Quick, easy, and made with simple spices, this is the homemade creole seasoning recipe you’ll find in my mother-in-law’s pantry in New Orleans.
I use it to make salad dressings, rub on pork, fish, chicken, and so much more. Plus, it comes together fast with spices you’re already using in other recipes.
The Best Creole Seasoning
What makes this the greatest Creole seasoning is that it contains only spices, you can control whether or not you want salt, and it’s easy to adjust the level of spice (heat).
Making your own seasoning means you won’t be adding anti-caking agents or stabilizers to keep your mix in the pantry for a long time -like store-bought seasonings. Plus, it’s easy to make and fast.
Living in Louisiana, I’m no stranger to bold flavors, and my kids approve of this recipe. It has the perfect level of kick, some heat, but not overpowering like some of the mixes you’ll find in grocery stores outside of New Orleans.
If you prefer things a bit milder, feel free to go a little lighter on the cayenne. Or, pack on the heat by adding a little more (more notes on this below).
What is Creole Seasoning?
Often confused with Cajun seasoning, homemade Creole seasoning is made with similar ingredients and emphasizes various peppers such as black and cayenne. However, Creole seasonings pack a bit more punch with the addition of herbs such as thyme, basil, and oregano as well as depth from smoked paprika -which can be omitted if you don’t have any.
Creole seasoning is best used in meats -in my opinion- since the thyme, basil, and oregano compliment it well.
Creole vs. Cajun Seasoning
Creole seasoning is often used mostly in and around New Orleans and created with additional spices when the French resided in New Orleans. Cajun seasoning is used throughout much of Louisiana and it’s believed to have been originated in rural areas -down in the bayou.
While both seasonings are interchangeable in cooking, Cajun tends to be a bit spicier.
How to Make Authentic Creole Seasoning
A staple in all Louisiana kitchens, Creole seasoning is used in everyday cooking. From seasoning cooked eggs to dressings and meats it’s one essential ingredient required in southern households.
Making authentic Creole seasoning is as easy as measuring out a few spices you already have in your pantry and storing them in a spice jar for up to two months.
This recipe came from my mother-in-law, who had it in a little note in her recipe box from her mother, who probably passed it down from her own mother. In other words, it’s as authentic as it gets.
No matter where you live, you’ll be able to make authentic Creole Seasoning with this recipe.
How to Use Homemade Creole Seasoning
Homemade Creole seasoning is the all-purpose seasoning for us southerners. From eggs, seafood, dressings, and more, you’re going to love how much flavor it packs per bite.
If you’re looking for inspiration, try including Creole seasoning in recipes such as:
- Salad Dressings
- Grilled Chicken Kabobs
- Pan-Seared Chicken
- Cauliflower Crunch Salad
- Creole Tomato Salad
- Sausage & Pepper Creole Alfredo Seasoning
- Healthy Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya
- Cajun Slaw
- Rubbed over a pork roast
How Long Does Homemade Creole Seasoning Last?
To get the most flavor out of your homemade Creole seasoning, it should be used within two months. If you wait any longer, the seasoning will taste a bit dull, and your meals won’t be quite as good. No bueno.
I always write the “made on” date on the lid of my jar with a sharpie each time I make a batch.
Creole Seasoning Substitute
Cajun seasoning is a good substitute for Creole Seasoning if you don’t want to make your own. That said, check out the recipe below before you go substituting.
One solid note: if you don’t have oregano, basil, and thyme, use Italian seasoning instead. For this recipe, you’ll need a total of 6 tablespoons of Italian seasoning.
Creole Seasoning Blend Cooking Notes and Substitutions
- Grab the correct paprika – Paprika is often found labeled as paprika, Spanish paprika, and sweet paprika. This is different than smoked paprika. If you use ⅓ of a cup of smoked paprika, you’ll have a deep, smoky seasoning and quite different than the intended recipe. For this reason, there’s a single tablespoon of smoked paprika, which is recommended but can be omitted or swapped for spicy.
- Low Sodium – Omit the salt for salt-free seasoning
- Make it spicy – For spicier heat, add an extra teaspoon of cayenne or swap the 1 tablespoon of smoked paprika with spicy paprika. This is not where you “double-up” since a little cayenne goes a long way.
- Quick Substitutes – If you’re out of thyme, oregano, or basil; omit all 3 and substitute for 6 tablespoons Italian seasoning blend; while not exactly the same, it will do.
Creole Seasoning Blend
- ⅓ cup paprika
- 3 tablespoons dried oregano
- 2 tablespoons ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons dried basil
- 2 tablespoons salt, omit for salt-free
- 1 ½ tablespoons granulated garlic or garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika, recommended
- 1 tablespoon granulated onion
- 1 tablespoon dried thyme
- Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and stir to combine. Store in an airtight container for up to two months.