Top 7 Old Bay Seasoning Substitutes You Must Try

Try these 7 Old Bay substitutes for a southern flavor boost in your dishes: Slap Ya Mama Cajun Seasoning, McCormick Celery Salt, Ball Mixed Pickling Spice, Sun Luck Chinese Style 5 Spice, eSutras Organics French Four Spice, Johnny’s Seasoning Salt, and Zatarain’s Crab Boil.

old bay alternative brands

McCormick’s Old Bay seasoning is a staple in southern cooking. The distinguished flavor gives seafood an irresistible aroma and flavor. The seasoning is so popular that people are putting it on way more than seafood!

If the area you live in does not offer Old Bay, don’t freak out. There are alternatives to Old Bay that will give you a similar down-home feel to your dish. Whether you can’t get Old Bay or you are allergic to some of its ingredients, there are other seafood seasoning options.

Check out the list of ten best Old Bay alternative brands to get a similar southern feel without the signature Old Bay label.

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Slap Ya Mama Cajun Seasoning

Slap Ya Mama All Natural Cajun Seasoning from Louisiana, Original Blend, MSG Free and Kosher, 4 Ounce

Slap Ya Mama cajun seasoning comes in multiple flavors. The original blend gives you that flavor you know and love.

The hot cajun seasoning packs a little more heat to your dish, while the white pepper blend gives a slight twist to the original. If you are watching your sodium intake, grab the Low Sodium cajun seasoning.

Slap Ya Mama cajun seasoning is kosher, gluten-free, has no MSG, and is a certified cajun Louisiana product.

It is full of flavorful spices that are sure to give your dish that southern feel, even without the Old Bay. It can be used on any dish because it is not too spicy but gives just the right amount of flavor.

McCormick Celery Salt

McCormick Celery Salt, 4 oz

From the makers of Old Bay comes a more simple seasoning, McCormick celery salt. With zero calories, zero fat, zero cholesterol, zero carbohydrates, and zero sugar, McCormick celery salt is the perfect option for people watching their health.

With just crushed celery seed and salt, McCormick celery salt is a simple ingredient to add to your dishes for some extra flavor. The celery salt will add a zest to your dish that is sure to please. 

Use McCormick celery salt in place of Old Bay when you are in a pinch and can’t get ahold of Old Bay!

Ball Mixed Pickling Spice

Ball Mixed Pickling Spice (1.8oz) (by Jarden Home Brands)

The Ball brand is known as a major competitor in the pickling world. Their Mixed Pickling Spice is a staple in many pickles and other canned goods recipes. What many people don’t know is that this blend of spices is great in other recipes, too!

Adding Ball Mixed Pickling Spice to your seafood or red meat is a simple way to add a natural, zesty flavor to your dish! This blend is all-natural spices with no preservatives or artificial flavors.

Ingredients like whole black peppercorns, mustard seed, coriander seed, dill seed, allspice berries, red chili flakes, and bay leaves, Ball Mixed Pickling Spice won’t have you missing Old Bay!

Sun Luck Chinese Style 5 Spice

Sun Luck Chinese Style 5 Spice Powder (Pack of 2)

Chinese food is known for being strong in spice and flavor. Sun Luck Chinese Style 5 Spice may be the secret to tasty Chinese food. Real ingredients like cinnamon, anise, fennel, ginger, clove, and licorice root give an authentic flavor to your dishes.

This unique blend of spices is not only great for Chinese cuisine but also for seafood. If you run out of Old Bay and find Sun Luck Chinese Style 5 Spice in your cabinets, give it a shot! The zesty flavors will satisfy your need for a flavorful seafood dish. 

eSutras Organics French Four Spice

Esutras Organics French Four Spice, 2 Ounce

Those of you on a strictly organic diet don’t have to worry about eating bland food. Esutras Organics makes a French Four Spice that is sure to put some zest into your life. It is a great alternative to Old Bay because of its similar ingredients.

