Cajun Seasoning

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Cajun Seasoning is so easy to make at home with common pantry spices. Use it to make chicken, shrimp, pasta, soups, potatoes, and more.

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Homemade Cajun seasoning made with smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, thyme, and a pinch of cayenne pepper will be the spice blend you want to use on everything from Cajun Salmon to potatoes to pasta and more. 

If I have the option to make a spice blend myself or buy a store-bought option, I will almost always make my own. Not only does it mean fewer spices in my cabinet, it means I get to control the flavor and ingredients. This is especially true for Cajun spice blends that usually contain lots of sugar and preservatives when you buy them in the store. I would much rather make my own. 

Plus once you start making this, you will quickly find yourself putting it on everything. It makes the most delicious Cajun shrimp, is so good on roasted and grilled vegetables, and if you like spicy baked fries - this spice blend is a must. Last week, I even found myself putting it on some popcorn with melted butter. Amazing. 

Another use I love for this spice blend is creamy spicy pasta. Just combine some canned diced tomatoes with Cajun seasoning and cream cheese for a creamy, slightly spicy pasta sauce you will want to eat on everything. 

How to make Cajun seasoning from scratch?

Cajun seasoning is one of the easiest spice blends to make at home since it is made from spices that most people have at home already. Just combine the spices below to make your own seasoning, adjusting the individual spices to make it spicier, more garlicky, or more herbal. 

  • Smoked paprika: This is the key to Cajun spices adding that signature smoky taste.
  • Garlic and onion powder: These are the aromatics that add depth and flavor to this recipe.
  • Oregano and thyme: These add a touch of herbal flavor to the spice blend and balance out the spice and smoke.
  • Cayenne (or to taste): This is an optional ingredient. Add it to taste to make your seasoning blend as spicy as you like.
  • Kosher salt and pepper: Salt brings out the natural flavors in any dish and makes them pop. The black pepper adds some zip and spice (without heat) to the dish. 

Ways to Use Cajun Seasoning

Although we may only think of proteins when we think of Cajun spices, there are so many different options for making delicious recipes using this easy spice blend. 

  • Chicken, beef, and pork: Whether you are grilling, baking, sauteing, or slow cooking, Cajun seasoning is a good idea every time. Plan on using about one tablespoon (more to taste) for each pound of protein. Use it as a dry rub for grilling, use it with yogurt or oil as a marinade, or simply brush it on the protein with some olive oil. 
  • Fish and Shrimp: Cajun spices and seafood is a match made in heaven. For shrimp, consider tossing the shrimp with Cajun seasoning and cooking them in a touch of butter or oil. For fish, use the Cajun seasoning as a rub to add flavor. 
  • Ground meat: If you want a new way to season your ground meat, try Cajun seasoning. Then use it to make Cajun-style tacos with slaw, use it to make quick rice bowls, or combine the spice blend with raw meat to make burgers or sliders. 
  • Vegetables: Toss grilled and roasted vegetables with olive oil and Cajun spices to make some of the best veggies you've ever had.
  • Potatoes: If you like spicy fries or Cajun potatoes, then you will want to use this homemade spice blend on roasted potatoes.
  • Pasta, soups, and beans: Make Cajun pasta, make Cajun-flavored soups and stews, or just add some seasoning to your beans and rice to make a Cajun-flavored option. 

Recipes Using Cajun Spices

Cajun vs. Creole Seasoning

Many times these two spice blends are used interchangeably, but there are some subtle differences. Creole seasoning usually used dried basil in addition to the oregano.  Some purists say that Cajun seasoning should only contain thyme and that it's Creole if it contains oregano.

However, the main difference is actually in the recipes where the seasoning is being used. Cajun cooking usually doesn't use tomatoes, but Creole cooking does include tomatoes. 

Cajun spice blend with paprika, oregano, thyme, and more in a jar and spilled on the side.

Recipe Ideas

Once you start making this recipe, you may find that you want to adjust the spice blend slightly because you like things with a little more heat or love lots of garlic. Here are some simple ideas to make this spice blend your own:

  • Although traditional Cajun spice blends don't contain sugar, some store bought versions do. If you want to add sweetness, you could add some granulated brown or white sugar. 
  • For an extra dose of spice, add some red pepper flakes to the seasoning blend.
  • If you like things really smoky, add some cumin to the mix. 
  • Try the mixture with different dried herbs including basil, Italian seasoning, parsley, and more.
  • If you don't love smoky flavors, make this with sweet paprika instead of smoked. 

Looking for more homemade spice blends?

The Recipe
Cajun seasoning blend with smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, and thyme on a wooden plate with a gold spoon.

Cajun Seasoning

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  • 1.5 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1.5 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 3/4 tsp thyme
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne (or to taste)

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Mix together all of the spices. Taste and adjust if needed. Store in an airtight container for up to 6 months.


To use: Plan on using about 1 tbsp of Cajun seasoning for every pound of protein. It can be used as a spice rub on chicken, steak, shrimp, pork, or fish. It can also be added to vegetables, soups, and other recipes.

Nutritional Facts
Serving Size: 1 tbsp
Amount Per Serving
Calories 18
Calories from Fat 3
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 0g
Saturated Fat 0g
Monounsaturated Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 946mg
Total Carbohydrate 4g
Dietary Fiber 1g
Sugars 0g
Protein 1g

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.

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About the author Meet Kristen McCaffrey
Hi, I’m the cookbook author, recipe developer, and food enthusiast behind Slender Kitchen. I am obsessed with making healthy food that is easy to prepare and absolutely delicious. Meal planning is my secret weapon and I hope I can make meal time easier for you with our tried and tested recipes and foolproof meal plans. Learn More
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