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Homemade Cajun Seasoning Recipe

Homemade Cajun Seasoning spilling from a plastic container onto a marble countertop. Wooden spoon and measuring spoon on the counter.

Home­made Cajun Sea­son­ing cre­ates a fla­vor pro­file that takes every­day dish­es to a whole new lev­el. It’s a sea­son­ing blend that is dif­fer­ent from any oth­er I have expe­ri­enced. It’s does this crazy tap dance on your taste buds. And every time you think, “Oh yeah! I know what that is,” some­thing hap­pens and you’re expe­ri­enc­ing anoth­er new lay­er of fla­vor. Maybe you’ve already had lots of expe­ri­ence with Cajun sea­son­ing, but for me, it’s brand new. And friends, it’s brand new GOOD!

With the excep­tion of Alep­po pep­per, I am guess­ing all the ingre­di­ents are famil­iar pantry sea­son­ings for you. Imag­ine tak­ing all the fla­vor bases of a real­ly good soup stock; onions, gar­lic, cel­ery, salt and pep­per. Then, com­ple­ment those savory basics with fra­grant herbs, the lin­ger­ing smok­i­ness of smoked papri­ka, the zing of dried mus­tard and a lit­tle kick from dried chili pep­pers. You guys! You need this sea­son­ing in your life! 

I hope you love it as much as I do. Because I could def­i­nite­ly see this becom­ing an every­day sea­son­ing blend for me. Enjoy and be blessed! ~Glen­da

Ingredients for Homemade Cajun Seasoning on a long, narrow, white platter

Making Substitutions in the Cajun Seasoning Recipe

My under­stand­ing is that there are many vari­a­tions when it comes to Cajun Sea­son­ing. So, if you buy yours ready made or switch up some of the ingre­di­ents in this recipe, your sea­son­ing may be just as good, but very different. 

How­ev­er, if you want the same deli­cious fla­vor pro­file that I’m expe­ri­enc­ing, fol­low the recipe exact­ly. The ratios and bal­ance of ingre­di­ents can make a huge dif­fer­ence. Leav­ing some­thing out can leave you with a “there’s some­thing miss­ing” expe­ri­ence”. And sub­sti­tut­ing the ingre­di­ents will def­i­nite­ly change the flavor.

In most recipes I would encour­age you to change it up, use fam­i­ly favorites and make use of what’s already in your pantry. But, in the case of spice blends and sea­son­ings, they real­ly DO impact and define how your dish will taste. If you want to repli­cate the fla­vors in my recipes, the sea­son­ings are a big part of that.

So, gosh yes! You do you. Use what’s right for your fam­i­ly and your pantry. I just want to be sure you’re hap­py and enjoy­ing my recipes with as much fla­vor as they have to offer. 

A Dried Chili Peppers Refresher

Heat lev­els in Home­made Cajun Sea­son­ing range from mild to very spicy, too. It all depends on the dried chili pep­pers you choose. I would con­sid­er my sea­son­ing to be mod­er­ate to medi­um. If you don’t change a thing about the recipe, I would con­fi­dent­ly say it is just under medi­um. And it is scrumptious!

It’s been awhile since we’ve dis­cussed sub­sti­tut­ing one pep­per for anoth­er. Fresh or dried, you need to under­stand the heat lev­el of the pep­pers a recipe calls for and the heat lev­el of the ones you’re sub­bing in.

Those heat lev­els are wild­ly dif­fer­ent in the dried chili pep­per pow­ders and flakes that are avail­able. But, when you cook, you need to do a lit­tle research and have good infor­ma­tion about the ingre­di­ents you’re using. Today, those ingre­di­ents are the dried chili pep­pers you’ll use to make Home­made Cajun Sea­son­ing. And I’ll save you a lit­tle research time by shar­ing the infor­ma­tion I have.

image comparing dried chilies, aleppo pepper, red pepper flakes and chipotle powder

Know­ing the heat ranges of the pep­pers will help you deter­mine how to make sub­sti­tu­tions, IF it’s absolute­ly nec­es­sary.  To have a fla­vor pro­file that gives the same punch of fla­vor as my ver­sion, you’re going to want to do your best to use the ingre­di­ents I’ve used.  I bought Alep­po Pep­per online. If you live in a larg­er com­mu­ni­ty, your mar­ket prob­a­bly car­ries it. Every­thing else was read­i­ly avail­able in our small town Walmart.

