Cajun spice mix is made from cayenne, paprika, pepper, and chili powder. That’s it. Remarkable how something so simple can taste so complex.

A stash of this Cajun spice mix on hand means you always have a flavorful solution to any question involving what’s for dinner? Rivals all those premade Cajun spice mixes but minus the egregious amount of salt. You’ll think you’re in Louisiana.Renee Schettler Rossi

How To Use This Cajun Spice Mix

We use this Cajun spice mix on everything from fish fillets to jambalaya. And by “everything” we mean ribs, steaks, burgers, fries, eggs, and so, so much more. There’s no salt in this mix, so be sure to add salt to taste to whatever you’re cooking. (The salt is added separately because some foods need more of it than others, according to author Donald Link.)

A mug lying on its side in a bin of cajun spice mix

Cajun Spice Mix

5 / 5 votes
Cajun spice mix is made from cayenne, paprika, pepper, and chili powder. That’s it. Remarkable how something so simple can taste so complex.
Servings96 servings | 1 cup total
Calories2 kcal
Prep Time5 minutes
Total Time5 minutes


  • 2 tablespoons cayenne pepper
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 tablespoon ground white pepper
  • 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder


  • Combine all the spices in a small bowl. Store in a cool, dark place in a tightly sealed container for up to several months.
Real Cajun

Adapted From

Real Cajun

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Serving: 0.5 teaspoonCalories: 2 kcalCarbohydrates: 0.4 gProtein: 0.1 gFat: 0.1 gSaturated Fat: 0.01 gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.04 gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.01 gSodium: 6 mgPotassium: 11 mgFiber: 0.2 gSugar: 0.05 gVitamin A: 149 IUVitamin C: 0.3 mgCalcium: 2 mgIron: 0.1 mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2009 Donald Link. Photo © 2009 Chris Granger. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

This spice rub is pretty wonderful. Not only does it come together in a flash, but the myriad ways in which it might be applied make it the perfect homemade pantry spice. In addition to the fantastic flavor it gives the Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya, it tastes wonderful on eggs, hash browns, beef, chicken, and fish (especially fish tacos). Also in soups and chilies. I use 1/2 teaspoon to give an dish some background warmth and 1 teaspoon for a spicy kick. It’s a great all-around seasoning.

I enjoy this spice mix very much. I love it in jambalaya and I love to put it in the water when making rice. If you’re in a hurry and need some flavor, having a spice mix like this on hand is quite nice.

Originally published October 15, 2017

About David Leite

David Leite has received three James Beard Awards for his writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. His work has appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    First of all, I had no idea you could create a spice from spices already in your kitchen! I guess I’m a bit naive when it comes to spices. I’m so pleased that the Cajun quesadilla recipe on this site suggested I make my own Cajun spice and provided me the link to a recipe. The flavor was delightful and gave my quesadillas the kick they needed!

    1. Thanks, April. We’re delighted that you learned a new tip and have found a favorite spice blend recipe. Thanks for taking the time to let us know.

  2. 5 stars
    Very good Cajun seasoning. It has good heat and was easy to throw together. It seems very versatile in the number of things that I can use it for. I will make more as soon as I run out.

  3. Which kind of red chili powder are you supposed to use in Donnie’s spice mix. I used fresh pure red chili powder and pure red cayenne pepper that is always used in Indian food. The two made quite a kick!

    Would it have been better (more authentic) to use regular chili powder from the store for a more earthy flavor? Did not know.

    Also is this the right type of spice mix for blackened chicken or fish. Should I use Donnie’s for a rub? or are these completely different?

    Many Thanks!

    1. Hi Brambo, I’d be inclined to use store bought chili powder. This seasoning mixture is a great rub for all meats but may not produce the blackened finish. Rubs for blackened fish or chicken usually contain additional oregano, thyme and onion. Of course you could play around with this rub as a starting point and create your own. Let us know if you do!

      1. Just to echo Beth, a store bought chili powder blend will work, although this is one of those recipes that takes well to being creative. If you have a pure ancho or chipotle or any other straight-up chili powder of your preference, feel free to swap it for the chili powder blend here…and do let us know what you find!

          1. Actually, jmk, chili powder as in the bottled blend of ground spices that you find labeled “chili powder” at any grocery store in the spice section. Love to hear what you think of the recipe when you’ve made it…

          2. Very good blend. It leaves out the herbs, so you have to add those to suit the dish. By chance I just used this blend tonight for a terrific gumbo z’herbes.

          3. Terrific to hear, Jmk! And yes, we find that most recipes calling for a Cajun spice mix call for herbs separately, so we were okay with that omission. We love this on fish, on fries, on seafood, on so many things…