People in Maryland are obsessed with Old Bay seasoning. When you’re in the Chesapeake Bay area, you’ll find this regionally popular spice & herb mixture everywhere – a waiter won’t even flinch if you ask for it at a restaurant. It’s mainly used as a seafood seasoning, especially in Maryland where there are crabs-o-plenty, but it can be used on anything, really.
When I was on a trip to Ocean City, MD over the summer, we had Old Bay on everything. When I got back to New York, I had gotten so used to eating it that I set out to create my own.
Here’s the thing about Old Bay — it’s a “top secret blend” of herbs and spices. That makes it tricky to copy, but their ingredients list gave me enough to start working with.
The “non-secret” ingredients — CELERY SALT (SALT, CELERY SEED), SPICES (INCLUDING RED PEPPER AND BLACK PEPPER), AND PAPRIKA
Ok – so we start there. What else? I did a little research and added a few more ingredients, and ultimately created a spice mixture that is pretty darn close to the real thing. There are some recipes that call for a bunch of other different things too, but I wanted to keep it simple.
Here’s what I used:
- 1 tbsp paprika
- 1 tbsp ground bay leaves
- 1/2 tbsp celery salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1/2 tsp white pepper
- 1/2 tsp all-spice
Mix in a food processor, spice grinder or high-speed blender until thoroughly mixed.
Ideas for sprinkling on Old Bay:
- Steamed/sauteed veggies
- Organic eggs
- Any seafood or meats
- Soups & stews
- Corn on the cob
- Roasted potatoes
So try this out if you’re into creating your own seasonings…and you want to experience this classic seafood spice that has people totally addicted.