What Is Chicken Salt And What Is It Best Used For?

It is likely that when salt first came on your radar it was granulated, iodized table salt found in paper packets and shakers. It's ubiquitous, easy to use, and affordable. But if you have even a passing interest in the world of food, you quickly realize that there is a much more expansive pantheon of salts available. Kosher salt is coarser and quite common among cooks of all stripes. Sea salt is derived from ocean water that naturally evaporates or is boiled down. Flake salt is light and crunchy, often used for finishing dishes. The list goes on, with various other salts that are reflective of their place of origin (Fleur de Sel) and mineral content (Hawaiian black lava salt).

Of course, there are ways to add salinity to dishes without adding salt, per se. Soy sauce is one such example that's used to give a range of foods, from sashimi to ramen, a flavor infusion. And just like salt, there are many different types of soy sauce, such as the toasty Japanese variety to the full-bodied Chinese style. Soy sauce, though, adds another pronounced flavor note to food, that being umami, the fifth flavor – aside from sour, bitter, salty, and sweet – that is commonly described as savory. Umami-forward foods include parmesan cheese, mushrooms, meat, seafood, and asparagus. The two flavors are so commonly found alongside one another, that they are sometimes confused.

A savory seasoning

If you are looking to add both to a dish, soy sauce is a fantastic option that is readily available at most any grocery store. Canned, cured anchovies are also often employed as both a salt and umami bomb. But if you're feeling a bit more adventurous, you can reach for an Australian condiment that is little known in the states: chicken salt.

According to Epicurious, chicken salt at its most basic is just that: salt and some form of dried, pulverized chicken, generally the skin. That being said, it is widely available online or in grocery stores with a good imported foods section. The product is used to deliver salt and umami, and is frequently found on fast-food French fries down under. If you want to get into the chicken salt game, the outlet suggests finding a reputable version online and using it wherever a savory boost could liven up an otherwise ordinary dish. Popcorn, bloody marys, and even roasted chicken can all benefit from chicken salt.

America's Test Kitchen dives a little deeper into chicken salt's history, which they say was never intended to contain chicken, but to be a seasoning for rotisserie chicken. They even stand behind the flavor of some vegan versions. Their uses for chicken salt include elevating a chili-garlic crunch, as a bouillon or stock substitute when cooking rice, or adding to sour cream for a two-ingredient dip for kettle chips.