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

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

Post Your Comment

Recipe Rating


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


Lovely; simply lovely. oxox

The Healthy Apple

Heidi, 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.


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