DIY Spice Blends: Healthier, Cheaper - and Easy

Homemade Garlic & Herb blend
As the economy continues to decline, I've learned many of the kitchen skills my great-grandmothers knew, but which have been neglected by most today. No, I don't spend all day in the kitchen. But I've found if I make certain items from scratch, I save a considerable amount of money. Too, the end result is often healthier, being free of preservatives. To top it off, I can also do something few great-grandmas did: I can make these from-scratch recipes convenient by putting them together in bulk and storing them until I needed.

Because most of us are having to cut back on our spending these days, I'll be blogging about a variety of DIY mixes. Today, I'm posting recipes for popular spice blends. Over time, I'll share other types of mixes, including seasoning and baking mixes.

A Few Tips

* Add all the ingredients for any given spice blend to whatever container you will store it in. Then shake to blend.

* Store DIY spice mixes in air tight containers. You could re-use old spice jars, or you could use canning jars with lids or sealable storage bags (like Ziplock bags). The latter is the least convenient, since they quickly clutter up your spice drawer.

* Be sure to mark your DIY spice blend containers so you don't forget what's inside.

* DIY spice blends last about as long as store bought spice blends - but all spices loose their flavor and potency over time. Prolong the life of spice blends by keeping them in a cool, dark, dry location.

* I use sea salt for all my spice blends. I buy it coarse and grind it fine, as needed. If you use table salt, you'll want to reduce the amount of salt in the recipe or it will end up too salty - and too full of sodium. Note: Non-iodized salt has a more mild flavor than iodized salt.

* You may use herbs from your garden, but they should be thoroughly dry before adding them to a mix.

* Save even more money by purchasing your spices in bulk.

* Grocery store bulk spice bins that allow you to scoop out however much you wish to buy can save money. However, the spices tend to be less flavorful and potent because they are exposed to so much light and air before you purchase them.

* If using or purchasing whole spices (such as coriander seed, allspice, or cloves), toast them first in the toaster oven or traditional oven. This helps bring out their flavors. If needed, you may then grind the whole spices in a (clean!) coffee grinder.

Montreal Steak Seasoning Clone Recipe
We love, love, love this seasoning and rarely eat beef without it. However, it's also tasty on pork and chicken.

4 tablespoon coarse kosher salt
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon onion powder
1/2 tablespoon garlic powdered
1/2 tablespoon crushed red pepper
1/2 tablespoon dried thyme
1/2 tablespoon dried rosemary
1/2 tablespoon ground coriander seed

Mrs. Dash (Original) Clone Recipe
This great blend of herbs adds enough flavor, you won't need salt.

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon basil
1 teaspoon marjoram
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon parsley
1 teaspoon savory
1 teaspoon mace
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon sage
1 teaspoon black pepper

Garlic & Herb Mix
This one is very similar to Mrs. Dash's Garlic and Herb seasoning, making it perfect for any type of meat - or as a more flavorful replacement for garlic and onion powder.

2 tablespoons marjoram
2 tablespoons oregano
2 tablespoons rosemary
2 tablespoons basil
2 tablespoons parsley flakes
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon thyme
1 tablespoon sea salt
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon black pepper

Old Bay Clone Recipe
I rarely use this one, but I know you New Englanders can hardly cook without it! Traditionally, it's used on  seafood, chicken - and French fries.

1 tablespoon bay leaf powder
2 tablespoon celery salt
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons mustard powder
1 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoons ground white pepper
1/2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoons ground cloves
1/8 teaspoons ground allspice
1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon Cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoons ground mace
1/4 teaspoons ground cardamom

Emerile's Essence Clone Recipe
A good general spice mix for meat, fish or pasta.

2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons sea salt
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon dried Oregano
1 tablespoon dried thyme

Chinese 5 Spice Powder
A classic for stir-fries, marinades, and sauces. 

60 Black Peppercorns
4 tsp Anise seed or
1 ea Star anise
2 tsp Fennel seed
12 ea Whole cloves
4 ea 1" long stick cinnamon

Curry Powder #1
Famous in Indian cuisine. This version offers complex flavor.

1/2 cup paprika
1/4 cup cumin
1 tablespoon fennel powder
2 tablespoons mustard powder
1 tablespoon ground red pepper flakes (omit if you want the mix less spicy)
3 tablespoons ground coriander
1/4 cup ground turmeric root
1 tablespoon ground cardamon
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves powder

Curry Powder #2
A good substitute if you can't find some of the ingredients for version #1, but not as complex.

2 tablespoons whole cumin seeds, toasted
2 tablespoons whole cardamom seeds, toasted
2 tablespoons whole coriander seeds, toasted
1/4 cup ground turmeric
1 tablespoon dry mustard powder
1 teaspoon cayenne

Seasoned Salt
Gives a little extra kick than plain salt.

1/4 cup onion powder
1/4 cup garlic powder
1/4 cup freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons chili powder
3 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons dried parsley (optional)

Poultry Seasoning

2 teaspoon ground sage
1 ½ teaspoons ground thyme
1 teaspoons ground marjoram
¾ teaspoons ground rosemary
½ teaspoons ground nutmeg
½ teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

Pumpkin Pie Spice
 Not only is this a must for making pumpkin pie, but it tastes great in anything that contains pumpkins.

2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1 tablespoons ground ginger
1½ teaspoons ground allspice
1½ teaspoons ground cloves
¾ teaspoons ground nutmeg

Apple Pie Spice
 Great for any baking that contains apples.

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamo
1/4 teaspoons ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom

  Bookmark and Share


  1. Great suggestions! I've recently (probably within the last year) started making my own taco and chili seasoning. I use those so often, it made sense to make it rather than buying packets. Plus, I love the fact I can adjust to my family's taste, or adjust on the fly if I'm in the mood for something milder or spicier.

  2. Hello, I just happened to find your blog looking for a free apron pattern. Loved all the seasonings ideas. I put your addrress on my post coming up soon. Nice to find you!
    Blessings, Roxy