Types of Salt and Pepper Checklist

Buying seasonings used to be easy: You pretty much had one choice for salt (the white stuff) and pepper (the black). But these days you have many more options—and it’s trickier to pick a product worth its, er, salt. Read on to learn which varieties belong in your shakers.

  1. Check Table salt

    The old standby. Table salt is often fortified with potassium iodide (a mineral that helps prevent iodine deficiencies) and contains small amounts of anticaking agents, which prevent the crystals from sticking together. Its fine crystals make it a good choice for baking.

  2. Check Kosher salt

    A coarser version of table salt, minus the additives. The larger crystals make it easier to season without over-seasoning. Consider this your default salt for recipes that don’t specify which kind to use.

  3. Check Sea salt

    Harvested from the sea and more flavorful than table or kosher salt. Sea salt comes in both fine and coarse varieties and is sometimes iodine-fortified. Coarse is a good alternative to kosher salt when cooking, and fine can be substituted for table salt when baking.

  4. Check Fleur de sel

    These delicate crystals, which are collected from the surfaces of salt ponds, are worth their steep price; use as a finishing touch on fish or vegetables.

  5. Check Black peppercorns

    The unripe, skin-on, and dried fruit of the pepper plant is your go-to pepper. Grind your own for the strongest, most pungent flavor.

  6. Check White peppercorns

    The ripened, skinless, and dried fruit of the pepper plant has a milder flavor. Blends well into white dishes, like mashed potatoes.