Cajun cuisine comes from the Acadian immigrants. They moved to Louisiana from Canada in the 1700s. They used local foods and spices to make their French recipes.
They also learned and adapted their cooking from African and Native American cultures.
Cajun food is spicy and filling; it shows the history and diversity of the Cajun people.
Seasoning is essential in Cajun food. It makes the food tasty and rich.
Cajun seasoning is a mix of spices that usually has:
- Salt: Kosher salt or sea salt for a natural taste. Salt enhances the flavor of the food and the other spices.
- Black pepper: Whole or ground black pepper for a sharp and spicy flavor. Black pepper stimulates your appetite and digestion.
- Cayenne pepper: In powder or flakes form, it gives a fiery and fruity flavor. Cayenne pepper is the main spice that makes Cajun dishes spicy and satisfying.
- Garlic powder: Granulated garlic or garlic salt for a savory and aromatic flavor. Garlic powder helps to preserve food and fight infections with its antibacterial and antifungal properties.
- Onion powder: Granulated onion or onion salt for a sweet and earthy flavor. Onion powder balances the heat and acidity of the other spices.
- Paprika: Sweet or smoked paprika for a smoky and colorful touch. Paprika protects your health with its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits.
Sometimes, the spice blend also has bay leaves or celery seeds.
You can use it for many dishes, such as:
- Rice dishes
Criteria for selecting the best Cajun seasoning brands
You need a good seasoning if you want to add some Cajun flavor to your dishes.
But not all Cajun seasonings are the same, some have problems like too much salt, not enough heat, or artificial ingredients.
Here is how to choose a good Cajun seasoning:
- Look for natural ingredients. It should have no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives. It should consist of fresh and strong spices that make your food taste better.
- Look for balanced flavor. It should not be too salty, spicy, or bland. A good Cajun seasoning has a rich and complex taste that brings out the best in your food.
- Look for versatility. A good Cajun seasoning can go with many food and cooking styles. You should be able to use it with meat, seafood, veggies, grains, and sauces. You can also change the amount of seasoning to fit your taste.
Best Cajun seasonings
1. Slap Ya Mama Cajun Seasoning from Louisiana
Slap Ya Mama Cajun Seasoning from Louisiana is a 4-ounce, MSG-free, kosher blend.
It’s a unique mix of spices that can be used on any dish. It can flavor jambalaya, gumbo, etouffee, shrimp, crawfish, Bloody Marys, or beer.
Made in Ville Platte, Louisiana, by a manufacturer crafting quality Cajun seasonings for decades.
- It can be used on many dishes.
- Classic, authentic Cajun flavor.
- MSG-free and kosher.
- Made in Louisiana, home to Cajun cuisine.
- It may be too salty for some.
- It may be too spicy for those sensitive to heat.
2. McCormick Cajun Seasoning
McCormick Cajun Seasoning is a spicy blend of herbs and spices like paprika, garlic, celery seed, and red pepper.
- Contains complementary herbs and spices.
- Free of artificial flavors and added MSG.
- The large 18-ounce pack lasts a long time.
- Suitable for vegetarians and vegan diets.
- It may be too salty for some.
- It may be bland compared to other seasonings.
3. Marshall’s Creek Spices Cajun Seasoning
Marshall’s Creek Spices Cajun No Salt seasoning is an 11-ounce jar of natural spices like garlic, paprika, cayenne pepper, and onion.
- Great flavor enhances food taste.
- No salt, MSG, or fillers for a healthier option.
- Made of natural spices.
- Good value for money.
- It may harden over time, making it difficult to shake out.
- It may not be spicy enough for some.
4. Frontier Cajun Seasoning Certified Organic
Frontier Cajun Seasoning is a blend of organic paprika, onion, garlic, marjoram, thyme, and fennel seed.
Frontier is a member-owned co-op committed to people and the planet.
- Organic and non-irradiated ingredients.
- No added salt.
- It adds flavor to many dishes.
- Certified kosher.
- The flavor may be mild and lacking in heat for some.
- Bottle size (2 ounces) may be small for some users.
5. Weber N'Orleans Cajun Seasoning
Weber N’Orleans Cajun Seasoning is a spice blend with peppery heat, onion, garlic, red pepper, and orange peel.
It’s gluten-free and vegan and comes in a 5-ounce shaker (pack of 6).
- It can be used on meats, vegetables, rice, and gumbo.
- Gluten-free and vegan.
- Large size and quantity for a great value.
- Not suitable for those who don’t enjoy spicy food.
- It may not be available in local stores.
