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

Post Your Comment

Recipe Rating


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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