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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Heidi, This post is fantastic (and gorgeous) - I am loving zest on everything, thanks to you, and now I have a new idea for my repertoire. It's cold here in NY, and I do love to cozy up to a soup or something hearty, but I also crave something fresh and bright at this time of year, so this is just the thing! Thanks!

Linda NYC

Love the photos (and the recipe, of course!) ... wondering, though, what are the potted plants in the very last photo?

HS: Wayne says those are "String of Pearls"...I think they are destined for the fire escape.


Heidi, Love the flavor combos & the presentation is inspired! Keep on rocking-kath

Thanks! Our (in Florida) Meyer Lemon tree was loaded this year and my kitchen counter is loaded with enormous yellowy globes - a hint - I freeze the juice in ice cube trays, that way, after I've bagged them and stowed them in the freezer I know that each cube is 1 -1/2 Tablespoons!

Lee Stein

What a unique idea. Just lovely photos! I will have to give it a try to finish off some of my dishes. Thanks for sharing!

I love this idea! I plan to make herb salts come spring, but with citrus season in full swing, these are a great idea for right now. I find myself adding some kind of citrus zest or juice to almost everything I make recently, so these salts will be a natural addition. I'm thinking blood orange, lemon, and lime will be my flavors!

Love this post, Heidi! Wish I could trot over to Berkeley Bowl and snatch up a striking assortment of citrus. I can't wait to try the Meyer lemon salt sprinkled over tomatoes and burrata with olive oil. Thanks.

HS: Hi Brenda! That salt on your site looks fantastic. Linking in now. For next time, for sure. xoxo.

This post is a lifesaver! I also have an abundance of citrus in my kitchen, and this is just the ticket to use some of it up before it takes over the house!

Just got a Kiefer Lime tree for the leaves and was wondering what to do with the fruit - love the idea of Kiefer Lime salt to put on a curry...perfect! Thanks for posting this.

What a beautiful idea! I love the idea of kaffir lime salt on a coconut curry, that sounds truly wonderful. I've never thought of flavouring the salt I use to season my food, but you've inspired me!

What a wonderful use of citrus zest! I hope you wont mind if I share your post on And if any of you are in need of sweet all natural Meyer lemons, please visit our website. Thank you for a wonderful post! Karen Orchardess

Love this! I have a "bunch" of Meyer lemons that I'm searching for additional ways to use them. You can bet this one's next!

strike that - i should have read more closely. i'll try to find maldon!

awesome idea! heidi: do you have a particular type/brand of salt you recommend using?

I have a Meyer lemon tree that has a bunch of lemons just about ripe and so this recipe is perfect timing. So excited!

Heidi, I really wanted to see an image of the Buddah Hand!!! What exciting recipes to try and FYI I am gifting my daughter in law your newest book for her birthday; Everyday Super Natural. She is a fabulous chef and I know she will enjoy it. Keep up the inspiring recipes! Nancy

Though I'm smacking my head for not having thought of doing this myself, I am thrilled beyond belief to have a gorgeous (and delicious) weekend project to work on! A friend of mine just brought me some beautiful salts from The Meadow up in PDX, so I may try doing this with one of those. Can't wait! :)

I make citrus sugars, too, but never know how long they'll stay good. Any ideas? Salt's a natural preservative and so is citrus, for that matter. We don't have lemon trees weighed down with fruit here, but Central Market's still running their Citrus Fest this week and I found some lovely organic grapefruit from the valley at whole Foods yesterday. Don't take yall's backyard trees for granted!! : )


Thanks for something new and unique to add to my recipe collection.


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