Kelp powder is a versatile ingredient that can be used in a variety of dishes. Derived from dried kelp seaweed, this powder packs a nutritional punch and adds savory umami flavor to foods.
So what are some of the best ways to use kelp powder in cooking and baking?
What Is Kelp Powder?
Kelp is a type of brown algae that grows in shallow, nutrient-rich saltwater. It's most often found in cool coastal climates like the Pacific Northwest and New England in the United States, as well as Northern Europe and East Asia.
Kelp has been used as a nutritional supplement and cuisine ingredient, especially in Asian cultures, for centuries. Today it's gaining popularity worldwide due to modern research that touts its health benefits.
To make kelp powder, mature kelp plants are harvested and sun-dried. The dried kelp leaves are then milled into a fine greenish-brown powder that has a mildly briny, ocean-like flavor.
Kelp powder is low in calories and fat but high in nutrients like iodine, potassium, iron, calcium and vitamin K. It also contains glutamic acids that provide savory umami flavor.
Here's a nutritional breakdown of kelp powder per 100 grams:
- Calories: 248
- Fat: 0.5g
- Carbs: 49.5g
- Protein: 7.9g
- Fiber: 0g
- Sodium: 3100mg
With its concentration of minerals and antioxidants, kelp powder supplementation may provide health benefits like:
- Boosted thyroid function
- Reduced inflammation
- Lower blood pressure
- Increased immunity
- Improved digestion
Beyond being healthy, kelp powder is also sustainable and eco-friendly. Kelp absorbs carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, so harvesting it may help reduce ocean acidification. Plus, kelp can be grown and harvested year-round without the need for fresh water, fertilizers or feed like land crops require.
Using kelp powder is an easy way to get a nutrient boost while also helping the planet! The flavor pairs well with Asian cuisine in particular, but works in many types of savory dishes.
One of the easiest ways to use kelp powder is as part of a versatile seasoning blend. Mix it with ingredients like sesame seeds, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. Sprinkle the kelp blend on vegetables, eggs, meats, fish, grains and more to add flavor.
Some kelp powder seasoning mixes to try:
- Toasted sesame seeds, kelp powder, salt, sugar, bonito flakes - sprinkle on rice, noodles or steamed veggies
- Kelp powder, basil, savory, celery seed, sage, thyme, marjoram - use like salt to season soups, eggs and meat
- Kelp powder, nutritional yeast, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper - sprinkle on popcorn or roasted veggies
Key Takeaway: Make your own seasoning blends with kelp powder and other spices or dry ingredients. They're incredibly versatile options for turning up flavor in savory dishes.
Soups, Stews & Broths
Another fantastic way to enjoy the taste of kelp powder is in warm brothy dishes like soups, stews and broths. The kelp adds a hit of umami depth while infusing the dish with valuable nutrients.
Simply whisk a teaspoon or two of the powder into the pot as the soup simmers. Lentil, miso, vegetable, seafood stews are all nicely elevated with some kelp. An easy homemade dashi broth can be made with just water, kelp and bonito flakes too.
Some recipe ideas that pair beautifully with kelp powder:
- Miso soup - Combine dashi stock, miso paste and kelp powder
- Seafood stew - Simmer fish, shellfish, veggies and seasonings with kelp
- Vegetable soup - Puree veggies with broth and kelp powder for flavor
- Bean soup - Boost canned or cooked dried beans with kelp richness
Key Takeaway: Kelp powder makes a nutrient-packed addition to warm brothy dishes like soups, stews and homemade broths.
|Benefits of Adding Kelp Powder to Soups & Stews
|Boosts nutritional value
|Provides savory umami flavor
|Thickens broth slightly
|Extends shelf life of leftovers
Salad Dressings & Dips
The briny flavor of kelp teams up deliciously with acidic and creamy ingredients like lemon juice, vinegar and olive oil. Take advantage of this by spiking your favorite salad dressing or dip recipes with kelp powder.
Simply add about 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon kelp powder per batch of dressing or dip. Whisk vigorously so it incorporates well and doesn't get clumpy. Bottled dressings can also be jazzed up by adding a pinch of kelp powder right before serving and shaking or whisking to distribute it.