Understanding the Heat Level of Chili Peppers

The heat of pep­pers is reg­is­tered on a scale known as the Scov­ille Scale.  The Scov­ille Scale mea­sures the heat lev­el in SHU (Scov­ille Heat Units).  Even then, it usu­al­ly falls in a range, rather than a spe­cif­ic num­ber.  Where the pep­pers are grown and the weath­er there can affect where they fall with­in that heat range.

  • Cayenne Pep­per comes in HOT at 30,000 to 50,000 SHU. 
  • Alep­po Pep­per comes in at 10,000 SHU. 
  • Chipo­tle Pep­per comes in between 2,500 and 8,000 SHU. 
  • Chili Pow­der comes in between 500 and 1500 SHU.

When mak­ing sub­sti­tu­tions for pep­pers, cooks often grab cayenne or chili pow­der think­ing they can just swap them in for the pep­pers in a recipe. It’s nat­ur­al. They’re famil­iar ingre­di­ents and usu­al­ly in most kitchen pantries. 

Look­ing at the chart above, though, you can see that there would be a vast dif­fer­ence between using 1 tea­spoon of cayenne vs 1 tea­spoon of chili pow­der, or Alep­po and chipo­tle pow­ders. If the ingre­di­ent you will use is 5 times hot­ter than what is called for, you will want to adjust the amount you use to com­pen­sate for that.

If mak­ing hot pep­per sub­sti­tu­tions, look at the heat lev­el of what you’re sub­sti­tut­ing for and find some­thing with a sim­i­lar heat pro­file or use a frac­tion of what the orig­i­nal recipe calls for.  I encour­age you to use com­mon sense and cau­tion to cre­ate a blend with the heat lev­el that is right for your per­son­al tastes. 

Homemade Cajun Seasoning spilling from a plastic container onto a marble countertop. Wooden spoon and measuring spoon on the counter.

** The Recipe **

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Homemade Cajun Seasoning spilling from a plastic container onto a marble countertop. Wooden spoon and measuring spoon on the counter.

Homemade Cajun Seasoning


  • Author: Glen­da Embree
  • Total Time: 5 min­utes
  • Yield: ¾ cup (12 Table­spoons) 1x

Description

Scrump­tious on fish, poul­try, pork or beef.  Fab­u­lous sea­son­ing for dips, sauces and gravies.  A must-have pantry staple!


Ingredients

Scale
  • 3 Table­spoons smoked paprika
  • 2 Table­spoons gar­lic powder
  • 2 Table­spoons onion powder
  • 1 Table­spoon dried oregano
  • 1 Table­spoon dried thyme
  • 1 Table­spoon salt
  • 1 Table­spoon black pepper
  • 2 tea­spoons Alep­po pep­per pow­der (See note about substitutions)
  • 1 tea­spoon cumin
  • ½ tea­spoon cel­ery seed
  • ½ tea­spoon dry mustard
  • ½ tea­spoon chipo­tle pep­per pow­der (See note about substitutions)

Instructions

  1. You could leave your spices, as is, stir them togeth­er and store them to use.  But, I pre­fer to grind them so the pieces are all the same size and every­thing is ful­ly incorporated.
  2. To do that, put all the spices in the smooth­ie cup of your high speed blender (SEE NOTE).  Pulse or blend at high speed until your spices are a fine pow­der and all have been even­ly incorporated.
  3. Store in an air­tight con­tain­er in the pantry or cup­board.  Spices keep their fla­vor best when stored in dark, dry and cool spaces.

