What Spices to Use Instead of Salt

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A cooking basic, salt is used in numerous dishes across the world, ranging from bread to soup. Yet, consuming a great deal of salt can lead to higher blood pressure and other health concerns. In addition to reducing your daily salt intake, try using spices as savory substitutes to keep your heart healthy without sacrificing flavor.

Garlic and Onion Powder

Garlic powder or onion powder (not onion salt) make ideal substitutes for salt. Garlic and onion create a fragrant favor base for many meals, ranging from pizza to stir-fry. You can also experiment with fresh garlic and onions, both of which have different varieties, such as sweet red onion.


Pepper, another basic table seasoning, makes a great, spicy substitute for salt. Full of flavor, black pepper can be added to almost any dish. You can also try out white pepper, which is found in many Asian dishes. White pepper is more mild than black pepper. For more spice, try crushed red pepper flakes. Mix olive oil, black pepper and lemon juice for a tangy, flavorful dressing or marinade. According to Harvard's School of Public Health, lemon juice activates the same taste receptors as salt.

Salt-Free Herb Blends

There are numerous salt-free, prepared herb blends to try out, depending on what type of flavor profile you're looking for. Herb blends can include a mixture of oregano, thyme and rosemary. Allspice is also a great alternative. Just be sure to confirm that your herb blend is salt-free. According to Cleveland Clinic, some salt substitutes may be labeled "lite" or "low sodium," all of which still contain sodium.

Curry or Paprika

To give your meal a bold, exotic flavor, try using savory spices from the East, including curry, paprika, nutmeg, mint or saffron. Adding sesame oil or lemon juice to these spices will create a tangy flavor. A pinch of curry or smoked paprika in your eggs instead of salt will instantly turn your breakfast from ordinary to something packed with unique flavor.