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Homemade Old Bay Seasoning

With spice grinder in hand, Gustav Brunn traveled to America from Germany and settled down in Baltimore on the Chesapeake Bay where steamed crabs are a staple. Gustav began grinding. In 1939, after trying many different combinations, Gustav found just the right mix for a top secret blend of spices that would be the most used seasoning on steamed crabs, shrimp, lobster, and other tasty seafood dishes for generations to come. But McCormick & Co., which purchased Old Bay in 1990, insists that the celery salt-based blend is not just for seafood. You can also shake the seasoning on chicken, french fries, popcorn, baked potatoes, deviled eggs, hamburgers, and even pizza.–Todd Wilbur

LC Oh, The Places You'll Go! Note

You may know Old Bay best as that indispensable ingredient in a crawfish or shrimp boil. But as kitchen maverick Todd Wilbur explains above, there’s no need to hold yourself back. We polled our most trusted cooks, and here’s how they made a batch of this homemade riff on Old Bay disappear in no time flat…
Mixed into crab cakes, natch
Sprinkled on sweet corn
Shaken or stirred into a Bloody Mary
Incorporated into the flour for dredging pan-fried fish
Incorporated into the flour for dredging pan-fried chicken
Dumped into gumbo
Stirred into gazpacho
Strewn atop a baked potato
Dusted daintily over naan
Stirred into egg salad
Rubbed on grilled fish that’s destined to be wrapped up in soft corn tortillas (that is to say, fish tacos)
Melded into hot crab dip
Tossed with popcorn
Whisked into egg white omelets
Swirled into seafood soups and stews
Stirred into tartar sauce
Dissolved in a brine for pork or poultry
Sprinkled in bread crumbs for, well, just about anything
Mashed into deviled eggs
Injected into chicken or turkey
Mixed into the coating for onion rings
Heaped on homemade potato chips
Added to mayo for a quick dip
Mashed with butter, garlic, and Parmigiano-Reggiano and slathered on warm bread
Rubbed between the meat and skin of a hen prior to roasting
Sprinkled on homemade tortilla chips as they’re pulled from the oil
Tossed with oven fries
Incorporated into stuffing or, if you prefer, dressing (and we’re quite certain you know the difference between them…right?)
Combined with hummus
Strewn on crawfish anything
And, if you live in Maryland, lavished on just about everything else you can think to eat

Homemade Old Bay Seasoning Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 5 M
  • 5 M
  • 2 tablespoons

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon celery salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 pinch ground dry mustard
  • 1 pinch ground mace (may substitute a teensy pinch nutmeg)
  • 1 pinch ground cinnamon
  • 1 pinch ground cardamom
  • 1 pinch ground allspice
  • 1 pinch ground cloves
  • 1 pinch ground ginger

Directions

  • 1. Combine all of the ingredients in a small bowl. Transfer to a container of some sort that has a tight-fitting lid, preferably a glass jar. Set aside in a cool, dark place and use within a couple of months for optimal flavor.
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