Wanted to make your own Old Bay seasoning blend but couldn’t quite figure it out? No problem, we’ve got the copycat recipe you need.
Note: Below you’ll find a recipe for a full 1/2 cup (4oz.) batch of copycat Old Bay. In addition, in case you’re trying to make a recipe that calls for Old Bay and you just want to make a little bit, we’ve also given a recipe below that makes a small batch of just 2 tablespoons. We hope you find this helpful!
Old Bay seasoning is complex, earthy, warm, a little salty, a little spicy, and a little mysterious. It’s intriguing, and if you’ve ever searched for copycat recipes, you’ve probably noticed that most recipes contain 17 or more ingredients.
That’s a lot and not necessary to create the same flavor profile at home. My recipe cuts the ingredient list by more than half, while still delivering the same familiar, earthy, warm, spicy flavor.
What Is Old Bay Seasoning?
According to the Baltimore Sun, Old Bay was created by Gustav Brunn, a German Jewish refugee who had a spice business in Germany. He landed in Baltimore in 1938 after spending two weeks in a concentration camp. With spice grinder and his family in tow, Brunn opened his own spice store, the Baltimore Spice Company, after having trouble finding work.
The original recipe for Old Bay is said to have at least 18 spices, reminiscent of the spices you’d find in German cooking. I’ve pared it down to just seven. At the heart of it, Old Bay is predominantly celery and paprika, with a few warm spices and cayenne rounding it off.
Old Bay With Less Ingredients
To build some efficiencies into the recipe and cut the long ingredient list in half while still maintaining the integrity of the original flavor. I used allspice in place of the nutmeg, mace, cinnamon, and cardamom which delivers that same warm, earthiness needed to balance the heat and salt.
Celery salt alone will not deliver the same flavor and aroma of celery needed for the recipe, so whole celery seeds that have been ground, or ground celery seeds, which can be purchased online, must be used in addition to celery salt.
Classic Old Bay is salty, so one of the best parts about this recipe is that you can control the amount of sodium that is used. Since the main celery flavor is coming from the ground celery seed, the celery salt can be easily adjusted as needed.
Making a Small Batch of Old Bay Seasoning
If you want a full batch of Old Bay for in your pantry that you can grab and use whenever, then scroll down to make the full recipe. However, if you just want a small batch to use right now in a recipe that calls for it, or, if you just want to know approximately how much of each ingredient to add directly to something that you’re cooking, I have the info for you here. First, here is how to make 2 tablespoons of Old Bay seasoning.
|To Make 2 Tablespoons of Old Bay Seasoning, Combine:|
• 2 and 1/4 tsp. celery seed
• 2 and 1/4 tsp. paprika
• 1/2 tsp. celery salt
• 1/2 tsp. paprika
• 1/4 tsp. dry mustard powder
• 1/4 tsp. ground ginger
• 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
To Add Directly to the Food You’re Cooking: Add equal amounts of celery seed and paprika, then use about 1/4 that amount of celery salt and of all spice. Then use just a bit of mustard powder, ground ginger, and cayenne.
Using Homemade Old Bay Seasoning
This copycat Old Bay can be used on everything Old Bay is used for! Seasoned French fries or potatoes, meats and seafood, and of course, as a crab boil seasoning. You can even use it to rim the glass for your Bloody Mary.Print
- 3 Tbsp. ground celery seed
- 3 Tbsp. paprika
- 2 tsp. celery salt
- 2 tsp. allspice
- 1 tsp. dry mustard
- 1 tsp. ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
- In a medium bowl whisk together ground celery seed, paprika, celery salt, allspice, dry mustard, ginger, and cayenne until well combined.
- Transfer mixture to an air-tight container. Store up to 3 months in a cool, dry, dark, place.