Making Your Own Flavored Salts

Flavored Salts

One of the easiest ways to elevate your cooking to another level is to use flavored salts, or finishing salts. No recipe needed, really. Flavor + Salt = Flavored Salt. REALLY!!! I know you just had a V-8 moment just now (wow. that sure dates me. does anyone know what i’m talking about?!) My latest crush, Eric Gower the Breakaway Cook, writes extensively about finishing salts on his website and even gives you several flavors to try. I like to use these salts in place of regular salt – the flavor I use is dependent on either the type of dish I’m cooking, the ethnic cuisine or a flavor I would like to infuse in the dish. I call these Finishing Salts because most of the time, its exactly what I use them for.

Sometimes a dish just needs a little color after plating and a finishing salt is the perfect compliment flavor-wise and eye-candy-deliciousness-wise. Learn from professional cooks – who often serve food on white dinnerware – and sprinkle a little of your Finishing Salt directly on the food AND the plate. The vibrant colors are shown off against the white and your dinner guests can dab as much as or as little of the salt as they wish. You can make a batch for less than $1….or you could go to a gourmet shop and spend $12 for an itty bitty jar.

Szechuan Peppercorn Salt

Peppercorn Salts

Dry-roasted Szechuan or Sichuan Peppercorn + food processor to grind the peppercorn + sea salt. It’s spelled Sichuan nowadays, but for some reason I’ve always spelled it Szechuan. Anyways, spell how you like.

>>Edit: more detailed instructions: I roasted SZP in a hot, dry skillet until smoking but not burnt. Let that cool a little bit. Dump in food processor to grind to same size as your salt. Then you add your salt and pulse a just couple of times to fully incorporate the flavors together. I like my S&P a little chunky and not like a fine powder. I used equal amts of SZP and sea salt. You can adjust based on your tastes. If you are using a very fine sea salt or just regular table salt, decrease the amt of salt.

Peppercorn Salts

Szechuan Peppercorn is really not a peppercorn at all – its a berry from a bush that will make your tongue and lips tingle and numb when you eat them. Yes, its legal. No, you can’t snort it. When you dry-roast the peppercorns, your entire house will smell heavenly…woodsy, citrusy, earthy…so incredibly aromatic that Chef Kylie Kwong perfumes her restaurant daily with a hot, smoking, dry wok of roasted peppercorns. Add to any dish that needs a little kick in the pants. Cooking Chinese? Sprinkle some Szechuan Peppercorn Salt to finish any dish. I also love seasoning my steaks with this instead of the standard salt & pepper prior to grilling. This can also serve as a dipping salt for fried shrimp.

Fushia Dunlop even recommends using this combination on potato chips! Make them yourself (its very simple with a mandoline) and flavor with SZP Salt while they are hot. Or, dump a bag of your favorite plain chips onto a baking sheet + 375 F for 5 minutes, remove and sprinkle with SZP Salt. Ohhh…how about french fries with SZP Salt at your next dinner party? Nothing like watching the reaction of your guests as their lips tingle and they discover a new taste. You can buy Szechuan peppercorn at your local Chinese market or at Whole Spice, iGourmet, GetSpice (UK), Spice Barn and Spicehouse

When you get your SZP, take a couple of pods and chew – the tip of your tongue will go tingly! Cooking the SZP tames the pepperyness and the numbing quality.

Szechuan Peppercorn Salt

Citrus Salt

Citrus Salt

Grated orange peel + grated lemon peel + let the citrus peels dry a little bit on a paper towel + sea salt Think bright, cheery and light. Finish your shrimp skewers, any vegetables, grilled chicken breasts, grilled salmon with Citrus Salt. Lighten your risotto or steamed rice with Citrus Salt. I’ll be posting soon on a recipe I created, Panko-Crusted Grouper Cheeks with Japanese-Style Risotto and Citrus Salt. Long, fancy name for fish ‘n rice, I know. I need to shorten the name…just sounds too restaurant-y.

Matcha Salt

Matcha Salt

Matcha is Japanese green tea powder made from the highest quality of green tea leaves. Its a stunning and lovely mossy color which makes such a pretty finishing salt, especially if you use a white plate and also sprinkle some directly on the plate. Matcha powder + sea salt + couple pulses in food processor if you are using course sea salt You know what is so totally divine? Your favorite chocolate truffle or chocolate bar + dip in Matcha Salt. So very different! Eric Gower pairs it with eggs and tofu. Use with dishes that are light in texture and flavor, since this salt’s flavor is more delicate and subtle. It gives a beautiful floral, grassy, sweet and soothing aroma. You can buy Matcha powder at your local Asian market. Sometimes coffee/tea shops will carry as well. This is not the same as green tea leaves. Ask specifically for Matcha powder. Its a little expensive. I paid $7.50 for 1.4 oz jar at a Japanese market in Los Angeles (which will last me a long time as I only used about� 1 teaspoon in my mixture). Don’t get the super-premium stuff, it would be a waste to use the expensive powder for the salts. Buy online at Amazon (this is the brand I got). Use your leftover powder to make green tea ice cream. I have all three sitting patiently waiting for my next cooking adventure….you guys have any ideas for other flavors? What would you do with Chocolate Salt?

