What’s A Good Old Bay Seasoning Substitute?

Do you have a recipe that calls for Old Bay and you have none in-house? Or are you just not a fan of Old Bay, and you’re looking for a packaged Old Bay seasoning substitute with a slightly different flavor?

Luckily, you have options either way!

Option #1: Make a homemade Old Bay substitute.

You can craft a similar heat and taste from spices in a well-stocked spice rack. Some of the ingredients in Old Bay you may not have around, but many are spice rack staples.

Start with hot pepper-based paprika. That’s where Old Bay gets its spiciness. The other ingredients include cloves. allspice, ginger, mace, mustard, nutmeg, bay leaf, and cardamom. You may not have all of these around, but even a few of them mixed together can create a comparable taste. Be prepared to play with proportions to get the right taste for you. Again, it may not be perfect, but just a few of these spices together will work in a pinch as a substitute.

Option #2: Consider Todd’s Dirt.

We are huge Old Bay fans here, but we’ve also come to love Todd’s Dirt spice mixes a whole bunch. Todd’s Dirt actually has a Crabby Dirt option that’s a terrific substitute for Old Bay seasoning, in fact it sort of ratchets everything up, both in spice and flavor. It includes not just paprika, but chipotle powder and cayenne powder as well. That’s a heck of a lot hotter, which, of course, we love! Read our review of it here.

There are other options too. Their Bayou Dirt might be a terrific choice for you if you’re doing Creole cooking or there’s the Original Todd’s Dirt Seasoning that’s a milder mix.

UPDATE NOTICE: This post was updated on August 17, 2019 to include new content. It was originally published on October 11, 2014.