Kosher Salt: Where to Buy & How to Substitute #CookingInVienna

Kosher Salt Where to Buy & How to Substitute #CookingInVienna
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HAVE you ever tried to follow a recipe that specifically calls for kosher salt? And then you realized you can’t find it in any store?

Unfortunately, kosher salt isn’t readily available in many places.

And ordering online is not a solution, as it’s often way overpriced.

Where to find kosher salt outside of the US:

First, let’s pretend you’re like me, located in a place almost free of Jews, in my case Vienna, Austria where such a thing as kosher salt is hence evidently almost unheard of. We’re not talking about some over-the-top, hand-picked fleur de sel1 finishing salt, which, on the contrary, is easily available here, ever since salt became the new olive oil.

For kosher salt, this exotic ingredient, first you should try to have a look at a Jewish supermarket. In Vienna, one would first turn to the handful of small kosher grocery stores in the 2nd district, like supermarket Ohel Moshe, Padani, Shefa or Malkov’s. That’s where you are likely to find very coarse salt or table salt from Israel. Kosher it is, but it’s no kosher(ing) salt. (More about koshering salt in a moment.) There’s no kosher salt because nobody does the koshering of meat at home anymore. That there are almost no Jews left in Vienna since the extermination of the European Jews certainly is the most obvious reason.

This Israeli salt, "coarse" like gravel, although religiously kosher, is not a kosher(ing) salt.
This Israeli salt, “coarse” like gravel, although religiously kosher, is not a kosher(ing) salt.

The next obvious step would be to pay a visit to your local gourmet epicurean emporiums. In Vienna, they’re to be found in the city’s center and are called Meinl am Graben, Merkur am Hohen Markt and Billa Corso am Neuen Markt. For this post, I checked again: Still nothing, not even at the famous Naschmarkt.

Conclusion for Vienna: Nothing even remotely resembling kosher salt is to be found in the whole city!

Incredible online prices in Germany for Morton kosher salt and Diamond Crystal kosher salt
These were the prices not so long ago. Yes, it got better, a lot better even, but it’s still way overpriced for regular cooking salt. Here the incredible online prices in Germany for Morton kosher salt and Diamond Crystal kosher salt from 2016.

After you’ve visited every grocery store you can possibly think of and have seen the shocking online prices of kosher salt, you may be thinking:

Why use kosher salt anyway? Do I really need to?

Kosher salt gets its name from the traditional process for koshering, or salting, meat to remove blood and impurities under Jewish religious law. Physically, kosher salt crystals are not cubes, but flakes, and only a bit bigger than table salt crystals. Because of their size and shape, they are easy to pick up and tend to stick less to your fingers. (This larger crystal size is precisely why bakers strongly dislike kosher salt, who mostly use iodine-free table salt as an alternative.)

And since they don’t dissolve so quickly, you can visually assess whether your sprinkling is enough and whether you need to apply more.  Hence, big star chefs use kosher salt. Also, as its crystals are bigger than table salt, it looks better on camera. (The two main brands, Morton and Diamond Crystal, are very different, Morton being coarser and saltier.)

So yes, you do need kosher salt—at least for the camera—, but you’ll have to substitute for your cooking anyway:

Adapting to a world without kosher salt: Iodine-free table salt, "fine" like superfine sugar.
Adapting to a world without kosher salt: Iodine-free table salt, “fine” like superfine sugar.

Substitute kosher salt with iodine-free table salt:

  1. Simply use plain iodine-free table salt! Don’t use salt containing iodine, like regular salt, as this will result in a bitter and metallic taste. You’ll find iodine-free salt in most organic supermarkets and the like.
    Alternatively, you could search for a salt with coarse cornmeal-texture, between the typical gravel-like “coarse” and the “fine” like superfine sugar.2
  2. Generally divide amounts by two, as most food writers use the Diamond Crystal brand nowadays, which has very large crystals.
    To be exact, one would have to weight the salt, since crystals vary in density and shape. But most people do not have scales sensitive enough to measure such small quantities, so we have to rely on volume.
    1 teaspoon Morton’s Kosher Salt = 3/4 teaspoon table salt
    1 teaspoon Diamond Crystal Salt = 1/2 teaspoon table salt3
  3. More than ever, taste as you add salt!
  4. Try to live with the fact that because the salt’s texture is too fine, it will always stick to your fingers and will not be so nice to pick up.

In short: “Can I use regular salt instead of kosher salt?” Yes, as long as it’s iodine-free and you use less.

