Substitute for Old Bay Seasoning

If you’re looking for a substitution for Old Bay seasoning, you’re in luck! We’ve gathered a few delicious alternatives that will give your dishes the same flavor profile as Old Bay. But before we delve into the alternatives, let’s take a quick look first at what makes Old Bay so special.

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What is Old Bay seasoning?

Old Bay seasoning is a blend of herbs and spices that’s most commonly used as a seafood seasoning. The mix typically contains mustard, celery seed, black pepper, red pepper flakes, allspice, ginger, and mace. It was created in 1939 by Gustav Brunn, who was looking for a way to make his crab cakes stand out from the competition.

The mix is popular in the United States, particularly in the Mid-Atlantic and New England regions and surrounding areas of The Chesapeake Bay. It’s also a favorite in Canada and has been gaining popularity in Europe over the past few years.

What are the main ingredients in Old Bay?

The main ingredients in Old Bay are Celery Salt, Mustard, Spices (both red pepper and black pepper), and Paprika.

What does Old Bay Spice seasoning taste like?

If you’ve never tried Old Bay seasoning before, it has a pretty unique flavor profile. The mix of spices gives the dish a slightly spicy and herby taste. It’s often described as being a bit like curry, with a slightly sweet and smoky flavor.

Why use Old Spice Seasoning?

Old Bay Spice seasoning is a great way to add flavor to your seafood dishes. The mix of spices gives the dish a slightly spicy and herby taste that’s perfect for seafood. It can also be used to season chicken, beef, or pork dishes.

No matter the reason, we’ve got you covered with a few delicious alternatives to Old Bay seasoning. So without further ado, let’s get started!

  1. Cajun seasoning

Cajun seasoning is a blend of herbs and spices that’s popular in Louisiana cuisine. It typically contains paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper, black pepper, and oregano. Cajun seasoning is perfect for dishes like gumbo and jambalaya.

Cajun seasoning has a similar flavor profile to Old Bay, with a slightly spicy and herby taste.

You can find Cajun seasoning in the spice aisle of your local grocery

To use it as a substitution for Old Bay, just use the same amount called for in the recipe.

  1. Crab boil

Crab boil is another blend of herbs and spices that’s popular in seafood dishes, like shellfish, lobster, or crabs. It is used to flavor the water in which these dishes are boiled. There are many recipes for crab boil, but it typically contains allspice, bay leaves, cayenne pepper, cilantro seed, dill seed, and mustard seed.

Crab boil has a slightly sweet and sour taste with a hint of spice.

Crab boil can be bought at stores throughout much of the United States. It can also be bought online.

To substitute for Old Bay seasoning, use crab boil in equal amounts.

  1. Chinese five spice

Chinese five spice powder is a blend of spices that’s popular in Chinese cuisine. It typically contains star anise, cloves, cinnamon, fennel seed, and Szechuan pepper. This blend is perfect for stir-fries or braised dishes.

The taste is a little sweeter than Old Bay seasoning, but this substitute will give your food a similar flavor.

This spice isn’t readily available in most local grocery stores, but you can find it in most Chinese stores or online.

To use it as a substitution for Old Bay, just use the same amount called for in the recipe.

  1. Pickling spice

Pickling spice is a blend of spices that’s used to flavor pickles and other pickled vegetables. It typically contains ginger, red pepper flakes, mustard seed, allspice, cilantro seeds, and cloves. This blend is also great for canning fruits and vegetables.

Pickling spice has a slightly sweet and sour taste with a hint of spice.

This substitute can be found in most local stores. Just look for the seasoning aisle or the produce section near the pickles.

To substitute for Old Bay seasoning, use Pickling Spice in equal amounts.

  1. Paprika & Celery Salt 

If you’re looking for a low-sodium option, you can try using paprika and celery salt as a substitute for Old Bay seasoning. Paprika is a dried, ground pepper that comes from the bell pepper plant. It has a sweet, smoky flavor and is available in both smoked and sweet varieties.

Since these are already ingredients used in Old Bay, these would make a good substitute.

Celery salt is made from ground celery seeds and salt. It has a slightly salty flavor and is used to add flavor to dishes or as a garnish.

To substitute for Old Bay seasoning, use ¼ teaspoon paprika and ½ teaspoon celery salt for each teaspoon of Old Bay seasoning called for in the recipe.

  1. Seasoned Salt

Seasoned Salt is another great option. Typically seasoned salt is made with salt and a few other herbs, spices, and seasonings. Always check your labels to make sure it has flavors that you want. You may already have this seasoning mix in your spice cabinet since it can be a popular seasoning to use, especially when serving seafood dishes.

When using this great substitute, you want to use about a half teaspoon of seasoned salt to your 1 teaspoon of Old Bay that your recipe calls for.

  1. Creole Seasoning

Another popular seasoning substitute for Old Bay is Creole Seasoning. This blend of herbs and spices has a bit more kick than Old Bay, so use it sparingly. To substitute for 1 teaspoon of Old Bay, use only ⅛ teaspoon of Creole seasoning.

Simple Substitutes for Old Bay Seasoning

Whether you’re looking for a low-sodium option or you just don’t have Old Bay seasoning on hand and don’t feel like running to the local grocery store, there are plenty of substitutes that will give your food a similar flavor. Our list includes Cajun seasoning, crab boil, Chinese five spice, Creole seasoning, seasoned salt, pickling spice, and paprika and celery salt. So next time you’re in the mood for some seafood, don’t hesitate to try one of these substitutes!

That’s it for our list of substitutes for Old Bay seasoning! We hope you found this article helpful and that you’ll be able to find a new favorite seasoning for your seafood dishes. 


How to Make Homemade Old Bay

What are the ingredients needed to make homemade old bay seasoning? You can find many recipes online that use simple pantry ingredients to create your own old bay seasoning, but here are a few common ingredients:

• Paprika – 1 tablespoon

• Celery salt – 1 teaspoon

• Black Pepper – ½ teaspoon

• Ground Mustard – ¼ teaspoon

• Cayenne Pepper – ⅛ teaspoon

• Ground Ginger – ⅛ teaspoon

• Cloves – Pinch

• Allspice – Pinch

Mix the above ingredients together and enjoy the flavor of homemade Old Bay! Store in an airtight container for up to 6 months, or longer if kept in a cool and dark environment. While there are various ways that people share to make your own, this is a simple combo of ingredients to use together to give you a similar flavor profile.

How to Use Old Bay

There are a TON of ways to use Old Bay, but we will share our favorite ways to use it and the best Old Bay Seasoning substitutes that we shared above. These are NOT the ONLY ways to use it. It can be used in just about anything.

  • Old Bay seasoning is most commonly used on seafood dishes. It can be sprinkled over cooked shrimp, crab, or salmon.
  • It’s also a great addition to salads and sandwiches, giving them that extra kick of flavor.
  • You can find many recipes online for soups, stews, and casseroles that use Old Bay as an ingredient too.
  • You can rub it on meats like steaks, pork, chicken, etc.

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