Cajun cuisine and seasoning originated from the Frenchmen who were deported to the rustic blends of Louisiana. This versatile blend boasts a spicy flavor, and lists paprika, cayenne, garlic powder, pepper, and oregano as its components.
Due to its ability to blend with other seasonings, Cajun seasoning is a great choice to mix with other blends to add more flavor to your dishes. Here are some quick alternatives if you run out of it completely
- Creole Seasoning
- Old Bay Seasoning
- Adobo Seasoning
- French Four Spice
- Cayenne Pepper and Paprika
- Chili Powder
- Homemade Cajun Seasoning
- Non-spicy Substitute
Read on if you are keen to find out more about why these substitutes are the best to replace your cajun seasoning.
8 Best Substitute For Cajun Seasoning
Generally speaking, Cajun seasoning should be used in moderation in dishes as many brands may be loaded with up to 350mg of sodium per serving.
They do still contain nutritional components like fiber, vitamins A, E, C, B6, potassium, and could also help people suffering from constipation and inflammation.
Do note that you should refrain from spicy food or opt for a non-spicy substitute if you are sensitive to spice and would still want that Cajun-like flavor in your dishes. One of the best substitutes will be creole seasoning as the taste is quite similar to cajun seasoning.
If you’re confident to try out new recipes, start by including salt with your Cajun blend and see if it matches your preferences.
However, if both options are not available, check out the best Cajun seasoning substitute list below
Using Creole seasoning is your closest alternative since Creole shares almost the same qualities as Cajun. However, keep in mind that Creole seasoning has a milder flavor due to its European herbs.
In general, Creole seasoning is used for Creole cuisine and is also known to have come to New Orleans from wealthy immigrants. Since these immigrants came from Italy, Spain, and France, the fusion of these nations are evident in Creole cuisine.
And just like Cajun cooking, cooking in Creole style also displays a variety of flavors from African Americans and Native Americans.
Since Creole seasoning mostly shares the same components and ingredients as Cajun bends, the dishes you will cook will also have the same flavor and authenticity as European and African fusion. If you wish to add more spice, add cayenne pepper and use chili peppers as a bonus to your recipe.
Use a 1:1 ratio to substitute Creole seasoning for Cajun seasoning.
Old Bay Seasoning
Old Bay seasoning is a versatile ingredient that can be used for any recipe. Since both are mostly used for Southern cuisine, the main difference between Old Bay seasoning and Cajun seasoning is its flavors.
Old Bay exhibits more exotic flavors like allspice, nutmeg, cloves, and cardamom.
You may also find these flavors a bit more overwhelming for your taste since the paprika and crushed red pepper, which is based from cayenne pepper, may add a bit of spiciness.
So if you’re confident enough, you can experiment with a bit of an exotic kick in your recipes.
If you’re looking for a Latin American alternative for Cajun seasoning, Adobo seasoning is your best choice. To give a brief overview, Adobo seasoning is also a fusion of European and New World flavors.
Hence, garlic, oregano, and cumin are the most common ingredients and flavors found in this seasoning. You can use a 1:1 ratio to substitute Adobo seasoning for Cajun seasoning.
French Four Spice
Originating from North African cuisine, the French Four Spice is a combination of four simple ingredients — white pepper, nutmeg, cloves, and cinnamon. Using this kind of spice is also great for red meat dishes, stews, soups, and sauces.
Now, if you want to use the French Four Spice as a substitute to Cajun seasoning, it is best to start with equal amounts of both blends.
However, since the French Four Spice exhibits a bit milder flavor than Cajun seasoning, gauge the amount of what is needed in your recipe and gradually add more French Four Spice to match the flavor of Cajun seasoning.
It is still best to experiment to your own taste with the French Four Spice since it has slightly different ingredients compared to Cajun seasoning.
If your French Four Spice is already prepared, store it in an airtight container; just keep in mind that it has a shelf life of 3 months. You can also store it in the refrigerator if you are planning to use it for consecutive days or weeks, making sure that the spice is back to room temperature before putting it in your recipes.
Cayenne Pepper and Paprika
Since Cayenne Pepper and Paprika are the most vital ingredients to make Cajun seasoning, you can easily mix the two together as a substitute for Cajun seasoning.
However, keep in mind that the flavor will not taste exactly the same, but it will provide the spiciness needed for your dishes.
Although it may not be the best alternative for Cajun seasoning, Chili powder still has some of the same ingredients as it contains oregano that is mixed with ancho chili peppers.
This also serves as a substitute for paprika or cayenne pepper for that spicy kick.
