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Brine Calculator

Created by Joanna Michałowska, PhD candidate
Reviewed by Dominik Czernia, PhD and Jack Bowater
Last updated: Jun 05, 2023

The brine calculator calculates the amount of salt and water needed to prepare a perfect brine for fermenting vegetables.

Read the article below to find out what is a brine solution, discover how to calculate brine percentage, and learn how to use this salt brine calculator.

What is brine solution?

Brine, or, in other words, salt water, is a highly concentrated water solution of common salt (sodium chloride). We can use brine readily to process and cook food.

Below you can find a few facts about brining:

  • You can use it to preserve or season food;

  • Pickling is the process of bringing various foods. You can apply it to vegetables, cheeses, and even fruit;

  • Brining can enhance the tenderness and flavor of the food product;

  • You can sometimes add other additional ingredients, like herbs, spices, sugar, caramel, or vinegar, to improve the taste;

  • Pickling in a salt brine is associated with anaerobic fermentation and the production of lactic acid bacteria (those tiny things are really fast at growing in your jar! Learn the math behind it in our generation time calculator);

  • Different products require different salt brine solutions. We usually ferment most vegetables at around 2.5% – 5%; however, some products (e.g., olives) need 10% brine; and

  • You can add salt directly to prepared vegetables (or other food products) or make a salt brine by dissolving salt in the water and submerging the vegetables in it afterward.

How to calculate brine percentage?

Calculating the salt brine percentage is really easy. The formula looks as follows:

solution=msaltVwater×ρwater×100%\small \text{solution} = \frac{m_\text{salt}}{V_\text{water}\times \rho_\text{water}}\times 100\%


  • solution\small\text{solution} is the concentration of the brine solution expressed in %;
  • msalt\small m_\text{salt} is the amount of salt expressed in grams (g\small\text{g});
  • Vwater\small V_\text{water} is the volume of water needed to prepare the required solution in milliliters (mL\small\text{mL}); and
  • ρwater\small\rho_\text{water} is the density of water in grams per milliliter approximately equal to 1 gmL1\ \small\tfrac{\text{g}}{\text{mL}}.

🙋 The amount of brine you need depends on the quantity of food you want to pickle or ferment. If you want to use a one-liter jar to pickle your food, you need to prepare just under a liter of brine to fill the jar/dish to its' capacity. Remember to take into account the vegetables (or other food) in the jar/dish.

The salt brine calculator

Have you ever come across a recipe that looked really interesting, but it required using a 2% brine, so you decided to give up as you were not sure what that meant? That will never happen again - we are here to help you! Next time, just use our brine calculator! Remember that you can perform your calculations in any direction - simply fill in the two fields you know.

Here's an example. Let's assume that you need 2.5 liters of 2% brine solution (don't worry, you can switch between different units using our brine calculator).

  1. The equation looks as follows:
solution=msaltVwater×ρwater×100%\small \text{solution} = \frac{m_\text{salt}}{V_\text{water}\times \rho_\text{water}}\times 100\%
  1. As you want to know the amount of salt needed, we have to rearrange the equation:
msalt=solution100×Vwater×ρwater\small m_\text{salt} = \frac{\text{solution}}{100}\times V_\text{water}\times \rho_\text{water}
  1. Now, we can substitute the variables with our numbers:
msalt=solution100×Vwater×ρwater=2100×2500 mL×1 gmL=0.02×2500 mL=50 g\small \begin{align*} m_\text{salt} &= \frac{\text{solution}}{100}\times V_\text{water}\times \rho_\text{water}\\[1.0em] &= \frac{2}{100}\times 2500\ \text{mL}\times 1\ \tfrac{\text{g}}{\text{mL}}\\[1.0em] &= 0.02\times 2500\ \text{mL}\\[0.5em] &= 50\ \text{g} \end{align*}
  1. You need 50 grams of salt to get 2.5 liters of 2% brine solution.

🔎 Are you wondering how many that is in tablespoons? To find out, you can use our grams to tablespoons calculator. 🙂🥄

Interested in other uses of salt, may that be in recipes or to aid with cooking? Check out our pancake recipe calculator to find out how many pinches of salt you'll need to balance the recipe depending on the servings you want to make. You can also read through our egg calculator to discover why adding some salt to your boiling water can help you perfect your hard-boiled eggs.

Joanna Michałowska, PhD candidate
💡 You can calculate in any direction - just fill in the fields that you know 🙃
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