This time of year, Santa isn’t the only one who’s making lists and checking them twice. If you enjoy giving handmade gifts, here are some simple spice mixes that are sure to appeal to the foodies on your list. Individually, they make great stocking stuffers. Package them together with some kitchen tools for an even bigger impact. 

  Porcini Parmesan Salt 

Try it on scrambled eggs, chicken, or pasta


4 ounce(s) dried porcini mushrooms

1 cup(s) fine sea salt

4 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese


Using a spice grinder, pulse dried porcini mushrooms until finely ground. In a medium bowl, combine ground porcini, Parmesan cheese and sea salt.


Citrus Salt (adapted from a recipe on

Good on chicken, seafood, or the rim of a margarita.


1 cup kosher salt

2 tablespoons finely-grated, lightly-packed lemon zest (from about 4medium lemons)

2 tablespoons finely-grated, lightly-packed lime zest (from about 4 medium limes)

2 tablespoons finely- grated, lightly- packed orange zest (from about 4 medium oranges)


Combine all of the ingredients in a medium bowl and rub the salt and zests between your fingers to distribute the citrus’s oils. Spread the mixture in a thin, even layer on a parchment lined plate or jellyroll tray and let it dry uncovered at room temperature overnight. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 months.


Emeril’s Burger Seasoning 

(courtesy of “There’s a Chef in My Soup” by Emeril Lagasse)

Great on beef, turkey or chicken burgers.


2 ½ tablespoons paprika

2 tablespoons table salt

2 tablespoons garlic powder

1 tablespoon onion powder

2 teaspoons black pepper

2 teaspoons ground mustard

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper


Combine all ingredients in a lidded jar and mix well. Use 2 to 3 teaspoons per pound of ground beef, turkey, or chicken. Yields about 3/4 cup.


Emeril’s Baby Bam   (also courtesy of Emeril Lagasse)


Emeril is known for his spicy Cajun dishes, but this mix is tamer than the usual.  It’s great to use on fajitas, or grilled chicken, beef or pork.

3 tablespoons paprika

2 tablespoons salt

2 tablespoons dried parsley

2 teaspoons onion powder

2 teaspoons garlic powder

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon dried basil

1 teaspoon dried thyme

½ teaspoon celery salt


Place ingredients in a lidded jar, and shake well to combine. Store for up to three months.  If you’d like it a little spicier, add ¼ teaspoon of ground cayenne. Yields about 3/4 cup.


Photo: courtesy of