How-To & Diy

Forget Hot Sauce—Make Hot Salt Instead

June 27, 2017

As far as I’m concerned, peppers are pretty perfect. Raw, sautéed, or roasted, they shine on their own, but they also support my favorite dishes (red beans and rice, étouffée, fajitas, etc.). But any time I pick a pepper, I toss out its ribs and seeds. I feel bad about it, but not every dish calls for heat.

Pepper guilt, begone! In her latest cookbook, La Latina, Food Network Host Grace Ramirez describes an ingenious way to honor the entire pepper: chile salt.

It’s the perfect way to incorporate life, flavor and spice into your daily dishes and drinks.
Grace Ramirez

Ramirez uses dried guajillo chilies, slightly fruity peppers with earthy, tart undertones, for her chile salt, but follow your own heat-seeking heart. Simply remove 4 teaspoons worth of ribs and seeds from your dried chilies (or roughly chop whole chilies), then pulse them in a blender or spice grinder. Add 1 teaspoon of rock salt and pulse twice more and you'll have the perfect garnish for margaritas, micheladas, and huevos motuleños. Chile salt lasts for two weeks in an airtight container, but don't worry—we have tons of other ways you can use it.

For A Spicier Sip

Put A Kick In Your Dish

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Kathi Petersen
    Kathi Petersen
  • Kerry
  • HalfPint
  • Victoria Maynard
    Victoria Maynard
  • Rhonda35
Katie is a food writer and editor who loves cheesy puns and cheesy cheese.


Kathi P. September 26, 2017
I do this all the time with fresh long hot red chilies and kosher salt. You blend them together in a food processor, transfer it to a glass jar, and give the jar a shake every day for a few days to keep it mixed. The salt preserves the chilies. The flavor is amazing and it keeps for a LONG time. Wonderful on eggs, but wonderful on so many things. The colour is so beautiful!!
Kerry June 27, 2017
Can this be made with fresh peppers or do they need to be dried?
Kathi P. September 26, 2017
I do this with fresh chilies all the time! Just be sure to shake the jar of chili salt every day for a few days ... the salt will preserve the chilies. This is WONDERFUl stuff!!
HalfPint June 27, 2017
Hot Salt or chili salt is not exclusively Latino. It's in a lot of Asian cuisines (eg. Viet, Thai, Korean, etc). The Vietnamese (like me) use it to dip anything from fresh fruit to grilled meats and seafood. For a mouth-watering variation, add some lime or lemon juice.
HalfPint June 27, 2017
The addition of the citrus is amazing with grilled fish like halibut.
Victoria M. June 29, 2017
I I tried fruit dipped in chili salt when I was in the Mekong Delta and it was delicious! Thanks for the recipe Katie.
Rhonda35 October 2, 2017
Adding lime or lemon zest (rather than the juice) will maintain the texture of the salt crystals.