Notes

It occurs to me that I use my high speed blender smooth­ie cups a lot when mak­ing things for you guys, like sea­son­ing blends, sal­ad dress­ings, etc.  I have a *Nin­ja IQ Blender with Food Proces­sor and Smooth­ie Blender cups.  My exact set isn’t even sold any more.  That’s how old they are.  And they’re still great.  But *this is Nin­ja’s cur­rent mod­el close to what I have.

Note about Sub­bing Chili Pep­per Pow­ders: Pep­pers, have such wide­ly vari­ant lev­els of heat.  Be care­ful you under­stand the heat-lev­el of what you’re sub­sti­tut­ing before alter­ing this recipe.

The heat of pep­pers is reg­is­tered on a scale known as the Scov­ille Scale.  The Scov­ille Scale mea­sures the heat lev­el in SHU (Scov­ille Heat Units).  Even then, it usu­al­ly falls in a range, rather than a spe­cif­ic num­ber.  Where the pep­pers are grown and the weath­er there can affect where they fall with­in that heat range.

  • Cayenne Pep­per comes in HOT at 30,000 to 50,000 SHU.
  • Alep­po Pep­per comes in at 10,000 SHU.
  • Chipo­tle Pep­per comes in between 2,500 and 8,000 SHU.
  • Chili Pow­der comes in between 500 and 1500 SHU.

If mak­ing hot pep­per sub­sti­tu­tions, look at the heat lev­el of what you’re sub­sti­tut­ing for and find some­thing with a sim­i­lar heat pro­file or use a frac­tion of what the orig­i­nal recipe calls for.  Read more info about this in the orig­i­nal recipe post.  I encour­age you to use com­mon sense and cau­tion to cre­ate a blend with the heat lev­el that is right for your per­son­al tastes.

  • Prep Time: 5 min­utes
  • Cook Time: 0 min­utes
  • Cat­e­go­ry: Sea­son­ing Blend, Spice Blend
  • Method: Blender
  • Cui­sine: Amer­i­can

Key­words: cajun, spice blend, sea­son­ing blend, home­made cajun sea­son­ing, cajun spices

Ways to Use Homemade Cajun Seasoning

  1. Sprin­kle it on popcorn.
  2. Make any Cajun inspired recipe, like Gum­bo, Dirty Rice or Jam­bal­aya.
  3. Mix Cajun Sea­son­ing with Greek yogurt as a veg­gie dip or for top­ping baked potatoes.
  4. Sub it into my Per­fect Baked Chick­en Breasts recipe, replac­ing the all pur­pose sea­son­ing with Home­made Cajun Sea­son­ing. DELISH!
  5. Use as a rub on any poul­try and fish before grilling, fry­ing, bak­ing or roasting.
  6. Mix it into ground beef, pork, chick­en or turkey to amp up the fla­vor in burg­ers, meat­balls or meat­loaf.
  7. Mix it with cream cheese and crab meat to make a scrump­tious crab dip to serve with crack­ers or toast­ed baguette slices.
  8. Use it to sea­son oven fries.
  9. Add it to chick­en or tuna salad.
  10. Mix it with your favorite ranch dress­ing and jazz up green sal­ads with chicken.
  11. Make a dredge by mix­ing Home­made Cajun Sea­son­ing into flour, dredg­ing bone­less skin­less chick­en and fry­ing it up. That was our din­ner last night. Superb!
  12. There must be dozens of oth­ers. Leave me a com­ment and let me know how you will use it!
Cajun Fried Chicken Breasts on a white plate.
This is the Cajun Fried Chick­en I men­tioned above! You guys it’s SO good! I’m slic­ing the left­overs to put on Cobb sal­ads for lunch! Yum!

More DELISH Recipes You Can Make at Home

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Chick­en Crunch Wrap Supreme

Home­made Pas­ta | Easy Inex­pen­sive Meal-Stretcher

Bis­cuits | Quick and Easy Home­made Bread for Any Meal

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