The history of the humble salt pig

We are surrounded by the world’s best kitchen tools. Lucky us, right? Sometimes, it’s nice to know a little more about an old friend and today we bring you a little bit about the humble salt pig.


A popular train of thought attributes the name of the salt pig to their typically round and snout-like openings but some investigating of an old Scottish dialect revealed that “pig” was a common word for an earthenware jar or pot. A salt pig was simply an earthenware jar for salt (although some take it a little more literally).

Helps with humidity

The earthenware part of salt pigs is key. Whatever the shape, their interiors are usually unglazed ceramic to help absorb any moisture in the air to keep salt wonderfully dry. If you don’t have a helpful salt pig putting a little bit of rice in with salt works wonders, too.

Easy scooping

Salt pigs have large openings which make salt easily accessible during cooking. They’re often sold with little scoops. A scoop and a pig, what more could one ask for? Jamie Oliver’s Salt Pig comes with a little wooden scoop. Lovely.

Stops salt contamination

As you’ve probably noticed, salt pigs have curved openings. This helps with preventing bit of debris and dust getting into your (salt contamination). Many people keep their pigs near cooking surfaces and the curved tops keep out grease splatters and sauce drips that find their way quite easily into open bowls and flat salt dishes.

We like Nigella Lawson’s salt pig, even though it defies common wisdom and history with an uncurved top and oval design.

And of course, Le Creuset’s classic salt keeper in a range of bright colours. Filled with Maldon flakes, it is hard to resist fixing tiny wheels to its base and wheeling it around for all to see.

And that’s a wrap. Our verdict? A salt pig per kitchen keeps the clumpy salt away. Enjoy knowing a little more than the average Joe about our earthenware friend. Adios.