Creole cuisine is a style of cooking in Louisiana that combines the flavors of West Africa, French, Spanish, and American cuisine.
Some of the best substitutes for creole seasoning include cajun seasoning, Italian seasoning, or even taco seasoning, among others.
What is Creole Seasoning Made Of?
Creole seasoning is a powerful mix of spices combined to make a taste that is bold, spicy, and fragrant.
Creole seasoning contains: paprika, salt, onion powder, garlic powder, oregano, basil, thyme, black and white peppers, and cayenne pepper. Sometimes you can find other herbs in the mix as well.
The balance of the earthy herbs, slightly sweet paprika, and spicy peppers provides a very unique flavor profile. The flavors of creole cooking are bold and flavorful and most dishes use a spice blend called creole seasoning.
What Does Creole Spice Taste Like?
Creole spice can be described as being salty and earthy with a mild spice. with a subtle herby flavor. The sweetness from paprika and herbaceous flavors help to offset the heat of the pepper.
How Do You Use Creole Seasoning?
Creole seasoning is a staple in most southern kitchens and can be used in a myriad of ways. It’s the base of several creole dishes, including: jambalaya, crawfish etouffee, and shrimp creole to name a few.
Beyond the typical creole dishes, you can use creole seasoning to flavor grilled meats, seafood, as a dusting on fries, and even in scrambled eggs.
Are Cajun and Creole Seasoning the Same?
Although both cajun and creole seasoning are very similar spice blends, they are slightly different. Cajun seasoning is spicier with a heavier addition of black, white, and cayenne pepper. There is also less herbs in cajun seasoning than found in creole seasoning.
What Can I Substitute for Creole Seasoning?
Although cajun seasoning can be considered a staple to most, not everyone has it or sometimes you may realize you ran out and you need to come up with a good substitute on the fly.
There are many options of spice blends and other seasonings that will do the trick in a pinch.
1. Cajun Seasoning
Cajun seasoning is a great substitute for creole seasoning. Since they share so many common ingredients, it is a natural choice. You can swap them in an even 1:1 ratio, however, just keep in mind your dish may be a little spicier than anticipated.
2. Old Bay
Another great substitute for creole seasoning is the stuff found in the famous blue and yellow can – Old Bay seasoning.
This New England spice blend is commonly used in seafood dishes such as crab cakes and seafood boils and consists of: celery salt, peppers, and paprika. The savory blend is a great substitute for Creole seasoning.
3. Greek Seasoning
Surprisingly, greek seasoning is very similar to creole seasoning and makes a great substitute.
Greek seasoning is mainly composed of these spices and herbs: oregano, dill, parsley, onion powder, garlic powder, marjoram, thyme, salt, and pepper. Because of all the herbs, it has similar undertones as creole seasoning.
4. Adobo Seasoning
Adobo seasoning comes from a combination of Spanish, Caribbean, and Latin cooking. It is a vibrant spice blend very similar to creole seasoning using peppers, paprika, garlic, and herbs.
Different regions have their own variations. Some of them include cumin, turmeric, and sometimes citrus peel. This robust mix makes for a great replacement to creole seasoning.
5. Chili Powder
Chili powder is not just ground chiles. This earthy spice is composed of several different chiles and sometimes contains oregano and cumin. With the addition of salt to chile powder, it would make a great substitute to creole seasoning.
6. Homemade Creole Seasoning
Homemade anything is always the best substitute for an ingredient. Most home cooks already have the ingredients used for creole seasoning in their spice cabinets and so it takes no time at all to whip some up.
7. Taco Seasoning
Traditional taco seasoning is very similar to creole seasoning and makes an excellent substitute for it. There aren’t as many herbs in taco seasoning – usually just oregano. It is also heavy on the chile powder and cumin.
Depending on what you are cooking, taco seasoning could make a great replacement for creole seasoning.
8. Italian Seasoning
Italian seasoning would be a great replacement for creole seasoning if you are looking for a more herbaceous flavor. Composed of all herbs and sometimes with the addition of salt and pepper, you could easily add paprika and garlic to balance the flavors.
How to Make Homemade Creole Seasoning
Making your own creole seasoning can be as simple as opening your spice cabinet and mixing ingredients. Anything you are lacking, can easily be found in your local grocery store.
To make this flavorful mix, combine: paprika, salt, onion powder, garlic powder, dried basil, dried oregano, dried thyme, salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper.
Tips and Tricks for Homemade Creole Seasoning
- Toasting your garlic powder in a dry pan enhances its flavor
- Make a big batch of creole seasoning and package as gifts
Creole seasoning is an earthy, spicy, and bold flavor that originated in Louisiana. It is great used in a variety of foods and a little can go a long way.
Because of its blend of spices and herbs, if you find yourself without any creole seasoning, you can probably make due with other spices from your pantry. You might just need to get creative!