5 Creole Seasoning Subs + Homemade Creole Seasoning Recipe
Creole seasoning is a magical blend of powdered spices that have been used in Creole cooking for centuries! Creole cooking has a rich history that spans from the American south, especially in Louisiana, to the Caribbean, to Africa, and beyond.
In traditional Creole households, there is no Creole Spice Blend—rather different spices are added to different dishes based on the cooks’ preferences. However, nowadays, Creole Seasoning is a collection of dried spices that are used in kitchens all over the world!
Most similar to cajun seasoning, Creole seasoning is a delicious blend of paprika (ground red peppers), garlic powder, salt, black and white pepper, thyme, oregano, basil, bay leaves, celery, and occasionally cayenne.
This seasoning is commonly used to season and marinate meat, particularly chicken or steak before grilling, and it is also a common ingredient with fish, seafood, or grilled vegetables. It is sometimes used dry but is often mixed with oil and a bit of acid (lemon juice) to make a rub or paste to then marinate whatever you’re cooking.
One of our favorite ways to enjoy Creole spice is on fried potatoes, or in scrambled eggs. It can be used just about anywhere you want to add a little spice and some bold flavors and is especially well known for being earthy, fiery, and salty!
Creole seasoning, along with adding flavor, will also add nutrients to whatever you’re cooking. It is high in trace minerals, especially Vitamin C (due to the addition of paprika)!
Creole seasoning can be found all over the world, in grocery stores and specialty shops. It can range in heat from very mild to very spicy, so check the labels! Usually, if it is a spicy version, it contains cayenne as well as paprika, but if it is mild, it will contain only paprika.
This spice blend is gluten-free and vegetarian and suitable for all dietary concerns. If you cannot find Creole seasoning, we have compiled a list of alternatives that you might want to try for those grilled meats or fish.
1. Cajun Seasoning
Probably the most common substitute you will find for Creole seasoning is cajun seasoning, and these two are quite similar. In fact, you can use any of the spices on this list as an alternative for cajun seasoning as well!
Cajun seasoning is also primarily made of paprika, but tends to be less complex and spicier! It generally doesn’t contain dried herbs and is more a blend of spices and salt. Still delicious, but slightly different.
Cajun seasoning is likely more available in your average grocery store, so it will be a fine alternative for Creole seasoning!
2. Old Bay Seasoning
Although the exact recipe of Old Bay Seasoning is a close-kept secret, everyone who has ever tried this spice blend can agree that it contains both celery salt and paprika. Celery salt is a common spice that combines dehydrated celery, seeds, and celery leaves, with kosher salt.
Some Creole seasoning recipes will contain celery salt, others will not, but either way, Old Bay with its complex, a refined combination of seasonings, will make a fine substitute for Creole seasoning! It will go especially well on seafood, as this is what this spice was intended for.
Old Bay Seasoning is very mild and contains almost no heat, so you may also want to shake in a few chili flakes for a true Creole-like flavoring.
Another popular ingredient in Creole seasoning is paprika! Paprika is made from dehydrated, ground ripe red peppers and comes in a variety of types, colors and flavors from smokey to sweet. This is what gives Creole seasoning its deep reddish color.
Paprika is a wonderful ingredient all on its own, used in Spanish cuisine but also in recipes from all over the world. Smokey sweet paprika is our favorite and goes amazing with potatoes, on grilled eggplant, or sprinkled on an egg.
It will also go great when rubbed on fish, shrimp, chicken, pork, or beef… so why not give it a try! Paprika is versatile and delicious and an important part of any chef’s pantry.
4. Chili Powder or Chili Flakes
Unlike paprika, chili powder does pack a lot of heat and therefore will make a deliciously spicy alternative to Creole seasoning. Chili powder is also a little smokey, a little sweet, and has the same color, so it makes a great substitute.
Flakes are simply dehydrated crushed hot peppers and seeds. When using chili powder or flakes, you may need to add some salt to your recipe, as Creole seasoning does contain salt, but any of these alternatives do not… so keep this in mind or whatever you’re cooking will be under seasoned which you do not want, especially if you’re celebrating Creole cuisine!
5. Dried Curry Spice
Curry seasoning is certainly not Creole seasoning—but they do have something in common! Both spice blends are bold, complex, and delicious! You can use curry to season meat, poultry, vegetables, potatoes, tofu, and more… just about anything you want to make spicy, you can consider using curry spice in its place.
Curry will of course be more yellow than red, due to its high turmeric content, but it will also contain chilies and will be a great way to spice up otherwise boring or bland foods. You can use curry spice on its own as a replacement for any spice, or you can add it in combination with any of the ones from this list.
6. Homemade Creole Seasoning
To make your own Creole seasoning, you’ll want to combine some of the spices on this very list including: 3 tablespoons paprika, 2 tablespoons garlic powder, and 1 tablespoon each of: cayenne pepper (or more if you like it spicy), black pepper, white pepper, onion powder, dried basil, dried oregano, dried thyme, and kosher salt.
You can stir these in a bowl, or grind them further to make a very fine version of this spice blend. You can also add salt and oil and use this spice blend to rub onto meats before grilling, or keep dry and store for months! Again, feel free to add chili flakes or more cayenne if you like it spicy, or adjust this blend to make it your own!
Creole Seasoning is popular in kitchens all over the world for good reason! It adds a depth of flavor that you cannot achieve with any of the individual spices alone. It is in the blending of these contrasting flavors that makes Creole seasoning so special… the sweetness of the garlic powder, the smokiness of the paprika, the slight bitterness from the celery… the saltiness, and the pepper.
Creole seasoning will dance on your tongue and improve basically anything you put it with. In Louisiana, one of the most famous dishes is Creole shrimp, which is so beloved, it’s hard to believe it contains just three ingredients — shrimp, butter, and Creole seasoning — but that is the real benefit of Creole seasoning!! It uplifts basically anything you put with it and transcends it into pure deliciousness!
You can trust Creole seasoning in just about any savory application… it certainly won’t hurt! Creole seasoning goes particularly well with grilled foods where the smokiness and sweetness marry well with the grilled flavor. But, don’t just trust us… give it a try for yourself!!!