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The 5 Best Substitutes for Old Bay Seasoning

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Old Bay Seasoning is a unique and versatile spice blend that has been used for generations in the Chesapeake Bay region.

The secret recipe includes a mix of herbs and spices, including celery salt, paprika, black pepper, and cayenne pepper.

While Old Bay is commonly associated with seafood dishes, it can be used in a variety of ways.

Here are some tips on how to cook with Old Bay and the best substitutes for this distinctive seasoning.

What’s Old Bay Seasoning?

Old Bay seasoning is a blend of spices that originates from the Chesapeake Bay region of the United States.

It is commonly used to season seafood but can also be used on chicken, pork, or vegetables.

The exact recipe for Old Bay seasoning is a closely guarded secret, but it typically includes celery salt, paprika, pepper, and other spices.

The seasoning has a distinct taste that is both salty and slightly spicy.

It is also very versatile and can be used in many different dishes.

For example, it is often used as a rub for grilled meats or as a seasoning for soups or stews.

Old Bay seasoning can be found in most grocery stores in the United States.

The 5 Best Substitutes for Old Bay Seasoning

If you’re a fan of Old Bay seasoning, you know that its unique blend of 18 herbs and spices can add flavor to any dish.

But what do you do when you’re out of Old Bay and need a suitable replacement?

Here are five of the best substitutes for Old Bay seasoning:

1 – Paprika & Celery Salt

If you’re a fan of Old Bay Seasoning, you’ll love paprika and celery salt.

Both spices have a similar taste and texture, making them perfect substitutes for Old Bay.

Paprika is made from dried peppers and has a slightly smoky flavor.

Celery salt is made from celery seeds and has a salty, savory taste.

While you can use either spice on its own, combining them gives your food a more complex flavor.

To substitute paprika and celery salt for Old Bay, simply add equal parts of each spice to your dish.

You can adjust the amount to taste.

So if you’re looking for a new way to spice up your food, give paprika and celery salt a try.

2 – Zatarain’s Crab Boil

Zatarain’s is a Louisiana-based company that produces a popular line of spices and seasonings, including the ever-popular Crab Boil.

This seasoning mix is traditionally used to add flavor to crab and shrimp dishes.

However, it can also be used as a substitute for Old Bay Seasoning in many recipes.

The taste of Zatarain’s Crab Boil is similar to Old Bay, with a slightly spicier flavor profile.

The texture is also comparable, although Zatarain’s mix contains some larger pieces of spice that can affect the overall texture of the dish.

To substitute Zatarain’s Crab Boil for Old Bay Seasoning, simply use an equal amount of the seasoning mix.

Keep in mind that the final dish will have a slightly different flavor and texture than if you had used Old Bay.

3 – Cajun Seasoning

Cajun seasoning is a blend of spices used in Cajun and Creole cuisine.

It typically includes paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper, black pepper, and dried thyme.

The exact ingredients and proportions vary depending on the chef, but the goal is always to create a flavorful and spicy seasoning mix.

Cajun seasoning can be used on meats, vegetables, rice, or anywhere else you want to add a little extra flavor.

If you’re looking for a substitution for Old Bay seasoning, Cajun seasoning is a good option.

It has a similar taste and texture but with an extra kick of spice.

4 – Todd’s Dirt

Todd’s Dirt is a versatile seasoning that can be used on everything from chicken to corn on the cob.

Its distinct taste and texture set it apart from other seasonings, and its versatility makes it a kitchen staple.

The flavor of Todd’s Dirt is best described as earthy and slightly sweet, with a hint of heat.

The texture is perfect for binding ingredients together, making it an ideal choice for meatballs or burgers.

And because it contains no salt, it can be used as a substitute for Old Bay Seasoning.

Whether you’re looking for a new seasoning to try or a versatile way to add flavor to your cooking, Todd’s Dirt is worth a try.

5 – Chinese Five Spice

Chinese Five Spice is a blend of star anise, cloves, cinnamon, Sichuan pepper, and fennel seeds.

It has a complex flavor that is simultaneously sweet, savory, and spicy.

The spices can be ground into a powder or used whole.

When used whole, the spices have a more pronounced flavor.

Chinese Five Spice can be used as a substitute for Old Bay Seasoning.

It has a similar flavor profile but with a little more sweetness and spice.

To substitute Chinese Five Spice for Old Bay Seasoning, use 1/2 teaspoon of Five spice for every 1 teaspoon of Old Bay.

Adjust to taste as necessary.


In conclusion, there are many different spices and seasoning mixes that can be used as a substitute for Old Bay Seasoning.

Each one will impart its own unique flavor to the dish, so it’s important to choose one that you think will complement the other ingredients.

When substituting, be sure to adjust the amount to taste. And finally, enjoy your new and improved dish.

The 5 Best Substitutes for Old Bay Seasoning

Recipe by Andrew Gray Course: Substitutes


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  • Paprika & Celery Salt

  • Zatarain’s Crab Boil

  • Cajun Seasoning

  • Todd’s Dirt

  • Chinese Five Spice


  • Pick your favorite substitute from the list above.
  • Follow cooking directions for your selected substitute with the proper ratio of ingredients.

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