One of my favorite things to cook with is flavored salts. And while it sounds bougie and expensive, flavored salts are actually pretty common. Have you ever used garlic salt from Target or Kroger? That's a flavored salt. And it's da bomb dot com.

To quote Jamie Oliver: "Pungent spice blends are heavenly and elevate cooking to another level. That is exactly what flavored salts do."  He's got a lot of other great quotes, but I'm taking what's relevant to what I need. 

cereal, salt, rice, sweet
Natalie Choy

Now, a lot of guides will tell you that you can only make flavored salt with dry ingredients. That's not true. There are three ways to make flavored salts. Here they are in order from easiest to most difficult: the dry method, the wet method, and the reduction method.

So, how do you decide between these methods? It depends on what you want to make your flavored salt. It's also pretty easy to make complex flavors by mixing the salts together after you infuse them. Or combining the methods. But that's some high level stuff there. I'm just lazy, so I tend to mix them together.

When you make flavored salts, you want to use coarse salt. This includes sea salt, kosher salt, and fleur de sel. If you only have table salt, then you may need to increase your flavoring proportions.

The Dry Method

flour, milk, cereal, dairy product, dough, cream, wheat
Susanna Mostaghim

Like the name suggests, the dry method is used to flavor salts with dry ingredients. These include herbs (list available here) as well as vegetables and fruits with low water content. It helps if you have a food processor for this, but it's not required.

Before you start to infuse your salt, you have to prep your flavoring components. If you have fresh herbs, make sure to air or oven dry them if you can't dehydrate them. Citrus? Just grate or slice off the peel before you dry them. Dehydrate mushrooms you want to use. You get the gist.

Combine your ingredients in a food processor. If you don't have a food processor, you should a) get one, and b) chop your ingredients as small as possible and mix by hand. Add salt and mix─try to avoid pulverizing. Your basic ratio with coarse salt should be 1 teaspoon flavorings to 1/4 cup salt, but you can increase your flavorings to taste. 

Air dry or heat dry (covered in next method) if you didn't prep your flavoring ingredients correctly. Store in air-tight container and don't use for at least a day. 

My personal favorites with this method are lavender salt and rosemary-lemon. The first is pretty great for baking and as a salt rim for cocktails. And rosemary-lemon goes with lamb pretty damn well─trust me, I'm Persian. Cooking lamb is in my blood.

Wet Method

sweet, cream
Susanna Mostaghim

The wet method is obviously for (drumroll, please) wet ingredients. However, this is not for viscous liquids. This method is for thick, heavy flavoring agents such as condiments. Hell, you could even use blood to flavor your salt. Your ratio in this method is 1 tablespoon to every 1/2 cup salt.

To use this method, you follow basically the same steps as the dry method, minus the ingredient prep. Throw your ingredients in the food processor to blend them, add salt, and pulse until fully combined─you can tell by the change in color. If you don't have a food processor, just stir it all together.

With this method you don't have the luxury of storing it in an air-tight container right away. So you either have to air dry or heat dry the flavored salts made this way.

If you want to air dry your salt, place it on a baking sheet or piece of parchment paper and let it air for two days, remembering to stir it frequently. But, if you're impatient like me, I suggest heat drying by setting your oven to the lowest setting for two to three hours and stirring frequently. Once your salt has cooled down, transfer to an air-tight container.

My recommendations? Sriracha-lime salt for cocktails or grilled chicken. Or Hoisin-garlic salt for a few Asian dishes.

Reduction Method

coffee, chocolate, sweet
Susanna Mostaghim

This last method is the hardest. Even though it's not my favorite, it's nice that you don't need a food processor and it usually yields great results. Though I may be a tad biased, I love me some red wine salt. And I could─no, would─ make flavored salts out of any wine I could. 

To make this, you're going to need to make a reduction. First, measure about 3 cups of liquid per 1 cup of salt. Start by bringing your liquid (in a pot) to a boil. Once you start boiling your liquid, reduce heat to a simmer and continue to simmer until the ingredient is reduced to a syrup thick enough to coat a spoon.

Once this occurs, keep an eye on your reduction, as it can go from thick to burnt quickly. Seriously, I've burned too many red wine reductions to count. Reduction time will depend on the liquid used and the size of the pot. But, you can usually ballpark it to be between 15-20 minutes.

Once you reduce the liquid, immediately add salt and stir until the salt has completely absorbed the reduction and changes color. After this, you know the drill: air or heat dry and store in an air-tight container.

Now go out there and make your bougie AF flavored salts so you can pretend to be impressive. I do it all the time. People seem to think I'm a good cook.