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10 Best Substitutes For Curing Salt That You Would Love To Try

For those that don’t already know, curing salt is a type of salt that is often used to allow foods to keep for longer, and ensure that they have a longer shelf life.

What Are The Best Substitutes For Curing Salt?

This would eliminate any microbes and kill off any bacteria through the chemical process of transforming sodium nitrate into sodium nitrite.

The sodium nitrite would then work to get rid of the moisture in the food, which means that the bacteria would not have the correct conditions to thrive.

There are lots of different types of curing salt, but some people simply want to avoid using nitrate. If this is something that you are looking into, you can find out more about this in this article.

We are going to share a list of the best curing salt substitutes for you to read about in this article.

There are quite a few different options for you to choose from, but one of the most commonly used curing salt substitutes is saltpeter, which is why we are going to start with this.

What Are The Best Substitutes For Curing Salt?

There are lots of different substitutes for curing salt, and they will all be able to save both the quality and taste of your food without you having to use nitrates. We will leave a list below of the 6 best curing salt substitutes for you to choose from.

1. Saltpeter

Saltpeter is potassium nitrate, and it is usually really good at preserving meat. This is a great alternative to curing salt, and it has actually been used since the Middle Ages. It can also be used as a meat tenderizer.

This is a great ingredient to use as a thickening agent in lots of different types of foods, like stews or various canned foods.

Although, if you are cooking meat at home, saltpeter is one of the best alternatives to curing salt.

You will be able to use the same amount of saltpeter as you would curing salt. Saltpeter also works similarly to kill any moisture that would be present in the meat cells, which works to stop the growth of bacteria and microbes.

This means that your food will be able to stay fresher for longer.

How To Substitute

Saltpeter is the best substitute if you want it to work as a thickening agent in any dish or to preserve the meat for a longer period to keep it fresh. You may substitute it in a 1:1 ratio.

2. Celery Powder

Another great substitute for curing salt that you probably wouldn’t have thought about is celery powder. If you are trying to only get nitrate-free foods, then celery powder is one of the best alternatives to use.

If you are unable to get your hands on celery powder, then you could also use celery juice in the same way.

You can use the same amount of celery powder as you would curing salt, and the same goes for celery juice too.

Although, you should keep in mind that celery does have natural nitrates, but they are not the standard chemically modified type of nitrates like those that are found in curing salt. This is why celery is typically considered to be free from nitrates.

How To Substitute

If you are looking for a nitrate-free substitute for curing salts, then celery powder is your go-to choice since it has natural nitrates. You may substitute celery juice or salt in a similar ratio of curing salts.

3. Non-Iodized Sea Salt

Another alternative for you to consider is non-iodized sea salt. This is a great curing salt substitute to use as it easily replaces curing salt.

You will be able to use this type of salt for any type of food, and the dishes that you create will be able to last for much longer.

You should always use non-iodized salt. This is because it will not affect the overall taste of your food. The iodized salt can sometimes give meat a bit of a different taste, but this is not usually very noticeable.

You should also use the same amount of salt that you would use with curing salt, and you can go ahead and prepare your food as you usually would.

How To Substitute

The non-iodized sea salt is one of the best and easy to find substitutes. It is the best choice if you want your dishes to last longer. It might slightly affect the taste of your recipe, but don’t worry; it will rarely be noticeable.

4. Kosher Salt

Something else that you might want to try as a substitute for curing salt is kosher salt. Kosher salt isn’t the easiest of ingredients to find in stores, but if you can get your hands on it, then it can replace curing salt very well.

You can use kosher salt for all different types of food, including meat and vegetables, and the best thing about it is that it is non-iodized.

This type of salt was actually originally used to preserve foods that contain different types of meat by ancient jews. It has more of a neutral salty taste, and it is conveniently free of nitrates.

Kosher salt is not as salty as some of the other types of salt that can be used for this purpose, so it won’t overpower the natural taste of the food.

If you do choose this substitute and you do like the saltier flavor, then you might want to consider adding more of the kosher salt than is required to get the salty flavor that you are looking for.

Ultimately, this is something that will depend on your own personal preferences and what you like your food to taste like.

How To Substitute

Curing salts are commonly used in meat products as a preservative. Kosher salt is a different type of salt that is kosher because it does not contain any animal byproducts. When making a lump of meat, you can substitute curing salt with kosher salt with a neutral taste.

5. Himalayan Pink Salt

Himalayan Pink Salt

If you are looking for an alternative that is more widely available, then you might want to think about using himalayan salt. This is a type of salt that is much easier to find in stores, and it can easily replace curing salt.

Although, the shelf life of the food that you are trying to preserve will be a little bit shorter.

You will be able to use this salt for the purpose of curing meat, and it will offer a great overall flavor.

One of the best things about using himalayan salt for preserving foods is that it is full of minerals, which means that it is healthier for you to eat than some other types of salts.

You can also use himalayan salt in the same quantity that you would for using curing salt.

How To Substitute

Himalayan pink salt is easy to substitute with curing salts. It provides your food with a mild flavor, and the shelf life of your food won’t be as long as other salts; however, it is a good choice and easy to get.

RELATED: Can Garlic Salt Be Used In Place Of Garlic Powder?