Want to know more about salt? Read Gil Marks’ entry on salt in his “Encyclopedia of Jewish Food


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  1. David Lebovitz blogs about my favorite salt of all Fleur de sel de Guérande .
  2. Judy Rodgers, in her Zuni Café Cookbook, gives valuable insights into her choices of salt. The medium grade she used is between “coarse” and “fine,” sold in a bulk bin and simply labeled “sea salt.”
  3. I adapted these measurements from Not All Salts are Created Equal by Deb Perelman from The Smitten Kitchen, Morton’s salt conversion chart, and Ask The Food Lab: Do I Need To Use Kosher Salt?, as well as my experience and a handy, small scale.
Nino Shaya Weiss
Greetings, I am Nino Shaye Weiss, an unbridled foodnik kibbitzing (aka blogging) from Vienna, a place steeped in history and culture. The city of music and dreams, once loved and hated by Sigmund Freud, has been home to many celebrated Jewish figures, including Theodor Herzl, Gustav Mahler, Viktor Frankl, Martin Buber, Stefan Zweig, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Arnold Schoenberg, and Erich von Stroheim, among others. In my blog, I endeavor to pay tribute to these great figures as well as to the anonymous Jew of pre-Shoah Jewish Vienna by delving into memory's kitchen and celebrating their once-rich and diverse cuisine, now lost forever. From Italian and Hungarian influences to Bohemian and Galician, I explore the eclectic flavors and unique stories of this previously vibrant culinary tradition, often with a Freudian twist. Join me in my virtual kitchen as I offer a culinary armchair therapy for a fictional restaurant, and discover the delicious world of Jewish Viennese food…


  1. Thank you for this illuminating yet direct & simple post on kosher salt. We are an American family living in Italy, and I was wondering how to substitute when in a pinch. In the states, Kosher salt is in all the medium & large grocery stores, so not finding it easily (or cheaply!) was a surprise.

  2. We are Americans living in Europe now for 8 years and we have the same issues. You can now get Diamond Crystal kosher salt on for around 7.50 EUR. Still expensive but cheaper than flying to the US to bring it back. Still cannot find Morten’s Kosher salt which is what we prefer…. Good luck!

  3. Stupid question but: in my personal search for kosher salt i actually checked if there were kosher groceries and markets in vienna and found a few. Did you check these too for sourcing? (I might if i get around to it)
    Or maybe they might know where you can get some.

    also one amazon link is here for now:

    1. Shiro,

      Thanks for stopping by. In my post, I write precisely about the kosher groceries stores in Vienna and why kosher salt, meaning religiously kosher salt, is something different from salt for koshering (which might be religiously kosher, too). I also say why most Jewish kosher grocery stores do not sell salt for koshering any longer (spoiler: nobody does the koshering of meat at home anymore).
      I also mention the Amazon offers, which are nonexistent or way overpriced.
      But do not fear, in the article, I tell you how to do without kosher salt.

      Hope to see you around,
      Best, Nino

  4. I am amazed that it is so hard to find Kosher or Sea salt. When I lived in Austria we would fly to Zakynthos for a holiday. Zakynthos and many other islands had Flats for harvesting the sea salt. Search for “Mediterranean Sea Salt”.

    Most Asian countries harvest salt from the sea. I buy it here in the Philippines where I live now, very, very cheaply. Search for “Asian Sea Salt”. Also I saw mounds of sea salt in Thailand as well.
    That’s all I use for cooking, and usually lick my fingers “after” putting the salt on the foods!

    Try searching those links. I saw many results but did not price it as it is so cheap here.

    1. It is not hard to get sea salt here. We have a very large variety of the finest finishing sea salts available on the market. But kosher(ing) salt (see post above) is a different thing. It has a particular cristal size. But thanks for the tip anyhow. Best, Nino

    1. Thank you for that link Henrik! Almost 15 Euros for delivery, that’s a lot. But I know it’s even out of stock at my regular source over at But as I said in the post, it is really only important to use kosher salt if you are koshering meat according to the Jewish law or if you are using it for photography or video.
      All the best, Shaya

      1. Yeah. I think many (like me), end up on this page looking where to buy Diamond Krystal Kosher Salt, so I posted it more as reference or info for those. :) I enjoyed your text though!

  5. I finally found Morton Kosher Salt in Vienna – at Prosi Exotic Supermarket, yesterday (23 June 2021). Prosi is located at Wimbergergasse 5, 1070 Wien (across the street from the main public library). It cost 3.90 Euros for 453 grams.

      1. Hi Nino,
        An update to my comment of 24 June 2021: In December 2021 I went to Prosi for more Kosher Salt and they were out. Then I found another source that’s cheaper than at My American Market ( The 16 oz (453 gm) size of Morton Coarse Kosher Salt is 4.69 Euros. The shipping price depends on where it’s delivered, but the price for the salt gets cheaper the more you buy at one time. Hope this is useful for readers in Europe who want kosher salt!

          1. Hi Nino!
            Here I am again with yet some more information about Kosher Salt in Vienna!
            Today I went to LaMehadrin (Taborstrasse 48a, 1020) to buy whole-wheat Matzo for your Vegetarian Matzo Ball Soup (sounds & looks delicious). While I was there I saw that they have Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt. It’s a 1.36-kg (3-lb) box for 9.95 Euros. A good size for dry brining.
            I’ll let you know how the soup and Matzo balls turn out.

          2. Hi Lisa!
            Thank you so much for your updates! I’m there quite often but didn’t check recently for Kosher salt. I normally zoom in and out…
            Please do let me know how the matzo balls and the vegetable broth went!
            All the best, Nino

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