Peppery heat is added to every dish when you sprinkle on some eSutras Organics French Four Spice. The four key cornerstones of French cuisine are encased in this one product.

Black peppercorn adds a touch of heat and aroma. Nutmeg adds richness and a slightly sweet flavor. Ginger provides the warmth needed, while the cloves cool it down.

This organic spice blend has just the right balance of flavors to add to your dishes for a kick of spice.

Johnny’s Seasoning Salt

Johnny's Seasoning Salt, 32 Oz (Pack of 2)

Seasoning salt is a staple in many cuisines. Johnny’s Seasoning Salt combines flavors of the Northwest with sea salt. Ground pepper, paprika, garlic, and other gourmet spices are added to sea salt for a mouthwatering blend.

Johnny’s Seasoning Salt is perfect for hamburgers, seafood, steaks, roasts, and chicken. It will add a savory zest to every dish it is used on.

If you are not a meat eater, try Johnny’s Seasoning Salt on steamed vegetables, pasta, rice, baked potatoes, cottage cheese, French fries, and eggs!

This versatile spice blend will make any dish have warmth and zest, just like Old Bay.

Zatarain’s Crab Boil

Zatarain's Crawfish, Shrimp & Crab Boil, 3 oz (Pack of 6)

Another McCormick offshoot is Zatarain’s. Zatarain specializes in bringing the flavor of the south to everyone with its spice blends. Zatarain’s Crab Boil delivers a zesty blend of spices to every seafood boil you have.

Cayenne pepper, paprika, and other spices will bring a kick to your seafood dish. Try it on crab, shrimp, and crawfish. Zatarain’s will bring the soul and flavor of The Big Easy right to your kitchen!

Zatarain’s is one of the closest flavors you can find to Old Bay seasoning.

Todd’s Dirt

Todd's DIRT - Original DIRT, All Purpose Seasoning & BBQ Rub, Mild Savory Seasoning/Rub that's GREAT ON EVERYTHING, Gourmet Grill Seasoning/Rub, 100% All Natural With No MSG & Gluten-Free, 16 Oz

Todd’s Dirt takes pride in being the “most universal seasoning on the planet,” claiming to be great on everything! In 2016, Todd’s Dirt was awarded a Gold Scovie Gold Medal for best All-Purpose Seasoning. 

This blend is made with fourteen spices for an all-natural, gluten-free, no MSG spice blend that is sure to satisfy. This mild seasoning will not overpower the dish but will enhance the natural flavors to bring out the best flavor possible.

Todd’s Dirt blends basil, oregano, thyme, kosher salt, garlic, onion, pepper, rosemary, parsley, sage, cilantro, and other secret spices for its mouthwatering flavor.

Killen’s Texas Salt and Pepper Blend

Killens Texas Salt and Pepper Blend, Tellicherry Black Pepper and Kosher Salt, 10.75 Ounces

You can’t go wrong with the classic salt and pepper. Killen’s Texas Salt and Pepper Blend is a simple spice mix that enhances the natural flavors of your dish and adds slight heat with Tellicherry black pepper and kosher salt.

Try Killen’s Texas Salt and Pepper Blend on all of your dishes to get that slight spice needed. Try it on beef, chicken, pork, and vegetables. Killen’s Texas Salt and Pepper Blend is great for people with allergies because of its limited ingredients.

Frontier Blackened Organic Seafood Seasoning

Frontier Organic Seafood Seasoning, Blackened, 2.5 Ounce

Frontier Blackened Organic Seafood Seasoning is a savory blend of spices that taste best on fish and other seafood. This blend is great for people on a strictly organic diet because all of its ingredients are organic.

Sea salt, cayenne pepper, paprika, and ginger marry together perfectly with seafood. Try it sprinkled on white sauces, chowders, and vegetables for an added zest to your dish.  

Frequently Asked Questions about Old Bay Alternatives

When someone runs out of Old Bay, they are quick to have questions about the best alternatives. Check out the list of frequently asked questions about the best Old Bay alternative brands.

What can I use instead of Old Bay? 