Flavored Salt

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Comments 103

  1. Pingback: Clo Dimet » Sal com sabor…

  2. linda

    I just discovered you wonderful blog with the beautiful pictures! I’ve been making my own flavored salts (szp, lemon, lavendar, rosemary, vanilla salts) but never would I have thought of matcha salt…can’t wait to make it!

  3. Pingback: Honey Ginger Carrots with Citrus Salt « Jaden’s Steamy Kitchen

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  5. Pingback: Jaden’s Steamy Kitchen » Blog Archive » Grilled Prawns with Szechuan Peppercorn Salt

  6. Marzy

    im a new reader and i love ur tips! i dont know if i can find the same stuff here but wow thats awesome ideas id love to try out. keep up the great job!! 😉

  7. Kym

    Absolutely lovely pictures and presentation of the flavored salts. I’m new here also, and I’m going to try this really soon. Although I have a really nice salt mix I put on homemade tortilla chips.

  8. deb

    Akin to matcha — if you get some nice high-quality lapsang souchoung tea leaves and grind it to a very fine powder, it makes for a lovely addition to spice rubs and such. I imagine a lapsang souchoung salt could be a lovely, smokey deep flavour boost.

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  10. Lollan

    I have heard of a cafe that makes it own chicken flavoured salt using the juices of their cooked chickens. Any ideas of how to do that at home?

  11. Pingback: Crispy Tofu with Citrus Soy | Jaden's Steamy Kitchen

  12. chunky

    hi steamy- yes, just like lyn, i made flavored salt (szp + salt) as gifts to family and friends last Christmas. They all loved it!! I also tried your roasted chicken (but with lemon, instead of orange), it was great! Keep on steamin’…by the way, i love your pictures.

  13. Michael McMath

    Does anyone know precise directions for making truffle salt? I have around 2 dozen black summer truffles and over half a dozen fine salts. I would like to make truffle salts for my friends.

    There are practically no references that I can find. One obscure reference I did find says some time back said the truffles must be dried, which makes sense, but on the other hand, I am told the truffles lose their aroma when dried. Should the truffles be powdered or finely grated? The truffles are so expensive that I dont feel like experimenting too much.

  14. kittypaws

    I recently spent some time in Japan, where I was served some lovely homemade fried chicken sprinkled with what my hostess called ‘rose salt.’ This salt definitely tasted of roses and I don’t think was just rose-colored salt. Has anyone heard of this or know where I could find it in the States? It was delicious!

    1. Danny

      Make it the same way you would with the citrus salt described above. Roses are an edible flower that can be made into many things including jam. Rose jam is excellent, you should use red or pink because the color is stunning, but white will work as well. Cut the petals off above the white on the bulb and dry. Grind to desired texture and blend with salt in a processor.

  15. Chef Paullett De Moura

    Two common salts that I use at work are Lemon Rosemary, and pink and dried porcini mushroom Salt. The Lemon Rosemary I use on Lamb shanks but would be good on any cut of lamb. The other I use on beef. Wonderful on nice dry aged steaks. Sometimes I make a Lemon, pink pepper corn salt that I use on seared scallops.

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  17. Frank

    mmm I thank you for your post, I’ve spent a year on trying to make salt (I only made a mess and yes a year). I stumbled upon your blog thanks for the simple answer I greatly over looked, finally my chips can reach their full potential.

    Cilantro, lime, finely ground sea salt (regular salt was too much bite).

    1 pkg. corn or flour tortillas (corn are lower in fat than flour)

    Cut stack of tortillas into 8 wedges each. Spread wedges in a single layer on baking sheet. Sprinkle with seasoning and salt. Bake at 375 degrees about 10 minutes, turning after 5 minutes. Make sure you watch them closely. You do not want them too brown. Store in an air tight container. When serving, freshen the chips in the microwave about 45 seconds to 1 minute. Let sit about 5 to 10 minutes before eating so they can harden and cool.

    Makes 200 chips

    it’s like enjoying a margharita in a chip….I also like to use these chips in a fruity salsa. ^_^ Enjoy and thanks for the help.

