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How to Make Flavored Salts

By Cook's Illustrated Published March 2017

Flavored salts can be expensive, but it’s easy to make them on your own.

Salts infused with herbs or condiments (think mustard or Sriracha sauce) add flair and some crunch when used as a finishing touch. Buying them at specialty stores can be expensive, but it’s easy to make them on your own by following a few guidelines.

  • Combine kosher salt with liquid flavorings and coarser sea salt with herbs and seeds. Herbs and seeds need to be pulsed in a spice grinder with the salt to thoroughly meld. Starting with larger sea salt grains ensures that the salt will still have texture once pulsed. Do not use table salt, as it won’t provide any crunch.
  • Since salt is a powerful seasoning, potent flavorings work best.
  • The salt needs to be dried out before use and storage; we use the microwave to accelerate the process (if the salt gets too hot, let it cool before proceeding to avoid burning). There are infinite possibilities, but here are five to get you started.

LIQUID FLAVORINGS: Mix 1/2 cup kosher salt and flavoring in small bowl, then spread on large plate and microwave, stirring every 60 seconds, until only slightly damp (salt mixture will continue to dry as it cools).

FLAVORING MICROWAVE TIME SUGGESTED USES
1/3 cup Sriracha sauce 6-8 min Roasted vegetables, sliced or mashed
avocado, French fries, broiled fish,
fruit (mango, pineapple, melon)
1/4 cup grainy mustard
+ 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
6-8 min Roast beef, salad, grilled meat,
homemade pretzels
1 tsp liquid smoke 1-2 min Enhances grill flavor in quickly
grilled food

HERBS AND SEEDS: Combine 1/3 cup coarse sea salt and flavorings in spice grinder and pulse until just combined, about 6 short pulses. Spread on large plate and microwave, stirring every 60 seconds, until only slightly damp (salt mixture will continue to dry as it cools).

FLAVORING MICROWAVE TIME SUGGESTED USES
1/2 cup finely chopped
celery leaves + 1 tsp
celery seeds
2-3 min Corn on the cob, rim of a Bloody
Mary glass, tuna salad
1/2 cup finely chopped
fresh rosemary
2-3 min Homemade focaccia, baked pota-
toes, fresh tomatoes, stirred into
olive oil for dipping bread