Best Substitutes for Old Bay Seasoning

Old Bay Seasoning

Old bay seasoning is one of the most sought after seasonings for most cooks. This famous seasoning was introduced by McCormick and Company back in 1939. A small container of old bay seasoning comes with 14 different spices that are still kept in secret up to this day.

If your dish calls for old bay seasoning such as a seafood boil and you’re out of old bay seasoning, need not worry. You can easily replace this seasoning with easy to find spices in the market such as Seasoned Salt, French Four Spice, Cajun Seasoning, or an old bay seasoning MADE FROM SCRATCH (we’ll show you how to do it.)

Old Bay Seasoning Substitutes

Here’s what you should know about these seasonings and how you can replace it with dishes.

1. Seasoned Salt

Seasoned salt is almost always readily available in any grocery market. It offers different variants that you could choose from which are mixed with different herbs and spices. One of the brands that I use for seasoned salt is Kirkland Organic No-Salt Seasoning. They work on most seafood and they don’t contain much sodium compared to other variants.


The fact that you can find it anywhere and even you can purchase it online as well. It’s also fairly affordable compared to old bay seasoning and other spices.

It also lets you choose from different varieties that are flexible in price, quality, and uses. The picking will now depend on you based on your tastes preference and the meals you usually prepare at home.


Expect that the taste will never be the same as how old bay seasoning does. Don’t forget that the old bay is a mixture of 14 types of herbs and spices. Most seasoned salts don’t even make it to more than 5. Although it can’t totally fill up the void from not using old bay seasoning, it still tastes good otherwise.

2. French Four Spice

French four spice is mostly common in French cuisine. Obviously, they named it after them. Surprisingly, not only the French cooks use this seasoning but it’s also common in most parts of the Middle East. French four spice is concocted with mainly dried ginger, nutmeg, cloves, and ground pepper. Almost similar to old bay seasoning. 


The most advantage you can get from this seasoning is how it’s diverse in terms of usage. You can use this for soups, stews, slow roast, marinades, and even for barbecues. It’s actually a good deal when you think about it.

The seasoning doesn’t only focus on one type of dish but it does wonders for many. It will not only replace the old bay seasoning but most types of seasoning. No wonder why French food is one of the best cuisines in the world.


Compared to seasoned salt, the french four spice is a bit expensive for the price (since it does a lot more than seasoned salt, that too). Also, consider that french four spice was concocted differently than old bay seasoning, obviously, the taste is less identical.

3. Cajun Seasoning

The most popular substitute you can get is cajun seasoning. Cajun originated from the humble state of Louisiana, USA. It’s mixed with all these amazing herbs and spices such as garlic powder, oregano, cayenne pepper, paprika, and oregano. Actually, the list goes on.


It’s almost identical to old bay seasoning. Cajun or creole dishes are commonly flavorful which involves a lot of herbs and spices. That explains why cajun is packed with flavors. It’s also readily available in most grocery markets so it wouldn’t be a problem to find it. The taste and aroma are almost similar, you might get confused about which is which.


For people with lower heat or spice tolerance, this might not be a good match. Compared to old bay seasoning, cajun adds more spice to the dish because of cayenne and paprika added in it. Just be cautious with the amount you add to your dish and tailor fit it depending on the guests that you’re serving.

4. Make Old Bay Seasoning from Scratch

This is where it’s going down. Add some creativity in your kitchen and try the DIY realm. Making your own spice can be challenging but rewarding at the same time. You will get more familiar with your spices and how it works with most dishes.

In lieu of the old bay seasoning original package, try making your own copycat by making just simply mixing all these ingredients well:

After combining these ingredients, just pack it in a nice clean jar and store it in your pantry. A simple easy fix when you’re running out of old bay seasoning.


You don’t have to buy old bay seasoning anymore since you can keep making your own seasoning. It also helps you to become flexible in the kitchen by experimenting with different herbs and spices.

Your knowledge of spices will also grow as you go along the way. A homemade old bay seasoning is also a perfect gift to families and friends. An affordable but unique and heartfelt gift that will surely impress them.


It needs time to make and the herbs and spices should be present. It could be challenging making this seasoning if you lack most of the spices listed above.

It would also be a hassle to get all of them at the store and you might just get tempted to get the exact old bay seasoning. The taste might not be perfect depending on how much herbs and spices you mixed. But still, it’s worth a try.


Is Old Bay Seasoning Vegan-Friendly?

Yes, it is definitely good for vegans out there. You don’t have to give up old bay seasoning just because you don’t eat seafood. You can definitely use this on any dishes even for the vegetable boil, stir-fried dishes, and soups. All of the ingredients in the seasoning are just purely herbs and spices. Nothing more.

Is there MSG in Old Bay Seasoning?

Thankfully, no. There’s zero MSG in old bay seasoning. It’s a perfect choice for those individuals who are trying to get rid of MSG from their diet. This can be a staple in your kitchen and it packs a huge amount of flavors that you don’t get with MSG.

Is Old Bay Seasoning Keto-Friendly?

Yes, it is keto-friendly. It’s a perfect addition to maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle since it’s less in fat, carbs, and calories. A keto diet requires to not go beyond the carbohydrate intake of more than 50 grams.

Old bay seasoning will surely not hinder you from achieving this goal. It can actually help you to make your dishes taste a whole lot better. Healthy eating will never be the same.

Does Old Bay Seasoning Expire?

Yes of course. Any food that you consume whether it’s packaged or not, it all has its own shelf life. Upon purchasing the seasoning, always check for the marked expiry date. This will guide you on how long you can use this spice for your food or dishes.

Once it expires, be sure to throw those away asap. Do not keep expired food in your pantry. Also, I doubt you would even reach the expiry date. It’s so good, you might just use it always.

My Top Picks

With all honesty, all four mentioned above are all good as a substitute. They are listed in this article for a reason. But for me, I highly recommend cajun seasoning and making your own old bay seasoning.

For convenience, quality, and taste, cajun has it. It’s readily available in the grocery markets and it’s definitely a doppelganger of old bay. Plus you save time.

For creativity, quality, and taste, I also recommend making from scratch. There’s something more personal about it that makes the seasoning all the more special because you made it.

There you have it. Hope you also got your pick. Enjoy!

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