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Here’s how to make blackened seasoning! This homemade seasoning mix is versatile, easy to make, and adds authentic Cajun style flavor.

Blackened seasoning
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Want to make blackened fish or shrimp with a homemade seasoning blend? Try this blackened seasoning! Wow, is this full of flavor! This Cajun-style spice blend features savory, spicy, and aromatic spices to make for the most irresistible flavor. Paprika, onion, garlic, and thyme mix with a hint of allspice and cloves…and of course, it finishes with a little heat! This mix is easy to make and keeps up to 1 year for all your blackening needs. (Want a spicier version? Try Cajun Seasoning.)

What is blackening?

Blackening is a style of cooking fish, meat and poultry in a cast iron skillet with spices until the outside is crispy and blackened. It’s a Cajun style technique that was popularized by a celebrity chef: Paul Prudhomme of Louisiana. He created a recipe for blackened redfish in this 1980’s cookbook that took the world by storm. Since then, thousands of Cajun and Creole chefs have been influenced by his style of cooking.

How to make blackened seasoning

Every chef uses their own mix for blackened seasoning, so there’s no official definition. Most recipes have spices familiar to Cajun cuisine: paprika, garlic, onion, oregano, thyme, and of course, cayenne for the heat! In this blend, there are a unique ingredients to bring nuance to the flavor. To make blackened seasoning, you’ll just need to mix the following ingredients in a bowl:

  • Smoked paprika or sweet paprika
  • Onion powder
  • Garlic powder
  • Oregano
  • Celery seed
  • Allspice
  • Cloves
  • Cayenne
  • Salt and black pepper
Blackened seasoning

Is blackened seasoning spicy?

This blackened seasoning is moderately spicy, with a hint of heat from both the cayenne and black pepper. If you want a really spicy mix, head to our Cajun seasoning.

Allspice and cloves bring a unique nuance

Allspice and cloves aren’t in every blackened seasoning recipe. They’re not in Chef Paul Prudhomme’s original blackened redfish recipe, but they add an incredible nuance in flavor.

If you’ve ever had cinnamon in chili or a Moroccan-style stew, you’ll know that a hint of traditionally sweet spices to savory dishes adds a uniqueness that makes the flavor irresistible. This trick is also used in Jamaican-style jerk seasonings. You can omit them if you don’t have them on hand, but it’s worth trying for the intriguing flavor.

Blackened seasoning

Blackened seasoning vs Cajun seasoning

If you’re into Cajun cuisine, you might wonder: what’s the difference between blackened seasoning and Cajun seasoning? Both are very similar, and there’s no “official” definition of either. The main difference is the heat level. Cajun seasoning is very spicy, and blackened seasoning is moderately spicy. Other than that, the two share very similar ingredients.

In our recipes for Cajun and blackened seasoning, the Cajun seasoning is very spicy. The blackened seasoning has allspice and cloves, and also a little sugar.

What’s smoked paprika?

Use smoked paprika if you can find it for this recipe! It’s a Spanish version of paprika that adds a smoky flavor. It’s made up of dried pimiento peppers that that are smoked over a fire, then ground. You can find smoked paprika in the spice aisle in most grocery stores. You can also buy it online here.

Note that smoked paprika may be labeled as any of the following: pimentón, Spanish smoked paprika or sweet smoked paprika. And if you think you might not use up a jar…think again! We’ve got many Smoked Paprika Recipes to choose from (it’s one of our favorite spices over here).

Seasoning blends
Try all our seasoning blends!

How long to store homemade blackened seasoning

You can store your homemade blackened seasoning mix in an airtight container for 6 months to 1 year. Of course, it’s best when it’s the freshest. Spices generally last in a cool, dry place for 8 months to 1 year. You can use this spice blend to add new life to spices that you’ve had for a while.

Ways to use blackened seasoning

Blackened seasoning is most commonly used with seafood, but you can use it for meat or poultry as well. Here are some ideas:

  1. Shrimp: Sprinkle it onto Grilled Shrimp or Sauteed Shrimp it’s over-the-top good.
  2. Salmon: Add it to Baked Salmon or Cedar Plank Salmon for big flavor.
  3. Fish: Try tilapia or catfish with this Blackened Fish recipe.
  4. Veggies: Try with any of our grilled vegetables or roasted vegetables, especially grilled mushrooms, broccoli or peppers.
  5. Corn on the cob: Try it on Perfect Grilled Corn or Oven Roasted Corn.
  6. Fried potatoes: It would be fabulous on these Pan Fried Potatoes.

This blackened seasoning recipe is…

Vegetarian, gluten free, vegan, plant based, dairy free, naturally sweet, refined sugar free, low carb, and keto.

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Blackened seasoning

Best Blackened Seasoning (Easy & Homemade!)

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  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: About 7 tablespoons 1x


Here’s how to make blackened seasoning! This homemade seasoning mix is versatile, easy to make, and adds authentic Cajun style flavor.


  • 2 tablespoons smoked paprika or sweet paprika
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon allspice
  • ¼ teaspoon cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne


  1. Whisk the ingredients together in a small bowl. Transfer to an airtight container or jar. Store for 6 months to 1 year in a cool, dry place.
  • Category: Seasoning
  • Method: Mixed
  • Cuisine: Cajun
  • Diet: Vegan

More seasoning blends

Making DIY seasoning mixes at home is so easy! They taste incredible—much better than storebought—and are fun gifts, too. Try all our seasoning blends (listed by style):

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes for memorable kitchen moments! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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1 Comment

  1. Monica Brunner says:

    Excellent blackening seasoning recipe! I used it on Mahi mahi and scallops, it was excellent! Not too hot but really great flavor. I blackened them In a cast iron skillet on my side burner on my gas grill.