Homemade Old Bay Seasoning


In this Homemade Old Bay Seasoning, 13 dried herbs and spices like, celery salt, paprika and ground bay leaves are combined for a flavorful sweet and spicy seasoning blend. Yields a about 3 tablespoons.

What is Old Bay seasoning?

Old Bay is a seasoning blend was originally created in Baltimore, Maryland and is now marketed and sold in the Unites States by McCormick and Company. There is quite the history behind this seasoning blend, I implore you to Google and read about it sometime. 

What’s In Old Bay Seasoning Made Of?

According to McCormick, it’s a blend of 18 herbs and spices and the label reads: Celery Salt (Salt, Celery Seed), Spices (Including Red Pepper and Black Pepper), and Paprika. Obviously not a lot of info there, so I worked on this recipe and in the end, mine calls for only 13 common spices and dried herbs. And in my humble opinion, tastes pretty darn similar. In it, celery salt, paprika, ground bay leaf and cayenne are the most prominent flavors, but the subtle warmth of sweet spices like allspice, cinnamon, ginger and cardamom also play a part in giving this blend its unique flavor.

To Make This Homemade Old Bay Seasoning you Will Need:

  • paprikaLends color and subtle flavor.
  • cayenne pepperGives this spice blend its heat.
  • celery saltA mixture of ground celery seed and salt. Gives a hint of celery flavor.
  • dried mustardGives this spice some tang.
  • ground black pepperAdds some subtle bite and flavor.
  • ground bay leafLends an earthy, slightly pine-like flavor with notes of black pepper.
  • fine saltEnhances the flavors in the seasoning.
  • smoked paprikaAdds color and subtle smoky flavor.
  • allspiceLends notes of cloves, black pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg, star anise and fennel.
  • ginger (ground) – Has a pungent, spicy and sweet flavor.
  • nutmeg (ground) – Warm, aromatic with subtle hints of clove.
  • cardamom (ground) – Fragrant with notes of eucalyptus, citrus and black pepper.
  • cinnamonLends a distinct warm and woodsy flavor.

Ground bay leaf is not something I could find easily on grocery store shelves. So I pulled out my mortar and pestle and ground up as many bay leaves as it took to get 1 teaspoon. I sifted it through a mesh sieve to weed out any tough stem like pieces.

NOTE: If making your own ground bay leaf, I highly recommend wearing a mask or plugging you nose with tissues, as the dust is very strong and a little numbing.

In a glass jar or storage container, measure and add 2 teaspoons paprika, 1 teaspoon each cayenne pepper, celery salt, ground mustard, black pepper and bay leaf. A 1/2 teaspoon each fine sea salt, smoked paprika, 1/4 teaspoon each allspice, ground ginger, nutmeg, cardamom and cinnamon. 


Until well blended.

And that’s it! Secure the lid tightly and store in a dry, dark place for up to 6 months or longer.

What To Make Using Old Bay Seasoning:

If you want to see more spice blends that you can make at home, check out my growing list of 20+ DIY seasonings!


Enjoy! And if you give this Old Bay Seasoning recipe a try, let me know! Snap a photo and tag me on twitter or instagram!