Make a jar of Cajun seasoning to flavor chicken, beef, seafood, and vegetables instantly. Sprinkle on the smoky and spicy blend to add a bold taste to any dish!
For more Louisiana-inspired flavors, try my delicious gumbo and jambalaya recipes.
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Let’s take your tastebuds on a trip to Louisiana! You can enjoy Cajun cuisine any time with this delicious homemade spice blend. A sprinkle adds bold flavors and a spicy kick to any recipe. Plus, it’s easy to customize for those who like to turn up the heat! Having a jar on hand saves time preparing dinner.
It’s made with a handful of common spices and herbs. You’ll want to stock up your spice drawer because this is the perfect blend of tasty seasonings to make meals more exciting! Try some on chicken, shrimp, steak, veggies, and soups, or even use it to jazz up a sauce for a more exciting meal.
What is Cajun seasoning?
Cajun seasoning is a mixture of dried herbs and spices used in Cajun and Creole cuisine. It’s typically a mixture of paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper, thyme, oregano, and cayenne. The ingredients can be easily customized, especially for those who have a higher heat tolerance in their foods.
Cajun seasoning ingredients
The homemade cajun seasoning blend leverages the potent flavors of dried spices and herbs. The drying process concentrates and intensifies the taste, so a little goes a long way. Removing the moisture also prolongs the shelf life, so you can store it for several months if it lasts that long! Here are the must-have ingredients:
- Paprika: Smoked paprika adds dimension, a red hue, and a wonderful charred note. Sweet paprika can also be used.
- Salt: The sodium helps to enhance the taste of the other ingredients and make the food savory. Adjust the amount added if using table salt instead of kosher salt.
- Pepper: Use coarsely ground black pepper for a lingering peppery taste. White pepper is also commonly used and has a slightly spicy and gingery taste. It’s ground fine, so start with half the amount and add more to taste.
- Onion Powder: This adds cooked allium flavor without the sulfur notes.
- Garlic Powder: Delivers a mellow garlic flavor that does not burn when cooked like fresh minced garlic.
- Dried Oregano: Adds a bitter, earthy, herbaceous, and slightly minty.
- Dried Thyme: Adds a hint of lemon, a minty and earthy taste.
- Cayenne Pepper: Also known as red pepper. This type of pepper adds a kink of heat in small amounts! Chili pepper powder, red chili flakes, and chipotle chili powder can also be used.
How to make Cajun seasoning
Combine all of the dried ingredients in a bowl. Then transfer to a wide-mouth jar or store in an airtight container. When adding to narrower spice jars, it helps to use a funnel.
Store away from heat and humidity so it doesn’t volatilize the aromatic compounds in the ingredients. If you notice the lack of smell, it’s time to make a new match for better flavor. When stored properly, the blend will last about 6 months.
Ways to use Cajun seasoning
The Cajun seasoning recipe is highly versatile. Use it as a dry spice rub for grilled or sauteed meats, seafood, and vegetables. Spice up steamed rice, savory soups, and pasta sauce. Stir some into the creamy dipping sauce to elevate the heat.
Rule of Thumb: I recommend using about 1 tablespoon of the seasoning for 1 pound of meat. When adding flavor to soups, stews, rice, and sauces, starts with ¼ teaspoon and increase to your liking.
Add spice to these recipes
- Grilled chicken breast or thighs
- Stove-top chicken breast
- Blackened salmon
- Ranch dressing
- Cajun shrimp
- Baked chicken wings
- Nacho cheese sauce
Frequently asked questions
Old Bay is a brand of seasoning mix using a proprietary formula that includes salt, celery seeds, red pepper, black pepper, and paprika. Cajun seasoning contains similar ingredients. However, it also has herbs, garlic, and onion powder and has a spicier flavor.
Cajun seasoning is more pepper-forward, using blends like black pepper, white pepper, and cayenne pepper. Creole seasoning is more herbaceous, using ingredients like thyme and oregano. Both use paprika for earthiness and the red color it adds to dishes.
Most seasoning blends have a medium, lingering heat that is not overpowering. Increasing the amount of cayenne pepper can make the mix spicier.
Making a spicier Cajun seasoning
Cayenne pepper is the hallmark way to add spiciness to Cajun dishes. The moderately hot pepper has a Scoville Heat Unit (SHU) of around 40,000. Drying and grinding it into a powder makes it easier to adjust seasoning heat levels. Start by adding an additional ⅛ to ¼ teaspoon to the spice blend for a strong upfront heat. For a spiciness that lingers around longer, incorporate red pepper flakes.
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- 2 tablespoons kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika, or sweet
- 1 ½ teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 ½ teaspoons onion powder
- 1 ½ teaspoons black pepper, coarsely ground
- 1 ½ teaspoons dried oregano
- 1 ½ teaspoons dried thyme
- 1 ½ teaspoons cayenne pepper
- Mix the Spices – In a medium bowl combine salt, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, dried oregano, dried thyme, and cayenne pepper.
- Store – Transfer seasoning mix to an airtight container or jar.
- Recipe Yield: 6 Tablespoons
- Serving Size: 1 tablespoon
- Using Table Salt: Add 2 ¾ teaspoons to substitute for kosher salt.
- Storing: Store in an airtight container or jar for up to 6 months in a cool, dry place.
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