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. David, you’ve done gone and made me cry. I totally forgot all about Bell’s Seasoning, but reading your post, I find myself awash in memories of my mother’s kitchen in upstate New York. She never enjoyed cooking but was the designated hostess for the extended family’s Thanksgiving dinner for 15-20 people every year. Aside from salt and pepper, I can’t remember any spices in her kitchen other than Accent and Bell’s Seasoning. Bell’s was the secret ingredient in her inimitably delicious stuffing, which I was allowed to help with by chopping celery. Bell’s was the flavoring for her amazing 20-30 pound turkeys, which she cooked low and slow for hours, basting often. I miss that beautiful woman more than words can say, especially at Thanksgiving. I think I need to get a box of Bell’s. Happy Thanksgiving to you and The One!

  2. You make me smile, laugh, and give me a warm wonderful feeling all over. I love the way you write and the way you make me feel. Keep peace and love in your heart.

    Memere’s sausage stuffing is not complete without “Bell’s”. It makes my turkey and my belly happy. Gobble, gobble!

    1. My dear, dear longtime friend! (See how I didn’t call you old, Greg?!) Thank you. I wish you, your husband, and family a wonderful, loving, and delicious Thanksgiving! xo

  3. Best seasoning ever! I was introduced to Bell’s when we lived in New England and you said it – essential for the Thanksgiving holiday. My favorite is to add it to my stuffing. The company should promote it in the Midwest, too as many people have not heard.

    1. Penny, I agree! That is absurd. May I ask where you’re getting $74 for 3 ounces? If you follow the links I supply, the prices are $6.92 for one box and $4.33 each for three boxes.

  4. Happy to hear I am not the only one left who uses Bell’s seasoning. I Also love the little box with the turkey, although there is no way to seal it. It just sings Thanksgiving.

      1. I couldn’t find Bell’s in any stores this year. I actually went to a Walmart (now I feel dirty) that said they had it but they were out.

        Finally found some in a store 60 miles away. So I drove there this weekend, bought 6 boxes, and when I got home I individually vacuum packed each one and put them in my chest freezer.

        If there is a flavor for any pending apocalypse, it will be Bell’s.

          1. No. It’s not something I grew up with way down South. But thanks to LC, I tried it and vowed to never be without it.

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