This spicy homemade Cajun Seasoning has many flavour notes blended into it.
What is Cajun Seasoning
Cajun seasoning is a spice blend from Cajun cuisine. The name refers to food originating from the 18th-century Cajun Arcadians who were deported from French Arcadia to Louisiana. The Cajun style draws inspiration from classical French, Spanish and West African cuisines. The heat in Cajun cuisine typically comes from cayenne Pepper. Garlic and Black pepper also play a key supporting role.
Cajun seasonings are readily available despite Cajun Seasoning often being seasoned from scratch and to the cook’s taste. The cuisine is considered rustic as it utilises local foods available at the time.
Base Ingredients for Cajun Seasoning
To create this seasoning, I first pieced together the key flavours used in Cajun cookery, using what I expected from a Cajun seasoning. The base ingredients I arrived upon are listed below.
Paprika – It’s made from ground dried Red Peppers. Paprika is one of my most used spices and feels at home in a seasoning strongly littered with spices.
Cayenne Pepper – The spice Cayenne Pepper is dried and then ground into powder. It’s used in Cajun seasoning makes up one of the biggest components and gives the spice blend its signature kick.
Celery Salt – Celery alongside green pepper and onion males up the holy trinity of Cajun cookery so it wouldn’t make sense to leave it out of a spice blend. However, its inclusion here as a base ingredient exists only because it’s combined with salt. If using ground Celery and salt separately, it might be wise to use half the amount listed here.
Thyme–Cajun cuisine is known for its spiciness, while its Creole cousin is known more for its herbaceous seasonings. However, this recipe felt incomplete without the citrus flavour of thyme. I’ve used the dried version in this recipe for convenience and storage but I’ll contradict myself in the next paragraph. Apologies.
Garlic Powder – Garlic, along with onion, belongs in Cajun cuisine and should be used in a seasoning mix dedicated to it. However, unlike thyme, I strongly dislike the two powders and avoid them when I can. I honestly believe Fresh is best and so I’ve omitted them both here. Fear not, recipes using this Seasoning on this blog will use fresh garlic alongside this cajun seasoning, and if following a recipe written by someone else, add a tsp of garlic powder to the mix.
The Supporting Cast
While the base adds the distinctive flavours of Cajun cuisine, some supporting characters add flavour boosts to this Cajun seasoning.
Ground Coriander – Ground coriander adds lemony notes in the absence of any citrus fruits. Most of my Cajun recipes will call for lime, but coriander helps season the dish with a perfumed citrus feel counteracting against the spices.
Ground Cumin – Works well with pepper and adds earthiness to the seasoning in much the same way as Paprika. It also adds a citrusy feel to the Cajun spice mix, but it’s used sparingly here as too much would change the nature of the Cajun seasoning.
Pepper – Pepper should be included in the base ingredient section but as I’ve split the amount among two different forms they’ve fallen amongst the Supporting Cast, at least in terms of quantities.
White pepper – Milder than black pepper but produced from the same plant. Black Peppercorns are unripened while white Peppercorns are fully ripened when picked and soaked in water and left to ferment. Flavour wise it still packs a peppery punch but less than that of Black Pepper. It’s also less complex than black pepper, leaving it free to add a touch of pepper to this seasoning without turning the overall spice mix into a black pepper seasoning.
Black pepper – Piperine gives black pepper its distinctive heat but it’s actually quite mild compared to any chilli on the Scoville scale. It works well here as it adds an earthy depth to the otherwise hot spice mix.
Try The Cajun Inspired Recipes
- 1 Tsp Ground Paprika
- 1 Tsp Cayenne Pepper
- 1 Tsp Celery Salt
- 1 Tsp Thyme
- ½ Tsp Ground Coriander
- ½ Tsp Ground Cumin
- ½ Tsp White pepper
- ½ Tsp Black pepper
- ¼ Tsp Nutmeg
- Place all the ground ingredients into a bowl and mix well. Store in screw top jar and set aside until needed.