Is Caviar Salty? The Salty Jewel of the Caspian Sea

Have you ever had caviar for yourself? If you haven’t then you might be judging based only on what you’ve seen in magazines and in the movies. That leaves a lot of questions behind.

You might be wondering about the cost of caviar, how it’s actually made and even what it tastes like. You may have heard that it’s quite salty, but just how salty is caviar actually?

The truth is that caviar is most definitely salty because that’s the main flavor you’re going to get when you taste it. No matter what type of caviar you get that salt is going to be the primary flavor. That should come as no surprise since these eggs are simply eggs and salt.

We’ll talk about some of the different ways that salt can be used in the caviar, however, to make sure you get the right balance of flavors.

We’re going to look at other flavors that might be in your caviar, what you can do to balance out some of the saltiness, and even why it’s important to have salt in your caviar in general.

How Much Salt is in Caviar?

The ingredients list on your caviar are quite simple. There will be sturgeon roe and salt. That’s all there is to it.
Ancient cultures, those in Persia, Turkey, and Greece, were the ones who discovered sturgeon eggs thousands of years ago. And they knew all abut preserving in a little bit of briny water. They found that it increased the longevity of the eggs and it also helped with the flavor.

The process of curing is part of what helped advance our civilization because it allowed for preservation of a number of different types of foods. Before the 20h century curing was used for just about everything we ate, including meats, seafood and veggies. Because it was the best way to make those foods last.

This means that ancient forms of caviar likely had a great deal of salt in them because they needed it to be preserved. In modern times, however, we can use less salt because we also have the ability to store the product in a refrigerator, which also aids in the storage and freshness process.

The higher the quality of caviar that you get the lower the salt content it will generally have. For example, Grade 1 caviar is designed to have only a very small amount of salt that is needed for preservation.

When you get to Grade 2 caviar you’ll find that it has a little bit more salt but still has a lower amount than lower grades. In fact, if you get malossol caviar, even at a Grade 2, you will get less than 5% salt included in the end product.

Pressed caviar, or pasteurized caviar, will have more salt because they’re designed to last even longer. In exchange for a longer shelf life you’ll find that your caviar has more salt in it.

For example, payusnaya caviar is an extremely salty caviar that is pressed and can be used in some of your favorite dishes. But you’ll want to use it only sparingly to reduce the level of saltiness you get in your dish.

This type of caviar actually has about 10% salt, which also affects the overall texture of the ingredient.

Typical payusnaya caviar contains around 10% salt and forms a jellylike cake structure.

You should note that if your caviar is tinned or canned it’s generally pasteurized. This is designed to make sure that the product will last at least a year on the shelf and therefore has a higher amount of salt. Keep in mind, however, that once you break the seal on the container the salt content does not matter and the caviar should be consumed quickly.

Other Flavors to Consider

Salt is one of the main flavors that you’ll notice when it comes to your caviar, but it’s not the only flavor that you’re going to get. And as you become more familiar with caviar you will recognize those other flavors as well.
When you drink wine you’ll find that there are a number of different words used to describe the flavor that you experience. The same is actually true when it comes to enjoying caviar as well.

You’ll find words like earthy, sweet, buttery, nutty, smooth, herbaceous, savory, and more used to describe caviar. All of these are, of course, unique to the person experiencing the product and you may experience it in an entirely different way.

Different Varieties, Different Tastes
Overall, the natural flavor of the caviar comes from the fish itself. For example, different species of sturgeon will have a different flavor to their eggs. How mature the female was, the environment the female was raised in and of course the processing can all affect the overall flavor of the caviar.

We’ll take a look at some of the different species of sturgeon and what flavors you may get from their eggs.

The best of the best when it comes to sturgeon caviar, beluga is the most expensive and has a very rich flavor. It’s rarely processed with more than 3% salt and it generally has no fishy taste at all.

These eggs will have a little bit of a nutty flavor as well as crispness and will have a little bit of natural saltiness to them. They’re generally prepared the malossol way, which means they have limited added salt.

These are one of the more affordable options when it comes to sturgeon caviar, and they will have a more salty, briny flavor. They also could have a content of salt that’s actually higher than 5%.

Use Garnishes to Your Advantage

You may enjoy the natural level of saltiness that comes with the caviar, as well as the little bit of acidic component that comes with the added salt from the curing. However there are ways to mitigate this as well.

If you have a caviar with upwards of 6-10% salt you can decrease a bit of the acid if you have a good accompaniment to go with it.

There are several different types of garnishes that you can use that will improve the flavor and decrease the salt content in a comfortable way.

A little lemon will give you a different type of acid, which can help you counter the salt. Just make sure that you don’t overdo it with this sour ingredient.

A little sour cream or even crème fraiche paired with unsalted crackers or buttered toast points are another option to give some creaminess to the eggs and counter out the salt.

The dairy also adds a little bit of cold and the cream aspect gives you some added texture. It can help to absorb a little of that added salt.

Eggs are yet another great option, or even potatoes, or onions. Simple starch can help absorb some of the salt and give you a good flavor.

Keep in mind that you are the one who gets to decide on the overall flavor palate that you’re looking for. And the flavor combination that you are looking for is entirely up to you.


No matter where or what type of caviar you’re enjoying, you will absolutely experience the saltiness of the caviar. It’s the first thing you’re likely to notice.

Once you start getting to be a true connoisseur, however, you’ll start to experience some of the other flavors that go along with the caviar, and you’ll absolutely be able to start identifying the other flavors that go along with it. You’ll find that it has a unique flavor, no matter which caviar you choose.

Check out our FAQ page to find out more about different types of caviar, what you should try and a whole lot more. And check out our social media along the way.