Basic spice blends can be super helpful when trying to pull together a quick weeknight dinner. They can transform boring meat or vegetables into something new and crave-worthy, and pull you out of your dinner rut. I’ve been asked to create a collection of simple spice blends, and having lived in south Louisiana for 16 years, I knew Homemade Cajun Seasoning had to be on the list! This spice blend is spicy, smoky, full of savory herbs, and will add serious flavor anywhere it’s added. Read on to see how versatile this seasoning blend is below…
How to Use Cajun Seasoning
Cajun seasoning is extremely versatile! Try sprinkling this seasoning blend on:
- grilled, baked, or pan-seared chicken or seafood
- roasted vegetables and potatoes
- baked chicken wings
- chicken or potato salads
- oven fries
- dips (sour cream based dips, bean dips, or cheese sauces)
It’s such a great all-purpose blend that you can almost add it to anything! Check out how I used it in my One Pot Creamy Cajun Chicken Pasta. I also use a slight variation on this blend to make my Cajun Sausage and Rice Skillet, Blackened Shrimp Tacos, Blackened Shrimp Pasta, and Cajun Cabbage and Noodles.
Store Bought vs. Homemade Cajun Seasoning
So when should you mix up your own spice blend vs. buying a pre-mixed bottle from the store? IMHO, if it’s something you don’t use often (less than 2-3 times per month), I don’t suggest buying a bottle pre-mixed. It’s much better to mix it up yourself, as needed, so the remainder doesn’t go to waste. If it’s something I use on a very regular basis, I’m more open to buying a pre-mixed blend because I know it will get used and it saves me time not having to measure out 6-8 spices every time I want to use it.
The other major thing to consider when comparing store bought Cajun Seasoning and this homemade version is the salt content. Some store bought Cajun seasonings contain a lot of salt. I tend to use those more like a seasoning salt, adding them to food at the table or after cooking. Because this homemade blend is much lower in salt, I can add it liberally to food during the cooking process, without accidentally over salting. My blend has just enough salt to help the flavors pop.
Is Cajun Seasoning Spicy?
Traditionally yes, but it doesn’t have to be! Since you’re mixing up your Cajun Seasoning from scratch you can control the heat. Simply reduce the amount of cayenne pepper up or down to make this blend as spicy or mild as you like.
Homemade Cajun Seasoning
- 2 tsp smoked paprika ($0.20)
- 1 tsp oregano ($0.10)
- 1 tsp thyme ($0.10)
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder ($0.05)
- 1/2 tsp onion powder ($0.05)
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper ($0.02)
- 1/4 tsp black pepper ($0.02)
- 1/4 tsp salt ($0.02)
- Combine all the ingredients and use immediately to season food, or store in an air-tight container, away from sunlight.
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No step by step photos this time, because there is only one step! Mix all the ingredients together and go! 😅
Well I’m Jamie from Greenville SC and I’m copying this seasoning and add it too my collection
I like to substitute chipotle powder for that extra smokey goodness when I mix this up
Since my husband was diagnosed with Celiac Disease 10 years ago, I try to make everything i cook with from scratch. I’m so happy I found this recipe! I used this recipe and put it on salmon before i grilled it. my family loved it. my son, the pickiest of the family said it was ‘awesome.’ That’s always a win for me! I’m going to multiply the recipe so i have a ton of it in my cabinet! Thank you.
I heavily use spices in my cooking. And in fact, I make most of my spice mixes myself whenever I need them. But that brings me to a related question: it’s not just “should I buy ready made or make my own?”, it’s also “should I buy in bulk or in smaller sizes?”
Almost always, buying spices in bulk is much cheaper. Amazon or other internet specialty stores almost always have much better prices than your local supermarket. And if you are lucky and there is a local restaurant supply store that sells spices, it gets even cheaper per unit of spice. But spices lose their potency after a while; and for pre-ground spices that can be really quickly. So, I almost always try to buy the whole unground spice. A basic coffee grinder makes a wonderful spice mill. I can mix all my ingredients in the grinder and then grind it just when I need it.
If you add salt or sugar to the grinder, it helps with grinding evenly. So, if the spice mix asks for those ingredients, make sure you add them from the beginning.
I found a recipe for cajun seasoning so long ago but lost it. This made a wonderful replacement! I also add some brown sugar to my seasoning mix for some sweet hear
I love that you made your own cajun seasoning! Thank you for sharing it with us! I use your taco seasoning recipe all the time. I will be thrilled if you come up with a meatloaf seasoning- it’s the only packet seasoning I can’t give up yet!
PS- Thanks also for your parmesan cauliflower, overnight oats and many other recipes you have shared that I use all the time.
Now I’m curious about what meatloaf seasoning is! I might have to buy some and deconstruct it. :)
You posted this just in time! I’ll be making chili today (experimenting with a low-sodium variation for a cook-off in a few weeks) and this looks like just what I need. We’re low-sodium in my house due to hubby’s heart condition, so I may adjust the sodium down even lower. Love your stuff, thank you!
Hey Thank’s for sharing the great recipe
can we use the black salt in the recipe to change some taste
I’ve never used black salt before, so I’m not sure how it would taste, but I can’t imagine it would be an issue. :)
Thank you for this one – especially glad that it doesn’t include the ubiquitous “chili powder” because here in NZ “chili powder” is more akin to cayenne pepper – little flavour, lots of heat.
I usually feel the same way about spice blends! Pumpkin pie spice, taco seasoning, chili powder, curry – all blends I can make at home with spices I already bought. But I got into Penzey’s and I have to say, they have some truly exception blends! When I check their ingredients they always have something special and a little rare, plus I love supporting their company.
I keep meaning to try out their products because I hear so many great things about them! But I keep forgetting! :P Thanks for the reminder. :)
Hey Beth! I love your homemade seasoning recipes! I am allergic to garlic and onion, so I extra appreciate your mixes, as I can modify them to be allergy free for me. Can you recommend any substitutes for this recipe? I was thinking of adding in dried garlic chives to emulate the garlic flavor, but I would really appreciate your input!
What about a tiny pinch of asafoitida/hing powder? It’s often used in Indian cooking to emulate the oniony-garlicky flavours, particularly for people who follow the Hari Krishna or Jain faiths as they don’t have onion or garlic.
Hmmm. Thanks to both of you! I’ll look into Asafoitida/hing powder. I have an indian grocery store not too far from my home. Hopefully they carry it!
Oh man, that’s a tough question! I have no experience with substituting garlic, unfortunately. I think your idea of using the garlic scapes sounds the most reasonable! That’s awesome that you can at least eat the greens. :)