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Best Old Bay Seasoning Substitute

Are you prepping a delicious Low Country Boil or peel and eat shrimp and need some seafood seasonings but don’t have the right one on hand? This Old Bay Seasoning is a great substitute for the store bought version.

jar of seasoning with spoon

What is Old Bay?

Sometimes called Chesapeake Bay Seasoning because it originated in Maryland and gets it’s name from a ship called the Old Bay Line that traveled the route from Baltimore through Chesapeake Bay to Norfolk.

Invented by a German immigrant, he started a spice company and created a spice blend that is perfect for seafood dishes.

The main spices of celery salt, paprika, pepper create the base to this perfect spice mix and is rounded out by a variety of staple spices found in your pantry.

This is perfect for my Oven Baked Shrimp!

labeled picture of ingredients

Ingredients Needed

Celery Salt – If you don’t have celery salt you can make it by grinding celery seeds and kosher salt together. This is an important part of the flavor so don’t leave it out.

Paprika – I use regular paprika but you can use sweet or smoked paprika.

Cayenne Pepper – If you don’t have this, you can use crushed red pepper flakes.

Pepper – This recipe uses a combination of white and black pepper.

Bay Leaves – Use ground bay leaves. If you don’t have it or can’t find it in the store, you can make your own by grinding your own at home. To make 1 tablespoon of ground bay you will need approximately 12-15 dried leaves. Depending on the size of them.

Additional Spices – Dry mustard, Ground ginger, Cardamom, Allspice, Cloves, and Nutmeg.

How to make Old Bay Seasoning from scratch

First: If you are starting with whole bay leaves you will need to grind them first. I suggest a spice grinder or a mortar and pestle.

Second: Once ready to make the mix, combine all the ingredients in a small bowl. Stir or whisk to mix thoroughly.

Third: Store in an air tight container until ready to use.

For the full recipe and detailed instructions, please refer to the recipe card at the bottom of the post.

jar of old bay seasoning with a spoon

Is Cajun Seasoning the same as Old Bay?

Though they do have a lot of the same spices in them, they are slightly different. Cajun seasoning has more of the floral herbs and spices like oregano and thyme with the addition of garlic and onion.

This is what really sets it apart from the others as it doesn’t have garlic or onion in it which allows the celery flavor to really shine through.

How long is it good for?

If you store it in an airtight container in a cool dry place it will keep for at least 6 months. Although, I use mine so often mine doesn’t last more than a month.

I don’t recommend storing it in the refrigerator or freezing it. The moisture will make it clump and lose it’s potency.

How to use Homemade Old Bay Seasoning

sheet pan of shrimp with bowl of spiced butter

Tapas Tips & Tricks

  • Use a spice grinder to make your own ground bay leaves. The flavor is more intense.
  • Make sure you check your spices and make sure they haven’t expired. Spices stored for a long time can lose their potency pretty quick.
  • Store the mix in an airtight container and keep it in a dark place. Light can cause spices to break down.
  • Give the homemade Old Bay a rub between the fingers when adding to the recipe. It will help release the oils from the spices and bring out the flavor.
  • Try using sweet or smoked paprika for a little flavor variation.
  • If you don’t have celery salt, use a combination of celery seed and salt.

If you love this recipe as much as I do, please write a five-star review in the comment section below (or on Pinterest with the “tried it” button – you can now add pictures into reviews, too!), and be sure to help me share on facebook!

jar of spices with text "how to make"

This Copycat Old Bay Seasoning Recipe is just the addition to your spice cabinet you have been looking for. Use it to being flavor to all your favorite seafood dishes!

jar of old bay seasoning with spoon

Old Bay Seasoning

Yield: 1/3 cup
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes

This Old Bay Seasoning is a great substitute for the store bought version.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons celery salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground mustard
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1/8 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon ground bay leaves (~13 bay leaves ground up)

Instructions

  1. If you don't have ground bay leaves, grind them in a spice grinder or mortar and pestle.
  2. Combine all the ingredients and stir to mix thoroughly.
  3. Store in an airtight container in a cool dark place for up to 3 months.

Notes

  • ground spices can lose their potency pretty quick. Use the freshest.
  • Store the mix in an airtight container and keep it in a dark place. Light can cause spices to break down.
  • Give the Old Bay a rub between the fingers when adding to the recipe. It will help release the oils from the spices and bring out the flavor.
  • Try using sweet or smoked paprika for a little flavor variation.
  • If you don't have celery salt, use a combination of celery seed and salt.
  • Nutrition Information:
    Yield: 12 Serving Size: 0.5 tablespoon
    Amount Per Serving: Calories: 8Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 615mgCarbohydrates: 1gFiber: 1gSugar: 0gProtein: 0g

    This nutrition information was generated via a third party. I can not be held liable for any discrepancies in the information provided.

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