#1 Question

The most asked question...


Which Shaker has the most (or least) amount of holes - Salt or Pepper?

And the definitive answer is …

It depends!


The number of holes in salt and pepper shakers varies by culture, health and taste.

Here in the US excessive salt is considered bad for you, so the salt shaker is the one with the fewer holes, but in parts of Europe it’s the other way around.

It also has to do with availability – in some places salt was rare and prized, whereas in Europe it was difficult to get your hands on Pepper since it’s a spice from the Orient (very exotic) which was used to spice up meat that was past its prime.

Another factor is the size of the grains – some salts are quite coarse while others are very fine - and pepper can be ground or it can be cracked, which many cooks prefer. So, what will pour better?

Exceptions abound - you can have 1, 2, 3 or more holes in a shaker, and they go from tiny holes to huge ones.

In the end, everybody wins! The next time you shop for a salt and pepper shaker set, just buy according to your taste - practical or whimsical - and fill them as you wish. Enjoy!

You can learn more interesting facts about salt in our So What About Salt page, learn about the history of salt in the Where Is Salt From? page, or about pepper in the Pepper What? page, which are all part of the Interesting menu above.

You can also buy some amazing shakers in The Salt and Pepper Shaker Store, or plan your visit to the museum in the Location-Hours page, and get a peek at the Salt and Pepper Shaker Museum in the Pictures page, which now includes a Google 3D walk through the museum. Do you have Windows 8? Then you can also get an App which is a virtual visit of the museum!

The museum has been featured in many TV and Radio programs, like Unwrapped on the Food Network, and in print and web in places like the American Profile sunday insert or the Smithshonian magazine . You can find these and more in the As Seen... menu above.


Still don't believe us?

Well, OK, let's look at letters - no question which is Salt and which is Pepper, right?

As you can see on the picture, there is no real consensus here!

The orange shakers have five holes each, the yellow ones six holes, and the silver ones have three holes for both.

On the other hand, the white S has two holes and the black P has three.

Even the blue and green shakers, which are made by the same manufacturer, can't agree: both salt shakers have three holes, but the pepper on one has three holes and the other one two!

The Letters have it!

OK, so let's ask the Cooks!

The chefs must know, right? After all, it's their job! Well, I'm afraid they disagree...

Here's two sets of salt and pepper Chef shakers:

The one on the right has two holes for pepper, and three holes for salt.

The one on the left has one hole for salt and two for pepper.

So, Florida agrees on the pepper, but is a lot more careful with their salt!

What do the Salt andPepper manufacturers say?

... ..

These neat ceramic shakers imitate the generic rectangular salt and pepper shakers. They have three holes for salt, two for pepper ...

Heaven knows... and the monks?

Monk Salt and Pepper Shakers

Looking for an answer from above? Well, these monks are quite non-committal. They both have three holes for salt and pepper. The holes are the eyes and the mouth - very creative!

Royalty, you said?

These monarchs have decreed that four holes shall be for salt, and two holes for pepper...

And off with their heads to those who disagree!

Four and two

And Down Under? (literally!)

How the West Was Won...

We'll take the answer to the grave...

Here we have informative epitaphs on some western tombstones:

Salty McQuaid has three holes for salt, Pepper Wyatt has two.

But Salty O'Day has two holes and Pepper Tate has three.

Time for a shootout!

... and beyond it!

Even the skulls are ambivalent about salt.

This great set of nodders (they nod when you touch them) says S and P in the base.

So what's the problem?

Well, one skull is Salt, one is Pepper, and you can lift each one out of the base. However, there's nothing to stop you from putting them back in reverse positions! So, as long as you only take one at a time, you'll be fine. Otherwise, you may end up like these!

What about the shakers that don't say Salt or Pepper?

The vast majority of shakers don't say anything - they just assume you know! So if you are forgetful, or don't wish to suprise your guests, you could always paint a red dot on the Pepper (red usually means spicy) or get some S and P decals to put on them.

Salt and pepper shakers are one of the articles that have inspired so many artists into creating an amazing variety of shapes, sizes, colors, materials and subjects. The idea is to have several different ones to match an occasion or your mood. It's an inexpensive way to add whimsy - and spice - to your table. Have fun!

Learn more about Salt and Pepper!

We hope you have learned a little about salt and pepper, but there is much more in our website.

Please explore the menu above, and visit our Online Store.

We also have a Blog and are very active on Facebook, so enjoy our website and ... Keep Collecting!