Citrus Salt

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

Citrus Salt

If you want to know how to make a spectrum of beautiful citrus salts, you’re in the right place. 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. Makrut limes are perched in the corners of window sills. Oblong mandarinquats and petite kalamansi oranges are scattered across other flat surfaces. And then, the prize of all prizes, a massive, electric-yellow Buddha's hand puts off more fragrance than the rest combined. A day of making citrus salts is in order. They’re wonderful to have on hand, make charming housewarming and holiday gifts, and are not hard to make.

a range of homemade citrus salts in glass jars

Why I love Citrus Salts

Citrus salt is pretty and utilitarian. It provides a pop of surprise flavor to any dish. Friends will love you even more when you hand them little jars to take home after a visit. I tend to use them as finishing salts. Lime salt sprinkled over coconut milk-based curries, or as a finishing touch on spring rolls is a welcome wildcard. Mandarinquat salt sprinkled over homemade sea salt caramels or to top labneh? Give me a minute, I’m adding those ideas to my to-do list. Later in the year, the clementine and Meyer lemon salts are perfect on fava beans and asparagus. And beyond that, on heirloom tomatoes.
citrus salts drying on baking sheet

Citrus Salt: Ingredients

  • Citrus: You can make citrus salt from many kinds of citrus. Seek out unusual and offbeat varietals at farmers’ markets in fall and winter. Ideally you want to buy good, organic, citrus. Avoid waxed citrus, but If that's what is available, be sure to give it a good scrub with warm water. Dry completely before zesting.
  • Salt: You'll notice I call for flaky sea salt. For citrus salt, light and flaky salt crystals you can crush between your fingertips work best. I use Maldon, but you can certainly experiment. There are many wonderful salts available.

three different examples of citrus salt drying on baking sheet

How To Make Citrus Salts: Basic Technique

I’ll get into more details in the recipe below, but the premise for making citrus salt is quite straightforward. 1 tablespoon of zest to 1/2 cup of salt is a ratio that works well, 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.

  1. Zest the citrus.
  2. Massage the citrus zest into salt.
  3. Bake at a low temperature to dry the salt mixture out.
  4. Crush citrus salt in food processor or mortar and pestle if you’d like to change the texture. I like to break it down a bit. It's still light and flaky, just less so. Process them powder fine if you like. A lot of what this comes down to is personal preference.   

citrus salts drying on baking sheet

Have fun with this one! And keep an eye out for little vintage, glass salt shakers and jars to store your special citrus salts.
a range of homemade citrus salts in glass jars in a kitchen corner

More Citrus Ideas

You'll only use the zest when making citrus salt, but you don't want all that amazing juice to go to waste. The solution? Start by zesting the fruit, 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. And here’s a page with more citrus recipes.
a range of homemade citrus salts in glass jars

Homemade Spice Blends

More Citrus Recipes

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Citrus Salt

5 from 1 vote

I used Maldon sea salt flakes here, but you can certainly experiment with other kinds of flaky salt. Another tip: try to buy good, organic, citrus. And avoid waxed citrus. If that's what you have, be sure to give it a good scrub with warm water. Dry completely before zesting. And look for vintage salt shakers and tiny jars for your citrus salt creations.

For each type of salt you'll need:
  • 1/2 cup / 2.25 oz / 65 g flaky sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon citrus zest
  1. Preheat your oven to oven 225°F / 105°C.
  2. 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).
  3. Bake for 70 minutes, or until the citrus is completely dried out. Keep an eye on things. If your oven runs hot, you don’t want the citrus to burn or brown too much. You just want it to dry out. When done baking, flecks of zest should crumble when pinched between your fingers.
  4. 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.

Makes 1/2 cup of citrus salt.

Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
1 hr 10 mins
Total Time
1 hr 15 mins
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And I thought kalamansi is only available in the tropics =) . Nice to know this, definitely try this!

Jose Cueto

What a smart way to flavor food. This will be great once summer rolls around and I’m back to the BBQ.


Wow! what a brilliant idea, Thanks for Sharing with us.

Best Diets

oh lala! i love versatile salts like yours!


I’m getting To make this for a thank you gift! I’m thinking about adding a tiny bit of ginger and hoping that it dehydrates well in the oven! Wish me luck…….


I was just given a bunch of lemons from a neighbor and I’m nearly out of freezer juice. Great suggestion!


