Making spice blends

Joined Oct 13, 2001
Does anybody make there own spice blends anymore? If so I would realy like to hear about them.Here is one my chef used to have me make in the early 80s when cajun was ragin.
Cajun Seasoning:
Black Pepper 2
White Pepper 2
Cayenne Pepper 2
Onion Salt 2
Garlic Salt 2
Celery Seed 1
Paprika 2
Ground Mustard 2
Oregano 1
Thyme 1
Salt 2
Cumin 1/2

Thanks ,Doug.........................


Staff member
Joined Mar 29, 2002
I make a number of them. Have a few different ones for barbecue. Have one I call Workhorse as it's my general purpose "American" flavor. I created it to help reduce sodium on my foods but still have good flavor. Still has some salt in it. Turns up on beef, pork and even poultry with a bit more thyme and sage.

I use a Helen Witty recipe for an italian blend. I make my own "poultry spice" and cajun.

I've made za'atar a few times, but have liked better what's pre-made at the local Persian market.

I've got a thin book dedicated to various blends too.

Joined Aug 11, 2000
I use Penzy's Parisian Herb blend
A rub for brisket, red pepper, black pepper, salt and paprika
Chai blend....boy that's been a while
Southwest blend too from Penzey's I doctor it usually with more heat and cumin
Joined Jul 30, 2004
We make several of our own. In fact I make them in advance for our BBQ rub, Salsa, BBQ sauce, etc. This way I can hand them to someone helping in the kitchen and ask them to add whatever other ingredients go with it. It makes it a lot easier on someone who doesn't normally work in my area of the kitchen...and keeps them out of my way for the time it takes to measure a teaspoon of this and a Tablespoon of that.


Staff member
Joined Oct 7, 2001
I usually keep 2-4 BBQ Spice blends around the house, along with my grilling Spice and my Chili spice, other than that I usually relie on Penzey's for their spice blends. Not only are most of them really good, it ends up being a lot cheaper to buy the blends than buying all the ingredients and mixing themself. I also wouldn't good through them fast enough. I especially like all their Indian "curry" blends.
Joined Aug 15, 2004
I have a couple that I make. One is for dry marinating tenderloin that I then freeze two to a vacuum sealed Foodsaver bag.

I am just now dehydrating various fresh peppers (Cayenne, jalapeno, red & green bells, and a few other "finger" type peppers of various colors) which I then process into pepper flake mixtures. Great for adding to a meatloaf, tomato sauce, sprinkle over homemade pizza, chew a handful like gum, almost as sweet! I have a sweet mix, a hotter mix, and a hottest mix, separately vacuum bottled in mason jars.

Joined Dec 23, 2003
What recipes do you use it in? I went into my Persian market and found red and green za'atar. Would you happen to know the difference?


Staff member
Joined Mar 29, 2002
There was a good thread on this a while back.

It's good on lots of things especially with lemon. Grilled chicken or pork with lemon (though it wouldn't get used for pork traditionally). I've rubbed whole chickens with it prior to roasting. I've seen lamb recipes, but I haven't tried them.

Potato salads with a vinaigrette dressing works pretty well.

Roasted vegetables.

Works OK in vinaigrette for some green salads.

I use it other places too as the fancy strikes me.

A search on Zartar/za'atar/zatar at google with other food terms turns up some good ideas too. You'll have to try some of the different spellings to really see what's out there.

Joined Jun 11, 2004
I, too, make my own blend--works great as a spice, rub, etc. It was once a great tradition that each establishment would have its "own" blend. We should get back to the great basics of old. If you want to start your own blend, start with a little salt and black pepper, and slowly add spices that you like personally. It will evolve and develop from there. (Try some ginger and cumin--its an odd combo, but when mixed with other spices like garlic & onion powder, celery seed and maybe dill, its great!!)
Joined Aug 29, 2000
Gotta love Penzey's! I buy almost all my spices and dry herbs there.

I have not found an Herbe de Provence blend I really like since I ran out of some I got from France a while back. They all seem to have something I don't like, chiefly lavender (Penzey's) and fennel seed (Zabar's). I'm ready to make my own blend. Does anyone have an HDP blend they like? I'd like to start somewhere. It's the proportions I'm not sure of.

Joined Jun 11, 2004
I'd start with a base of:
1 part salt
1 part black pepper
2 parts garlic powder
2 parts onion powder
3 parts paprika

From there, add in (1 part at a time) spices YOU like. It will take some time and experimentation, but that's half the fun. And the final 'style' you are aiming for can factor in. For Italian use oregano, basil, etc.
I'm partial to a 'global' mix--some dill, ginger, celery seed, oregano...
But for YOUR blend, mix in YOUR favorites. Go ahead--play with your food! Have fun and good luck.
Joined Oct 5, 2001
Hey oh

Well, the only way to experience a spice is freshly ground. Well, at least that is what everyone likes to say. Not always the way it can be done in practice. There are times I do use a manufactured blend, and there are times I don't. The first post and the post above mine are similar, and similar to one I do make and use (as all the manufactured versions contain salt). I have settled on this after spending weeks reading numerouse cajun spice blends. It is a good basic backbone blend, and esily modified as the need arises.

4 parts Paprika
2 parts Pepper (black or white)
1 part green
1/2 part cayanne

The green is the influencer.

If you want a fish dish, then use herbs like tarragon, for chicken herbs like sage. You can also use premixed at this point and use poultry seasoning.

I also make many of my own curries and 'top of the shelf' blends as I can better adjust the signature flavours to match the meat or vegtables I am cooking.

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