Technique: Flavoured Salts

July 10, 2008

“A flavoured salt is one of the simplest and most basic ways of finishing a dish – it’s so easy and tasty, yet hardly anyone does it”– Jamie Oliver

Flavoured Salts

My fascination with flavoured salts began after reading about it in Jamie’s Kitchen. And boy was I in awe of salt when I learned about the different varieties. Now I look at salt with a lot  more reverence.

Many of these expensive flavoured salts that are all the rage right now can easily be mixed up at home at a much lower cost and they are so much fun to play around with! And, if you want to get gourmet-ish you can make combinations like smoked paprika, tomato and squid-ink with the salt. Mixing these together in creative ways can make for great unique Christmas gifts. I recently bought some expensive salts and now I’m wondering why.

Onion, garlic and celery are the most common flavoured salts but you can make some very wonderfully fragrant, wicked salt flavours with a little experimentation. Flavoured salts enhance the flavour of a dish or complement it apart from sounding glamourous. They can spruce up just about anything – soups, sandwiches, vegetables, seafood, side dishes, grilled meats – anything! Simply sprinkle them on chips and you’ll feel the difference.

I got myself some pretty bottles, flavoured some sea salt, and now I have a year’s supply to sprinkle on every other thing!

Flavoured Salts

(clockwise from top left: jasmine tea pearls, jasmine tea salt, lemon pepper salt, chocolate vanilla salt)

Jamie Oliver’s Flavoured Salts
From Jamie’s Kitchen

  • Fennel seed, lemon, vanilla
  • Lavender, rosemary, thyme
  • Lime lemongrass, chilli, ginger
  • Sichuan peppercorn, chilli, ginger
  • Jasmine tea – I pounded some jasmine tea pearls with sea salt and filled them up in bottle with a jasmine tea bag placed at the bottom for extra fragrance.

Herb Salts
Finishing salts works well when wetter sea salt is mixed with dried herbs. The moisture in the salt rehydrates the dried herbs or spices and brings them to life, with a little time. Freshly dried and ground herbs like rosemary and sage are also a good choice. You’d have to use a higher concentration of mild herbs like dried basil, oregano, coriander and bay leaves, which can otherwise be overwhelmed by the salt.

  • Rosemary – Just strip the rosemary leaves, put into the blender with coarse salt or rock salt, and blend for a few minutes. Great on all things tomato.
  • Dried, powdered curry leaves
  • Dried mint

Spicy Salts
Spices like toasted ground cumin seeds, five spice powder and smoked paprika (love anything smoky!) are strong enough so the lightest sprinkle will lend flavour to a dish.

  • Five spice powder
  • Coriander seeds
  • Ground toasted cumin seeds
  • Roasted sichuan peppercorn
  • Ground dried chilli peppers (ancho, smoked Serrano, chiptole)
  • Chilli powder
  • Smoked paprika (I absolutely love smoked paprika!)
  • Wasabi (!)
  • Saffron

Citrus Salt
Grate the rind of either of the fruits or even a combination and mix with sea salt. You could even dry out the rind before grinding and mixing it with the salt. It’s so good with fish, chicken and vegetables! But again, make these just when you need them since they lose flavour much faster.

  • Orange
  • Tangerine
  • Lemon
  • Lime or Keffir Lime

You can play around with the concentration of flavouring to your liking (more fun) but otherwise I like to use equal quantities of salt and flavouring. Try these. I’m sure you’ll be thrilled by the results and then you’ll wonder, what you did all this while without it, just like me.


  • Reply My Sweet & Saucy July 10, 2008 at 9:09 PM

    What a great post on flavoring! I love using different kinds of salts!

  • Reply Vida July 11, 2008 at 4:00 AM

    These look fabulous!! Love your little star bowls… very clever! Vida

  • Reply Shaheen July 11, 2008 at 4:10 AM

    My S&S;: Thank you!

    Vida: I love the star bowls! You know I almost didn’t buy them because they were so tiny.

  • Reply Anonymous July 11, 2008 at 10:46 PM

    How long do the flavoured salts usually last for? I.e. can I mix up a batch and keep it for a year?

  • Reply Shaheen July 12, 2008 at 12:37 AM

    Like I said in the post, some flavours are strong (cumin, 5 spice) and will be fragrant for a year. Probably more. But salts that have mild flavourings like citrus, basil, oregano won’t be too fragrant after a couple of weeks. It’s best you mix it up when required for best results.
    I love my cocoa, vanilla salt, I also added two teaspoons of sugar and I’m quite enjoying the sweet and salty taste.

    So again, even though the salts last long enough, make them fresh and you will have some wonderfully fragrant flavoured salt.

  • Reply GirlCanBake July 12, 2008 at 2:09 AM

    I absolutely love this post! Thanks for all the great ideas!

  • Reply Kristen July 12, 2008 at 8:18 AM

    What a fantastic photo!

  • Reply Katie B. July 12, 2008 at 8:09 AM

    What fun!! I am in love with your bowls!! Where can I order some??!?!

  • Reply Shaheen July 12, 2008 at 1:44 PM

    girlcanbake, kristen: thanks you :)

    katie b: I got these bowls from a local store. Not sure where you’ll find them. Sorry!

  • Reply Preyanka July 17, 2008 at 4:19 PM

    I love eating green mango, unripe guava and other fruits with chili and salt (and sometimes a little sugar). I saw a recipe for ginger salt somewhere that sounded yummy. Great post!

