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Instead of rummaging through the supermarket spice section for Cajun seasoning, learn how to make your own. A handful of spice shelf standards come together to form a Cajun seasoning mix that pumps a Louisianna kick into chicken, shrimp, fish, dips, roasted veggies, and pasta.
what is cajun seasoning?
The best Cajun seasoning is a spice blend that includes a concentration of peppers – cayenne, black pepper, and paprika – plus an herbal component, usually either oregano and/or thyme. This addictive mix flavors Cajun cooking, a rustic country cuisine that evolved in Louisianna after French refugees from what is now Canada landed there in the 18th century.
WHY make your own cajun seasoning
- Saves money: Yes, spices can really blow the grocery budget. Making DYI Cajun seasoning with spices already on hand saves bucks.
- Allows customization of the herbs: Herbs and their flavors can be polarizing ingredients. (I see you, cilantro haters.) So if you – or someone close to you – hates oregano or thyme, use a little less, or sub in marjoram. No harm. No foul.
- Be natural: If you cook only with organic foods, making your own mix might be the easiest way to have a cajun blend in your cabinet.
- Spread the Cajun love: Homemade Cajun seasoning is the perfect hostess gift to bring to a summer cookout.
spices for MAKE cajun seasoning
- Paprika: Any type works but smoked paprika, adds depth and a woodsy flavor.
- Garlic powder: Fresh garlic does not work here.
- Salt: I use regular table salt. If you are using kosher or sea salt, check your brand’s website to see how much to use. Some salts are saltier than others by measurement!
- Oregano: Pick the tiny dried leaves, not the ground powder. Cajun seasoning recipes vary (lots of chefs have their own special mix), but oregano and/or thyme are the most typical must-have herbs.
- Thyme: Also, choose the dried leaves, not the ground spice powder.
- Black pepper: Freshly ground always tastes best if possible.
- Cayenne pepper: This brings the heat.
HOW TO MAKE cajun seasoning
- Gather and measure all the ingredients into a bowl.
- Mix together well and transfer into a small bottle or jar that can be capped tightly.
TIPS FOR making cajun seasoning
- Start fresh: Although we are using dried herbs, make sure they are as fresh as possible. Old, tasteless ones add nothing to the blend. Check expiration dates and do sniff and visual tests. If the thyme or oregano is gray, it probably does not have much taste.
- Look for well-priced spices: You will pay top prices for those tiny bottles at mainstream grocery stores. Look for bargains at stores specializing in Middle Eastern, Indian, or Mexican foods. Some mainstream stores also have excellent deals.
- Control the heat, too: Yes, cajun is spicy, but it doesn’t have to be a mouth-searing experience. Dial down the cayenne pepper and garlic powder, or turn it up. Your choice.
- Save old jars: Recycle and set aside old jam or condiment jars and spice containers, so you have something to decant your beautiful mixture into.
recipes to make with cajun seasoning
HOW TO STORE cajun seasoning
Store in a tightly lidded jar in a cool, dark place. Heat and light degrade spices more quickly. So, if possible, situate your spice storage away from the warm stove to prolong life.
HOW LONG WILL cajun seasoning LAST?
In general, ground spices are best used within two years. If the mix has lost significant color and aroma before then, it’s a good bet it will not have much taste, either. Better to start fresh.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Both come from Louisianna and share some ingredients – usually garlic powder and oregano – but Cajun spice mix leans into heat with at least two kinds of peppers and paprika, while Creole spice mix typically is milder and includes onion powder and a melange of several herbs like oregano, basil, rosemary, bay leaves, and thyme all mixed together.
Some like to add chili powder or cumin to their mixes.
Yes, Cajun spice mix is used for blackening foods on the grill or in a saute pan. And, by the way, blackening does not mean the entire piece of fish, fowl, or meat is burnt to a crisp. Rather, the spices cooking and mixing with the butter that coats the protein blackens just the surface. This method will create spicy smoke, though. Watch your eyes!
The Cajun spice mix is one of those scrumptious classics that people find universally appealing. It’s a huge yum factor and is a great way to zip up plain grilled fish and chicken, and having a homemade jar on hand makes it super easy. Why not make some for your spice shelf today?
try these other spice mixes to try:
- How to Make 7 Spice
- How to Make Taco Seasoning
- How to Make Pumpkin Pie Spice
- How to Make Lemon Pepper Seasoning
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- Mix all the ingredients together in a small bowl until well combined.
- Store for up to 6 months in a cool dry place.
Nutrition information provided is an estimate. It will vary based on cooking method and specific ingredients used.