Using celery salt and paprika in your dish that calls for Old Bay is a good substitute. These two spices are the main ingredients in Old Bay seasoning, so just the two give many of the same flavors.

What brand is similar to Old Bay?

Crab boil, pickling spice, or cajun seasoning are spice blends that are comparable to Old Bay seasoning. Brands that are similar to Old Bay include Ball, McCormick, and Johnny’s. 

Is Lawry’s the same as Old Bay? 

No. Lawry’s uses a different blend of seasonings than Old Bay. 

More FAQs

What brand is similar to Old Bay seasoning?

A brand similar to Old Bay seasoning is Zatarain’s Crawfish, Shrimp and Crab Boil. It is a preferred ready-made mix for a crab boil and can be used as a 1-for-1 substitute for Old Bay. This mellow, tasty, and well-rounded mixture never disappoints, making it a delicious choice for seafood recipes.

What is the Flavour of Old Bay seasoning?

The flavor of Old Bay seasoning is primarily derived from a combination of mustard, paprika, and celery salt, complemented by mace, nutmeg, bay leaf, red pepper, and cardamom. While it is commonly associated with seafood, it can also add an unexpected twist to dishes like fried rice and chickpeas. Personally, I find myself enjoying handfuls of popcorn sprinkled with Old Bay for added inspiration.

Is Chesapeake Bay seasoning the same as Old Bay?

Old Bay is a seasoning that is sometimes referred to as Chesapeake Bay Seasoning due to its origins in Maryland. It derived its name from the Old Bay Line, a ship that used to travel from Baltimore through Chesapeake Bay to Norfolk.

What can I get instead of Old Bay?

Instead of Old Bay, you can consider using alternatives such as celery salt, a combination of celery salt and paprika, Cajun seasoning, seafood seasoning, or crab boil. These options can be used as substitutes for Old Bay in various recipes.

Can I use Cajun seasoning instead of Old Bay?

You can use Cajun seasoning instead of Old Bay in traditional applications like seafood boils and breading for fried fish, although it won’t offer the same complex range of flavors. It’s important to note that Cajun seasoning can only be a substitute for Old Bay if you’re fine with the additional spiciness.

Is Zatarain’s the same as Old Bay?

Zatarain’s Crab Boil has a taste that is reminiscent of Old Bay, but with a slightly spicier flavor profile. The texture is also comparable, although Zatarain’s mix includes some larger spice pieces that can impact the overall texture of the dish.

What can I use instead of Old Bay for Cajun?

You can use Old Bay seasoning as a substitute for Cajun seasoning. However, keep in mind that Old Bay seasoning tends to be more salt-forward. To balance the flavors, you may want to consider adding a bit of cayenne pepper to compensate for the heat.

Is Cajun seasoning similar to Old Bay?

Cajun seasoning is not similar to Old Bay, although they are sometimes confused due to a few shared ingredients. Old Bay has a distinct recipe consisting of 18 different ingredients, while Cajun seasoning does not have a specific proprietary blend and usually contains 10 or fewer ingredients.

Is Biscayne Bay seafood seasoning the same as Old Bay?

Biscayne Bay seafood seasoning is not the same as Old Bay. In terms of flavor, it was observed that Biscayne Bay has a smokier taste compared to Old Bay, and its spices are ground more finely.

Is Chesapeake Bay seasoning the same as Old Bay seasoning?

Chesapeake Bay seasoning is not the same as Old Bay seasoning. Old Bay seasoning, also known as Chesapeake Bay Seasoning, originated in Maryland and derives its name from a ship called the Old Bay Line that used to travel from Baltimore through Chesapeake Bay to Norfolk.

Who uses Jo Spice?

The J.O. brand crab seasonings are used by almost every crab house and restaurant on the East coast that serves Maryland steamed crabs and is the preferred crab seasoning around the Chesapeake Bay area. The J.O. Crab Seasoning is made with a custom blend of ingredients and a special salt that sticks to the steamed crab.

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