6. Vinegar

If you are only creating very specific types of food, then you can also use vinegar for preserving food.

Vinegar can work really well when it comes to preserving fish, and it will be able to preserve all different types of fish for long periods of time. This is mostly down to the high acidic level of vinegar.

However, something that you should keep in mind is that while you can use vinegar to preserve fish, you will have to preserve it a bit differently.

Instead of simply adding a pinch of curing salt to your fish, you will need to soak the fish in vinegar for the process to work successfully.

Additionally, you can use pretty much any type of vinegar, except balsamic vinegar.

How To Substitute

Curing salts are commonly used to remove moisture from food surfaces. In place of curing salts, vinegar is a popular and effective alternative because it can remove moisture from food and has a mild acidic reaction. To use vinegar as an alternative to curing salts, dissolve the vinegar in warm water first. Then, after soaking for about 15 minutes, drain the food.

7. Prague Powder

When it comes to curing meats and fish, salt is a necessity. However, Prague powder can be used as a substitute for curing salt when you’re on a budget or in a pinch.

Prague powder is made from various spices, so it’s just as effective as the salt alternative without the high price.

Its ingredients work to reduce the level of sodium chloride in the product, which is the main ingredient in curing salt. Then, the mixture of these ingredients creates a salt-free effect that still helps to preserve food.

How To Substitute

Replace curing salt with the exact quantity of Prague powder. However, it will be hard to get it in stores, so it’s better to purchase it online.

8. Raw Sugar

Raw Sugar

Raw sugar, also known as turbinado sugar, is a popular substitute for curing salt in smoked meats and fish. It has a lower pH than curing salt and can help preserve the natural moisture in your food.

The sugar granules in raw sugar are much smaller, and the surface is smooth, so the sugar is less likely to clump together and form lumps.

Raw sugar is also less hygroscopic, which means it will not attract moisture from the air. It is essential because it means the sugar won’t absorb moisture from the meat.

How To Substitute

You may use an equal quantity of raw sugar as curing salt to cure your food.

9. Celery Salt

With a similar flavor, celery salt is a must-have substitute for curing salt. However, remember it comes with added flavor that you can transfer to your meat.

You may purchase it from grocery stores. It is prepared by grinding celery and mixing it with salt. It is a perfect substitute for regular salt as well.

The celery salt works exceptionally well in waffles, dips, pancakes, sauces, etc.

How To Substitute

Use celery salt to replace curing salt in a 1:1 substitution ratio.

10. Brining

Brining is submerging meat in a salty solution, often with sugar and other ingredients. The process tenderizes the meat and creates a flavor that is more savory and less gamey.

You may accomplish it by soaking the meat in a mixture of salt, sugar, spices, and other ingredients or by soaking the meat in a variety of water and baking soda.

How To Substitute

Brining or soaking in salt water can substitute for curing salt. It’s the perfect way to ensure your chicken or pork is seasoned and delicious without all the fuss of curing salt.

Frequently Asked Questions

Now that you know everything that you need to know about some of the best substitutes for curing salt, we are going to explain the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about curing salt and its substitutes.

Can I Make My Own Curing Salt?

Yes, if you don’t have any curing salt readily available to you, then you can go ahead and make your own curing salt at home.

It really isn’t difficult to make your own curing salt in your kitchen, as all you have to do is mix two main ingredients together.

The first ingredient that you will need is 1 oz of sodium nitrite, and the second ingredient that you will need is 1 pound of table salt.

If you don’t have any table salt, you could also use sea salt as an alternative. Once you have both of these ingredients, you can mix them together in a bowl.

Now that you have your mixture, you can go ahead and use the mixture on your meat in the same way that you would with your normal curing salt.

If you want to add a little flavor, you could even add some herbs or seasonings to your mixture in order to introduce a better flavor to your food.

What Can You Substitute For Pink Curing Salt?

If you usually use pink curing salt, but you have run out, then the best substitute that you can use is himalayan salt.

It has a similar coloring, but it is also just as effective at curing different types of meat.

You can use the same amount of himalayan salt as you would pink curing salt for the same results. However, you should be mindful that Himalayan salt will provide your food with a richer flavor.

Can I Skip The Curing Salt Altogether?

It is not recommended to skip over the preservation process if you run out of curing salt. Although, you don’t have to use curing salt itself in order to preserve your food.

There are plenty of alternatives out there that you can use instead, and it is especially important to use these alternatives for foods that contain meat.

Things like microbes and bacteria will be able to grow very quickly in foods that contain meat, which is why you will need to introduce a preservative in order to change the conditions and prevent them from developing.

Meat that has not been preserved is not safe as it can easily become contaminated with harmful bacteria.

10 Best Substitutes For Curing Salt That You Would Love To Try

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Curing salt is a mixture of salt and sodium nitrite, which is used to preserve meat. Discover some substitutes for it here.


  • Saltpeter

  • Celery Powder

  • Non-Iodized Sea Salt

  • Kosher Salt

  • Himalayan Pink Salt

  • Vinegar

  • Prague Powder

  • Raw Sugar

  • Celery Salt

  • Brining


  • Choose your favorite substitute from the list given above
  • Follow the directions given in the recipe after having substituted the ingredient in the correct ratio

Recipe Video

Jess Smith