  18. Elaine

    For those who live in the New York City area, we are fortunate to have an excellent and inexpensive source for matcha tea powder, lavender buds, and everything in between: Kalustyans’s (as seen on Bravo’s ‘Top Chef’).

    I first made flavored salts years ago as part of a homemade Christmas gift basket for fellow foodies, and love the new ideas here. Instead of macarons, I think I’ll first try green tea truffles with matcha salt. Thank you!

  19. Terry Elliott

    I am looking for salt that is flavored with smoke. I have a hickory smoked salt but I wanted to know if there were others OR if it were possible to make it myself.

    1. Chef Paullett

      Yes, you can smoke your own salt- I’ve done it. Try to make your own cold home smoker or try hot smoke. The cold smoke is a better idea.

      To hot smoke at home: Place you salt in a metal disposable pan on the right side of your BBQ. Get a fire on the left going and add your flavor wood. You need to Ultimately your trying for a long slow smoke over a few hours. I have a real smoker in my back yard and when I do the meat- I do some salt at the same time.

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  21. Raul Dominguez

    some of the salts that I’ve been making lately include a green chili salt made from dehydrating Harli-gen peppers, citric acid, and kosher salt. or dehydrate olive juice and mix it with a bit of pink sea salt. candied orange peel salt and even a Durian salt which is rather an acquire taste.

  22. Lorrie

    I bought a finishing salt once that had smoked paprika and dried chives in it. I make it myself now and it’s just as good. It works well on vegetables, potatoes, just about anything to be honest.

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  24. Marchell

    What a great idea: the lapshong-souchon (sp) tea for salt!

    Made a batch of Myer lemon salt today – yum
    Made rosemary then at last added 2 colors of flower: lots of them! Pretty and tasty~

  25. Copper Kettles

    I love the little pinch bowls with the pouring lip in your pictures! Can you tell me where you found them or at least what brand they are?

  26. Pingback: Cafe Zupas » Blog Archive » fyi - salt

  27. Jen The Ecoventurer

    What an eye opening post! I love flavored salts and use them everyday but I never thought about making my own. You have just opened up a whole new dimension to my cooking. Thanks!

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  29. Pingback: Tasmanian Salmon with Salad of Baby Greens, Pinenuts, and Bacon « Not a Diet Story

  30. elisa

    HI there,
    your recipes are lovely! Can I ask if you think that a big grain salt would be suitable for these recipes, or is it better to use a small grain salt? Consider I will use food processor as you suggested



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  32. Marlene

    Vanilla flavoured salt is actually very good! A pinch in dark chocolate desserts, or sprinkled on sweet fruit like mango 🙂

  33. Mrityunjay Jalan


    I was just wondering if you have ever made Tomato Cheese Salt before. I wanted to try and make a tomato based salt flavor so I was thinking of Tomato Cheese or Tomato Mint. Any tips on how I can go about doing this? I have Tomato powder, mint powder and cheese.


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  35. jonathan

    all these salt are made by combining dry ingredient, but what about moist ones….?
    i’ve just done a batch of raspberry and chili, simply amazing flavor.
    my technic is the mix raspberry, chili, salt, AND water… blend and finally filter.
    pour it in a tray and let it evaporate to create salt crystal.
    if anyone have any advise to improve it i’m all ears.

    1. Jo

      @Jonathan: Great idea to add wet ingredients. I made a chili lime salt using ground chilis and lime zest but it didn’t have the limey flavour I was after. I’m going to spread on a try, add lime juice and let it all dry. Can’t see why it wouldn’t work!

  36. Richard

    Aloha from Honolulu. I’m a salt-making hobbyist. Anyone have a technique to prevent caking in homemede sea salt? My salt doesn’t present the crystal structure. Mahalo!

    1. Paula

      Try drying it in the oven. When it is dried well, put it in the food processor for a few whirls. Although, since you are in humid Hawaii the salt might still cake. Just give the container a few good hard shakes before using.

  37. Susie V

    I just bumped into your site….love it…love it…love it! I am so excited to start making things… I have a question–have you got a recipt for green tea peppercorn seasoning. Tastefully simple used to make it and I am trying to figure out the recipe. It is sweet and spicy and it has demerara sugar along with spicy szp. I just love it on everything–you have any ideas? thank you again for this lovely site!

  38. Pingback: Vancouver Tea Festival Celebrates The City’s Tea Culture – Huffington Post Canada | Green Tea Overload!

  39. Nathan

    Hey first time here at your wonderful blog. I was wondering where you picked up the black ingredient cups? They are beautiful!

    1. Post

      Hi Nathan,

      I got those from a Japanese department store in Little Tokyo in Los Angeles. It was either Uyeda or Muji.

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