Some salad dressing and dip ideas perfect for experimenting with kelp powder:
- Lemon-kelp vinaigrette
- Kelp green goddess dressing
- Kelp tzatziki sauce
- Kelp-infused ranch dip
- Kelp Caesar dressing
The possibilities are endless when adding mineral-rich kelp powder to dips and dressings! Adjust to taste as the kelp can get quite salty if you overdo it. A small amount goes a long way.
Key Takeaway: Shake up boring dressings and dips by incorporating 1/4 to 1/2 tsp kelp powder per batch. The briny sea flavor takes them to the next level!
Noodle & Rice Bowls
In Asian cuisine, kelp is traditionally used to make dashi stock that flavors and fortifies noodle broths or rice porridge. You can bypass making dashi yourself by just sprinkling kelp powder straight onto finished noodle and rice-based dishes.
Toss the kelp powder with hot ramen, udon or soba noodles right before serving. Mix it into fried rice or bibimbap along with other seasonings like sesame oil and soy sauce. Stir some into congee or jook savory rice porridge too.
Some kelp powder enhanced noodle and rice recipes:
- Kelp ramen - noodles, broth, veggies and kelp sprinkle
- Bibimbap bowls - sauteed meat and veggies over rice with kelp seasoning
- Seaweed fried rice - make fried rice and mix in kelp flakes or powder
- Miso udon soup - whisk kelp powder into broth with udon noodles
Key Takeaway: Kelp powder adds nutrition and authentic flavor to Asian noodle soups, stir fried rice and porridge.
Fish & Seafood Dishes
It's only natural that dishes featuring fish and shellfish pair fabulously with the ocean-y essence of kelp. Sprinkle kelp powder over simply prepared seafood before serving. Or add it into the sauce, crust or stuffing you're cooking the fish or shellfish with.
Some recipes that complement kelp's briny flavor:
- Broiled fish fillets or steaks with lemon-kelp drizzle
- Shrimp scampi - add kelp to buttery wine sauce
- Crab cakes or stuffed clams with kelp blended into mix
- Fish tacos with kelp spiced crema topping
You can also make faux seafood dishes by blending kelp powder with chickpeas, hearts of palm or mushrooms to mimic the flavor of tuna, crab cakes or scallops!
Key Takeaway: Seafood servings like fish, shrimp and shellfish become supercharged with flavor and nutrition when enhanced with umami-rich kelp powder.
Meat & Poultry
While kelp powder shines in seafood preparations, its savory flavor can also ramp up meat and poultry dishes. Use it anywhere you'd normally use salt or other seasonings.
Stir kelp powder into ground meat mixtures for burgers or meatloaf. Combine it with breadcrumbs or flour when coating chicken, beef or pork cutlets before pan-frying. Rub kelp spice blends containing the powder onto roasts or chops before grilling or broiling.
Even a dash of the powder into the water when boiling eggs adds complementary flavor to simple hard boiled egg snacks.
Some meat and poultry recipe ideas perfect for kelp powder:
- Turkey or beef meatloaf or meatballs
- Breaded chicken or pork cutlets
- Roast chicken or beef rubbed with kelp seasoning
- Kelp deviled eggs
- Grass-fed beef or bison burgers
Key Takeaway: Umami-packed kelp powder infuses meat and poultry with savory richness in place of salt or other seasonings.
Breads & Baked Goods
Want to seriously upgrade your bread and baked goods? Look no further than kelp powder! This mineral supplement adds nutritional value while also interacting with gluten to create lighter baked textures.
For quickbreads and muffins, replace up to 1/4 of the salt with kelp powder. For yeast breads, use up to 1 tablespoon kelp powder per loaf. You can also add kelp flakes or powder on top of bread or scones before baking.
Some tasty kelp enhanced baked treats:
- Kelp powder banana bread
- Seaweed chocolate chip cookies
- Multi-grain kelp bread
- Kelp Irish soda bread
- Kelp powder & cheddar scones
Savory baked goods like crackers love a dose of kelp too. Get creative with all kinds of breads, muffins, scones and more!
