Citrus-Flavored Margarita Salt

Citrus-Flavored Margarita Salt

Prep: 10 mins

Cook: 5 mins

Total: 15 mins

Servings: 45 servings

Yield: 1 1/4 cups

Margarita salt is a fabulous addition to margaritas and other cocktails. The saltiness intensifies a drink’s sweet and sour flavors, and flavored salts give it a nice boost. While you can buy endless varieties of margarita salt, it’s quick, easy, and inexpensive to make at home.

This recipe uses a blend of two salts: sea salt has a brinier, more intense flavor than kosher salt. Combining the two—along with a bit of sugar for sweetness—creates a pleasant base. For a bright citrus flavor that works with many cocktails (as well as beer drinks like the michelada), fine bits of dried lime and orange zest are added.

The recipe makes just over one cup of margarita salt and it stores well. You’ll have plenty to adorn the rim of your drinks for months. As it sits, the citrus will continue to infuse the salt with flavor, making it even better. You can also use the recipe as inspiration for a custom margarita salt formula with specialty salts or a little chili powder for a spicy kick.


  • 2 tablespoons lime zest, from 2 large limes

  • 2 tablespoons orange zest, from 2 medium oranges

  • 1/2 cup kosher salt

  • 1/2 cup coarse sea salt

  • 1/4 cup sugar, optional

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients. Preheat the oven to 300 F and place the oven rack in the middle.

    Citrus-Flavored Margarita Salt

  2. Zest the limes and oranges to produce about 2 tablespoons of each type of zest.

    Citrus-Flavored Margarita Salt

  3. In a small baking tray, spread the citrus zest out on parchment paper. Dry in the oven for 5 minutes, toss, then dry for an additional 3 to 5 minutes if needed. Remove from the oven and let cool.

    Citrus-Flavored Margarita Salt

  4. Using the parchment, transfer the zest to a cutting board and dice into finer pieces.

    Citrus-Flavored Margarita Salt

  5. In a small bowl, add the kosher and sea salts, sugar (if using), and dried citrus zest. Mix with a fork until well combined.

    Citrus-Flavored Margarita Salt

  6. Transfer to a jar with a tight seal. Store at room temperature in a dry, dark place for up to 6 months.

    Citrus-Flavored Margarita Salt

  7. To use the margarita salt, spoon a small portion into a shallow dish. Wet the rim of a glass with a citrus wedge, and roll it around in the flavored salt. Tap off any excess.

    Citrus-Flavored Margarita Salt

  8. Mix the cocktail, strain it into the salt-rimmed glass, and enjoy.

    Citrus-Flavored Margarita Salt


  • Parchment paper is not necessary, but it makes it much easier to move around the fine pieces of zest.
  • Depending on the fruit, the lime zest may dry faster than the orange. Don’t worry about getting either brittle-dry; during storage, the salt will take care of any remaining moisture.
  • Microplane graters will produce a fine zest that may not need to be diced. The goal is that the zest roughly matches the salt grains.

Recipe Variations

  • Coarse salts are best for rimming glassware, and there are several types of specialty salt that are perfect for this recipe. Use flake sea salt if you like larger pieces on the rim, or substitute all or a portion of the sea salt with Himalayan pink sea salt. Do not use a table or iodized salt; it’s too fine and salty.
  • Use a single type of citrus zest rather than a blend.
  • For a little spice, add about 1/2 teaspoon of chile powder—ancho and chipotle peppers are excellent choices. You can also skip the citrus zest completely and make chile margarita salt.

How Do You Get Margarita Salt to Stick to the Rim?

Thoroughly wetting the rim is essential to get salt, sugar, or any other rimming ingredient to stick to the glass. Running a citrus wedge or slice around the rim is especially convenient if your drink includes fresh juice or a citrus garnish. Liqueurs and syrups work as well; pour a small amount in a dish and dip the rim. Whichever liquid you use, the key is to get the rim wet all the way around then roll it in the salt before it dries.

Can Margarita Salt Be Used for Cooking?

Margarita salt is typically reserved for drinks and doesn’t make a good substitute for regular salt in food recipes. However, if you omit the sugar and don’t use flake salt, this particular blend could work if you’re cooking a dish that fits the salty-citrus flavor. Sprinkling it on fish filets, for instance, would add a nice flavor boost.

Nutrition Facts
Servings: 45
Amount per serving
Calories 0
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 1929mg 84%
Total Carbohydrate 0g 0%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Total Sugars 0g
Protein 0g
Vitamin C 1mg 4%
Calcium 2mg 0%
Iron 0mg 0%
Potassium 1mg 0%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.


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