How To Make Garlic Salt


When you start cooking from scratch, one of the first stumbling blocks is that every single recipe seems to call for some kind of spice or seasoning that you don’t have. So you start buying those little plastic jars with the red caps and get cooking. Then one day you notice how many recipes list two different amounts, one for fresh herbs and spices and one for dry. “Hmm …” you think to yourself, “I wonder if the fresh stuff is really that different.”

So you start small. Maybe you go look at peppercorns and a pepper mill. By the time you use up the peppercorns the money you save will have paid for the pepper mill. Cool! This is a money saver. Then it happens: You taste it. Wow, so that’s what pepper is supposed to taste like. Suddenly steak au poivre starts sounding like a good idea. From there it’s a short step to trying some fresh garlic. That’s when you’re really hooked.

All of which is a long way of getting to the point that it’s not really cooking “from scratch” until you start preparing your own herbs and spices. The easiest one, I’ve already mentioned: Pepper. That’s the no-brainer. Cheaper, better tasting, and lasts just about forever. It’s so durable it used to be used for currency.

If you could only have salt, pepper and one other seasoning, next best would probably be garlic salt. So let’s go ahead and make some.


Yeah, garlic and salt in garlic salt. Who would’ve guessed? Check the ingredients on yours. Does it list anything else?


Start with two cloves of garlic, peeled and minced.

Add two teaspoons of coarse kosher salt and mince it into the garlic.

The coarse salt crystals will grind the garlic even smaller, while the juice from the garlic is absorbed into the salt.

You can speed up the process a little bit if you have a mortar and pestle. Or go for the really old school method and use a kuzavi or a ural. I’m not so committed to grinding spices that I’m going to design my kitchen around it.

Some people like using a small coffee grinder for processing their spices. (Which just may be coming full circle, since it’s possible coffee was first ground using tools built for grinding spices.) I don’t like having to clean tiny little pieces like that. Especially when some of those pieces are razor-sharp little blades. I make an exception for my immersion blender, because there are some things I just can’t make the same without it.

If you like having a single spice blend that you can take with you to the grill, you can add the black pepper at this point and do some more mincing.

When I go on vacation later this summer, I might make up a jar of this. But since I generally only cook on the weekends I’d rather grind the pepper right onto the meat. The flavor in pepper is carried in its oils, and as soon as you grind it the oils start to dry out. The right combination of fat and heat when you cook can bring most of the flavor back, but I don’t like to count on it.

If the girls haven’t already finished the cultured butter, I’m going to take some of that and some garlic salt and make a spread. Hmm, that would probably work really well on the grill. I wonder if my wife has planned tomorrow’s dinner yet …

Keep adding salt and chopping until the salt isn’t clumping together any more.

And that’s it.

Garlic Salt

Garlic Salt


  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt per 1 clove garlic


Peel and mince the garlic. Add the salt and continue to mince.

The coarse salt will help to break down the garlic, and the oils released by the garlic will be absorbed by the salt.

Keep mincing the salt and garlic together until the garlic is no longer clumping together. If the salt is completely pulverized and the garlic is still sticking, you had unusually large cloves. Add a little more salt and keep mincing.

When the mixture looks mostly dry, and uniformly chopped into coarse powder, use it right away or seal in an airtight container. Don't go to all the trouble to make your own garlic salt, then let it dry out so it's like the stuff you can get at the grocery story, already done for you.


  1. Valreia says:

    Great, will try it out. My only question is…how long can I keep that garlic salt in a jar? How long will it last…sorry I hope you understand what I mean…(my english isn’t thát good I’m afraid) (dutch).

  2. Kristin says:

    Interesting . . . but I think I’ll stick with Penzey’s.

  3. Valeria, your English is fine. Better than some native speakers I’ve tried to read.

    How long can you keep it? In a jar with a tight lid you can keep it for months. But the reason I like doing it fresh is there’s so much more flavor. I’ll do one or two cloves of garlic at a time.

    Kristin, a while back for some reason I happened to read the ingredients on my garlic salt. It listed about six or seven ingredients. WTF? So I figured what the heck, I’ll do it myself.

    • patricia conlon says:

      my recipe calls for 1/8 cup of coarse ground salt and garlic, is that equivelent to 1/8th cup garlic salt store bought? Don’t think so blue cheese dressing tasted way too salty yuk. would like to add to the recipe to tone done the salt. Is that possible? Is there a way to figure the conversion?

