This Old Bay seasoning recipe, a favorite of Maryland, is a blend of celery salt, paprika, black pepper, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, ginger, and other spices that are exactly what you want to sprinkle on shrimp, crab boil, fish, fries, chicken…heck, you can dump this homemade spice blend on anything, really.
Adapted from Todd Wilbur | Top Secret Recipes Unlocked | Plume, 2009
You may know Old Bay seasoning best as an indispensable ingredient in a classic crawfish boil. And that’s not inaccurate. But it’s so simpleminded to think of it exclusively in the domain of seafood. Go on. Shake the seasoning on everything else…
Why our testers loved this
The testers are sprinkling this on everything they can find, and for good reason. They loved that this homemade Old Bay spice blend tastes authentic, yet doesn’t contain preservatives. Many of them are looking forward to adding this to their arsenal of homemade food gifts to be shared with friends and family.
Brenda C. “enjoyed the freshness of the homemade version, which was well-rounded and complete.“
Notes on ingredients
- Celery salt–This contributes plenty of saltiness to the Old Bay-style seasoning blend. Keep this in mind when seasoning your food, as it may not need any additional salt.
- Paprika–This adds depth of flavor to the spice blend. We recommend regular paprika here.
- Ground mace–This is ground from the outer coating of the nutmeg seed. You can substitute ground nutmeg if necessary.
How to make this recipe
- Combine all of the spices in a small bowl.
- Stir until thoroughly combined. Transfer to an airtight jar or container and store at room temperature for up to 2 months.
What can I use Old Bay seasoning with?
– Mixed into crab cakes, natch
– Sprinkled on sweet corn on the cob
– Shaken or stirred into a Bloody Mary
– Dumped on fries
– Incorporated into the flour for dredging pan-fried fish or pan-fried chicken
– Dumped into seafood gumbo
– Stirred into Spanish gazpacho
– Strewn atop a baked potato
– Dusted daintily over naan
– Stirred into egg salad
– Rubbed on grilled fish that’s destined to be wrapped up in soft corn tortillas (that is to say, grilled fish tacos)
– Melded into hot crab dip
– Tossed with popcorn
– Whisked into egg white omelets
– Swirled into seafood soups and stews
– Whirled into homemade tartar sauce
– Dissolved in a brine for pork or poultry
– Sprinkled in bread crumbs for, well, just about anything
– Mashed into deviled eggs Injected into chicken or turkey
– Mixed into the coating for onion rings
– Heaped on homemade potato chips
– Added to mayo for a quick dip
– Mashed with butter, garlic, and Parmigiano-Reggiano and slathered on warm bread
– Rubbed between the meat and skin of a hen prior to roasting
– Sprinkled on homemade tortilla chips as they’re pulled from the oil
– Tossed with breakfast oven fries
– Added to stuffing or, if you prefer, dressing (and we’re quite certain you know the difference between them…right?)
– Combined with hummus
– Strewn on crawfish anything
– And, if you live in Maryland, lavished on just about everything else you can think to eat
How long will it keep?
Like most spice blends, it will keep for a few months if stored in an airtight container in a cool, dark place. Given the options listed above, we doubt it will last you anywhere near that long.
Where did Old Bay seasoning come from?
The original Old Bay seasoning blend was created in 1940 by Gustav Brunn, a German spice maker who came to the US as a Jewish refugee during World War II.
The spice blend was created in Maryland and was originally sold under the name Delicious Brand Shrimp and Crab Seasoning, before being changed to Old Bay Seasoning. The rights to the spice blend were purchased by McCormick in 1990.
- For the strongest flavor, grind your own spices. Always measure the spices after grinding.
- If you plan on using this seasoning mix frequently, double or triple the recipe.
- If you prefer to be more precise in your measurements, a “pinch” can be measured as 1/16 of a teaspoon.
- Store the spice blend in an airtight container in a cool, dark place.
More great seasoning blend recipesCajun Spice Mix Adobo Seasoning
If you make this recipe, or any dish on LC, consider leaving a review, a star rating, and your best photo in the comments below. I love hearing from you.–David
Homemade Old Bay Seasoning
This Old Bay seasoning recipe is a blend of celery salt, paprika, black pepper, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, ginger, and other spices that are exactly what you want to sprinkle on shrimp, crab boil, fish, fries, chicken…heck, you can dump this homemade spice blend on anything, really.
Stir together all the ingredients in a small bowl. Transfer to a container of some sort that has a tight-fitting lid—a glass jar with a screw-top lid works spectacularly.
Set aside in a cool, dark place and use within a couple months.
- Scale up the recipe–If you plan on using the spice blend frequently, double or triple the recipe.
- Storage–Old Bay seasoning should be stored in an airtight container in a cool dark place for up to 2 months.
- Grind your spices–For the strongest flavor, grind your own spices. Always measure the spices after grinding.
- Measuring a “pinch”–If you prefer to be more precise in your measurements, a “pinch” can be measured as 1/16 of a teaspoon.
Serving: 1tablespoonCalories: 7kcalCarbohydrates: 1gProtein: 0.2gFat: 0.4g (1%)Saturated Fat: 0.1g (1%)Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.1gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.2gSodium: 3489mg (152%)Potassium: 16mgFiber: 0.4g (2%)Sugar: 0.1gVitamin A: 77IU (2%)Vitamin C: 1mg (1%)Calcium: 8mg (1%)Iron: 0.2mg (1%)
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
Recipe © 2009 Todd Wilbur. Photos © 2021 David Leite. All rights reserved. All materials used with permission.