Key Takeaway: Incorporate up to 1/4 cup kelp powder per recipe when baking to make lighter, more nutritious bread and baked goods.
Smoothies & Juices
For those looking to supercharge their health drinks, kelp powder makes an excellent addition to smoothies, shakes and juices. Just half a teaspoon blends smoothly into the mix while adding a huge nutritional boost.
Some nutrient-dense smoothies and juices to spike with kelp:
- Green juice - kale, cucumber, celery, lemon, ginger, kelp powder
- Green protein smoothie - banana, almond milk, spinach, kelp powder
- Post-workout shake - berries, banana, protein powder, kelp booster
- Breakfast smoothie - yogurt, oats, fruit, cinnamon, kelp sprinkle
Just beware that kelp powder is very salty, so a little goes a long way in liquids. Start small with just 1/8 tsp at first in smoothies then work up from there once you know the impact on flavor.
Key Takeaway: Blend just 1/8 to 1/2 teaspoon kelp powder into smoothies, shakes or juices to amp up nutrition without overpowering the taste.
Crispy snacks like popcorn become instantly addictive with the addition of umami-packed kelp powder. Sweet or savory trail mixes also benefit from this salty sprinkle.
Make kelp-spiced popcorn by tossing popped kernels with olive oil or melted butter, then dust with a blend of kelp powder, nutritional yeast, onion/garlic powder and spice. Bake kelp and cheese crackers by adding powder to your favorite dough recipe.
Take trail mix up a notch by stirring in kelp flakes, sesame seeds, seaweed crisps or powder along with nuts, pretzels and dried fruit. Kelp jerky is popular too - just add kelp powder to your usual meat marinade before dehydrating.
Some salty, satisfying snacks enhanced with kelp:
- Kelp parmesan popcorn
- Korean seaweed rice crackers
- Kelp & sriracha pumpkin seeds
- Furikake trail mix with kelp flakes
- Smoky kelp almond mix
Key Takeaway: Give crispy snacks bold flavor and crunch by seasoning with or topping with kelp powder or flakes.
Punch up condiments like ketchup, mustard and mayo with the savory flavor of kelp powder. A little sprinkle Mixed into the normal recipe adds complementary flavor that enhances all kinds of food dipped or topped with it.
Some condiment ideas that welcome kelp as an ingredient:
- Seaweed mustard or ketchup - add kelp to usual recipe
- Kelp lime aioli mayo dip
- Umami BBQ sauce with touch of kelp
- Gochujang mayo dip with kelp powder or flakes
- Seafood cocktail sauce spiced with kelp
Customize to taste when adding kelp to condiments. Start small with 1/4 teaspoon per cup of condiment then tweak as needed. Remember it can get quite salty if you overdo it!
Key Takeaway: Make condiments even more craveable by adding 1/4 tsp or more kelp powder per cup of homemade ketchup, mustard, mayo and other sauces.
How much kelp powder should I use in recipes?
Start small, with just 1/4 teaspoon kelp powder per serving, then work up from there. Too much can make dishes unpleasantly salty.
What does kelp powder taste like?
Kelp powder has a mildly fishy, ocean-like flavor thanks to natural glutamates that provide umami richness.
Can kelp powder be substituted for salt?
Yes, you can replace salt with kelp powder in equal amounts, though the flavor will be noticeably different. Reduce overall salt in a recipe by half and add kelp to make up the difference.
What are the best recipes to use kelp powder in?
Asian-inspired noodles, rice and soup, seafood dishes, salad dressings, seasoning blends and condiments all shine with kelp powder. Baked goods, smoothies and snacks also welcome kelp's nutritional boost.
Is kelp powder better than fresh kelp?
It depends how you use them! Powder infuses dishes with intense flavor and nutrients. Fresh kelp tastes milder but has great texture for eating whole or blending. Both are extremely healthy.
Beyond Asian cooking, this umami-rich sea vegetable also enhances salad dressings, dips, soups, baked goods, smoothies and so much more.
Its briny ocean essence complements seafood beautifully but also holds up to bold seasoning blends and spicy flavors.