      • Patricia, that’s one of the reasons I like making my own garlic salt — I know exactly what’s in it. For your dressing, it doesn’t really matter what the recipe says. If you think it’s too salty, use less salt. Recipes aren’t gospel, they’re a starting point.

  4. Stephanie says:

    And all this time I thought I was cooking from scratch! It never even occurred to me to make my own garlic salt.

  5. I’m just waiting for the wise-ass comments. “Oh, and what did you make the salt from?” Reminds me of one I heard a while ago …

    Scientists develop a way to create new life directly from soil. In a fit of hubris the lead scientist says at a press conference that yes, this does make him feel like a god.

    There’s a massive thunderclap and cloud of smoke, and God appears. He challenges the scientist to display his “godlike” powers. The scientist bends down to scoop some dirt off the ground. God says, “Uh-uh. Make your own dirt.”

  6. Sweet Bird says:

    First off, love the joke. I was giggling so loudly Husband thought I was crazy. Secondly, I felt the same way about using a coffee grinder to grind my spices until I learned a handy little trick. When you’re finished grinding your spices, throw a handful of dry rice into the grinder and let her rip for about 30 seconds. Toss out all the odors and little bits of leftover spice with the rice.

    Works like a charm.

  7. Thanks for the great tip. I guess I’ll keep my eyes open for a used one.

    • Joan Hampton says:

      Cuisinart makes a coffee grinder with stainless steel cup and blade assembly that can be removed and put in dishwasher. Still use my old grinder, too, so will try her rice method on that. Grinder works great for making gomasio too.

  8. Grumpy Old Man says:

    I ran across your post on garlic salt in the middle making some – I did not know how to judge the ratio, so ‘when it stops clumping’ worked for me. I used some Himalayan sea salt with garlic I grew myself. I was mincing it all with a French chef’s knife and it was taking for ever!! After reading your post, I used our mortar and pestle and switched over to kosher salt. The paste is pinkish but smells wonderful.

    Thanks for the help

  9. Pink garlic salt sounds awesome. I’ve got some pink salt handy, and a new mortar and pestle I need to break in. I might just give that a try.

  10. Mandy kienast says:

    I grow my own garlic and shallots then dehydrate them.
    When dry I grind them in a small blender, into a powder,
    mix with salt usually 3 parts salt to 1part garlic/shallots.
    It’s easy Keeps well If you dry your garlic until it starts
    To brown the salt takes on a nice toasty taste!

  11. I can’t wait to try this out! I just looked at the garlic salt container and it listed “natural flavoring”, which usually means it contains some form of MSG. It also comes from China!

  12. I did this in the food processer & was really pleased w/the results. However, the next day my new salt was a light green color! Any idea what would cause this?

    • Cara, check out this article from the New York Times:

      The pigment itself turns out to be a close chemical relative of chlorophyll, which gives all green leaves their color.

      There’s a chemical reaction that can take place when you blend garlic with salty or acidic ingredients. Nothing to worry about, and in China they do it on purpose for a certain kind of pickle.

  13. Patricia in Denver says:

    I landed here because I want an alternative to processed garlic, which is usually from China, I understand. By using California garlic, I would know about the lineage! However, raw garlic does harbor salmonella – I am thinking that roasting the finished product at low heat for a while, then adding more salt as needed should make it safe. Also, at room temp in a dry climate or placed in a dehydrator might take it back to a granular consistency… I look forward to adding this to my homemade list!

    • Grumpy Old Man says:

      Salt is a pretty good antibiotic which is why salt is used to cure things. I would say “nothing grows in or on salt” but I am sure there is an extremophile organism somewhere that can grow on salt.

  14. This seems really awesome!! I’m going to try it this weekend!!! Any other spice ideas?

    • Make your own chili powder. Get some chile powder — powder from a single type of chile pepper — add salt, garlic and cumin. Play around with amounts, and different types of chiles.

  15. Wow! And to think i used to hang out at the gym. Absolutely love this site! Any tips on starting a garden? Anyway, we’re making the garlic salt with organic garlic and get this, celtic sea salt. Going to also make a small batch with mint and one with a little basil to add to our rice. Stay in touch with us, please.
    Marco and Melissa


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