Old Bay Seasoning is a zesty, magical spice blend that tastes great on anything it touches. Here’s how to mix up your own for the freshest batch possible.

A jar of homemade Old Bay Seasoning.

I never realized how amazing Old Bay seasoning tasted until I started making my own. Spices can sit around on the grocery shelves forever, and then even longer once we bring them home.

Over time, they fade into the depths of kitchen cupboards everywhere. This is especially true if you limit your Old Bay use to just seafood. It’s time to toss that blue and yellow tin in the bin, then mix up your own and try it on all kinds of new things, from popcorn to potatoes.

Table of Contents
  1. Recipe ingredients
  2. Ingredient notes
  3. Instructions
  4. Recipe tips and variations
  5. Recipe FAQs
  6. Old Bay Seasoning Recipe

Recipe ingredients

Labeled ingredients for Old Bay Seasoning.

Ingredient notes

  • Celery salt: You can make your own celery salt from oven-dried celery leaves.
  • Bay leaf: You want finely ground bay leaf (aka laurel leaf) for this blend. It’s pungent and entirely edible. If you’re grinding it yourself, make extra, then substitute ⅛ to ¼ teaspoon ground for every whole bay leaf in future recipes.
  • Nutmeg: For the strongest flavor and the longest shelf life, buy the whole nutmeg seed and grate it freshly when needed.
  • Cardamom: Purchase it in ground form or buy the small green pods and grind them yourself.
  • Mace: Mace is the dried outer coating of the nutmeg pod. It has a warm and woody flavor, somewhere between pepper and cinnamon. If you forgot to find any, use an equal amount of nutmeg as a mace substitute.

Instructions

  • In a small jar, add all ingredients and stir to combine. Store in a cool, dark place for up to 6 months.
A jar of homemade Old Bay Seasoning.

Recipe tips and variations

Recipe FAQs

What replaces Old Bay seasoning?

Try Crab Boil seasoning, pickling spice, Cajun seasoning, or seasoned salt.

What does Old Bay taste like?

It’s made from 14 different spices, so it tastes like a lot of things! The most dominant flavors, though, are celery salt and bay leaves.

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A jar of homemade Old Bay Seasoning.

Old Bay Seasoning

Old Bay Seasoning is a zesty, magical spice blend that tastes great on anything it touches. Here's how to mix up your own for the freshest batch possible.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 5 mins
Total Time 5 mins
Servings 10 tablespoons
Course Pantry
Cuisine American
Calories 10

Ingredients 

  • 2 tablespoons celery salt (see note 1)
  • 2 tablespoons ground bay leaves (see note 2)
  • 1 tablespoon dried mustard
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons sweet paprika or smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg (see note 3)
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom (see note 4)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground mace (see note 5)

Instructions 

  • In a small jar, add all ingredients and stir to combine. Store in a cool, dark place for up to 6 months.

Notes

  1. Celery salt: You can make your own celery salt from oven-dried celery leaves.
  2. Bay leaf: You want finely ground bay leaf (aka laurel leaf) for this blend. It’s pungent and entirely edible. If you’re grinding it yourself, make extra, then substitute ⅛ to ¼ teaspoon ground for every whole bay leaf in future recipes.
  3. Nutmeg: For the strongest flavor and the longest shelf life, buy the whole nutmeg seed and grate it freshly when needed.
  4. Cardamom: Purchase it in ground form or buy the small green pods and grind them yourself.
  5. Mace: Mace is the dried outer coating of the nutmeg pod. It has a warm and woody flavor, somewhere between pepper and cinnamon. If you forgot to find any, use an equal amount of nutmeg as a  mace substitute.
  6. Yield: This recipes makes about 10 tablespoons (½ cup + 2 tbsp) Old Bay Seasoning.
  7. Storage: Store in an airtight container in a cool, dark place for up to 6 months.

Nutrition

Calories: 10kcalCarbohydrates: 2gProtein: 1gFat: 1gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 1gSodium: 1398mgPotassium: 32mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 256IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 13mgIron: 1mg
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