Curing Salt vs Regular Salt [The Main Differences]

So, you’re wondering what the difference between curing salt and regular salt is. Look no further because, in this article, we’ll compare curing salt vs regular salt.

Curing salt is distinctly a reddish pink color while regular salt is a white color. Additionally, regular salt has a very high amount of sodium chloride, while curing salt has sodium chloride with much more sodium nitrite. 

Let’s dive into more details.

Curing salt and regular salt have a ton of differences, from their toxicity to the way they’re used, their visual color, and their chemical compounds.

Below are the specifics.


Curing salt is toxic, so you cannot and should not attempt to eat it. Curing salt is toxic since it has a high amount of sodium nitrite in it. Eating more than 3.7 ml per kilo of your body can be toxic.

Meanwhile, regular salt is completely safe to eat in small amounts. It is recommended to stay below 2300 ml per day.


Curing salt should be used only for curing meat. This means preserving it by preventing bacteria from building up rapidly. 

In addition to preserving meat, it makes it more colorful and taste better (especially when mixed with sugar). Curing salt is also more expensive and used in smaller quantities.

On the other hand, regular salt is used to add a salty flavor to foods. This is typically cheaper and used in larger quantities.

By the way, if you want to learn whether salt makes candles burn longer, click here.


Putting Salt on Wounds Is it the Best First Aid

You can tell curing salt and regular salt very easily by their difference in color. Curing salt is distinctly pink while regular salt is white. Curing salt is dyed pink so it isn’t confused with regular salt as it is toxic.


The chemical difference is distinct. Regular salt is almost entirely sodium chloride while curing salt has high amounts of sodium nitrite with sodium chloride, and just a little bit can poison you.

Alternatives to Curing Salt

So, now that you know curing salt is toxic, you may be wondering what some alternatives are. 

By the way, if you’re wondering if salt on wounds is best for first aid, click here.

Overall, curing salt is the best meat preservation method, so here is my top recommendation for the best curing salt – this is the curing salt I personally use.


Saltpeter or potassium nitrite acts similarly to curing salt. This substance is also toxic and should not be consumed directly.

This substance is great at absorbing moisture, but can be more inconsistent in results compared to curing salt.

Non-iodized Sea Salt

This is a non-toxic food preservative with one key drawback. It will leave an unpleasant aftertaste to your food.

Celery Juice

This is a completely natural and safe preservation method that will not leave an unpleasant aftertaste, but it isn’t a great preservation agent. The FDA classified it as a flavoring agent over a preservative agent.


Finally, turbinado or raw sugar extracted from sugar cane juice evaporation is used for naturally curing meats and works nearly as well.

Last Words

So, curing salt vs regular salt, what’s the difference? To put it simply, curing salt is pink, and poisonous, and should only be used for meat preservation. Curing salt is the best meat preservation method used since 4000 BC.

On the other hand, regular salt is white, recommended to eat, and is typically used for adding flavor to food.

We hope you enjoyed this article. Keep prepping!

Leave a Comment