Homemade Cajun Seasoning is a spice blend which can be used in so many different ways in your food. The seasoning is slightly spicy but also enhanced with a fresh herbal aroma, making it a great all-rounder spice mix in your kitchen.
The fresh diy Cajun seasoning recipe is a keeper and quickly prepared in less than 3 minutes with common household spices.
What is Cajun Seasoning?
Cajun Seasoning is a spice & herb blend and defines local cuisine of the region of Louisiana in the south of the US. The Louisiana cajun recipe includes local ingredients from the region.
Common French ingredients such as celery make an appearance, as well as hot soulful spices such as hot peppers.
To understand the character of the cajun spice mix, you need to understand the region’s history a bit.
French settlers had come to that area and brought along their know-how and developed the cajun seasoning in time with the knowledge, given to them by the local native Americans, on certain locally available ingredients.
One such ingredient (in the original cajun spice blend!) is the so-called filé powder which is a leave turned into powder from the sassafras tree. The sassafras spice is fresh and earthy, and kind of licorice and it is a super useful thickening agent for sauces and roux.
Unfortunately, this spice is very hard to be found because other tree parts, such as the roots, have been misused in certain ways by humans.
Therefore, most Cajun seasonings do not contain filé powder these days (except in the Lousiana area) and hence people came up with a flavor replacement by mixing dried thyme and savory herbs. which mimics the aroma of cajun spice.
Cajun vs Creole Seasoning and cooking
Both, Cajun and Creole Seasoning, originated from the same corner in the world, they are very similar.
The difference between Cajun and creole seasoning is that Cajun cooking is known as a country style cuisine while Creole is associated with New Orleans or generally speaking with the city style cooking.
Cajun seasoning seems to carry more heat compared to the creole seasoning although both use the same local ingredients.
However, Cajun is mostly associated with the former French settlers who were driven out from Nova Scotia when the British took over. They resettled in and around New Orleans in Louisiana (US) and brought along their cooking which is known as Cajun today.
Creole is more subtle but well balanced, yet Creole cuisine was influenced by various cultures besides the French, the African, Spanish and even the Hindus who had settled around the Carribean.
Currently, Creole cuisine is connected and seen as the city style, New Orleans, cooking. Yet, there are actually countless different creole variations in an around the Caribbean, Brazil and other tropical countries in that corner of the world.
This hot and interesting food history topic was gathered from my food bible, the Larousse Gastronomique.
At the same time, I am quite convinced only a local from that area who has grown up with that food will be able to articulate more differences between Cajun and Creole seasoning and cuisine.
DIY Cajun Seasoning Ingredients
We spoke about the filé powder further on top and that the sassafras leaves where hard to come by so that most homemade cajun seasoning’s ingredients were modified.
To make a modern Cajun seasoning you will need the following ingredients. You should have the spices and herbs in your pantry right now, or most can be bought easily as well.
- Onion Powder
- Cayenne or other hot red Chili Pepper Powder
- Paprika Powder (preferably smoked or mild slight sweet)
- Celery Powder
- Thyme dried
- Savory (or a mild Oregano) dried
If you have filé powder (aka Sassafras leave powder), then use it instead of the thyme and savory, 1:1.
Turn this into a salt free cajun seasoning by just skipping the salt in the spice mixing process.
How to make Cajun Seasoning from scratch?
To make the homemade Cajun seasoning from scratch is super easy!
There is always an easy and quick way to make a spice blend or there is also a way to make the best cajun spice recipe. Which one you pick is up to you! Both have their advantages.
How to make an easy and quick cajun spice mix?
The easy way to make Cajun seasoning uses finely ground spices only. Those spices are placed into a mixing bowl and just blend together with a spoon.
This technique is useful when you need a quick and reliable cajun seasoning which is homemade and time-saving as well.
I suggest you make a small batch of the cajun spice mix with the quick preparation method and use it all for whatever you are planning to cook that day.
How to make the best cajun seasoning?
To make the best cajun seasoning recipe you would need much more time on hand and patience as well. This is something you should do for a larger quantity of cajun spice blend.
It involved drying your own spices and grinding them small. Hence, while you could sun dry the chilis and herbs, you could also dry the onion in the oven on the lowest heat setting for a period of over 60 minutes. What you choose to do is up to you.
It’s time-consuming but well worth it.
Make sure to use only quality ingredients for that method of preparing the best cajun seasoning. In fact, if you grow your own celery and peppers then preparing your own spice blend from zero should be in your game plan.
This is how it’s usually done in real life, in the countryside.
Drying the spices and herbs in the sun and air is my preferred method because time can create flavors in our food as well.
Useful tools to make your own homemade cajun seasoning recipe:
- Mortar and Pestle if you plan on making the diy Cajun seasoning recipe with whole spices
- Glass Spice jar set to store your spices safely. Essential in a humid climate to store properly so that the spice blend doesn’t turn bad.
- If you are like me, a lover of spice and herb blends, then you will need a functional expandable bamboo spice rack.
Homemade Cajun Seasoning Recipe
- 1 Teaspoon Onion powder
- 1/2 Teaspoon Cayenne powder
- 1 1/2 Teaspoon Paprika powder preferably smoked or mild slight sweet
- 1 Teaspoon Salt
- 1/2 Teaspoon dried Celery Leave powder
- 1/2 Teaspoon dried Thyme
- 1/2 Teaspoon dried Savory or a mild Oregano
- Add all the spices and herbs in powder to a bowl.
- Mix the content well.
- Store the cajun seasoning in a small container until further use.
- If you can get filé powder (as explained in the post) then use filé 1:1 instead of the Thyme and Savory.
- To make the spice blend with whole ingredients from scratch see post for more info.
- You can double or triple the recipe to make a bigger quantity of the cajun seasoning, however, it's not needed because it's so easily put together. You are better off making the cajun seasoning each time again when you are planning to use it the same day in your cooking.
- You like it hotter? Then increase the cayenne chili pepper by 1/2 Teaspoon and decrease the paprika by 1/2 a teaspoon in the recipe. This Cajun seasoning is on the mild side regarding heat but packs a good amount of flavors.
Cajun Seasoning Uses
Traditionally Cajun seasoning is used as a browning on ingredients. The dry spice blend is rubbed on meats before grilling or dry pan frying until the ingredients are almost black.
As you can imagine blackening spices on meat must be very effective on fatty meats such as pork or even fatty fish!
Another way of using cajun spice is in stews with pork fat and a brown roux. Local ingredients from the New Orleans area such as crayfish are commonly used that way in dishes such as the Ettoufée.
However, these days we have all acquired a taste for Cajun everything. So, anything can be turned into a Cajun dish with this homemade cajun seasoning.
Try adding the Cajun Seasoning to:
- Pasta with a thick creamy sauce
- Meat dishes with a creamy gravy. For example Hunter’s Schnitzel or a spiked Cajun Bechamel sauce over a roasted Turkey Steak.
- Season rice
- make cajun fries or chips
- Roasted vegetables with a drizzle of olive oil (mhm so good!)
Dear Reader, how are you planning to use the cajun seasoning in your cooking?
Please feel free to share with us your thoughts further below in the comment section.
Do you like homemade seasonings? See some more DIY spice and herb blends to make at home!