How sea salt and table salt differ

Sea salt has become quite popular over the last couple of years as a healthier substitute for regular table salt. There are not that many differences between the two salts because both contain high amounts of sodium and chloride. However, even though the differences are small, they are enough for many to make the switch.

So what are the differences?

Mineral content

Sea salt is obtained naturally through the evaporation of sea waters, and thus the salt contains many minerals that are essential for the human body. Some of these minerals include iron, magnesium, calcium, potassium and many more. Depending on the brand, the salt can contain all the essential minerals that your body needs.

Table salt on the other hand is mined from salt deposits, and it is heavily processed and stripped of all natural trace minerals.

Added ingredients

Table salt contains added ingredients such as potassium iodide, which your body turns into iodine. Another ingredient that is added is an anti-clumping agent to help keep the salt free running.

Unrefined sea salt is obtained naturally, and does not go through any processing stages. Thus all the minerals are in their natural state as nature created them.

However, always check your labels, as there are some refined sea salts that have gone through a process where potassium iodide is added.

Dryness of the salt

Because table salt contains an anti-clumping agent the salt remains dry and free running in your salt shaker.

Some sea salts appear to be free running as well, and usually work well in a salt shaker, even though they have no anti-clumping agents. They may clump up from time to time, but nothing that a light tap will not loosen. But other sea salts are moist when you purchase them, and thus they will not work in the shaker.


Most table salts come in a very fine grain, but sea salt can be purchased in a variety of different sized grains. Sea salt that is used in cooking and other foods is usually available in finer grains, but salts designed for bathing are available in larger grains.


Table salt is only available in a pure white color, but sea salt can be obtained in a variety of different colors, depending on where it was harvested. Some sea salts are a pinkish color, while others resemble a sandy color, and still others come in different shades of gray. Sea salt is also available in white, but this is usually salt that has been refined and stripped of many of its minerals. The richer the color of the sea salt, the more minerals it contains.

The taste

The taste of sea salt is a cleaner and sweeter taste than table salt. It is not as salty per quantity, as it contains more minerals. Thus it may be necessary to add a bit more salt when using sea salt to help bring out the same great salty flavors.