Flavorful, giftable, and absolutely adorable (with the right packaging), this Infused Salt Trio is a worthy holiday offering to “spice up” any kitchen. Simply muddle coarse cooking salt with citrus zest and/or fresh herbs for a gift versatile enough for any recipient and many, many dishes.
There are two types of people in this world: those who season food properly and those who don’t – could be over-seasoning, could be under. But we’ve all seen the memes and the videos and the rampant (and extremely angry) internet squabbling, so whether you’re someone who feels personally attacked by this argument or you know someone who should really, probably (i.e. definitely) feel personally attacked by these accusations, I am thrilled to tell you, there’s a simple solution: homemade flavored salts.
Don’t confuse these with the flavor overload of a seasoned salt (which surprisingly has really only been around for less than a hundred years as its own “thing”). The ubiquitous Lawry’s Seasoned Salt was actually created by the good folks at Lawry’s The Prime Rib in the 1930’s. And technically, my beloved Old Bay is just a seasoned salt…but let’s be real, these pack a big punch to your taste buds. And well… that can be overwhelming for some folks.
Not everyone is comfortable experimenting with BIG flavor. Everyone knows cinnamon and nutmeg are staples in holiday pies. No one’s gonna complain about the flavor of basil or oregano in marinara. And garlic is at home in just about any cuisine around the world. But woe is you, if you sub Hot Hungarian Paprika for Smoked. So instead of big flavor, let’s focus on good taste.
This Infused Salt Trio is a perfect “starter kit” gift for both the uninitiated and the palate-forward with tried and true flavor combinations. Plus, I’ve added helpful hints for recommended uses below and they’ll look absolutely darling on the handmade gift labels I know you’re gonna print up and put on the packaging, you crafty bastard.
Tips for Making Homemade Infused Salts
- Air dry citrus peels before infusing – simply zest using a microplane, then spread over a baking sheet. Set aside in a cool dry location (like next to a wind0w) and air dry for 1 day.
- Use fresh herbs – but chop them first; the best flavor in fresh herbs comes from their natural oils; they’ll continue to infuse the salt for weeks as the herbs dry out.
- Use the right salt (see below).
- Use a mortar and pestle to grind fresh herbs into the salt until pulverized.
- Combine one quarter of the salt with herbs and seasonings in the mortar and pestle for easier grinding. The combine with the remaining salt in a larger bowl and mix with a spoon until evenly distributed.
- Store flavored salts in an airtight container (we like small mason jars) for up to 6 months.
What Kind of Salt Should I Use?
Coarse kosher salt or sea salt work best. You’ll be working the fresh herbs and peels into the salt with a mortar and pestle and the larger crystals in kosher salt stand up well. I always cook with Morton’s Kosher Salt, but use your favorite variety. For a splurge, try grey salt or pink Himalayan.
Infused Salt Varieties
It’s just as easy to make three variations of infused salts as it is to make one, and especially during the holiday season my mantra is and remains: go big or go home. These are my favorite flavor combinations for flavored salts because they have so many uses:
CITRUS: dried lemon, lime, and orange peel
LEMON BASIL: dried lemon peel and fresh basil leaves
ROSEMARY: fresh rosemary sprigs
How to Use Infused Salts
CITRUS SALT: as a flavored salt rim for margaritas; add it to ceviche; to season fish or chicken; enhance a simple dressing of oil and vinegar on salads; sprinkle over avocado toast.
LEMON BASIL SALT: to season fish, scallops, or chicken; sprinkle over burrata or fresh mozzarella and serve with tomatoes and bread.
ROSEMARY SALT: to season steaks, roasts, and oven roasted potatoes; combine with extra virgin olive oil and other Italian herbs for bread dipping oil; to season Sunday sauce or your favorite marinara.
More Flavor Combinations to Try
Feel free to make up your own varieties of flavored salts! My go-to formula is one cup of salt plus three tablespoons of fresh herbs and/or dried peels:
- Espresso Beans (chop or grind first)
- Lemon Peel and Ground Black Pepper
- Vanilla Bean and Ground Cinnamon
- Lime Zest and Ginger Root
- Red Pepper Flakes and Lime Zest
- Vanilla Bean and Dried Lavender Flowers
More Easy Giftable Recipes:
- White Chocolate Bark with Macadamia and Cranberries
- Soft + Chewy Salted Caramels
- Cinnamon Sugar Candied Nuts
- Blueberry Vanilla Applesauce
- Gingerbread Spiced Nuts
Did you make this Infused Salt Trio? I’d love to know how it turned out! Leave a comment and a rating below.
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- 4 tbsp fresh rosemary
- 1 c kosher salt
- 2 tbsp lemon zest (from 2 lemons), dried
- 1 tbsp lime zest (from 1 lime), dried
- 1 tbsp orange zest (from ½ orange), dried
- 1 c kosher salt
Lemon Basil Salt
- 3 tbsp fresh basil, chopped
- 1 tbsp lemon zest (from 1 lemon), dried
- 1 c kosher salt
- Combine the fresh rosemary with ¼ c kosher salt in a mortar and pestle. Crush the rosemary with the salt until pulverized.
- Transfer the rosemary and salt to a medium sized bowl. Add the remaining ¾ c kosher salt and mix thoroughly. Portion in small mason jars for storage.
- Zest the citrus fruits, then arrange onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Leave in a cool dry place to dry for 24 hours.
- Combine the lemon, lime, and orange zest in a mortar and pestle. Crush the citrus zests with the salt until pulverized.
- Transfer the citrus zests and salt to a medium sized bowl. Add the remaining ¾ c kosher salt and mix thoroughly. Portion in small mason jars for storage.
Lemon Basil Salt
- Zest the lemons, then arrange onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Leave in a cool dry place to dry for 24 hours.
- Combine the fresh basil and dried lemon zest with ¼ c kosher salt in a mortar and pestle. Crush the basil and zest with the salt until pulverized.
- Transfer the basil, lemon zests and salt to a medium sized bowl. Add the remaining ¾ c kosher salt and mix thoroughly. Portion in small mason jars for storage.