Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >
Sep 17, 2007 07:11 AM

Penzey's signature spice mixes

Please tell me if you think the Penzey spice mixes are worth buying. I am particularly interested in :

Sandwich Sprinkle
French Viniagrette
Shallot Salt

Or give me feedback please on any others you think are a great or ineffective way to spend my money.


  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. The shallot salt is extraordinary!

    1. I love the shallot salt. If you get it keep it it fridge or it cakes up

      1 Reply
      1. re: mmalmad

        I love the shallot salt, too. But mine is caked up already.

        I also love their Florida seasoned pepper.

      2. I bought the vinaigrette and I thought it was a waste, as the first 2 ingredients are sugar and salt. I have sent Penzeys E-mails and letters asking they they make their mixes salt and sugar free.

        Seasoning and spicing are 2 different operations, and I would prefer that I can control the amount of salt in my diet. I tend to use more spice than many people, and if I use their mixes, it will have too much salt.

        I love their mix flavors, but I would like to see them made salt/sugar free.

        22 Replies
        1. re: Kelli2006

          I try to limit my salt intake due to hypertension, and avoid seasoning mixes that include salt. My two favorite Penzey's purchases are salt-free:

          Florida Seasoned Pepper (Tellicherry black pepper, lemon & orange peel, onion & garlic) -- I shake lots of this onto poultry, fish and sandwiches.

          Sunny Paris (shallots, chives, green peppercorns, basil, tarragon, bay leaf, dill) -- this combo makes superb vinaigrette.

          1. re: WendyBinCT

            WendyB, try the Mural of Flavor Salt Free - also pretty good.

            1. re: LindaWhit

              Will do! Thanks for the recommendation!

              1. re: WendyBinCT

                Since this thread has been resurrected, I'll send my gratitude to LindaWhit for suggesting Mural of Flavor. It enhances just about everything. A new fave!

            2. re: WendyBinCT

              I LOVE the Florida Seasoned Pepper. I sprinkled some in my coleslaw when I made a batch for a potluck, and everyone raved about it like never before. I think it's my new secret ingredient.

            3. re: Kelli2006

              I love Penzey's for their individual spices, but I agree that some (not all) of the blends are dissapointing. Salad dressing mix, taco seasoning, etc. all rely too much on sugar and salt for my preference. I've heard some folks defend these blends saying that they are supposed to have these ingredients. Maybe so, but sugar and salt content is defintely something to keep in mind when shopping at Penzey's]

              The blends I like most at Penzey's are the mild chili powder, the Italian herb mix (not the Italian salad dressing mix), and the sweet curry powder.

              1. re: silverbear

                Silverbear, I agree with you totally. I have managed to cut HFCS/ sweeteners out of my diet and now most ready-made products now seem sickening sweet to me. I like spicy food but spices with added sugar and salt don't work well when you don't like it normal-for-America sweet.

                I also love the Italian herb mix and I bought a large bag of it for my daughter at school. This is her first semester in a apartment and this blend is perfect for most Italian dishes. She also likes the Chinese 5 spice, medium chili powder, fox point , Florida lemon pepper and the roast beef blend (great for almost all beef dishes) poultry seasoning (great for both pork and chicken) .

                I like the Chicago steak seasoning, but I could do with the sugar and salt in the blend. (Who puts sugar on grilled beef?)

                I have managed to mix a copy of their Italian vinaigrette spice blend up from individual spices that I have and it quite good.

                I wonder if it is possible to send Penzeys a petition to ask to remove sugar and salt from their blends, and get it signed by interested Chowhound members?

                1. re: Kelli2006

                  "I like the Chicago steak seasoning, but I could do with the sugar and salt in the blend. (Who puts sugar on grilled beef?)"
                  Lots of marinades and dry rubs have sugar in them. It's not a lot of sugar - perhaps 1 Tbsp. in a dry rub of about 1 cup. Or honey or brown sugar in a marinade mixture. I like the sweet against the tang or heat of whatever else is in the marinade. Can also help form a nice crust on the outside of the beef if a bit of sugar gets to caramelize.

                  1. re: LindaWhit

                    I just tried the Chicago steak seasoning tonight for the first time. I will give it to someone tomorrow. I like my own rub of freshly ground black pepper, granulated garlic and sea salt much better.

