What the Heck is Wine Salt?

Don’t feel bad if you have never heard of wine seasoning salt. Most people haven’t. But let me be the one to tell you that wine salt is packed with flavor and is incredibly easy to make!

It is basically a reduction of a good wine (red or white) that is mixed with kosher or sea salt and used as a seasoning on beef, pork, chicken, vegetables, stew, etc, etc…You get the picture. It tastes like a seasoned reduction sauce- having the same depth of flavor you get when you deglaze a pan. I like to take it a step further and add herbs and citrus zest so that it has even more punch. When the concentrated wine hits the juices of whatever meat or veggies you are seasoning, it turns into liquid deliciousness! Trust me, you will love it.

Wine Salt How-To Video:

Watch the quick video above showing you how it’s made…and yeah, I really do think the cook should get a glass of wine while making it. (Tee hee)

Feel free to embed or share the YouTube version How to Make Wine Salt.

How to make wine salt

A few tips:

  • Be sure to use a wine that you enjoy drinking. The finished wine salt is only as good as the wine you start with. If you don’t care for the wine, reducing it will only concentrate the flavors you do not like.
  • You can skip adding the herbs if you wish.
  • You can also change out the thyme and lemon zest I use here for whatever strikes your fancy. Rosemary with cabernet is particularly nice. I also like to combine sage with Merlot. Be experimental!
  • Your finished salt will last at least 6 months in the jar. After that, the flavors start to dissipate and it is time to make a new batch.

How to make wine season salt

Ingredients:

  • 1 bottle of wine (or about 2 cups if you pour yourself a glass of wine first)
  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. lemon zest
  • 1 tsp. freshly chopped thyme leaves

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1) Pour wine into a heavy-bottomed pan over medium heat. Start simmering until the entire contents are reduced down to just about 3 tablespoons. This takes about 20 minutes. Stir occasionally. You will know when it is done because it will suddenly turn syrupy. (Which means it thickens a bit and coats the back of a metal spoon.) Don’t go past that stage or it will burn!

2) Add the salt and whatever spices you like to use. (Citrus zest and savory herbs like rosemary, thyme, oregano, or sage all work well).

Wine salt has a lovely color and fully developed flavor

Wine salt has a lovely color and fully developed flavor

3) Stir well and spread the mixture onto a cookie sheet.

4) There are several ways to dry out the salt before storing, but the most important part is that you dry it completely without burning it. Use one of the following methods:

  • Oven: Dry slowly in a very low oven for 1-2 hours (the lowest setting your oven will go). Keep the door ajar if possible and check every 20 minutes or so. The wine salt can easily burn – so watch closely!
  • Dehydrator: A dehydrator is actually the easier way to go and you do not have to worry about burning it if you do it that way. Depending upon your setting, it will take several hours or overnight to dry completely.
  • Counter: You can also just set the pan on the counter to dry, stirring it every few hours. This is the slowest method and takse a day or so to dry completely.

5) Take out the salt and let it cool completely before pouring it into a tightly sealed container. Use within 6 months for best flavor.

6) Use the wine salt as you would any seasoning salt. Sprinkle it over foods before or after cooking.

Try it on:

  • Steaks and roasts
  • Stew
  • Roasted veggies
  • Root vegetables
  • Any grilled meat
  • Any savory dish that can use a splash of wine for flavor

But remember, it is a salt with very concentrated wine flavors. A little goes a long way!

About

Theresa Loe is the Co-Executive Producer and the canning/homesteading expert on Growing A Greener World TV. She creates seasonally inspired pantry items based on homegrown and locally-sourced produce. A lifelong canner and a graduate of the Master Food Preserver Program, Theresa also studied sustainable horticulture and culinary arts. She also blogs at LivingHomegrown about homesteading & preserving. Follow her on Google+ and download her FREE CANNING RESOURCE GUIDE.

Comments

  1. Randy says

    Great recipe. I just had a quick question. I tried doing the recipe but when I pulled the salt out of oven and let it cool, the salt turned into a very sticky substance. I let the salt cool some more but the salt never turned into a salt consistency where I could easily pour it from my container. Did I leave it too long in the oven? Did I use too much wine or not enough salt? Thanks for your help!

    • Theresa Loe says

      Hi Randy,
      I suspect you just had a bit too much wine and all the syrup needs a bit more salt to completely dry out. I would add more salt – only a Tablespoon at a time and stir it in. After 1-3 spoonfuls lay it out on the cookie sheet to dry more. (I’m not sure I would bake it unless you can stand right there to watch it – otherwise, it might burn.) Keep it loosely covered with aluminum foil to keep bugs out. The extra salt should draw out the rest of the moisture in a day or two. If at that point you get hard lumps, run the mix through your food processor to regrind it into salt pieces.

      That should work!

  2. Jackie says

    I simmered my wine over medium heat, but after 45 minutes it did not turn to syrup. I was nervous about burning it, so I put the salt in anyway. I plan to dry the mixture out in a dehydrated, but I’m worried it won’t turn out. What did I do wrong?

    • Theresa Loe says

      No worries Jackie! You probably did nothing “wrong”. For whatever reason it was just taking longer to simmer out some of the liquid. (Air humidity, the intensity of your heat source can all factor in to how long it takes.) Your salt will still work. It just will take longer to dehydrate in the oven because you have more moisture. But I am sure it will still taste delicious!

  3. Audrey says

    Why could you not adapt this to use sugar?? If so, how?
    I’m thinkging of the various herbs that tend to make you think of ‘sweet’ i.e. pineapple sage; peppermint; etc.

    • Theresa Loe says

      Audrey,

      You could certainly add “sweet” herbs to the salt, but I am unsure if sugar would work. The reason is that you are mixing the dry ingredients into several tablespoons of liquid (the reduced wine) and I think the sugar would just dissolve. The large chunks of kosher salt do not dissolve. They hold together pretty well. You could certainly try it. But I think you might end up with sweetened wine concentrate. But that might not be a bad thing! Ha!

      • Theresa Loe says

        Ahhh…Well, there you go! Good find “Onesillyme”. Although I’m not sure I would want a whole cup of sugar in my seasoning salt, the beauty is that you can adjust all of these ingredients to suit your own taste.

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