The Real Difference Between Rock Salt And Sea Salt

Rock salt and sea salt might seem as though they are fairly similar, and in some ways they are. However, you might not want to use them interchangeably. Both kinds of salt are made of sodium chloride, which means they will both taste very salty. However, the process in which they are harvested is different and does produce some small differences (via Spiceography).

Sea salt has a briny taste and a bit more complexity than rock salt because it contains some minerals from the ocean. That's because sea salt is what we get when ocean water is left in the sun to dry. The water evaporates and leaves different minerals behind in the solid salt. Thanks to the minerals, this kind of salt is often lauded as being healthier too (via 121 Dietician).

Rock salt, on the other hand, is already found in solid form and is simply mined. This type of salt is also known as halite and often comes in larger crystals or has a coarser texture.

How to use both kinds of salts

Rock salt is primarily used for different kitchen techniques like creating a crust on a dish or for making ice cream. If rock salt is ground down to a smaller texture, though, it still isn't exactly like sea salt. What you will get instead is more like table salt.

Sea salt, on the other hand, is finer, but tends to be more versatile than rock salt. It can be used for the same kitchen applications and techniques as rock salt, but it might be a little less even due to the smaller size of the salt. Sea salt is also expensive, so using a lot of it to make a dish is usually fairly cost-prohibitive.

Essentially, you'll want to use sea salt for cooking and seasoning dishes. Those extra minerals can add depth of flavor to a dish. Because the salt crystals are bigger than normal table salt, sea salt often adds a nice crunch or snap to almost any dish.

So, if you want to stock up on one kind of salt to have on hand for a lot of different uses, sea salt is the way to go, even if it is expensive. Rock salt is helpful for making specific foods, but you'll find many more ways to use sea salt that make the price worth it.