Great Idea! I keep a bowl full of lemons on my counter at all times as I tend to go through lemon juice like water. This sounds like a great way to use up the extra zest that otherwise goes into the compost bin!

Rob @

What a great idea! I live in Greece where the lemon trees are on every corner and I never got any creative idea about them beyond lemonade.
Thanks for the tip!


I definitely encourage everyone to pay attention to the directions and keep an eye on your salts while drying! 70 minutes was apparently much too long for my oven, and the zest bits are all browned and scorched tasting now, which is so sad. But, I’ll try again. Good thing I didn’t use Maldon!


Since I love salt, citrus and the color white, I love everything about this post. The marble, the windowsill, the glass shakers. Everything and I’m inspired.


Beautiful photos! I’m going to give this salt to my guests as wedding favor. Will go perfect with my vintage-inspired wedding. Thank you so much for the wonderful idea.


I love simple ideas like this, Heidi! Thank you for sharing.

Cookie and Kate

what a lovely little seasoning brigade, all lined up on your counter top! i used a variety of flavored (mostly herb) salts on tomato sandwiches all summer long. now that the winter snows are here, the brightness of the citrus brings a welcome dash of warmth to the palette! most recently, my kitchen has seen tangerine, yuzu, and lime salt, all of which are fabulous accents on top of a roasted avocado! for those of you who are wondering, it IS possible to just mash or grind fresh zest (no baking) with salt, but it keeps better and has more pronounced flavor after drying. i only do that if i want to make a quick single-serving salt. time to go make some curry, and caramel, and . . . .


I love this! I’m definitely going to have to try it myself, I’m addicted to all things citrus!

meatballs & milkshakes

I love this! I’m definitely going to have to try it myself, I’m addicted to all things citrus!

meatballs & milkshakes

This is an amazing idea and sounds heavenly! It is certainly visually appealing. I cannot wait to try this out!


This is a great way to use citrus zest!

Dr. Sarah Cimperman

This would make an awesome gift. I am excited to try it and I know just the people to give it to. I love the photos with the glass salt shakers.


What a fantastic idea for presents. A few flakes of clementine salt over chocolate ganache would make me pretty happy.

Tori @ eatori

Lovely post! Salts looks delicious!


This sounds positively heavenly to the taste buds and it’s incredibly beautiful too!


What a versatile condiment! I can’t wait to host a citrus salt party — make some different varieties so guests can experiment with different citrus flavors. Now, if I could get my hands on some of those more unusual fruits!


Excellent! I have had a box of Maldon salt that I have not known what to do with at all. Now I know to mix it up with citrus zests and have some salty gifts for a salt-loving friend of mine.

Sharyn Dimmick

A lovely post, as always. I recently made meyer lemon and rosemary salt for a couple of food swaps I attended. My favorite application: a sprinkle of it in meyer lemon lemonade. Now I want to make kumquat salt and put it on vanilla ice cream.


Brilliant! I can’t wait to try this!


What lovely jars!
I’m just doing something similar tonight with dried porcini mushrooms and sea salt as a umami-rich crust for steak.
Looking forward to trying this with citrus as well. x


I’m so happy for this post because I’ve recently become obsessed with salts. It’s so amazing how a different salt can change the flavor of a dish. I recently had black Hawaiian sea salt on dark chocolate caramels, it was sublime.

Tasha @Tashasdish

This is an awesome idea. I loved it so much I tried making additional flavor salts using ingredients like Thyme, Raspberry, Garlic, and Pear for my pear crumble as a finishing salt and all I can say is wow.
The saltiness of the pear salt I made brings out the flavors of my pear crumble, thank you for sharing.

Richard Bishop

As soon as citrus season rolls around again in my part of the world, I am all over this. In the meantime, I have some Seville oranges in my freezer that I’m going to try. Love all your gorgeous little salt shakers. Do you think kosher salt would be ok to use?

Couscous & Consciousness

Shalom from the northern Negev the blooming desert of Israel.You have fans here too.My villa has awonderful selection of citrus trees.I thnk a pomello version would be sublime.Sweet ,grapefruit touched with a lemony yumminess combined with lovely salt will crown many lovely dishes.


Your salt shakers are so cute! And these salts look wonderful! I bet lemon salt would be amazing on fresh, ripe tomato slices.


what a brilliant idea!
i am currently in india, but will be heading home next week. you can be sure that now i will be sneaking some sweet limes into my suitcase to mix with salt upon my return.


