Ever since I began making my own seasoned garlic salt, it's become my go-to seasoning. I put it on just about everything that normally needs salt & pepper: meats, veggies, eggs... you name it! Because I'm in the "everything-is-better-with-garlic" camp, this is an easy way to add a hint of garlic flavor along with salt and pepper.
I learned how to make this simple salt when my sister, our husbands, and I attended the Chefs' Holidays at Yosemite. We learned from several accomplished chefs including Kent Rathbun who prepared an amazing 5 course meal for our final banquet. (He beat Bobby Flay on Iron Chef, and now I know why!) The chefs' demonstrations took place at The Majestic Yosemite Hotel at Yosemite National Park. What a place! This experience combined several of my favorite things: (1) cooking (and eating!), (2) the company of my big sis and our husbands, and (3) being surrounded by the natural beauty of Yosemite. What a fabulous time we all had. (King-Man, who seldom never cooks wasn't as wild about the cooking part, but he loved hiking in Yosemite.)
What's so special about this flavored salt? When you see how simple it is, you may wonder why I'm making such a big fuss about it. Truth is, the simplicity is much of the appeal. A common theme in all of Chef Rathbun's cooking is to use good quality ingredients and season them well. He thinks that many cooks don't season as well as they should, and that makes all the difference in the final taste of a recipe. Chef Rathbun stressed that simple is better, and is resistant to the tendency of many chefs to make cooking more complicated than it needs to be. It may be impressive to include lots of fanfare, flourishes, and fancy ingredients when you cook, but Chef Rathbun taught us that simplicity in the kitchen produces the best results. That applies to seasonings as much as the main ingredients.
The seasoned garlic salt (the second one I explain in this post below) is 100% inspired by Chef Rathbun. He taught us how to make it, and I'm sharing a slightly modified, scaled down version of his recipe with you today. He uses this seasoned garlic salt on virtually everything (in his words "anywhere you need extra flavor"). It's particularly good on grilled meats; in fact, he sells it as a steak and chop salt in his online store.
What kind of salt is best? Chef Rathbun recommends kosher salt for this recipe, and that's what I use, too. It has a texture that is particularly appealing. Also, kosher salt is free of chemicals and additives. The iodine and minerals present in some salts can cause the garlic to discolor.
Great for gifts. I've made some labels you can add to jars or bottles of homemade garlic salt seasoning. The labels add a finishing touch and make them ready to have on hand for gifts. This seasoning is so versatile, that it makes a great gift for anyone who cooks. Look for my printable labels further down in the post.
First, I'll show you how to make plain Garlic Salt that is a delicious, natural substitute for the Garlic Salt you buy at the store. This recipe is SO easy and tastes way better! Then, I'll show you how to make Seasoned Garlic Salt to make it even more versatile and an everyday, all-purpose seasoning.
Step 1. Assemble the ingredients for Plain Garlic Salt (there aren't many!):
Seriously, that's it. No preservatives or anti-caking additives, no flavor enhancers. This recipe is natural and pure.
view on Amazon: kosher salt
Step 2. Peel the garlic (I roll mine in a garlic peeler tube and the peels fall right off). You need 1/4 cup of garlic cloves. It will take 1 to 1-1/2 heads of garlic.
view on Amazon: garlic peeler tube
Step 3. Add 1 cup of salt and the garlic cloves to a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Process until the garlic is finely minced and the consistency is like moist sand--approx. 20 seconds of processing.
view on Amazon: 14-cup food processor --rated #1 by Cook's Illustrated Test Kitchen.
Step 4. Spread the salt/garlic mixture on a large baking sheet that's been lined with parchment paper. (Without the parchment paper, it will stick; and the salt may damage your baking sheet if it's left on there too long. You can use a Silpat mat in place of parchment paper, if you have one.)
Step 5. Bake it at 180 degrees for approximately 1 hour until it's dry and crisp--it should break off in pieces. You don't want it to brown; this low oven temperature dries it out and cooks it slightly without browning it.
view on Amazon:
Step 6. Pick up the parchment paper (or Silpat mat) and use it to transfer the cooked salt mixture back into the food processor. Pulse it a few times until it is the consistency of cornmeal.
