Homemade Vanilla Salt is one of the easiest and most delicious DIY gift ideas you'll come across! Perfect for sprinkling on cookies and other baked products, desserts, and sweet treats.
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When it comes to gift giving I have a policy where I refuse to waste my money on meaningless crap out of obligation.
If I see something that's perfect for someone I love I'll get it for them regardless of whether it's December 25th or June 25th, and if I don't see the perfect thing I'm perfectly comfortable giving a whole lot of nothing on the big day.
But! I do love both giving and receiving homemade gifts, and especially edible gifts.
If you're scrambling for ideas, let me present you with one of my favourites for a quick, easy, and impressive homemade gift: Vanilla Salt!
What is vanilla salt?
Brace yourself: it's salt (you still with me?) with vanilla added to it.
You know all those delicious baked goods finished with a tiny sprinkle of sea salt? Or chocolate covered caramels with salt sprinkled on top? Now imagine if that salt was vanilla salt. I know, right? Bonkers!
If you love a salt-finished sweet thing as much as I do (you do, right?) you're going to love this stuff. And if you have a friend who loves salt-finished sweet stuff, they're going to think you're the bee's knees for making them this mighty fine vanilla salt.
What do I need to make vanilla salt?
- A vanilla bean --> I used spent vanilla beans from my last batch of homemade vanilla extract, but you can also use fresh vanilla beans.
- Some salt --> I like to go fancy with my salt here, so I used Fleur de Sel, but any flaky or coarse salt you like will do.
How do I make this recipe?
Split open your vanilla bean(s) and scrape out the seeds. Don't toss that bean! Save the pod to flavour some vanilla sugar, use for making homemade ice cream, or to start another batch of vanilla extract.
Put your salt into a bowl and add the vanilla seeds. Use your hands to massage the vanilla seeds into the salt. That's it, you're done!
Stick the vanilla salt into a cute jar, make a label for it, and you are gift-giving ready. Just like that!
Pro tips / recipe notes:
- To make this recipe you'll need 1-2 vanilla beans per cup of salt. It depends on how vanilla-y your beans are and how vanilla-y you want your salt to be.
- Vanilla beans are expensive AF, so I like to squeeze every last drop of life out of them. I made this batch of vanilla salt with beans I'd already used to make vanilla extract but that still had plenty of seeds inside.
- How long will vanilla salt last? Pretty much indefinitely. Just store it in an airtight container in the cupboard.
What can I use vanilla salt for?
This is my favourite salted chocolate chunk cookie recipe, and vanilla salt really takes it to the next level.
How about these homemade Salted Coconut Caramels? I've also used a small amount in these Chocolate Energy Bites and it's delicious! Sprinkled on top of this Naturally Sweetened Chocolate, or this Wholegrain Cast Iron Skillet Cookie.
Other easy homemade gifts
- 1 cup flakey sea salt such as Fleur de Sel
- 1-2 large vanilla beans split in half and scraped out
- Place the salt in a medium-sized bowl.
- Split the vanilla beans in half and scrape the seeds out.
- Combine the vanilla beans with the salt, and use your hands to rub into the salt to distribute evenly.
- Transfer the salt into a jar.
- Store vanilla salt in an airtight container in the cupboard.
This recipe was originally published November 14, 2018. It was most recently updated on November 21, 2020.