Old Bay Seasoning Recipe - An Authentic
Taste of Maryland and Chesapeake Bay!

This classic old bay seasoning recipe is just the blend for you if you're thinking about cooking as they do in the coastal regions of Maryland and the Gulf of Mexico. Excellent if fish, lobster, crab, shrimp and other shellfish are on the menu and it can be used as a seafood boil or as a general fish rub or seasoning. (See the bottom of the page for other recipes)

Note: To get the most out of this Old Bay spice, I recommend using as many whole ingredients as you can. If you don't have all of them available, substitute with pre-ground powders and halve the amounts. For example, 4 teaspoons of celery seeds equals 2 teaspoons of celery powder. Reduce any others by half as well if you don't have whole.

Homemade Old Bay Seasoning Recipe

What You'll Need: (makes 15-16 tablespoons)

8 tbsp coarse sea salt
8 tbsp paprika (any variety)
2 tbsp mustard seeds
2 tbsp black peppercorns
1 tbsp ginger powder
4 tsp celery seeds
3-4 tsp chili powder (more if you like a bit of heat)
2 tsp grated nutmeg
2 tsp cloves
3 inch piece cinnamon
8-10 dried bay leaves
10-15 green cardamom pods

tbsp = tablespoon
tsp = teaspoon


  • Remove the seeds from the cardamom pods
  • Break up the cinnamon and crumble the bay leaves
  • Coarsely grind the cinnamon pieces, leaves and cardamom along with the salt, peppercorns, mustard, celery seeds and cloves
  • Add to a bowl
  • Stir in the pre-ground powders and grated nutmeg

Store this Old Bay seasoning recipe out of direct sunlight in an airtight jar. Use within 3 months before making a fresh amount.

Note: You can lightly toast the cloves, mustard, cardamom and peppercorns before grinding. This releases fabulous aromas and greatly intensifies the flavours.

See the grinding spices page for info and photos on toasting and grinding. (Link opens in new window)

A Little Bit of History

This classic American recipe was created by a German immigrant Gustav Brunn, and dates back to the 1940's.

So plentiful were the crabs and shellfish back in those days, they were given away free liberally seasoned with the salty spice in the bars and taverns of Baltimore and coastal resorts of Chesapeake Bay to encourage customers to drink more!

This mix gets its name from the Old Bay Line, an overnight passenger steamship line that sailed the waters of the region.

If the history interests you, click here to read more about Gustav Brunn and how he developed this classic blend. (Link opens in new window)

Other Seasoning Recipes You May Enjoy Making

Quatre Epices - The
Classic, Peppery
French Blend

Mulling Spices -
Enjoy a Glass of
Spiced Wine All 
Year Round

A Curry Powder 
Lovers of Fab
Indian Food

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