Whether you're trying to cut back on sodium or you simply ran out of this kitchen staple mid-cooking, we have a salt substitute that will work for you!

Different types of salt in bowls from Shelf Cooking.

Have you ever been mid-recipe and realized you were out of salt?! Noooooo—the horror!! After all, salt is basically a requirement in like, every. single. recipe. Right?

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Well, fear no more, sis, because we're about to rock your world with some genius salt substitute options. Yes, you CAN elevate your dish to the next level of flavor town without that magic salty dust! Keep on reading and we'll show you exactly how to do it.


Pink Himalayan salt in a wooden bowl from Shelf Cooking.

Did you know there are several types of salt that can be used in your dish just like table salt? Some even offer health benefits along with a flavor boost! Here are some common salts you can use in place of table salt.

  • Himalayan Pink This salt is extra fun to cook with because it's literally pink! This salt, unlike typical table salt, naturally contains up to 84 trace minerals that are beneficial to our bodies.
  • Sea Salt You've probably heard of sea salt before… it's everywhere! Just like pink Himalayan salt, sea salt is said to contain more minerals than table salt.
  • “Lite” Salt This salt substitute is great for those looking to reduce their sodium intake. These salts are typically a combination of sodium chloride and potassium chloride.
  • Popcorn Salt It may sound crazy, but if you have a jar of popcorn salt hanging out in the back of your pantry, bust that baby out and use it to cook with!

These common alternatives are great salt substitute options for when you run out unexpectedly. You may even find you like one of these more than your typical table salt!


Totally out of all salt and need something to kick up the flavor of your dish? These are some of the most universal and popular seasonings and flavors to give your meal a boost without salt!

  • Garlic – The most common spice behind salt and pepper is garlic! It goes great on just about anything and can add a ton of flavorful goodness. Use fresh, minced, or powdered!
  • Onion – A go-to for so many meals, onions add depth of flavor so rich, you may not even notice a lack of salt! Again, use fresh or powder.
  • Lemon or Lime Juice – Out of salt? Add a refreshing twist to a dish or a salad by drizzling on lemon or lime juice!
  • Brown Sugar and Cinnamon – Make a salty dish sweet with a bit of brown sugar and cinnamon! Try it on winter squash, sweet potatoes, and even pork chops.
  • Spice It Up – Kick up the heat instead of adding salt! Add chili powder, cayenne, crushed red pepper, or any other spicy seasoning you have.

If you're still missing that salty goodness, try using a pre-mixed seasoning in your dish. They almost always include high amounts of salt and may be just what you need!


Hand holding a salt shaker from Shelf Cooking.

Since this post is all about salt and salt substitute ideas, we thought you may like to know a few bonus salt hacks as well. Cause, ya know… that's how we roll! 😉

  • Rice in the Salt Shaker – Have you ever looked inside a salt shaker at a restaurant and thought someone contaminated the whole thing with rice?! Yeah… we've been there. Actually, that rice serves a purpose! It pulls the moisture out of the salt to keep it from clumping. Who knew?!
  • Clean Your Toothbrush – Stick the head of your toothbrush in a cup of warm salt water and voila!
  • Freshen Your Breath – While we're on the topic of mouths, let's talk about bad breath! Need to kick that coffee breath but don't have any mouthwash or toothpaste nearby? Swish warm salt water in your mouth and it will do the trick!
  • Salt the Pasta Water – Just do it! It will enhance the flavor of your pasta dish all the way around.
  • Browning Apples – Prevent apples from oxidizing by soaking them in saltwater! (Lemon juice works, too.)

Okay, now that you have the entire low down on salt and all the good salt substitute options, it's time for you to grab one and get back to cooking!

Let us know which ones you try and how they worked for you in the comments below!

Types of salt in bowls from Shelf Cooking.

Want more kitchen hacks and substitutes?

Shake ya later!