Home Recipes Homemade Old Bay Seasoning (Easy Recipe)

Homemade Old Bay Seasoning (Easy Recipe)

Run out of Old Bay seasoning and don’t know what to do? No problem! Just use this recipe to make your own homemade version. 

This copycat Old Bay seasoning recipe doesn’t use the same 18 herbs and spices that McCormick uses. But it’s just as good!

Homemade Raw and Organic Old Bay Seasoning in a Glass Jar
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When combined, the 14 spices in this version make an excellent Old Bay substitute.

Use it on your seafood, veggies, and meats. I promise you’ll love it. 

What Is Old Bay Seasoning? 

Old Bay seasoning is a McCormick spice blend created over eight decades ago. It contains a proprietary blend of spices to give it a robust, complex flavor profile. 

Marketed initially as a seafood seasoning blend, Old Bay is useful in many dishes. It’s safe to say it’s one of America’s favorite all-purpose seasoning blends.

You can easily recognize it by its signature bright yellow can with blue accents. 

The History of Old Bay 

Old Bay seasoning has been manufactured and sold by McCormick. However, they weren’t the blend’s original creator. 

That honor goes to German immigrant Gustav Brunn. While living in Baltimore, he created the seasoning blend in 1939 as a “shrimp and crab seasoning.” 

He sold it under the name “Delicious Brand.” It later became Old Bay seasoning in recognition of the Old Bay Line passenger ship. 

Today, McCormick owns the brand and the secret of its spice blend.

What Spices Are In Old Bay? 

Unfortunately, outside of McCormick employees, no one really knows all the 18 herbs and spices that make up Old Bay seasoning. 

That’s one secret that McCormick keeps fairly close to its chest. 

I’m not sure these ingredients are the same ones McCormick uses. Still, it’s a pretty great copycat recipe. Here’s what I use: 

  • Celery salt
  • Sweet paprika
  • Smoked paprika
  • Dry mustard powder
  • Ground ginger
  • Ground black pepper
  • Ground white pepper
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Ground bay leaves
  • Ground cinnamon
  • Ground nutmeg
  • Ground cloves
  • Ground cardamom
  • Ground allspice

How to Make Old Bay Seasoning 

To make Old Bay Seasoning, simply measure and combine all the ingredients.

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Then, store the mixture in a clean, dry, air-tight container for up to 6 months! 

Ways to Use Old Bay Seasoning 

Here are some of my favorite ways to use Old Bay Seasoning: 

  • Use it as a rub for fish, poultry, and other meats. 
  • Work it into seafood and Cajun dishes, like gumbo or a crab boil.
  • Use it to flavor roasted potatoes or grilled veggies.
  • Sprinkle it over popcorn, or use it to season popcorn balls
  • Stir it into chicken salad, egg salad, or tuna salad mixtures. 
  • Add it to other foods, such as corn on the cob or French fries.
  • Mix it with cream cheese or sour cream for a flavorful dip. 
  • Sprinkle it over salads or on sandwiches and wraps. 
  • Use it to flavor burgers, soups, stews, and more. 
  • Add it to your favorite deviled eggs recipe. 

How to Store 

Store Old Bay Seasoning in an air-tight container at room temperature for up to 6 months. Here are some of my other best storage tips for this DIY seasoning blend: 

  • Keep it in the dark. Store the seasoning mixture somewhere dark, away from direct sunlight. 
  • Don’t get confused! Clearly label the seasoning so you don’t confuse it with something else. 
  • Add a date. That way, you know when it’s past its ‘best by’ date.
  • Mind the heat! Don’t store the mixture near the stove or another heat source. 
  • Resist the urge to chill it. Don’t store the mixture inside the refrigerator. 
  • Dial up the freshness. Store it in a glass container to optimize its freshness. 

Finally, remember, your Old Bay seasoning is only as good as its ingredients. If they go out of date soon, your seasoning blend won’t last as long! 

More Homemade Seasonings 

Love making your own seasoning mixtures? Here are some more recipes to try: 

Homemade Old Bay Seasoning



Prep time





This homemade Old Bay seasoning is the perfect way to jazz up your meals! The blend of paprika, mustard powder, pepper, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, and more can’t be topped.


  • 2 tablespoons celery salt

  • 1 tablespoon sweet paprika

  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika

  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper

  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground bay leaves

  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom

  • 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice


  • Combine all of the ingredients in a small bowl. Stir together until the blend is well-mixed.
  • Pour the seasoning mixture into a clean spice jar. (Or any other air-tight container.) Store it at room temperature for up to 6 months.


  • Uses. Typically, people use Old Bay Seasoning in various seafood dishes. However, it also tastes great on chicken and roasted potatoes, in Bloody Marys, and more! Experiment!
  • Storage. Store the seasoning mixture somewhere cool and dry. Be sure it’s not in direct sunlight or near a heat source.
Old Bay Seasoning

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author avatar
NaTaya Hastings
NaTaya Hastings is a food and recipe writer for Insanely Good Recipes. She’s an educator, boy mom, dog mom, and whatever-stray-enters-the-yard mom. As a result, she's constantly cooking for both humans and animals.

Luckily, she enjoys it!

Though born, raised, and still living in Alabama, her specialty is NOT down-home Southern cooking. Instead, she loves to experiment with Asian, Mexican, Italian, and other ethnic cuisines. She has two mottos when it comes to cooking. “The more spice, the better!” and “There’s no such thing as too much garlic!”

She’s also pretty good with desserts. Especially the easy, no-bake ones.

Her favorite things are cuddling with her four giant dogs, traveling, reading, writing, and hanging out in nature. She’s also pretty excellent at Dominoes.

2 thoughts on “Homemade Old Bay Seasoning (Easy Recipe)”

  1. How can I get some of your simple delicious recipes I can make in 30 minutes. I cook only for myself and don’t want to spend a long time doing it however I do like healthy recipes that don’t require unusual ingredients normally kept in stock or would use in other recipes. I only would like a few. I don’t have time to browse through many recipes at one time. I love to eat but don’t love cooking and there are few foods that I dislike. Hope you can help with a few suggestions.
    Thank you.


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