Of all the spice mixes in my pantry, this Cajun Seasoning is the one I use the most. It only takes 5 minutes to mix up a big batch to have on hand. Then on busy nights, you can grab this homemade spice blend and instantly add bold flavor to salmon, chicken, pork, and classic dishes like Shrimp and Andouille Sausage Jambalaya.
There is SO much power in having great spice mixes at arm’s reach in your pantry.
You may have already noticed this opinion from my Sazon Seasoning, Everything Bagel Seasoning, and Fajita Seasoning posts, that I’m a huge fan of making my own homemade seasonings and blends to keep in the spice cabinet. It’s a great way to add lots of robust flavors to a basic protein and call it dinner.
Cajun seasoning is not a mild seasoning, but I don’t think it’s too overwhelming either. There’s moderate heat to it from the cayenne pepper, but it’s not overbearing. And I say this as someone who generally can’t handle hot sauce because it’s too spicy.
With a mix of paprika, garlic powder, black pepper, onion powder, oregano, cayenne, and thyme, it has a robust flavor, but a nice balance of spice and herbs. They’re all relatively common spices that you can get from any grocery store, making it the perfect pantry staple.
I’ll usually mix up a big enough batch to keep in my spice drawer, because I think the whole point of keeping spice mixes on hand, whether you’re using Taco Seasoning for homemade Ground Beef Tacos or Sazon Seasoning for Pulled Pork, is that it’s available at a moment’s notice.
So if you’re trying it for the first time, you can mix up a small batch to test it out on your next salmon dinner. But if you want to make bigger batches for the future, use the slider button in the recipe box below to scale the amounts up automatically.
Tips for Best Results
Use fresh spices – Spices tend to lose their flavor rapidly as they sit in the pantry. The general rule of thumb is that they will stay potently fresh for 3 to 6 months after opening. They won’t necessarily be “bad” at that point, but less flavorful. So try to use freshly purchased spices here for optimal flavor.
Store in an airtight container – A glass jar or container is my favorite for keeping air and moisture out of the cajun spice blend. This ensures that the spice mixture doesn’t cake together. I don’t recommend a ziptop plastic bag, because they tend to puncture easily and can be too breathable, especially if not stored in a dry place.
The 7 ingredients you’ll need are paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, cayenne pepper, black pepper, and dried thyme.
You may substitute white pepper for the black pepper if you wish, and you have the choice between using regular paprika or smoked paprika. But otherwise I recommend sticking closely to the recipe. That way your homemade cajun seasoning tastes right, and similar to store-bought blends.
I personally do not add any salt when I make my own seasoning, and I actually think this is one of the biggest benefits of making your own homemade cajun seasoning mix. Doing it this way allows you to season the meat appropriately according to its size (I usually do 3/4 teaspoon per pound of meat).
The trouble with adding salt to the mix is then you have no idea of the salt content you’ve already added to the meat via the cajun spice mixture. It’s best to keep the salt and spices separate.
How to Use It
There are so many uses for this homemade cajun seasoning recipe. Here are a few different ways to cook with this simple blend of spices.
Meats and Seafood: I love rubbing this on Baked Salmon the most, but it’s also great on Chicken Breasts, Roasted Pork Tenderloin, Spare Ribs, and more. Just make sure to moisten the spice mix with a little bit of olive oil when you rub it onto the meat or fish.
Rice dishes: This can be used to flavor virtually any kind of rice, but especially Rice Pilaf.
Gift it: Mix batches of this seasoning and give it as a Christmas gift. You can pair it with some cute measuring spoons too! I’ve always been a big fan of consumables for Christmas because they’re useful too.
Recipe FAQ and Tips
Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 year.
- 1 tbsp smoked paprika (regular paprika is okay too)
- 1.5 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme
- Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and mix well.
- Or, place all ingredients in a resealable plastic bag or jar, and shake.
Nutrition is estimated using a food database and is only intended to be used as a guideline for informational purposes.