Citrus Salt Recipe

A spectrum of citrus salts made from all sorts of winter citrus zest - clementines, wild lime, Meyer lemon, kalamansi oranges, and mandarinquats. Couldn't be simpler.

Citrus Salt

I'm not kidding when I tell you it looks like a citrus orchard shook out its limbs in my kitchen. There are sweet limes and Meyer lemons on the counter near the sink, wild limes in the corners of window sills, oblong mandarinquats and petite kalamansi oranges scattered across other flat surfaces. And then, the prize of all prizes, a massive, electric-yellow Buddha's hand (direct from a very special Southern California garden) putting off more fragrance than the rest combined. So, I set to work making a spectrum of citrus salts.

Citrus Salt

They're pretty, and provide a pop of surprise, and your friends will love you even more when you hand them little jars to take home. Mostly, I use these as finishing salts. I love the wild lime salt sprinkled over coconut milk-based curries, or as a finishing touch on spring rolls. Mandarinquat salt sprinkled over homemade sea salt caramels? Give me a minute while I add that to my to-do list. Later in the year, the clementine and Meyer lemon salts are perfect on fava beans and asparagus. Beyond that, heirloom tomatoes.

Citrus Salt

I'm going to give you my basic technique down below. You can use that as a jumping off point and go from there. A lot of what this comes down to is personal preference. You'll notice I call for flaky sea salt. For this sort of thing, I like the kind of light, flaky salt crystals you can crush between your fingertips. I use Maldon. You give this salt a good, long toss with the citrus zest and then bake the mixture dry. You can certainly leave the salt like this, but I like to give it just a few pulses in the food processor to break it down a bit. It's still light and flaky, just less so. All said, feel free to experiment with different salts. And process them powder fine if you like. I typically use about 1 tablespoon of zest to 1/2 cup of salt, but you might want to increase or decrease the amount of zest. Again, play around. Make blends. Take notes related to which ones you like, and how you're using them.

Citrus Salt

One other note. You'll only use the zest here. But you don't want all that amazing juice to go to waste, so zest the citrus first, then juice it as well. You can freeze the individual juices for later use, or, I like to make riffs on this sort of strong citrus ginger juice.

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Citrus Salt

I used Maldon sea salt flakes here, but you can certainly experiment with other kinds of salt (this looks beautiful). Also, try to buy good, organic, citrus. And avoid waxed citrus. If that's what you have on hand though, just be just to give it a good scrub with warm water. Also, dry completely before zesting.

For each type of salt you'll need:

1/2 cup / 2.25 oz / 65 g flaky sea salt
1 tablespoon citrus zest

Preheat your oven to oven 225F / 105C. Combine the salt and citrus in a medium bowl and mix well. Really work the zest into the salt, making sure there aren't any clumps of zest. Spread across a parchment lined baking sheet. If you're making more than one flavor of salt, repeat this as many times as necessary. For example, this time I made 6 salts, and I arranged them across two baking sheets (see photos).

Bake for 70 minutes, or until the citrus is completely dried out. Flecks of zest should crumble when pinched between your fingers. Remove from oven and allow to cool a bit. At this point you can pulse each salt a few times in a food processor if you like, which is what I do. Or, you can enjoy it as is. Salts keep in an air-tight jar for a couple of months.

Makes 1/2 cup of finishing salt.

Prep time: 5 minutes - Cook time: 70 minutes

If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!

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oooh what a tangy, zingy post....I can almost taste those limes and lemons. Being in cold grey England, how I wish we could grow our own citrus fruits. To have some in the garden would be simply perfect. Mind you, these salts look lovely...definitely will give a go. My favourite salt that I mix and swish over lots of things is Maldon salt with chilliflakes and fennel seeds.Mmmmm


Love it! Your kitchen sounds like a citrus dreamland right now.

leaf (the indolent cook)

My lemon tree is about to blow up, so I'm adding this to my list of lemon recipes to make! Thanks.


Loved the pictures, the glass bottles and the different types of lemons...all of it. I have 2 types in my garden and use the zest to make a body scrub almost the same way...adding some homemade coconut oil to it.

sangeeta khanna

I have a huge pile of Meyer lemons in my kitchen right now. Earlier today I preserved some of them, but there are still more to use up. I can't wait to try this!


Ohhh, loving this! And all your little vintage salt shakers too!


What a great idea! I've crushed and dried citrus zest on its own (a great alternative) but I do love a good sprinkle of sea salt! You're right - this is also a great gift idea! I actually gave my good friend an assortment of salts as a wedding gift ... she *loved* it. Making some citrus-y ones would vary it up even more. Now. Off to dream of orange salt sprinkled over dark chocolate ...


I had no idea it was so easy to make citrus salt! Love the idea of giving these away as parting gifts :)

Anjali @ The Picky Eater

I love citrusy things! Do you think i could use regular salt instead of sea salt. Unfortunately sea salt is not easily available here.

The Flavor Carousel

it is such a lovely idea! the color of the salt is beautiful and as you say I'm pretty sure that everyone will like a jar of this salt


Whay a wonderfully simple idea! I love the suggestion of giving these as gifts :)

The Healthy Hipster

What a fun and creative idea and a wonderful thing to bring as a hostess gift. I have so many lemons and oranges lying around my kitchen so I might as well put them to some use. I simply adore all of your antique glass shakers.

jackie @ marin mama cooks

I can only imagine how good your kitchen smells right now. Few things in life make me as happy as the lingering scent of citrus in the air. Thanks you, as always, for the inspiration!

katy from diningwithdusty

This citrus salt sounds delicious and I love the beautiful little storage bottles, they are so pretty filled with that beautiful salt. It seems like a great idea for a unique housewarming gift too.


Love these colors and these flavors!

Belinda @zomppa

where'd you get all those awesome citrus fruits from? I could have used your counter-full last weekend when we had our "Iron Chef, Battle Citrus" ;).

heather @ chiknpastry

Oh as soon as I started reading things to put it on all the ideas popped into my head! I'm going to start out with a lemon salt (as I have soo many lemons).


Wow this sounds so good! I live in San Diego and about 5 years ago I was living in a house from the 20s with vintage everything..from the plumbing to the trees in the backyard. Lemon, orange, lime, keffir lime, the herbs, it was just ridiculously amazing. If it wasn't for the 1920s plumbing, I'd still be living there just for those citrus trees :)

Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga

Yum, I am always looking for ways to bring citrusy sunshine flavors to Seattle at this time of year. I also recommend the citrus olive oil cake from Rustic Fruit Desserts as a delicious destination for any extra zest--it has been gorgeous with every citrus fruit I've tried. And I've tried many!


I love this post. I love your photos, the glass salt shakers (like perfume bottles), the thought of combining salt and citrus zest and your food marriage suggestions.


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