                  2. re: Kelli2006

                    I don't think I'd go as far as a petition. I just buy what I like and skip what I don't. I think that sends a strong enough message. Despite our shared misgivings about the sugary, salty blends, they must have a constituency or Penzey's wouldn't continue to produce them. The one time I tried the Italian salad dressing mix, I found it much too sweet, but some of my guests raved about it. Nevertheless, Penzey's recently introduced several new salt-free (and sugar-free) blends including Mural of Flavor and Tuscan Sunset, so I think that someone at Penzey's is listening.

                    1. re: silverbear

                      Oooh - Tuscan Sunset - haven't seen that one (and have to make a Penzey's run this weekend). What's that one about?

                      1. re: LindaWhit

                        Appears to be like the Italian herb mix but with some fennel and other ingredients. I wouldn't use it for marinara sauce; instead, I think it might be good with foods to be roasted or grilled.

                        1. re: LindaWhit

                          Hi LindaWhit!

                          Just got the Penzey's catalog today and the new salt-free Tuscan Sunset is on the cover. Ingredients include basil, oregano, garlic, aleppo pepper, black pepper, and fennel. It says it's good in tomato sauce, veggies, as a marinade for meat, or salad dressing. There's also an attached coupon for a free 1/2 cup glass jar to try it out (or the spicy or smoky 4/S salts) - good for both catalog orders and in-store.

                          1. re: Rubee

                            Rubee, thanks! I barely glanced at it when I got the catalog along with several others and tossed it on the stack of Williams-Sonoma/Chef's Catalog/LLBean/Eddie Bauer/Boudin's Bakery/et al catalogs. :-)

                            The coupon is definitely something I'll use this weekend in the Arlington store! (A half cup? That's a LOT!)

                            1. re: Rubee

                              An update - I just checked my catalog - yes, it has the Tuscan Sunset mixture noted on the top right corner of the cover, but no coupon. Just a tear-out card to subscribe to Penzey's ONE Magazine. I did that for one year and just didn't think it was worth the $20 a year.

                              And looking again at the combination of ingredients, I have all of them, so I might get the 1/4 cup for $1.99, and then make my own mix if I really like it. Thanks again, Rubee!

                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                Oh too bad! Anyways, it's part of a paper cover attached to the Penzey's catalog.

                                I wish I could give you the coupon....hmmm...we are local! ; )

                                1. re: Rubee

                                  I picked up the smallest container of Tuscan Sunset herb mix at Penzey's yesterday, and mixed a healthy tsp. of it with about 1/4 cup of spreadable goat cheese, a half Tbsp. of roasted garlic, and some salt and pepper. Tucked the mixture in under the skin of some chicken thighs, rubbed the thighs on the outside with some olive oil, and sprinkled on some additional Tuscan Sunset herbs. Roasted them in the oven at about 425° until they were done, and enjoyed them VERY much! I'm definitely going to try this herb mix on other things as well.

                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                    Thanks for the update - sounds like I have to get over to Penzey's soon!

                              2. re: Rubee

                                great, received late last night and when jfood did not even look at it when he got home. was hoping for something new and this looks perfect. yippeeee!!!

                        2. re: silverbear

                          I don't generally buy any blends as I like to mix my own. If I make my own taco seasoning (which tastes MUCH better than any packet mix I've ever tried) I'm helping keep my spices used up and replaced so they are as fresh as can be. I don't need Penzey's to do it for me. I buy all my spices through them though.

                          * Exported from MasterCook *

                          Homemade Taco Seasoning Mix

                          1 tablespoon red chili powder
                          1 teaspoon paprika
                          1/2 teaspoon salt
                          1 teaspoon cumin powder
                          1 teaspoon garlic powder
                          1 teaspoon oregano
                          2 teaspoons onion powder
                          1 teaspoon sugar (optional)

                        3. re: Kelli2006


                          You might want to give this place a try. Very good service and mixes are quite good!

                        4. The Sandwich Sprinkle is excellent in tuna and egg salads! I have the Shallot Salt; haven't tried it yet.

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: LindaWhit

                            The Brady Street Cheese Sprinkle is really good, and makes a great dip or salad dressing, depending on how much liquid is added.

                            1. re: mikester

                              Brady Street Sprinkle is the only mix I buy at Penzey's(I do buy all my individual herbs and spices there however...great quality!)

                              We love the Brady Street stuff on popcorn. If you haven't tried this, do so!

                            2. re: LindaWhit

                              I don't like the salad sprinkle, but should've known better. It's heavy on the garlic powder, which I don't like at all.

                            3. Penzey's Fox Point seasoning is one of my favorites (salt, shallots, chives, grarlic, onion, and green peppercorns). I use it for everything - it's great with eggs, seafood, and mixed with olive oil as a marinade.