This classic spice blend mixes up quickly with common herbs and spices and adds a savory kick to a wide variety of recipes, from simple grilled chicken and shrimp to eggs, rice and beans, and popcorn.
A good spice blend offers one of the easiest ways to inject nuanced flavor into your cooking with ingredients you likely have on hand. Conveniently, you can mix a big batch and store it in your spice cabinet for months, ready to add to chicken, fish, shrimp, and a wide variety of recipes for exceptional flavor on short notice.
Cajun seasoning is one such blend, and while you could purchase a ready-made mix from various companies, all of which have their own unique formula, doing it yourself takes mere minutes and is more economical too.
What is Cajun seasoning?
- Cajun seasoning is considered a Southern spice, but it has its roots in African, rural French, Spanish cooking.
- It is a blend of spices, which vary from place to place and cook to cook, but typical inclusions are paprika, oregano, thyme, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper, and black pepper.
- The spice blend can be mild or spicy, depending on how much cayenne pepper you add.
Is Cajun seasoning the same as Creole seasoning?
Cajun seasoning relies more heavily on peppers – black, white, cayenne, and paprika – while Creole seasoning leans more heavily on the herbal ingredients, like oregano, thyme, and rosemary. As a result, Cajun seasoning is typically spicier.
Because many of the base ingredients overlap, however, using one in place of the other (realizing that one may be somewhat more herbal and the other more spicy), is generally fine.
Store-bought brands of Cajun seasoning include blends by McCormick and Frontier as well as Slap Ya Mama Cajun Seasoning.
Store-bought brands of Creole seasoning include Tony Chachere’s and Zatarain’s.
Is Cajun seasoning the same as Old Bay seasoning?
While they do have many overlapping ingredients and at times may be used interchangeably, Cajun seasoning tends to be spicier while Old Bay leans saltier with a more complex flavor profile, thanks to its longer list of ingredients.
Ways to use Cajun seasoning:
- My favorite way: as a spice rub for grilled chicken, fish, pork, and shrimp.
- Give your chicken Alfredo a Cajun spin by coating the chicken in this seasoning mix before cooking it.
- Sprinkle over popcorn.
- Use it to season air fryer fries or oven fries.
- Add some to crab cakes or the sauce you serve them with.
- Use instead of the Creole seasoning in shrimp Creole…
- …and in gumbos, jambalayas, and rice and beans
- Mix with ground turkey and a spoonful of Dijon mustard for flavor-enhanced turkey burgers.
- Or sprinkle a little on a turkey sandwich.
- Add kick to barbecue sauce.
- Make Cajun fish or shrimp tacos. (Top with this slaw.)
- Mix into a creamy potato salad.
- Sprinkle over chicken wings.
- Use as a seasoning for homemade croutons or garlic bread.
- Sprinkle on top of Deviled eggs (and Deviled egg toast, scrambled, and fried eggs).
- Make a Cajun stir fry.
- Stir some into your favorite mac & cheese recipe…
- …or guacamole – and guac for one!