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Why Do People Put Rice In Salt?

Last Update: November 21, 2023

No dish is complete without a bit of salt. A sprinkle of this seasoning enhances every flavor—from spicy to sweet—and can take a meal from simple to transcendent.

That’s why it’s such a huge bummer when you happily flip over the salt shaker, only to discover everything has clumped together so much that it’s impossible to season your food. Or worse, shake it to unclump only to dump way too much salt on your meal.

There’s an easy way to fix this common kitchen conundrum. Adding a few grains of rice into the salt shaker will stop clumps in their tracks.

Here’s why it works. Salt starts to clump up because it’s hygroscopic, meaning it absorbs water vapor from the air. That’s why the salt shaker seems to get clumpy more often in wet weather. When you add in a few grains of uncooked rice, they’ll absorb the moisture more quickly than the salt—keeping everything flowing smoothly. And yes, it will work with kosher salt or sea salt.

Photo credit: Alicia Cho

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Annalise Mantz

Annalise is a foodie, Brussels sprouts lover, grammar nerd, and political pet aficionado.

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