How Much Salt to Add to Cooking Water

How much salt to add to cooking water

When boiling, poaching, or blanching, it’s important to season your cooking water. It’s easy to skip this step, but doing so is a missed opportunity. Adding salt to cooking water seasons the inside of your food, whether you’re making noodles or beans. This is science at work. Osmosis transports water into and out of cells. As the cooking water enters the food, it brings salt with it, flavoring the inside of whatever you’re cooking. How much salt to add to cooking water depends on your ingredients and preparation method.

As a general rule, the shorter the cooking time, the more salt you should add to your cooking water. Keep in mind that not all salt is the same size. Kosher salt has large, flaky crystals, while table salt has fine grains. A teaspoon of table salt contains significantly more flavoring power than a teaspoon of kosher salt. If you were to swap salts without adjusting measurements, you’d risk over or under seasoning your dish. If a recipe calls for table salt, you substitute kosher salt if you increase the amount by ¼ teaspoon per teaspoon. 

When blanching vegetables like green beans or peas, the ingredients will only be submerged in the liquid for a few minutes. This doesn’t give them a lot of time to absorb salt. To accomplish proper seasoning, the cooking water should be extremely salty. For 5 quarts of water, add ½ cup of salt to achieve the best flavor. If you were to taste the water directly it would be unpalatable, but when the vegetables come out they will have a mild and savory flavor. 

When it comes to pasta water, Serious Eats suggests that the ideal salinity is 1-2%, depending on your taste preferences. This translates to 1 ½ teaspoons of salt per liter of water. The average pasta pot has a 6-8 quart capacity. If it’s filled three quarters full, you’re using 4-5 quarts of water. To achieve 1% salinity, you’d need to use 2.3 Tablespoons of table salt in 5 quarts of water. A liter is slightly smaller than a quart, but don’t bother getting too caught up in the conversions. Use this rule as a guideline, and don’t add significantly less. 

For boiling potatoes, you’ll need a lot of salt. Most potatoes are very mild, and thoroughly seasoning them will bring out their best flavor. Season with 1 tsp of table salt per pound of potato. 

When it comes to dried beans, the advice is mixed. Some sources say to avoid adding salt until the end of the cooking process to achieve the best texture. When we’re cooking, flavor is our primary goal. To season your beans while cooking, add 1 tsp of table salt per pound of dried beans along with enough water to cover them. 

Proper seasoning during every step of the process is the best way to ensure a flavorful dinner. Once you’re done cooking, don’t toss that water! Check out our guide to pasta water for more ideas.

How to Make Frozen Drinks at Home

During hot summer months there’s nothing more relaxing than happy hour with a frozen drink. A blended margarita or a glass of frosé will help you unwind and cool off at the same time. Restaurants have an advantage here: they have specialized machinery. If you’re hoping to recreate your favorite frozen drinks at home, try these tips and tricks for the best results. 

frozen pina colada recipe
An icy piña colada is the perfect summer treat

How do frozen drink machines work 

Restaurants, bars, and gas stations aren’t firing up a blender every time you order a slurpee or a margarita. They have specialized equipment for making frozen drinks. You’ve probably seen the big rotating vats of frozen beverages at a bar or 7-Eleven near you. The key difference between those machines and your blender is that they don’t pulverize ice—professional machines churn a liquid base while it freezes to create a smooth drink full of tiny frozen ice crystals. These results can be difficult to replicate at home. 

Tips for making frozen drinks with a blender

The easiest way to make frozen drinks at home is with a blender. This method recreates the frosty texture of a frozen drink machine by mixing pulverized ice and flavorings. The biggest challenge is getting the ice to blend smoothly. Here’s how to get the most of your blender. 

Freeze some ingredients 

Starting with frozen fruits or cubes of frozen juice will help you achieve a frosty texture, and will keep your drink from diluting as it melts. 

Start small

Don’t overfill the blender! Keep the ingredients below the 2/3rds line to make sure everything will run smoothly. 

Pay attention to ice 

Big, clear ice cubes are great in a cocktail, but they’ll overwhelm your blender. Starting with small or crushed ice will set you up for success when it’s time to pulverize. 

The amount of ice matters too. Aim for a 2:1 ratio of ice to other stuff. That should give you a drink that’s both frosty and flavorful. 

Fruits on the bottom, ice on the top 

Arranging softer, easily crushable ingredients on the bottom of the blender will help you achieve an even blend. As the soft fruits are drawn into the blades, they’ll carry ice along with them. 

Add liquid 

If your blender gets stuck, try adding a little juice or water. The extra liquid will help keep things moving. 

Have fun with it! 

Grab a cocktail umbrella or garnish with a piece of fruit. Frozen drinks are all about good vibes and relaxation. 

For more cold drink inspiration, try these frozen daiquiris on a stick.