With this homemade Cajun Seasoning you'll have your favorite Cajun dishes on the table in no time. Making this Cajun spice mix at home is economical and chances are you already have all the ingredients in your spice cabinet.
My Experience with Cajun Food
Growing up in Germany I had never heard of Cajun cuisine. My first exposure to Cajun food was after my family moved to Canada.
We started eating out more, where I saw things like 'Blackened Cajun Chicken' on restaurant menus. I remember one time my husband and I were arguing about how to pronounce Cajun - until we asked a waitress, who of course sided with him.
Later at home, I had to get to the root of this mystery word. Thanks to trusty Google I learned about the French-speaking 'Acadians' and their long journey from the Canadian Maritimes to Southern Louisiana.
Suddenly the odd-to-me pronunciation totally made sense. What also made sense was the flavor of the amazing Cajun spiced chicken. It was super hot but very delicious!
Fast forward many years to now where I am a food blogger who loves to travel and discover cultures through food. Always fascinated with ethnic cuisines and always trying to recreate everything at home.
Blogging in Mexico
While also trying to do so from wherever we are currently based in the World. We've chosen Mexico as our current home base and are loving it through and through.
Adjusting to food blogging in a new country always takes a while and can be anywhere from easy to quite challenging. Mexico has been great for food blogging; from all of the fantastic fruit and vegetables in the markets to spices, coffee, and chocolate! I have also loved the convenience of modern supermarkets and tiny specialty stores.
One of my favourite little shops has an extensive bulk spice section. When I saw it for the first time, it confirmed for me that I could do food blogging from here.
They may not have all the specialty seasoning mixes one could wish for, but with all the individual spices available it has been no problem (and very economical) to mix up whichever seasoning blend I currently need or want.
And right now I needed Cajun seasoning!
What is Cajun Seasoning?
Cajun seasoning is a unique spice mix consisting of salt and several peppers (black pepper, paprika, or even white pepper). Dried thyme and oregano make up the European influence of the Cajun spice blend. Meanwhile, chile powder (I used cayenne pepper) gives it the famous heat, while garlic powder and onion powder add a great savoury flavor. Cayenne pepper is basically the dried version of the fresh pepper.
It differs from Creole seasoning in terms of heat. While Cajun seasoning can be classified as quite hot, Creole spice uses more herbs like basil, bay leaf, or rosemary, which makes Creole food well seasoned but not necessarily overly spicy.
Cajun food as a whole originated with the Cajun Acadians who experienced deportation from Canada to Louisiana during the 1700s. These people were French Canadian in origin, but they quickly took elements of other people's cuisines into their own once they were in Louisiana. For example, while traditionally they might have cooked with more potatoes, they started using rice.
Their cuisine was very rustic with a combination of Spanish, West African, and French influences, which is why the seasoning blend is so unique. Some staple dishes of cajun cuisine include gumbo, jambalaya, and rice and gravy. There are plenty of dishes that include andouille sausage and seafood like crawfish as well. If you are new to cajun seasoning, this spice mixture is exceptional dusted on potatoes, fries, or infused into rice. However, you might want to dive straight into cajun food and try a few of these intriguing dishes as well.
How to Make Cajun Seasoning?
DIY Cajun seasoning is as easy as it gets. Check the list of ingredients in the recipe box below, then walk over to your spice rack, cabinet, or drawer to see if you have all of them on hand. Chances are high that you do in fact have all of them already there.
If not, put the missing ingredients on the shopping list for your next trip to the store. Once you have all your spices together, just measure them out and mix them together. Alternatively, you could even just fill everything right into an empty spice jar or other airtight container, close it tightly and then shake until everything is fully combined.
Next, you can place the mixture in a storage container to keep for whenever you need it. I recommend storing the cajun seasoning in a cool dark place such as a cupboard so that it retains its freshness. When spices experience exposure to sunlight, they can sometimes clump together or become pale in colour. This can, in turn, impact how they flavour your dishes. Altogether, you should be able to store your homemade cajun spice mix for up to 2 years provided you keep it in the right conditions. Of course, the length of time will also depend upon the freshness of the spices and herbs you start with.
Quick and Easy Uses for Cajun Spice Mix
The benefit of having homemade spice mixes on hand is they can add flavour to dishes very quickly. This cajun seasoning recipe is delicious when you dust it on food at the end of cooking. Try it on these foods:
- French fries - Toss with your fries at the end of baking or frying. You may also want to add a little sea salt at this point. A little fresh thyme also jazzes up fries cutting through their richness.
- Popcorn - Along with some melted butter, this cajun seasoning is perfect for those who love savoury popcorn. However, if you are someone who enjoys a savoury and sweet combination, consider stirring a little brown sugar into the spice blend before adding it to your popcorn.
- Eggs - Sprinkle it on fried or scrambled eggs. Alternatively, you can slice up hardboiled eggs on sourdough toast and add a dusting of this spicy seasoning at the table.
- Dip - Stir into Greek yogurt and/or sour cream for a dip. You could even add it to store-bought dips for a little extra flavour.
- Grain bowls - This spice mix would be equally wonderful dusted on top or infused with a creamy avocado yogurt sauce.
It is also wonderful in simple cooked preparations like these:
- Rubbed onto pork for pulled pork or on ribs.
- Tossed with vegetables for roasting.
- Tossed with bread cubes for homemade croutons.
- Added to cornbread stuffing for your holiday bird.
Recipes with Cajun Seasoning that you'll love:
Here are some fantastic recipes using Cajun seasoning
- Cajun Chicken and Rice
- Cajun Chicken Pasta
- Cajun Fries (use about 3 teaspoons cajun spice blend instead of the individual spices listed)
Homemade Cajun Seasoning
- 2 teaspoons paprika powder
- 2 teaspoons sea salt
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Gather all your spices and grind or crush all that aren't already.
- Measure each ingredient into a bowl and stir to combine. Or fill directly into an empty spice jar or container with a tight fitting lid, then shake until everything is fully combined.
- Store in a dry and cool place (with your other spices).
Cajun seasoning typically includes salt, various peppers (black, paprika, or white), dried thyme, oregano, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder, creating a flavorful blend.
Create a makeshift Cajun blend with paprika, cayenne pepper, black pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder. Adjust proportions to taste.
No, Cajun seasoning is distinct, rooted in French Acadian cuisine, while Mexican seasoning is influenced by Mexican culinary traditions.
Cajun seasoning is spicier, featuring peppers, while Creole seasoning uses more herbs like basil, bay leaf, or rosemary, offering a well-seasoned but less spicy flavor.