Oh, I have a six-pack of Maldon salt on my basement pantry – can’t wait to try some of these. Your photos are a clean and warm breath of fresh air in the depths of our deep freeze in northwest British Columbia


For the first time this year, I did a batch of flavored sugars (vanilla, orange cinnamon) and they were a hit. Had also been considering flavored salt and will definitely try!


I love your collection of little jars! So pretty.


Your salts look amazing! What a great idea.


I love this idea. In fact, we were going to do it as our little wedding ‘thank you’ gift. Instead we’re going with limoncello (can you sense a theme here?), but I will most definitely be making this anyway. Lovely for yourself and gifts!
Heidi xo
ps SO jealous of your citrus overload. I can’t get enough meyer lemons.

Heidi - Apples Under My Bed

Hi Heidi! I love this idea, but I’ve never seen most of the types of citrus you mentioned! I know I could just use oranges or tangerines, but I’d love to try some of the more exotic varieties! Any tips for how to get them outside of California?

Elizabeth @ Coppertop Kitchen

    Some of the farms have mail order in the winter, and other ship the actual citrus trees if you’re a good climate for citrus growing (some varietals do well indoors).

    Heidi Swanson

must try this! have seen citrus salts at the market, but i’m sure the flavor of homemade is so much more vibrant. and if my tiny meyer lemon plant produces fruit someday … oh the possibilities 🙂


My little granddaughter made me some of these for Christmas this year and I have loved playing with them!
Now I can make my own…

Rocky Mountain Woman

brilliant idea! so simple but i can see so many uses for these.


I never thought I would describe salt as pretty, but this is! I love how you’ve displayed them in glasses. I would love to try this, thanks for sharing it!


Yum! I’ve been making loads of chlili salt lately to eat with some of the green mangoes that seem to always be dropping off our tree. Love the sound of the mandarinquat salt over caramels!


you’re so clever! love the idea for the lime salt on curry. . . y u m !


what a FANTASTIC way to keep a whiff of citrus, the year round! i am always loathe to use the juice/fruit, without taking advantage of all the lovely, oily zest. brilliant.


What a great idea Heidi, you constantly amaze me with your creativity and beautiful images. I have a whole bowl of meyer lemons that now have a purpose. Thanks!


Love everything about this post Heidi – can’t wait to try them, thank you! xx
HS: Happy New Year Keiko – I’m sure you’d do something lovely with them.


How very creative of you. And I love your little glass jars. You are very inspiring


These salts sound amazing…I’ve never had citrus salt before. And your salt containers are gorgeous…love the shot with the salt, your utensils, plants, and cutting board!
Thanks for sharing!

Life of a Modern Housewife

What a lovely idea! There is an abundance of lemons on our tree right now so I will am glad to find another way to put them to good use.


We are using the citrus salt on top of our lemon galette and the combination is extraordinary. Salt vs. Sweet you can’t go wrong. thanks for the post

I love the last picture! It is completely my taste. I was just this very day realising that lemon, just like salt, really brings out a good flavour in almost any dish. Thanks for this great recipe. Have a lovely weekend!


You are a Goddess, Heidi! These salts are the stuff of life! Too good!


Lovely; simply lovely.

The Healthy Apple

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

Kathy Fitz

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!

Grace @ What Grace Cooked

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.

Brenda @ourfoodshed

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!

Holly (The Apiarist)

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!

samantha jillian

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

samantha jillian

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

Charlotte Rains Dixon

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! 🙂

Kimberly @ Poor Girl Eats Well

Yum! Gorgeous. Love citrus, too. Thank you for lovely inspiration.

terri schmitt

I love this idea! Meyer lemons are one of the few consulations of the winter but I fee like I underuse them. Will definitely try this weekend.

Ana Sofia

Wow, the possibilities are endless. I love the idea of giving them as gifts. I don’t cook with too much salt, but these are great.

jeri kim lowe

Oh, what a brilliant idea – and so easy, too. I have a prolific lemon tree and I hate seeing them drop on the ground. This idea will be on my list for gifts, thanks.


I’m a little obsessed with finishing salts and yet I’ve never considered making my own! Can’t wait to try this out!

