General Question

josie's avatar

Is there a "standard" salt to pepper ratio?

Asked by josie (30934points) September 11th, 2011

Risking hubris, I am a great cook.
But I have no real training. Just experience since I moved away from home, and a few friends along the way that taught me stuff.

I know what they mean when they say “season to taste”

But I wonder…

Is there a recognized standard ratio of salt to pepper, that would be sort of universally regarded as a starting point for most dishes.

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16 Answers

Coloma's avatar

I don’t think so, it really is too taste. I often under salt certain recipes to allow for others to season to their own taste. Given my personal choice, I like a lot of zing in my food. Red pepper is one of my favorites, but, not everyone likes the after bite.

dreamwolf's avatar

Oh yeah definitely. I always feel like the salt should be the initial taste, and the pepper should be the kick afterwards. I’d rather have more initial taste than a constant kick afterwards. I’m just a joe schmoe who enjoys eating foods. I don’t cook, so theres one unbiased opinion :D

everephebe's avatar

‘To taste’ is the standard.

Afos22's avatar

377/211 Salt-pepper

Response moderated (Off-Topic)
Kardamom's avatar

I don’t think there is any standard. I often leave the salt completely out of recipes. I love pepper, but most of my family and friends can’t take too much spice, so when I cook for other’s I also tone down the pepper, and add more when it’s just me.

I also love all sorts of other spices, so I might add lemon juice or vinegar or fresh herbs, or even different spices, even if the recipe calls for salt and pepper.

My mother also leaves the salt out of most recipes, because she has high blood pressure. After not eating as much salt for so many years, I’ve developed a keener sense of taste regarding the other ingredients. A lot of foods, especially at regular restaurants like Denny’s or fast food places usually tastes way too salty to me.

Earthgirl's avatar

I take it as meaning to personal taste! It depends how much salt is in the dish already in the form of olives, anchovies, broth, and other potentially salty ingredients. If it has more of these it needs very little added salt. In generaI I like a lot of pepper to give the food a kick. I use fresh ground at the table in case others don’t have the same liking as I do. I am not sure if there is an accepted standard or not but this is what works for me.

JLeslie's avatar

I use salt on almost everything and pepper in only a few dishes. I don’t feel like pepper is to be used in every dish, and so I don’t see how there can be a prescribed ratio. Salt brings out the flavor of pretty much everything, pepper adds a distinct flavor.

abysmalbeauty's avatar

Standard is 3:1 3 parts salt to 1 part pepper. Now keep in mind this doesn’t necessarily result in good seasoning, its just what the majority of people would prefer for example in those little salt and pepper mixed packets you get at a fast food joint.

I would recommend not premixing your salt and pepper and customizing it to the meal you are making at the time.

josie's avatar

I know what you mean about pre mixing. But the answer is sort of what I was looking for.

Aethelflaed's avatar

I usually start out with a small pinch of salt (half a pinch if it’s just one portion-size), and maybe a shake of pepper. But if I’m making food for other people, who aren’t related to me (and thus I know loooove salt), I skip both and let them figure it out. I also often skip the pepper when preparing it, and only put it in dishes where I know I like pepper in – I can always add more, but can’t take it out.

PhiNotPi's avatar

I’m sorry, but I just had to say this:

The formula is very complicated. Ratio of salt to pepper is given by f(L, N, P, S), where L is the L-glutamate content, N is the NaCl content, P is the Ph of the food, and S is the Suger content. The formula itself is too complicated to be explained here (or anywhere, for that matter). So, just go with the 3:1 ratio described above.

dappled_leaves's avatar

0:1 salt:pepper

Buttonstc's avatar

I watch a lot of cooking shows and when the cook gives the recipe verbally or listed ingredients, as noted above, the most frequent ration I see is 3 to 1 salt and pepper respectively.

But Anne Burrell (Secrets of a Restaurant Chef) never uses pepper and frequently uses huge amts. of salt has tons of people at her restaurant.

I myself can’t stand spicy food so I never ever use pepper of any sort. And I tend to be really light on the salt if at all. If people want more of either, they can always add it. But you can’t take it out of the food once it’s there.

JLeslie's avatar

I was thinking while reading some of the more recent posts, that some of it has to do with what sort of cuisine you cook. I have ever seen my MIL use pepper, I am not sure she keeps it in her house? My husband never reaches for the pepper. I think it baffles him. He is Mexican. I never use it in the Mexican food I make for him. Nor the Italian food I make. I use it in a few American noodle dishes, sometimes on meat, and sometimes in my eggs, but never his. Very rarely overall. My pepper is kept in the cabinet with my oregano, dill, basil, and other dry spices.

Sunny2's avatar

“To taste” means just that. You taste a little, add salt & pepper, then taste a little more. When it gets to the taste you like, you’re there. There’s no standard. Standard would be impossible for “to taste.” It’s different for each individual. However, it’s good to argue about such things. Keeps us from killing each other.

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