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I need some salt piles for cooking but I can only find a few.

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Salt Piles are one of the most common items in the game. Picks one up off the ground See? –  ChargingPun Nov 21 '12 at 16:44

4 Answers 4

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You can buy them at the Alchemy stores in all 9 holds. Then if you sleep or rest 48 hours they'll restock. Rinse and Repeat

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350 guaranteed samples can be found in 162 different locations. Locations with the greatest numbers are:

  • 14 centered 330 ft S of Merryfair Farm (map)
  • 13 in Riften (The Rift)
  • 9 in The Midden (Winterhold)
  • 9 in Mistveil Keep Barracks (Riften)
  • 8 in Fellglow Keep (Whiterun Hold)
  • 6 in The Bee and Barb (Riften)
  • 6 in Riften Warehouse (Riften)
  • 6 in Haelga's Bunkhouse (Riften)
  • 6 in Temple of Mara (Riften)

Information sourced from UESP.

You can also usually purchase it from a lot of merchants especially inkeepers and other food merchants. They are very commonly found in barrels and sacks too.

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Riften is even better than it looks. It's the best location for salt by far. There are many fish barrels and preserved meat barrels in Riften and in Riften Docks. Don't forget to check inside Riften Fisherie. I usually get over 100 salt piles the first time I visit Riften. –  Anderson Nov 25 '12 at 20:07

I'm not aware of any monster that specifically spawns salt piles, nor any particular location that's good for "farming" them. Your best bet is to just do the usual:

  • Check with your local Alchemist.
  • Visit a nearby General Store.
  • Dig through sacks, barrels, and other containers.
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Salt piles are a common random food-loot item in barrels and sacks in areas where mages are common. In such areas, you'll find salt piles and other alchemical ingredients that are apparently considered by Skyrim inhabitants to be food-like (such as garlic, frost mirriam, and elves ears) more frequently than the ususal potatoes and cabbages food-loot.

Consequently, the best place to find respawning salt piles is warlock lairs. Due to the way location respawning works, you can maximize salt acquisition by not clearing the dungeon. (If you kill the leader of a lair the location is marked as "cleared", which means that it will still respawn but take much longer to do so.)

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