Brian @ A Thought For Food

I’ve got a shelf in the fridge designated the “citrus shelf” at the moment, and it’s overflowing with grapefruit, oranges, lemon, lime, and pomelo. I can’t wait to give this salt a go! It’s grapefruit week at la domestique blog and I’m thinking a grapefruit /lime salt would be fun.

la domestique

What a great activity for a cold winter’s day! Thanks 🙂
And congrats on the cookbook food52 news! 🙂


Heidi, a gorgeous prsesentation -and lots of ideas spring to mind- as always. I like the thought of these salts for a body scrub, or even in the bath! ( A good way to get your minerals, if you use the good salt, and just lie around in the boughs of an inland critus sea.) Thank you for that wonderful sense-image of your kitchen. I’d use the pink Himalayan, i think. You must have good citrus…really hope people are getting organic for this, or cleaning them very well. Soaking in some bentonite clay-water is not a bad plan, for those who are stuck with the pesticide and waxed versions. I too was hoping to see an image of that Buddha’s hand! But why bake the citrus? Why not let the salt take up the moisture, and air or sun-dry? There must be some valuable “stuff” (technical term 🙂 ) lost in the baking… regards and all the best with the cookbook.


Heidi, I always love your photography, but the photos today absolutely sing of spring to me. I have been looking for more ways to enjoy fresh citrus juice, and zest since receiving a fresh citrus gift basket. I am constantly surprised at how even just a little lemon juice has feel-good benefits beyond just being a wonderful flavor enhancer. I think I may add a little rosemary in my sea salt batch as well. Warmly, Noelle

Noelle @ GreenLemonade

I am a serious salt lover and have recently been into trying out different types of salts. Thanks for the inspiration to venture into trying to make some of my own!

Tracy A.

This is a great and useful idea. Perfect for hostess and other thoughtful gifts for the special people in our lives.


I just started subscribing to your blog about a month or so ago and I have to tell you… it just gets me through my long, long days at a job where I must continually reinvent in order to not go a bit mad.
Your style and recipes and photos are just SO inspiring and renewing. I just had to send you my sincerest thanks.
Happy New Year! Also, I did find an amazing little bread recipe that made me think of you… If I can figure out how to send it, I will. I am about to shop for the beluga lentils tonight at the coop. Cheers!

HS: Thanks for the nice note Barbara. And the Belugas are my favorite. I always stock up when I come across them.

Barbara Bennett-Calkins

What an utterly heavenly recipe!

Skye @ Skye Loves...

thank you for posting this – i’ve never even heard of citrus salts before! i’ve learned something new today, and i’m totally thinking grapefruit salt because i have so many of them at the moment.


Heidi, I am inspired by everything! I have both of your cookbooks and turn people on to your blog regularly. I could use a touch of lime salt on the roasted sweet potato I am eating now and I have to make the grapefruit salt to line the rim of my of my salty dog grapefruit martini glass!


Heidi, citrus salt looks like the perfect compliment to a nice ripe avocado. Thanks for the recipe. Also a nice salt to rip a cocktail!

HS: Great idea 🙂

Maria @ Sinfully Nutritious

Love your ideas, Heidi, for using citrus salts. I’m headed to my kitchen right now to use your recipe. Really enjoy your blog and your Supernatural Cookbook. I have beautiful lemons year-round here on Maui.


Oh what a great gift idea!

Simply Life

Heidi, I am just wondering if this citrus salt has a shelf life? It would take me so long to go through all of that salt! Thanks so much!


Each and every of your posts is a gem: I know I am going to find simple and great ideas, without fail. I’m also a big fan of your books. I can’t help being excited by Nigella Lawson’s review – two of my food goddesses together! Too much!


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!

Linda NYC

This sounds so neat! Yum!

Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar

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

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

leaf (the indolent cook)

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.


Yum! So glad I found your cookbook @ Ferry Terminal! Have enjoyed dining, cooking, and trekking with you ever since. Thanks for the awesome salts!!

Carol Cook

Heidi, thank you for your lovely blog, your beautiful photography and your constant inspiration! I’ve been browsing your blog and Pinning so many of your recipes for over a year now and thought I should finally express my thanks! I plan on buying your book soon. So many great recipes and my 16 yr. old daughter is a vegetarian (for 2 years now), so you’re site gives me so many options for her! Thanks!!


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


Beautiful in every way!
I’m wondering if something similar would work with pepper as in lemon pepper…dry the zest and pulse zest and peppercorns?

Ann from Montana

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.


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


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