Done! Easy, right? Store the garlic salt in an airtight jar. It should be good for months as long as it isn't exposed to moisture. If it does begin to clump up, simply return it to the food processor to restore it to it's cornmeal consistency. I haven't had to do this; mine has maintained its texture and fresh taste for 3 months now. Maybe it will be different in the humid summer months.
This is easy, too! All you do is add 1/4 cup (or more) ground black pepper to the garlic salt mixture explained above. Seriously. That's all there is to it. You can buy black pepper already ground; but, if possible, I recommend freshly grinding your own from peppercorns. You can use a pepper mill (although it will take a while and give your hands and wrist a good workout). I prefer to use a coffee grinder for grinding larger quantities of black pepper. It grinds peppercorns easily in a few seconds. (I have a grinder that I only use for spices so that I avoid adding peppery flavor to my coffee.) DON'T try to grind peppercorns in a food processor--it will mar the finish of your food processor bowl, and it does a lousy job of grinding the pepper. (Unfortunately, I speak from experience here.)
Once your pepper is ground, all you need to do is stir it into the plain garlic salt, or combine it with a few pulses in a food processor.
This is Chef Rathbun's (and my) favorite all-purpose seasoning. It adds simple and delicious flavor to many, many foods.
Add more pepper, if you like. Because we've cut way back on salt in our house and I'm a pepper lover, I increase the amount of pepper in the recipe when I make this. So, instead of 1/4 cup of pepper to 1 cup of salt, I use equal parts salt and ground pepper in mine. That makes it less salty and more peppery--that's the way I like it. You can play with the salt to pepper ratio to see what mix you like the best. (The complete printable recipe at the end of this post reflects the ratio of ingredients recommended by Chef Rathbun, and it includes my tip for making it more peppery.) My favorite uses for this peppery seasoned garlic salt:
A gift cooks love! Garlic salt is one of the most popular seasonings there is, and that makes it a perfect gift for anyone who cooks. Pour it into a small jar or shaker bottle, label it, and you've got a homemade, useful gift to give. I think these make ideal host/hostess gifts. When you want to take a little something along to someone's house but you don't want to go too overboard, a little jar of homemade garlic salt is just the thing.
Shaker spice bottles are convenient for sprinkling a little bit of garlic salt onto food.
view on Amazon: small spice shaker bottles
Mason jars are a good choice, too. The 4 oz. size is just the right size for keeping near the stove for adding a pinch of seasoning to food as you cook.
My favorite. The spice jars pictured below are my personal favorites. I think they're kind of adorable. They're clear, so you can see the contents, easy to open and close, and they have an airtight gasket seal.
view on Amazon: 4 oz. spice jars (with airtight lids)
Download printable jar labels/tags.
If you don't have a printer or specialty papers, you can have a store with printing services download and print them for you (Kinkos, Office Depot, Staples, etc.)
Click on the image of your choice to download & print a full sheet of labels/tags. There are 2 sizes of labels on each sheet to accommodate different jar sizes. I've included a blank label for you to customize as you wish, or use it as a "TO and FROM" tag.
Cut with scissors or a circle punch. You can cut the round tags out carefully with scissors, or use a circle punch to make the task easier and more precise. The circle punches come in several sizes to accommodate different jar and bottle lids.
view on Amazon:
Try chalkboard labels. This is another fun option for labeling your spice jars & bottles. They have the benefit of being semi-permanent. The chalkboard ink doesn't smear or wash off with water, but it can be removed with a Windex-type window cleaner with ammonia. The labels adhere really well; you can hand wash the jars without harming the label.
view on Amazon: round chalkboard labels with chalk pen
Here's one of my favorite little bowls made by the talented local St. Louis artist, Ann Ohotto Thompson. I keep this bowl next to my stove so I can easily add a pinch of seasoned garlic salt to just about everything I cook. If salt makes something taste good, this seasoned garlic salt makes it taste even better! It's amazing on popcorn, too.
Make it a Yummy day!