Our homemade herb salt and spiced sugar recipes are well-loved. Show some of that love to your family, friends, neighbors, teachers, delivery people, crossing guards — you name it — by making them into inexpensive, easy, last-minute DIY gifts. Full instructions, including free printable labels and materials sources, below.
Last-minute gifts? Puh-lease.
Every year the “last-minute holiday gifts!” emails start rolling in around December 10th, and every year my eye-roll gets a little more slow-mo, a little more epic. Last-minute? Puh-lease.
I know a thing or two about last-minute, and kiddos, let me tell you that December 22 through 24 is when last-minute happens. If you're reading this before stores close on Christmas Eve, you still have plenty of time to get busy with homemade gifts, and these two are totally achievable at any point before the big guy with long white beard makes all our impossible dreams come true.
The best part, though, is that last-minute or no, these gifts are thoughtful and lovely, and almost everyone will like them. The salt and sugar have been staples of our gift-giving repertoire on and off for many years, and I always get requests for refills that border on showing signs of compulsion. No judgment, believe me.
What you'll need
Here's a glance at the ingredients and supplies you'll need to make these gifts.
Find the full method for the herb salt here.
- Use a relatively coarse kosher salt (Morton and Diamond Crystal are both fine) produces the best texture in this recipe.
- Woody herbs like thyme, rosemary, and sage chop well, dry well, and complement a wide variety of foods. You can, however, add, subtract, or substitute absolutely any herbs you like.
- Garlic isn't likely to burn in a 200°F oven, but I still like to make sure it's not minced beyond recognition and that it's well-distributed throughout the salt mixture.
- Zest your lemons right over the mixing bowl to maximize the amount of citrus oil that lands in the salt mixture.
Find the full method for the spiced sugar here.
- Good old granulated sugar forms the base of this recipe. You don't need anything special unless you'll be serving or giving gifts to vegans. In that case, be sure to look for a vegan-friendly brand of sugar, which uses a different processing method.
- Whole vanilla beans can be a little bit pricey, but there's no substitute for the incredible flavor that their seeds impart. The recipe calls for just the seeds, which you'll scrape out of the pod with the tip of a knife. But you can also nestle the pod itself into your storage container to add even more vanilla flavor.
- A balanced ratio of ground cinnamon, nutmeg, and cardamom creates the perfect cozy vibe.
- Here's where to download the printable label designs for the herb salt and for the spiced sugar. You can of course design your own labels instead if you like.
- These wide-mouth 8-ounce jars are perfect for the task. If you're making both salt and sugar, you'll need a total of 24 jars.
- These adhesive labels are easy to print on and fit perfectly on the flat segment of the jar lids.
How to make it
Here's a brief overview of what you'll do to make a batch each of herb salt and spiced sugar, and then package them up as last-minute DIY gifts for the holidays. You can see the steps in action in the video that accompanies this post, and get all the details in the how-to card below.
- For the herb salt, you'll chop up fresh sage, rosemary, thyme, and garlic and place it into a large bowl. Zest lots of lemon overtop, pour in kosher salt, and give it a good stir. Bake in a low oven until dried.
- For the spiced sugar, stir together sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, and nutmeg, and pass it through a fine-mesh strainer to remove any lumps.
- Once the salt has fully cooled, fill 12 eight-ounce jars with the herb salt and 12 with the spiced sugar.
- For labels, simply print out one sheet of each design onto the labels linked in the materials section. (If you can't get them in time, you can print on regular paper and cut it out.) Place a label onto the flat segment of each lid, position the lids, and tighten. That's it!
Expert tips and FAQs
The herb salt is very versatile. Try sprinkling it over everything from avocado toast to potatoes to risotto to roast chicken. The spiced sugar is great in coffee, tea, oatmeal, and more.
Both the herb salt and the spiced sugar will keep well in their airtight containers at room temperature for at least a year. I like that their long shelf life makes them a low-pressure gift.
Love, peace, and umami
I’ll leave you to finish your holiday prep with warm wishes for the holidays and the rest of the year. I am so grateful for each of you and your support of Umami Girl this year and always. Love, peace and umami to all. See you on the other side.
More favorite easy DIY gifts
- Fill each jar with about six heaping tablespoons of either herb salt or spiced sugar.
- Print labels, above, onto label sheets. It's a good idea to test your printer first on a plain piece of paper and then hold that paper up to the light with a sheet of labels behind it to check for alignment. Make sure to print at 100%, not "fit to page."
- Adhere a label onto the flat insert on each jar lid.
- Screw lids onto jars and gift away. Salt and sugar keep well for at least a year.
- The herb salt is very versatile. Try sprinkling it over everything from avocado toast to potatoes to risotto to roast chicken.
- The spiced sugar is great in coffee, tea, oatmeal, and more.
- Both the herb salt and the spiced sugar will keep well in their airtight containers at room temperature for at least a year. I like that their long shelf life makes them a low-pressure gift.
As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.