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What is Margarita Salt?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 16, 2024
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Margarita salt is a coarse grained salt which is ideal for crusting the rim of a margarita glass. The salty flavor complements the flavors of the margarita, and the light crunch can provide a pleasant mouthfeel. The salt also quickly dissolves once it enters the mouth of a consumer. Many markets sell an assortment of coarse grained salts, all of which are suitable for margaritas, and some shops may sell margarita salt specifically.

Coarse salts are typically sea salts, harvested in large ponds which are slowly evaporated and periodically raked. The evaporation process for coarse salt allows it to form large crystals, which typically have many faces and can be slightly uneven. Some coarse salts are colored, as a result of impurities in the salt water they come from; black to gray salts and pink salts are fairly common. Others are pure white. In addition to being used for margaritas, coarse salts are also used in many kitchens.

To use margarita salt, people typically run a lime around the edge of a margarita glass and then dunk the glass into a container of salt or onto a platter with a thin layer of salt. The margarita is poured into the glass, and then the whole affair is served. As consumers drink, they intake a small amount of salt with each sip; tequila, the primary alcohol in a margarita, pairs very well with salt and lime. It is also perfectly acceptable to serve a margarita without salt, although some purists say that the flavor suffers.

Some salt companies dye their margarita salts. It is possible to find salts in a wide range of colors including green, red, pink, blue, orange, and yellow. Colored salts can be fun and decorative, although the dyes used can cause the salt to taste slightly odd; if you want to use colored margarita salt, you might want to have a taste test to make sure that the dyes don't interfere with the flavor of the drinks.

There are other uses for margarita salt beyond the margarita. Coarse salts are ideal for making salt crusts on things like broiled fish. They can also be added to marinades and pickled foods, and because they do dissolve when cooked, some cooks like to work with a small dish of coarse salt, since it is easy to pinch with the fingers and drop into food. It is also not uncommon to find flavored coarse salts with ingredients like chilies or lavender, for use in salt rubs.

DelightedCooking is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a DelightedCooking researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
By anon172928 — On May 05, 2011

can we make jackfruit, melon and watermelon juice decorative glasses or different recipes of above fruits

By InfoHopper — On Jul 27, 2010

@gamegeek, That is a great recipe! I love to throw parties and one of my favorite things to do is to decorate my margarita glasses. I get cheap cocktail and margarita glasses from the dollar store and then use hot glue and place different gems and letters on them that I get from the craft store. They are easy to make and look really great at parties. Make sure that after you have used them, you hand wash the glasses to avoid any of the gems falling off!

By GameGeek — On Jul 27, 2010

Some of the best margarita mixes and margarita recipes are fairly simple and can be found online. My favorite involves, 2 quarts of ice cubes, 1 can of frozen limeade that can be found at the grocery store near the ice cream, 12 fluid ounces of Jose Cuervo, and 1/4 cup of Cointreau. Mix all of that up in a blender and then store it in the freezer. You can also use limes that are cut in half for a cut garnish if you are having a party!

By LitNerd — On Jul 27, 2010

I am a bartender for a steakhouse and I find it much easier to use a margarita salt tray Instead of using a plate and having to fill it with new salt each time I make a new drink. The tray is actually a set of three or four and it spreads out allowing me to fill each tray with something different. When serving different drinks all night long, it is easiest to fill one tray with lime or lemon juice, one with salt, and one with sugar. Because of this I don't have to change the trays or switch from salt to sugar as I go!

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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