These Are The 3 Salts Ina Garten Swears By

Ina Garten's cookbooks and television shows abound with nuggets of culinary wisdom, like using instant coffee to make the flavor of chocolate pop or relying on unflavored dental floss to perfectly slice mozzarella (via Kitchn). But one particular Garten tip has the power to transform your cooking every single day: Use the right salt. In a cooking video tour Garten did for The New York Times of her East Hampton kitchen, the Barefoot Contessa revealed the three types of salt that she always has on hand — and how best to use them in daily dishes.

Garten's number one kitchen salt is Diamond Crystal kosher salt, which she uses to season food during and after the cooking process. "It's actually different from other kosher salts," she explained. "Some of them are much saltier, so you have to be careful if you use a different kind." 

If you've ever wondered why so many professional cooks — like Molly Baz, who shared this with Bon Appétit — prefer Diamond Crystal over Morton's or other salt brands, it's because its finer texture allows you to season your food more evenly. Los Angeles Times cooking columnist Ben Mims explains that the flakes are smaller and more lightweight but still provide a saltier taste. That means that if you're using Morton kosher salt to make an Ina Garten recipe, you should use about two teaspoons of Morton for every tablespoon of Diamond Crystal (via Los Angeles Times).

Why Ina Garten finishes dishes with sea salt instead of iodized salt

Garten's other two favorite salts are both finishing salts. The first is French sea salt, or fleur de sel, specifically by the brand Le Saunier de Camargue. Garten calls it "lightly briny" in The New York Times video and said she sprinkles it on dishes just before serving for extra flavor; similarly, the brand's website recommends it for finishing grilled meat, fish, or salads. Her third favorite? Maldon flaked sea salt, which she appreciates primarily for its large, crunchy flakes. When baking chicken pot pie or anything with a pastry crust, Garten said she often brushes the dough with egg wash and sprinkles it with pepper and Maldon salt. "That flaked salt just looks gorgeous, and the crunchiness tastes great," she said in the video.

If you're not convinced that investing in three different salts is worthwhile, Kitchn writer Emily Shwake cooked like Garten for a week and found that the Barefoot Contessa is onto something. "I loved that it gave a crunchy edge and an extra burst of flavor," Shwake said about Garten's instructions to sprinkle Maldon salt on crispy pesto zucchini. But whether or not you order sea salt directly from France, avoid seasoning with iodized table salt, which Garten says contains chemicals "to keep it free-flowing" and tastes "really harsh" (via Food Network).