5 Substitutes for Curing Salts

Don’t have any curing salt? Did you know you shouldn’t use regular table salt? Well, then what should you use?

Some substitutes for curing salts are saltpeter, non-iodized sea salt, kosher salt, Himalayan salt, and vinegar.

There are a lot of options for replacing curing salts. Let’s look at some of them!

1. Saltpeter

Saltpeter, also known as potassium nitrate or pink salt, is a good way to cure meats. It’s been used since the Middle Ages.  This product dries out the meat and removes moisture. This ensures that there are no microbes and bacteria in the cured product, which will help it stay fresh. 

You can substitute this using a 1:1 ratio to curing salts.

2. Kosher Salt

Kosher salt is another good option to cure food. It has a significantly bigger grain size than normal salt which is great for curing foods. It also has a flakier structure. This helps the salt to be able to stick and sit on the food you’re curing instead of rolling off. It’s also non-iodized which makes it ideal for curing foods.

3. Himalayan Pink Salt

Himalayan pink salt is also an alternative to curing salts. This salt does have more trace minerals, which could change the results of your cured food slightly but is still a good option. This option is very tasty but might not last quite as long as the others on the shelf. 

You can use this using a 1:1 ratio to curing salts.

4. Vinegar

Using vinegar, you can pickle some foods. Pickling is a way of curing and preserving food by submerging it in vinegar or salt. This process was used back before we had a way to keep foods cold. 

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There are many different pickling recipes using different spices and kinds of vinegar. As long as you don’t use an aged or very concentrated vinegar, you can choose from any type. Some options are:

  • White distilled vinegar
  • White wine vinegar
  • Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Rice Vinegar

There are even recipes available that have been passed down since Civil War times!

5. Non-iodized Sea Salt

Non-iodized sea salt is a great curing agent for foods. Since it is non-iodized, it works well to cure food. When salt is iodized, like normal iodized table salt, it can greatly influence the curing process. 

Some places even sell a smaller and finer textured non-iodized sea salt which will help to cover the food you’re curing more evenly. This will help to preserve it even better.

Why shouldn’t I use regular salt?

Regular table salt, or iodized salt, is not preferred for curing. It is generally not considered a good substitute for curing salts. 

It would still preserve the food and cure it. However, it does contain iodine. This means that the iodine could greatly influence the curing process. It could give the food a weird taste and even make cooking times slower.


There are  a lot of good substitutes for curing salts! While you probably shouldn’t use table salt, most of these other substitutes are easily accessible. 

If you’re interested in curing your own foods, try one of these out!