  • Reply Shaheen July 18, 2008 at 12:09 PM

    Yes! I like that too. Chilli salt is the typical Indian style of having green mango, unripe guava and even corn on the cob. Now you have my mouth watering for some guava. Should have bought them when I saw them on the street. Dang!

  • Reply Arundathi August 21, 2008 at 11:10 PM

    Just did a post on flavored salt too – happened to come across it at a Japanese restaurant! Its so fabulous – can’t believe its so rarely found!

  • Reply Dori Kate December 21, 2008 at 8:04 PM

    I have been looking online for 2 days for information about finishing salts (decided to give a trio of homemade salts to family for christmas) and your post has been the most helpfull for one post! Thank you for the long list of combination ideas – that is EXACTLY what I have spent the last hour hunting down!! Great job!

  • Reply Shaheen December 21, 2008 at 11:48 PM

    Dori Kate: You just made my day! I oft wonder how I could do justice to my older posts, but those who truly want it, find a way to it! :D I’m so happy this (almost) exhaustive list helped. :D

  • Reply Exotic Ingredients « Mumbai Boss July 5, 2010 at 9:08 AM

    […] You could use it in making paella or mix it up with some salt to have your very own flavoured salt. It’s also excellent when used as a rub for meats. Where can you find it? Syren Smoked Paprika, […]

  • Reply Tiina July 17, 2010 at 10:39 PM

    I just made chili salt from fresh chilies, it’s drying out in the kitchen spreading a wonderful, fruity smell all over the place! Next on my list is lemon rosemary salt, and as I was looking into what else I could make, I found your post.

    The smoked paprika salt sounds very intriguing, I love anything smoked :) Would you use equal quantities of salt and paprika? Seems like a lot, but I guess the salt needs to have a pretty strong flavour for it to work.

    Also, the wasabi salt sounds amazing! I have wasabi powder, so I need to make it into a paste first. How much wasabi paste would you use with salt?

    These salts are all part of a wedding present to fellow foodies :) I made some gorgeous rose petal salt last week and am looking forward to making loads more!

  • Reply vaishali August 29, 2010 at 2:40 PM

    had heard of garlic salt…but this surely is something new…love the v creative!

  • Reply reeta September 11, 2010 at 11:42 AM

    love your blog and love the fact that you share your love for food so beautifully..

    best wishes :-)

  • Reply Dana October 15, 2010 at 10:21 PM

    That looks fantastic! I really want to try making my own now. And dare I ask, where did you get those adorable star dishes?

    • Reply The Purple Foodie October 15, 2010 at 10:30 PM

      Thank you. :) They are from a local store here called HomeStop.

  • Reply BEKKI December 11, 2010 at 11:06 AM


    Dori Kate December 21, 2008 at 8:04 pm

    I have been looking online for 2 days for information about finishing salts (decided to give a trio of homemade salts to family for christmas) and your post has been the most helpfull for one post! Thank you for the long list of combination ideas – that is EXACTLY what I have spent the last hour hunting down!! Great job!

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  • Reply deepali April 30, 2011 at 7:56 PM

    you seem to have linked incorrectly! How to measure correctly takes one to flavored salts…

  • Reply Trevion July 3, 2011 at 7:25 PM

    Many many qiualty points there.

  • Reply bella October 27, 2011 at 8:06 PM

    these look great! do you have a recipe ffor black salt ( i think it’s done with squid ink?)

  • Reply teri November 11, 2011 at 4:18 PM

    I love the flavor combinations and am especially intrigued by the chocolate vanilla salt. Can you share the proportions?

    • Reply The Purple Foodie November 14, 2011 at 1:47 PM

      I just eyeball it. I’d probably do 200g salt, 1 tbsp of cocoa and 1 inch of vanilla – split, scraped and then dropped into the bottle of salt.

  • Reply SPICE UP YOUR DISHES WITH HOMEMADE FLAVORED SALTS | The Rambling Epicure July 24, 2012 at 7:20 PM

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    […] any sea salt – make your own for custom flavour combinations […]

  • Reply Vicki Johnson November 24, 2012 at 2:31 PM

    Thank you! I love to cook and experiment with salts.

  • Reply Katie’s Gift Guide- Part 2! | This is my life… December 22, 2012 at 5:52 PM

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  • Reply Anina April 13, 2013 at 7:23 PM

    Beautiful ideas! What is the process? Do you put the ingredients in the blender? Do you bake them together?

  • Reply Andrea Nicholas November 30, 2013 at 9:30 PM

    What are the measurements for the Wasabi Salt?

  • Reply Friday Favors :: Sriracha Salt » Chandra Keel Weddings + Events March 28, 2014 at 8:09 PM

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  • Reply The Hedonist Life May 12, 2014 at 2:56 AM

    I have been trying to find or make wasabi salt since I got back from HK. Can you give me some info on making this?


  • Reply A Little of Everything | Grey House Journal March 11, 2015 at 9:43 AM

    […] Another subject I found interesting is making your own flavored salts. Yes, I know I’m trying to ingest less salt, but if there’s a flavor entwined with the salt I’ll bet less salt would be consumed in the end. Here is a link with the how-to as well as flavor ideas. And another link with even more DIY ideas on how and with what ingredients. […]

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