6. Spice Islands Organic Cajun Seasoning
Spice Islands Organic Cajun Seasoning is a blend of spices like garlic, paprika, onion, and pepper.
It comes in a 2.6-ounce bottle and is made with USDA organic ingredients.
- Made with organic ingredients for health-conscious individuals.
- A spicy and flavorful blend enhances dishes.
- Convenient shaker bottle for easy dispensing.
- Suitable for meats, seafood, vegetables, and more.
- It may not be widely available in stores.
- It may be too spicy for some.
- It may have fewer ingredients than other Cajun seasoning blends.
7. King Kooker Cajun Seasoning
King Kooker XLG039 34-Ounce Cajun Seasoning is perfect for seasoning the fried turkey, chicken wings, popcorn, and french fries.
It adds a spicy kick to anything edible.
- Nice spicy flavor without being overpowering.
- Made by renowned brand King Kooker.
- Generous 34-ounce bottle.
- No expiration date.
- It may be heavy on the salt.
8. Badia Cajun Seasoning
Badia Cajun Seasoning is a spicy blend inspired by Louisiana flavors.
Ideal for shellfish, gumbo, jambalaya, sausages, poultry, and beef.
- Great taste and balanced flavor.
- Fresh and not too salty.
- Reasonably priced for a pack of six containers.
- Gluten-free, kosher, and MSG-free.
- It may be too mild for some.
- It may not be suitable for those who prefer very spicy seasonings.
- Packaging could be improved to prevent spillage.
How to Make Your Own Cajun Seasoning at Home
You can make your own Cajun seasoning at home with some common spices.
You can adjust the heat level and the salt content according to your preference.
Here are four different ways to make Cajun seasoning:
Classic Cajun seasoning
This is the traditional way to make Cajun seasoning. It has a balanced flavor and a moderate heat level.
- Combine two tablespoons of paprika, garlic powder, and onion powder with one tablespoon of dried thyme, dried oregano, black pepper, and cayenne pepper.
- Add one teaspoon of salt and stir well.
Spicy Cajun seasoning
If you like extra spicy food, this is the seasoning for you. It has more cayenne pepper and red pepper flakes than the classic version.
- Combine two tablespoons of paprika, garlic powder, and onion powder with one tablespoon each of dried thyme, dried oregano, black pepper, and cayenne pepper.
- Add two teaspoons of red pepper flakes and one teaspoon of salt and stir well.
Mild Cajun seasoning
If you do not like spicy food, you can still enjoy it with this mild version. It has less cayenne pepper than the classic version.
Combine two tablespoons of paprika, garlic powder, and onion powder with one tablespoon each of dried thyme, dried oregano, and black pepper.
Add only 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper and one teaspoon of salt and stir well.
Salt-free Cajun seasoning
If you are watching your salt intake, you can make this salt-free version of Cajun seasoning. It has the same flavor as the classic version but without any salt.
To make it, combine two tablespoons of paprika, garlic powder, and onion powder with one tablespoon each of dried thyme, dried oregano, black pepper, and cayenne pepper. Leave out the salt and stir well.
Cooking with Cajun Seasonings
Flavor pairings and complementary ingredients
Cajun seasoning is a spicy blend that adds flavor to any dish.
It goes great with chicken, shrimp, and sausage. Bell peppers, onions, and celery also enhance the seasoning’s taste.
For added freshness, try squeezing some lemon juice or adding chopped herbs.
Techniques for incorporating seasoning into dishes
Try rubbing it on meat before grilling or roasting. Mix it into sauces or stews for more flavor.
Or sprinkle it over vegetables before roasting or sautéing.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do you know how Cajun and Creole seasonings are different?
They are both used in Louisiana cooking but have their flavors.
Cajun seasoning has more heat and a simpler taste.
Creole seasoning has more herbs and spices and a finer texture.
Is Cajun seasoning always hot?
No, it's not. You can find it with different levels of spiciness.
Some are mild, some are hot. Look at the label and pick one that you like.
What if I don't have Cajun seasoning?
You can use something else instead of it. But the dish might taste different.
Some good alternatives are:
- Creole seasoning
- Old Bay seasoning
- Mix paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, thyme, and cayenne pepper.
How do I keep Cajun seasoning fresh?
Put it in a sealed container and keep it in a cool, dry place.
Don't let the sun get to it.
Write the date you bought it on the container so you know when to get a new one.
You can spice up your dishes with Cajun seasoning because it works well with many kinds of food, like meat, seafood, veggies, and grains. It makes your meals more flavorful and delicious.
There are many options to choose from. Each one has a different taste and aroma. You can try different ones to see which one you like best.