Hot and smoky chile salt


I’ve been keeping a secret from you. 

It’s not a secret I meant to keep…it’s just that it involved a branded chile salt, and, well, it just felt weird to be like “you have to go buy this one specific product” to make my perfect snack –  especially when there are only six ingredients and you don’t need any special equipment

(Also, I wanted an excuse to go to my absolute favorite specialty shop, but we aren’t going to talk about that.) 

My version is slightly hotter than the original, while still maintaining balanced roundness from mellow garlic and orange notes and a hefty dose of smoke – perfect for drink rims, melon slices, or a big batch of roasted veggies. The salt is fine-grained so the spice mix never settles out, and it’s made in a batch small enough that you can actually use it up before it loses its oomph and starts to taste dusty. 

And the best way to use it? The secret I’ve been keeping all this time? 

A hefty sprinkle over jammy eggs. 

Simple, I know, but it’s perfect – the slightly runny yolk is rich and creamy and tangles beautifully with the spice, it’s salty enough to feel junk-food adjacent, and the whole affair is filling enough to keep me going for a while. 

Try it. Then tell your friends – heaven knows my family hasn’t stopped since we discovered the combination in 2019. 

Even More Attractive Steven – Hot and Smoky Chile Salt

Yield: about half a cup     Time: 5 minutes, if that    Source: Eighth Street Mess, heavily inspired by Hot Steve

I have not tested this recipe with garlic powder, but I don’t see why it wouldn’t work if it’s all you have on hand – just start with a bit less because the powder will be more intense. Also, if you’re lucky enough to have access to your choice of chipotle powders, I prefer morita to brown chipotle. 

  • 72 grams (1/4 cup) fine-grained sea salt, or any kosher salt that maintains a crunchy texture when you taste it
  • 3 grams (2 teaspoons) red pepper flakes, ground slightly finer
  • 2 grams (1 teaspoon) cayenne pepper, ground
  • 6 grams (1 1/2 teaspoons) granulated garlic 
  • 5 grams (2 heaping teaspoons) dried orange peel powder
  • 5 grams (1 tablespoon) sweet smoked paprika
  • 4 grams (2 teaspoons) chipotle chile powder 

Dump everything into a bowl and stir thoroughly (but carefully! Airborn chile powder is a painful, sneezy chemical weapon) to combine, making sure to press out any lumps in your spices with your spoon. 

Place in an airtight, lidded container. It should keep basically forever, but I’d try to use it within 6 months to a year or it will start to lose potency. 

Add Comment

By Jessi Spell

Jessi Spell

A culinary degree and two years of professional experience has not stopped Jessi from making stupid mistakes – she just makes them more efficiently. She habitually reads cookbooks before bed, loses track of time on Wikipedia, and yells at cooking shows like dads watching football. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband Jackson, five plants, and more cookbooks than a 600 square foot studio should hold.


Hey! I send out a newsletter every Friday, and it's a pretty good time. It's a quick sneak peek into what's happening in my real life kitchen - recipes I've been loving, cool stuff I found around the internet, you know, the usual. If that sounds good to you, you can subscribe at the link below, and I'll see you on Friday!


Groceries are expensive (these days more than usual) and your support over on Patreon helps me keep the lights on without resorting to advertising. In return, you'll get early access to all my recipes, plus some other fun goodies. If that sounds good to you, you can check out the options at the link below!