Make your own Cajun seasoning at home with this quick and easy recipe. Bold, spicy, and slightly herbaceous, this blend is a must-have in your pantry. Use it as-is or as a base to create your own unique twist. If you love this, you need to try my Jamaican Jerk Seasoning, Blackened Seasoning, Dry Rub, and Italian Seasoning.
I don’t know about y’all, but I put Cajun seasoning on everything! Once you learn how easy it is to whip up a homemade version, I promise you’ll be adding it to all your favorite dishes.
I’ve made this recipe as a guideline that you can follow to get the basics down pat. Later on, I’ll show you ways to make it just right for your taste preferences. Let’s get mixing!
What is Cajun cuisine?
Cajun cuisine is a vibrant and rustic style of food that combines both French and Southern cooking. It was developed following the mass deportation of Acadians to South Louisiana during the 18th century.
Formerly farmers and fishers in what is now Nova Scotia, French exiles began making use of ingredients straight from the land. Think boudin, crawfish, and rice. Today, Cajun cuisine is a melting pot of cultures and includes lively dishes like jambalaya, rice and gravy, and gumbo.
What is Cajun seasoning?
Of course, at the heart of Cajun cooking is the seasoning. While most people attribute Cajun food with blisteringly hot spice, it’s actually much more well-rounded.
Everyone seems to have their own spin on Cajun seasoning, but it often contains both black and white pepper, cayenne, onion powder, and garlic powder.
I love to add thyme, which leans more toward Creole seasoning, for a balanced, earthy, and slightly sweet flavor. This is optional, but I highly recommend it!
Cajun seasoning vs creole seasoning
Both Creole and Cajun seasonings add bold flavors to meat, fish, stews, and more. Here are the key differences between the two:
- Cajun seasoning: Contains multiple types of peppers, including black, white, and cayenne. Because of this, Cajun seasoning tends to provide more of a kick.
- Creole seasoning: With more influence from Spanish, West African, Caribbean, Native American, and even German cultures, Creole seasoning is often very herbaceous, containing oregano, thyme, rosemary, and paprika.
- Pepper: The key to a good Cajun seasoning is the addition of both black and white pepper! White pepper can be harder to come by, but it’s absolutely worth the hunt.
- Garlic & onion powder: Both garlic and onion powder impart savory, roasted flavors.
- Cayenne powder: It wouldn’t be Cajun seasoning without some heat! Adjust the cayenne up or down, depending on your spice tolerance.
- Paprika: While you can definitely opt for regular paprika, I highly recommend smoked paprika if you can get your hands on some. It adds much more complexity!
- Thyme: As I mentioned, a touch of dried thyme gives the seasoning an earthiness that pairs incredibly well with hearty, Southern-style dishes.
- Mustard powder: While not a common addition, I love to add a dash of mustard powder for some tangy heat.
How to make Cajun seasoning
Step 1: Mix the herbs & spices
In a small bowl, mix the black pepper, white pepper, garlic, onion, cayenne, paprika, thyme, and mustard powder. You can add salt if you’d like, but I prefer to leave it out to season my recipes on an individual basis.
Transfer the seasoning to an airtight jar or container for storage!
How to use Cajun seasoning
You can put Cajun seasoning on any food that needs a little more flavor or heat. Some of the best ways to use it are as follows:
- Protein: Shrimp, seafood, pork, fish, chicken, or beans.
- Starches: French fries, sweet potatoes, hashbrowns, rice, etc.
- Sauces: Spicy barbecue sauce or pasta sauce.
- Other herbs & spices: Try incorporating spices like oregano, basil, chile peppers, or cumin into your mix.
- Make it sweet: For more balance, add a little brown sugar to the mix.
- Add salt: Add salt for a one-stop-shop seasoning.
Once your Cajun seasoning is made, it should stay fresh for up to one year. However, since you’ll be combining more than one ingredient, it’s best to check the expiration dates on each individual spice. This will give you a better idea of how long your spice blend will last.
For the most optimal storage, make sure to keep it in an airtight container in a cool, dark, and dry place. I like to store my cajun seasoning in jars in my spice drawer.
More Cajun-spiced recipes
Now that you have a delicious, homemade Cajun seasoning, try it out in a few of these recipes:
Homemade Cajun Seasoning Recipe
- 2 teaspoons freshly ground white pepper
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons onion powder
- 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 1 tablespoon dried thyme
- 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
- Mix all spices together and store.