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.

What is Bell's Seasoning?

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 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. Originally published November 5, 2019.

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Comments

  1. Being a Jersey girl I grew up using it, and still use it to this day. Like you, I never realized it wasn’t available nationwide. One of the best things to happen to poultry, pork, stuffing and who knows what else you can use it on or in.

    1. We’ve heard so many others echo your sentiment, Jill. Makes you glad you’ve got access to it, right?

  2. My grandmother was from New York and introduced Bell’s to my mom in Canada. I now use it and have passed it down to my daughter…problem is ..we live in Canada and cannot buy it here. Have to rely on our friends across the border to bring it up for us.
    Love the product..in our family for over 100 years for sure!

    1. Maybe Walmart in Canada would have it?? I live in Vermont and I can get Bells at Walmart (actually got 4 for a dollar each after the holidays that I still am going through). I love the stuff even on tofu to give it a poultry like flavor. When I lived in Virginia and would see the little box around the holidays I would wonder, “what is that stuff?”

    2. It truly is a fantastic product, Marylou. Here’s hoping it will be available in Canada one of these days!

  3. When I moved to FL from New England many, many years ago (like over 40 years ago), I couldn’t get it anywhere, so I’d either pick some up on one of my trips up to visit family or have one of them mail me a couple of boxes. Now I can get I locally, (although only seasonally) here in the south, but thank goodness I can always find it on Amazon. Thanks, Mr. Bell for creating such a wonderful product!

    1. I’m so glad you’re able to get it anytime now, Trish! Doesn’t quite feel like Thanksgiving without it.

  4. In Florida one can buy it in Publix’s right before Thanksgiving. It’s the best. Thanksgiving cannot be without it. One might as well not cook turkey or dressing, it is that essential. The aromas of Thanksgiving is Bells-from an old yank. Don’t be without it.

    1. The Publix in Merritt Island, FL, got in one shipment and have been out for the last month. I found some in a Winn-Dixie in Orlando this weekend.

    1. I definitely need to get my hands on some, Bunnieb. I’m one of the non-Yankee types mentioned in the post that has never heard it it.

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