Salty vs. Savory: What's the Difference?
"Salty" refers to a taste resembling salt, while "Savory" denotes a flavorful taste that's not sweet.
"Salty" and "Savory" are terms frequently employed in culinary contexts to describe distinct taste profiles. "Salty" is straightforward and pertains to the taste that closely resembles or is attributed to salt. For instance, ocean water is salty because of its high salt content. On the other hand, "Savory" describes a taste that is rich, flavorful, and predominantly not sweet. It's one of the basic tastes and is often equated with "umami," a taste profile common in broths and cooked meats.
Both "Salty" and "Savory" play pivotal roles in enriching the flavor of dishes. Salty flavors, derived mainly from the addition of salt, can enhance other flavors in a dish, making them more pronounced. Conversely, savory flavors, often stemming from proteins, amino acids, or certain vegetables, add depth and complexity, making a dish more satisfying and appetizing.
In the English language, both terms have extended meanings beyond the realm of taste. "Salty" can colloquially describe someone who is irritable or bitter, often due to a specific circumstance. For instance, a person might be "salty" after losing a game. "Savory," however, can be used to describe a morally wholesome situation, as opposed to something that's not "savory."
Culturally, the appreciation for both salty and savory tastes varies. Some cuisines may have a pronounced salty dimension, using salted preserves or condiments. Meanwhile, other culinary traditions may prize the savory umami flavor, employing ingredients like mushrooms, soy sauce, or seaweed to impart that rich taste. Both tastes, while different, complement each other and are foundational in many dishes around the world.
Taste resembling or attributed to salt.
Flavorful taste that's not sweet.
Enhances other flavors.
Adds depth and complexity to dishes.
Can mean irritable or bitter.
Can mean morally wholesome.
Origin of Taste
Mainly from salt.
From proteins, amino acids, or certain vegetables.
Association with Umami
Not directly associated.
Closely related to the umami taste.
Salty and Savory Definitions
Having a taste of, or containing, salt.
The popcorn was too salty for my liking.
Having a spicy or salty flavor without sweetness.
The savory stew warmed us up in winter.
Experienced, especially in terms of naval life.
The salty sailor recounted tales of his adventures.
Morally wholesome or acceptable.
The details of the scandal were not savory.
Irritable or bitter in demeanor.
He was salty about the team's loss.
Appetizing to the taste or smell.
The kitchen was filled with a savory aroma.
Resembling the sea or things related to the sea.
He had a salty air about him after years at sea.
An aromatic plant used in cooking.
She added some savory to the soup for extra flavor.
Coarse or risqué in language.
His salty jokes made a few people uncomfortable.
Having a rich or zesty taste.
The savory sauce complemented the steak perfectly.
Of, containing, or seasoned with salt.
Appetizing to the taste or smell
A savory stew.
Suggestive of the sea or sailing life.
Piquant, pungent, or salty to the taste; not sweet.
Witty; pungent; earthy
Morally respectable; inoffensive
A past that was scarcely savory.
Tasting of salt.
A dish of pungent taste, such as anchovies on toast or pickled fruit, sometimes served in Great Britain as an hors d'oeuvre or instead of a sweet dessert.
An annual Mediterranean aromatic herb (Satureja hortensis) of the mint family, having pale lavender to white flowers. Also called summer savory.
; provocative; earthy.
A related Mediterranean aromatic perennial herb (Satureja montana), having white or pink flowers. Also called winter savory.
(figuratively) Experienced, especially used to indicate a veteran of the naval services; salty dog (from salt of the sea).
The leaves of either of these plants, used as seasoning.
(slang) Irritated, annoyed, angry, bitter, bitchy.
Tasty, attractive to the palate.
The fine restaurant presented an array of savory dishes; each was delicious.
(linguistics) Pertaining to the Sardinian language and those dialects of Catalan, spoken in the Balearic Islands and along the coast of Catalonia, that use definitive articles descended from the Latin self instead of the Latin that.
Salty and/or spicy, but not sweet.
The mushrooms, meat, bread, rice, peanuts and potatoes were all good savory foods.
Somewhat salt; saltish.
The savory rabbit soup contrasted well with the sweet cucumber sandwiches with jam.
Engagingly stimulating or provocative;
A piquant wit
(figuratively) Morally or ethically acceptable.
Readers are to be warned that quotations in this chapter contain some not so savory language.
A saline solution
(American spelling) A savory snack.
One of the four basic taste sensations; like the taste of sea water
Any of several Mediterranean herbs, of the genus Satureja, grown as culinary flavourings.
The leaves of these plants used as a flavouring.
Pleasing to the organs of taste or smell.
The chewing flocksHad ta'en their supper on the savory herb.
An aromatic labiate plant (Satureia hortensis), much used in cooking; - also called summer savory.
Any of several aromatic herbs or subshrubs of the genus Satureja having spikes of flowers attractive to bees
Dwarf aromatic shrub of Mediterranean regions
Either of two aromatic herbs of the mint family
An aromatic or spicy dish served at the end of dinner or as an hors d'oeuvre
Morally respectable or inoffensive;
A past that was scarcely savory
Having an agreeably pungent taste
Pleasing to the sense of taste
Can "Savory" be synonymous with "umami"?
Yes, "Savory" is often equated with the umami taste.
Does "Salty" only pertain to food?
No, it can describe someone's demeanor as irritable or bitter.
Do "Salty" and "Savory" refer to the same taste?
No, "Salty" relates to salt while "Savory" is a rich, non-sweet flavor.
Is "Savory" always about food?
Mostly, but it can also describe a morally acceptable situation.
Why might someone be described as "salty"?
It can refer to being irritable, bitter, or experienced.
How is "savory" different from "spicy"?
"Savory" is rich and flavorful; "spicy" denotes heat.
What's a common savory ingredient?
Mushrooms are often used for their savory quality.
Can a dish be both salty and savory?
Yes, many dishes blend both tastes for depth and flavor.
How can I reduce a dish's salty taste?
Add more ingredients, water, or unsalted broth.
Can savory foods contain sweet elements?
Yes, many dishes blend sweet and savory for complexity.
Why is the sea salty?
Due to mineral content and continuous salt deposit from rivers.
Are there savory drinks?
Yes, some cocktails or broths might be described as savory.
Are there unsavory smells?
Yes, "unsavory" can describe unpleasant tastes or smells.
Is "savory" a type of herb?
Yes, it's an aromatic plant used in cooking.
What's the opposite of a "savory" dish?
A sweet dish would be the opposite.
Is sea air described as "salty" or "savory"?
Sea air is often described as "salty."
If a joke is "salty," what does that mean?
It might be coarse, risqué, or slightly off-color.
What foods are considered savory?
Meats, broths, and certain vegetables like mushrooms.
How does salt enhance flavor?
Salt can amplify other flavors and reduce bitterness.
Can desserts be savory?
Typically, desserts are sweet, but there are exceptions.
Written bySawaira Riaz
Sawaira is a dedicated content editor at difference.wiki, where she meticulously refines articles to ensure clarity and accuracy. With a keen eye for detail, she upholds the site's commitment to delivering insightful and precise content.
Edited bySumera Saeed
Sumera is an experienced content writer and editor with a niche in comparative analysis. At Diffeence Wiki, she crafts clear and unbiased comparisons to guide readers in making informed decisions. With a dedication to thorough research and quality, Sumera's work stands out in the digital realm. Off the clock, she enjoys reading and exploring diverse cultures.