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September 11, 2022

Homemade Old Bay Seasoning Blend

The best summer cookouts, lobster feasts and crab boils are defined by the iconic flavor of Old Bay! Our Old Bay seasoning recipe is so easy, and it makes a nice gift, too.


homemade old bay seasoning in a jar next to a spoon full of seasoning
Photography by Gayle McLeod

The Taste of Summertime, Seaside Feasts (and Everything Else Good, Too)

The first thing that comes to mind when we see that iconic bottle of Old Bay Seasoning on a shelf is summertime. We think, specifically, of seafood. And even more specifically, we think of crustaceans! Crab boils and crawfish boils and all of those delightful meals that don’t just invite you to gather a crowd—they downright demand it! If you are feeding a crowd, you’re going to need more than one measly bottle of Old Bay. You’re going to need it in quantity! And that’s where homemade Old Bay Seasoning comes into play. As you may have noticed, we’re pretty into making seasoning blends from scratch—hello, taco seasoning! Hey there, jerk seasoning!—and Old Bay is a recent favorite of ours. Summertime feasting, here we come!

celery salt, paprika, cayenne, dry mustard, nutmeg, cinnamon, and ginger in bowls on the counter to make old bay seasoning

What's Old Bay Seasoning made of?

The main flavor of Old Bay Seasoning is celery salt and paprika—a bit of smoke, a bit of sweet, and plenty salty. Although many people seem to be wishing for an Old Bay recipe without the salt, well, it’s really hard to deliver on that one. Old Bay is so good because of that age-old flavor-enhancer extraordinaire: SALT. Celery salt, specifically, which is simply a combo of crushed celery seeds and salt and is, well, quite salty! So, celery salt for sure. But what else is in Old Bay Seasoning? While we can’t tell you exactly what’s in the official Old Bay recipe, here’s our best version of the classic Old Bay Seasoning recipe:

  • Celery salt

  • Paprika

  • Cayenne pepper

  • Mustard powder

  • Ground nutmeg

  • Ground cinnamon

  • Ground ginger

homemade old bay seasoning in a bowl made with celery salt, paprika, cayenne, dry mustard, nutmeg, cinnamon, and ginger

How To Make Old Bay Seasoning

Well, this is really easy, friends! You can scale this recipe way, way up if you plan to use it frequently, but don’t make *too* much. You don’t want to keep a giant vat of it around for years, no matter how convenient it would be if you only had to mix up a batch once every decade. Why? Well, because a good (if very general) rule of thumb with ground spices—and our Old Bay Seasoning recipe is made up entirely of ground spices—is that you should not keep them around for longer than about six months. So only make however much you think you can use up in about that amount of time. Here’s how easy it is to make! The best Old Bay Seasoning recipe comes together in literally three steps:

  1. Buy really good-quality ground spices!

  2. Carefully measure the spices. If you’re scaling this recipe up, double check those numbers, OK?

  3. Combine the spices!

homemade old bay seasoning made with celery salt, paprika, cayenne, dry mustard, nutmeg, cinnamon, and ginger

One Old Bay Recipe; Endless Old Bay Seasoning Uses!

The official Old Bay serving suggestion is pretty broad—they say that their special seasoning blend is good on “seafood, poultry, salads, meats”. And we agree—it’s good on just about everything! In our minds, it’s a really classic partner for any and all crustaceans, but it also makes a great condiment for veggies—for example, a sprinkle of Old Bay makes a delightful addition to butter-slathered corn on the cob. Stir Old Bay Seasoning into mayo for the simplest, best sandwich spread you’ve ever tasted. Or, try one of these four yummy recipes that feature Old Bay Seasoning!

Tools You’ll Need

homemade old bay seasoning in a jar made with celery salt, paprika, cayenne, dry mustard, nutmeg, cinnamon, and ginger

You DIY Genius, You!

Impress your friends with your homemade Old Bay Seasoning! And while you’re at it, make a little extra and let them take it home with them—it’s the perfect party favor, as far as we’re concerned. When you make our Old Bay recipe, let us know how you like it! Share a photo and tag us on Instagram using @themodernproper and #themodernproper so that we can see your stuff! Happy eating!

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Homemade Old Bay Seasoning Blend

  • Serves: 4
  • Prep Time:  5 min
  • Cook Time:  0 min
  • Calories: 3


  • 2 tablespoons celery salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon mustard powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger


In a small bowl, stir together the celery salt, paprika, cayenne, dry mustard, nutmeg, cinnamon, and ginger to combine well. Store at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 6 months.

Nutrition Info

  • Per Serving
  • Amount
  • Calories3
  • Protein0 g
  • Carbohydrates1 g
  • Total Fat0 g
  • Dietary Fiber0 g
  • Cholesterol0 mg
  • sodium1740 mg
  • Total Sugars0 g

Homemade Old Bay Seasoning Blend

Questions & Reviews

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  • Kay

    Loved it! Used it for the salmon burgers on your site. So nice to have on hand for fish recipes so I made a double batch!

    Yes! Loving making big batches of seasonings to have on hand.