Homemade Cajun Seasoning
Before making your own Cajun seasoning, you must first know the history of the Cajuns and the fusions that influenced the seasoning. Before the British deported the Cajuns from Nova Scotia to the United States, they were originally known as Frenchmen. Alternatively, the Cajuns were also known as the Acadian, which is actually the proper term for their community.
Since Cajun seasoning came from Cajun cuisine, it is best to know that the Cajun’s cooking style has a fusion of French dishes, with heavy influences from Native American and African cuisines.
The ingredients typically used to make Cajun seasoning involve onion and garlic powder, oregano, paprika, cayenne and black pepper, and salt. To add some extra kick, some also prefer to include turmeric and/or thyme to make the Cajun seasoning.
Since these ingredients can be mostly found in your local grocery stores, it won’t be hard to blend them all together yourself using a grinder or a food processor.
In comparison to pre-packaged products, making your own will provide you a fresher and more authentic mixture of Cajun seasoning. If you’re comfortable enough, you can also alter the heat and manipulate other components to your preference.
- Smoked paprika
- Kosher salt
- Garlic powder
- Ground black and white pepper
- Onion powder
- Dried oregano
Simply put all of these ingredients into a jar and shake them to mix them up inside. The shelf life of your homemade Cajun seasoning should last for at least a year.
Alternatively, if you are not a fan of spicy things, you can easily make your own non-spicy seasoning to use for your dishes.
Since the ingredients are also relatively easier to find in your local grocery stores, you can save more money and energy to do this simple seasoning. Just make sure to keep them in an airtight jar to maintain the freshness and prevent the flavor from fading immediately.
- 1 tbsp. paprika
- 1 tsp. garlic powder
- 1 tsp. onion powder
- 1 tsp. cumin
- ½ tsp. black pepper
Simply put all these ingredients in a small bowl and mix them well. Again, store them in an airtight container until the time you use them. You can use your non-spicy substitute for recipes that call for the spicy Cajun seasoning if you are not a fan of that extra kick.
Cajun Seasoning Substitute Related FAQs
What Is The Best Cajun Seasoning To Buy
The best Cajun seasoning all boils down to a matter of preference. However, it is still common knowledge to buy from your trusted manufacturers and grocery stores. In the United States, there are numerous brands that offer top-quality Cajun seasoning, including Louisiana’s Slap your mama all Cajun seasoning, McCormick, and more.
Although there are a lot of good Cajun seasonings in the market, Louisiana’s Slap your mama all Cajun seasoning is said to be the most popular product in stock.
This is because its components consist of Salt, Red Pepper, Black Pepper, Garlic, which make it a versatile and popular choice for a variety of Cajun dishes.
It is also MSG free, full of flavor and not too spicy.
However, if you are someone who is a bit adventurous with their recipes, you may want to purchase Cajun seasoning with extra red pepper flakes, which gives you an extra level of spiciness in your dishes. Regardless of this, choosing your preferred Cajun seasoning is a journey, so don’t be afraid to try and experiment with the substitute list above.
Are Creole Seasoning And Cajun Seasoning The Same?
In a nutshell, Creole seasoning and Cajun seasoning may look the same since they share a similar French background. However, keep in mind they are still different based on the ingredient used in them.
Cajun seasoning usually consists of peppers like garlic, onion, black pepper, cayenne pepper, salt, and sometimes sweet basil. On the contrary, Creole seasoning may contain more herbs and typically consists of thyme, basil, marjoram, oregano, and pepper.[Source]
And since both can have many variations to each seasoning, you may use these two ingredients interchangeably. They also share the same level of spiciness like cayenne pepper and paprika. Again, this all boils down to a matter of preference.
Are Taco Seasoning and Cajun Seasoning the same?
Although both seasonings share the same ingredients, like chili pepper and cumin, Taco seasoning and Cajun seasoning have entirely different flavors. Hence, they are not the same as one another.
Cajun seasoning is also usually spicier compared to taco seasoning, which gives a more authentic Mexican flavor.
This makes Cajun seasoning a great choice for recipes such as gumbo, jambalaya, blackened chicken, and shrimp. On the other hand, Taco seasoning is typically used for Mexican-inspired recipes like tacos, burritos, and nachos.
Can paprika alone be substituted for Cajun?
Since Cajun spice contains more ingredients than just ground red pepper and garlic, using paprika alone will not have the same effect as Cajun seasoning.
Cajun spice also contains cayenne, onion powder, salt, and other additional spices, and paprika is not one of them. However, if you are looking for more spice and flavor to your dish, then using Paprika may be a good choice. Just keep in mind that you may need other substitutes closer to the Cajun flavor whenever you are experimenting with your dishes.