How to Make an Old Bay-Style Seasoning Mix

Old Bay-style seasoning mix with crabs

The Spruce / Victoria Heydt

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Total: 10 mins
Servings: 24 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
2 Calories
0g Fat
0g Carbs
0g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 24
Amount per serving
Calories 2
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 198mg 9%
Total Carbohydrate 0g 0%
Dietary Fiber 0g 1%
Protein 0g
Calcium 2mg 0%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

If you can't find Old Bay in your local market or prefer to mix up your own spice mixes to keep them fresh-tasting, you can make Old Bay seasoning from scratch. It also allows you to adjust the spice mix to your taste, salt intake, and more. This seasoning is a classic mix of several different spices that is often used to flavor seafood dishes.

Old Bay reportedly has a mix of 18 spices, but you won't be able to tell the difference between the real thing and this recipe. The spice mix has a complex savory flavor, with bay leaf, celery salt, mustard, and pepper at the forefront. Paprika and various other spices add depth and making this a well-rounded seasoning. If you don't have every spice listed, make sure you include the most prominent ones and make substitutions sparingly.

This mix will keep about 6 months stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry place. Remember to never store spices near the stove because the heat causes them to lose potency more quickly. Store them in the dark, as sunlight—especially direct sunlight—can affect the flavor as well. And make sure to label any spice or seasoning mix with the name of the mix, the date it was made, and the date it should be discarded. Spice mixes can all look alike when several are stored together.


Click Play to See This Homemade Old Bay-Style Seasoning Recipe Come Together


  • 1 tablespoon ground dried bay leaves
  • 2 teaspoons celery salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dry mustard
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sweet or smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground celery seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground mace
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for Old Bay-style seasoning
    The Spruce / Victoria Heydt
  2. Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and mix thoroughly.

    Ingredients are combined in a mixing bowl with a spoon
    The Spruce / Victoria Heydt
  3. Store in an airtight container in a cool, dry, dark place.

    Ingredients mixed in a glass mixing bowl with a spoon
    The Spruce / Victoria Heydt

Recipe Variations

You can change the amounts and proportions of the ingredients to your liking:

  • If you like spicy foods, use more of the dry mustard and crushed red pepper flakes.
  • If you are watching your salt intake, replace some of the celery salt with more celery seed.
  • If you prefer a smokier flavor, use smoked paprika and increase the amount.


  • If you are using whole spices, grind them into a fine powder and then measure for this recipe.
  • You can sometimes find ground bay leaf in your supermarket, but you may have to grind it yourself. Be sure to use dried bay leaves, not fresh, because they grind more easily and completely grind to a powder.
  • It will take 15 large bay leaves to result in 1 tablespoon of ground bay leaf. It's a great way to use those broken bay leaves that are in the container.

How to Use

Old Bay seasoning is traditionally used to flavor seafood dishes, but you can use it in a wide variety of ways:

  • Spice rub for fish fillets.
  • Seasoning for low country boil or crab boil.
  • Mix it into mashed potatoes or roasted potatoes.
  • Season chicken breasts or thighs.
  • Spice up pan-fried pork chops.
  • Mix with sour cream to make an appetizer dip.
  • Sprinkle on corn on the cob.