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Jan 2, 2009 01:25 PM

Can you make Old Bay Seasoning

Does anyone know how to make Old Bay seasoning? I have a wide assortment of herbs and spices and would prefer to mix something similar rather than make a trip to the market, Thanks for any help you can provide!

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  1. Just Google 'Old Bay recipe' and a bevy of options come up.

    1 Reply
    1. re: diablo

      I ahve not tried this one yet but will...

      Old Bay Seasoning Recipe

      6 bay leaves (ground fine)
      2 tsp. celery salt
      1 ½ tsp ground mustard
      1 ½ tsp ground black pepper
      ½ tsp ground cloves
      ½ tsp ground ginger
      ½ tsp ground nutmeg
      ½ tsp red pepper
      ¼ tsp ground allspice
      1 tsp sweet paprika
      ¼ tsp ground mace
      ¼ tsp ground cardamom

      Grind bay leaves fine. Add other spices. Store in a container with a tight fitting lid.

    2. I haven't made it exactly, but did google once when I needed some for my lobster and seafood boil. I put together what I had and it was pretty close. I was a holiday not enough time to go to the store so what we had worked. I would do it again ... but Old Bay something is still just better, but what I found worked.

      1. Not to hijack the post but why is Old Bay seasoning so popular? I've never tried it but see it in recipes all the time.

        5 Replies
        1. re: gourmet wife

          From the list of ingredients on the package, it's just a mixture of spices that you probably already have in you spice cabinet. I considered buying it once when it was in a recipe I was making, then decided to just use a mixture of what I already had rather than have yet another container of premixed spices in the kitchen.

          1. re: hlehmann

            I tried to duplicate, but it is just good. Not sure why. I don't use it alot but do on certain dishes.

          2. re: gourmet wife

            It is a balanced combination of herbs and spices that accents everything without being overpoweringly salty/pappery/sweet/sour. It's been around for well over a hundred years so they've got to be doing something right! I have a crabcake recipe from 1908 that calls for Old Bay!

            1. re: KiltedCook

              Old Bay only dates to 1939.

              "In 1939, German immigrant Gustav Brunn settled in Baltimore among the crab lovers of Maryland. With only a hand-held spice grinder and a dream of starting a spice business, he developed the secret recipe that would become the legendary OLD BAY seasoning

              The recipe was likely altered at some point when Old Bay came into common use.

            2. re: gourmet wife

              If you've eaten blue crab or shrimp on the east coast, chances are you've come across Old Bay (expecially in the Delaware/Maryland/Virginia areas). Its also used in all sorts of stuff (soups, stews, crabcakes, potato chips, bloody marys, etc).
              It has a distinctive taste that you grow up with (if from the area) or which reminds you of being there.

              Maybe check this out Tripper,

              I may have posted a recipe back there which may heve been nixed by the Chowpolice. I didn't use a specific recipe, but rather a blending of perhaps 10 recipes (based on what I had at the time and what I didn't want...).
              It went something like this (I copied in jacob's ingredients and changed accordingly - all Old Bay recipes are somewhat similar


              2 TBL ground bay leaf
              1/2 CUP celery salt
              1 TBL dry mustard
              2 tsp ground black pepper
              1 TSP ground cloves
              0 ground ginger (didn't have any)
              0 ground nutmeg (ditto)
              ½ TSP crushed red pepper
              1 TSP ground allspice
              4 TBL sweet paprika
              0 ground mace (was totally out of mace, so was the neighbor...what was I thinking!)
              1/2 tsp ground cardamom
              as well as
              1/2 TSP cayenne

              It smelled just like Old Bay, but was somewhat bitter (might be too much ground bay leaf, but I'm not sure. The bitterness and a lack of saltiness prompted me to keep adding celery salt upwards to 1/2cup).
              It worked well when steaming crabs and does well in a pinch. Is not exact as the real deal, though.

            3. Native Marylander here.

              "Old Bay" is commonly used as a catch-all term for "crab spice" as well as a brand name. It is not so expensive that you can't just buy it and keep some on hand. I can't imagine trying to faithfully duplicate it. If you have been to the Chesapeake area and enjoyed MD style steamed crabs or other blue crab dishes at restaurants, most likely you have been exposed, instead to "J.O. Spice" -- the real spice of the best MD crab houses.

              If you want the true and authentic MD crab spice (and taste) check out www. Since JO mostly supplies crabhouses on a wholesale quantity scale try: www. (they will send you some JO Spice in small & affordable quantities). We can find JO Spice here locally with a little looking, but probably outside MD you may as well get it on-line.

              8 Replies
              1. re: JRCann

                I will check it out, JRC, thanks.
                As I aknowledged on the other thread, Old Bay can be scarce and somewhat expensive in Canada. I usually always have some on hand (I was delighted to find much larger tins for dirt cheap when in MD last year), but occasionally, I am out. I had to improvise...

                1. re: porker

                  In Canada you will have to order JO Spice on line, eh? But it is the best IMHO. Just a note JO Spice #1 is for reciepes like crab cacks, JO Spice #2 is for spicing your crab steaming pot. #1 is probably what you want. Old Bay is marketed by McCormick's and you should be able to get it in Canada.

                  1. re: porker

                    just another note: don't buy any more than what you would use in a year. ground spices lose their "punch" sooner or later. I always date my spices with a sharpie marker when I open them and then replace & discard the old after a year. Whole seeds like cumin, fennel seeds, or coriander seeds last about two years if stored properly. Reminds me its time to replace my JO.

                    1. re: porker

                      I heard from a fellow friend most IGA's carry it or can order it. I have a recipe for it but to me buying it is different and just something about it..

                      Also check out, interesting recipes ...

                    2. re: JRCann

                      JR....fellow Marylander here......I couldn't, and wouldn't have explained it any better. JO goes on the crabs, Old Bay goes on everything else. I'm an Old Bay freak...chicken, shrimp, burgers, popcorn, eggs....and sad to say sometimes ice cream....but JO is for when we steam crabs. I would have to read this when it was 20 degrees out.......can't wait till the crab traps can go in the water....I'm ready for summer!!!

                      1. re: cb1

                        cb1, you know the old saw about secret spices... (you'll have to kill me now). Well JO Spice is the secret in most crab houses I frequent.

                        1. re: JRCann

                          you are absolutely correct my friend......It surprises me that even original Marylanders don't know......but you let the secret out!!!

                      2. re: JRCann

                        oh....and btw......don't try and make your own Old's so cheap.......and you'll never completely duplicate a can, or two....or three ;) Try it on everything!!