancing the Flavors: While salt enhances flavors, its absence can sometimes make other flavors appear more prominent. Be mindful of this and adjust your recipe accordingly. For example, if you are using herbs and spices as a substitute, you may need to increase the amount to ensure the flavors are balanced.

  4. Adjusting Salt Intensity: Some recipes may require a specific level of saltiness for proper balance. In such cases, you can consider using a combination of substitutes to achieve the desired flavor. For example, you can blend sea salt and a homemade seasoning mix to meet both the saltiness and additional flavor requirements.

Recipes Using Substitutes For Salt In Baking

salt in baking

Now that we have explored the substitutes, let’s take a look at a few recipes where these alternatives shine:

Recipe 1: Citrus Blueberry Muffins


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 large eggs
  • Zest of one orange
  • Zest of one lemon
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries


  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C) and line a muffin tin with paper liners.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the melted butter, buttermilk, eggs, and citrus zest.
  4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until just combined.
  5. Gently fold in the blueberries.
  6. Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups, filling each about two-thirds full.
  7. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.
  8. Remove the muffins from the oven and allow them to cool in the tin for 5 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.

Try substituting the 1/2 teaspoon of salt in this recipe with 1/2 teaspoon of lemon zest for a tangy twist.

Recipe 2: Herb And Cheese Bread


  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1 1/4 cups warm water
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme


  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, and yeast.
  2. Add the warm water and olive oil to the flour mixture and stir until a dough forms.
  3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for about 5 minutes, or until smooth and elastic.
  4. Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover with a clean kitchen towel, and let it rise in a warm place for about 1 hour, or until doubled in size.
  5. Punch down the dough and knead in the Italian seasoning, Parmesan cheese, garlic powder, black pepper, and thyme.
  6. Shape the dough into a loaf and place it in a greased loaf pan. Cover with the kitchen towel and let it rise for another 30 minutes.
  7. Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).
  8. Bake the bread for 30-35 minutes, or until golden brown and the loaf sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom.
  9. Remove the bread from the oven and let it cool in the pan for 5 minutes before transferring it to a wire rack to cool completely.

Enhance the herb flavors in this bread by adding 1/2 teaspoon of your favorite dried herb blend to the dough mixture.

Storage And Shelf Life Of Substitutes

When using substitutes for salt in your baking, it’s important to consider their storage and shelf life to maintain their freshness and flavor. Here are some guidelines:

  • Sea Salt and Kosher Salt: Store sea salt and kosher salt in a cool, dry place in an airtight container to prevent moisture absorption and clumping. They can last indefinitely if stored properly.
  • Herbs and Spices: Store herbs and spices in airtight containers away from direct sunlight and heat to preserve their flavors. Generally, spices have a shelf life of 1-3 years, while dried herbs can last up to 3 years.
  • Citrus Zest: It is best to use fresh citrus zest when possible. However, if you have leftover zest, you can freeze it in an airtight container for up to 6 months to maintain its flavor.
  • Homemade Seasoning Blends: Store homemade seasoning blends in airtight containers away from light and heat. To maintain optimal flavor, use them within 6 months.


Having substitutes for salt in baking allows for flexibility in flavor experimentation, dietary restrictions, and unexpected situations. Sea salt, kosher salt, herbs and spices, citrus zest, and homemade seasoning blends all serve as excellent alternatives to salt, each contributing unique flavors to your baked goods.

Remember to consider the flavor profile, saltiness level, and texture when choosing a substitute. Experiment with different alternatives in your recipes and adjust the measurements to achieve the desired taste. With the right substitutes, you can create delicious baked goods that cater to your specific needs and preferences.


What Can I Use Instead Of Salt In Baking?

A variety of flavorful alternatives can be used in place of salt for baking. Bakers can experiment with substitutes like herbs, spices, vinegar, citrus, and more.

Will My Baked Goods Taste Different Without Salt?

While salt does add some flavor to baked goods, many substitutes can provide unique and tasty flavors that can enhance the overall taste of your product.

Can I Use Unsalted Butter As A Substitute For Salt In Baking?

While unsalted butter contains less salt than regular butter, it is not a direct substitute for salt in baking. Other substitutes like herbs or spices may be more effective in adding flavor to your baked goods.

How Much Salt Should I Substitute With Alternative Ingredients?

The amount of substitute you use largely depends on your personal taste preferences. Experiment with adding small amounts at a time until you achieve your desired taste.

Are There Any Health Benefits To Using Alternative Substitutes For Salt In Baking?

Many alternative ingredients, such as herbs and spices, contain beneficial antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. Cutting back on salt can also reduce your risk of high blood pressure and other health issues.

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  • About the Author Jenny

    I'm Jenny, a housewife with an unwavering passion for food. My culinary journey began with my grandmother's kitchen, and it's now a full-fledged food blog. I've turned my love for cooking into a creative outlet, sharing recipes and stories with a global community of fellow food enthusiasts. It's proof that being a housewife can also mean pursuing your passions and savoring life's delectable moments.