What’s Bell’s Seasoning?

What’s Bell’s seasoning explains the classic Thanksgiving spice blend that’s a must in the Northeast US. David Leite talks to us about why it’s so essential.

A box of Bell's seasoning with a partially filled measuring spoon beside it.

Recently, I was gobsmacked—just gobsmacked, I tell you—when I mentioned Bell’s Seasoning to the LC staff. They all just looked at me. Dumbstruck. Bewildered. Confused.

They’d never heard of it.

When they asked what it was, all I could do was keep repeating, “Bell’s Seasoning.”

To me, Bell’s Seasoning is something so essential to Thanksgiving cooking, it defies definition. Or so I thought. Apparently, if you’re not a born and bred Yankee, Bell’s (that’s what we locals call it) might be unfamiliar. It has always been so elemental, so ubiquitous, so foundational to my turkey and stuffing, it’s one of a handful of entities known only by a first name, like Cher, Diana, Bette, Madonna, and Christ.

And it’s something you NEED to know for Thanksgiving.

What is Bell’s Seasoning?

Bell’s Seasoning is a salt-free poultry seasoning mix–a unique blend of herbs and spices concocted by William G. Bell in Boston in 1867. It consists of ground rosemary, oregano, sage, ginger, marjoram, thyme, and pepper.

Is Bell’s Seasoning gluten-free?

Yes. And not only that, it’s vegan. Plus it contains no salt, preservatives, additives, or artificial ingredients. Clearly, Mr. Bell was waaaay ahead of his time.

What can I use Bell’s Seasoning on?

The better question is, what can’t I use it on? Of course, the first stop on Thanksgiving Day is the turkey. A generous sprinkling into a small bowl of melted butter is all you need to create an herbaceous baste for your bird.

But don’t stop there. It’s great in stuffing–especially old-fashioned sausage stuffings such as Homemade Cornbread Sausage Dressing or Sourdough Dressing with Sausage and Prunes. And it wouldn’t be out of place in my godmother Dina’s Potato Dressing.

It’s even pretty awesome in pumpkin soup and in that much-needed Bloody Mary just before the in-laws arrive for the holiday weekend.

Where can I buy Bell’s Seasoning?

If you live in the Northeast, you know where to get it. (In fact, I’ll bet dollars to Dunkin’ Donuts you already have a box in your cupboard.) If you visit the Northeast, I’m pretty sure you know where to snag a box, too. For the rest of you, allow me to rock your world.

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Comments

  1. I grew up with Bells. It wouldn’t be Thanksgiving stuffing without it. As a matter of fact, I won’t make stuffing without it. Anyway, I love chicken salad and make it with roasted chicken but I bought some canned chicken on sale. It made some rather bland chicken salad. I had some Bells and I sprinkled some into it and it made a world of difference to the taste. I love Bells ❤️

  2. Been using Bell’s poultry seasoning since 1986. I won’t use anything else. Down south, I have always been able to find it at Piggly Wiggly. There is NO OTHER I’d use.

  3. I’m originally a Northeasterner, and I too grew up on Bell’s passed down through the generations. I’m now located in Texas, and I’m having THE HARDEST TIME FINDING IT HERE! Why I waited until until the week of Thanksgiving to try to find it is beyond me, but this was CLEARLY a mistake. 🙁 If you have some extra, please send. 🙂

  4. David thank you so much for letting us know about Bell’s. I have never heard of it before but then again I am a southern girl. I will certainly try it. Your Dina’s Potato Dressing sounds so unusual and so good. It is on my to try list also. Happy Thanksgiving to you and The One and all the LC staff!

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