Seasoning Blends are a great way to spice up any dish, but they can be pricey and aren't always exactly what you want, or don't work with your dietary needs. In this post, I'm sharing tips for how to make your own spice mixes so you can be a spice mixing master in no time.
Grab these 8 great tips for spice blend making and start adding some literal spice to your meals tonight!
Making your own spice mixes is something I've done for a long time. I just love the creativity and the simplicity--and the taste. It's a simple way to make a big change in your budget and in the flavor of your meals.
If you're new to DIYing you'll love the satisfaction of making something yourself that's so easy, and if you're not new to Homemade stuff, it's still a great thing to do.
Why Make Your Own Spice Mixes
Before we get into the tips about how to make your own seasoning blends, let's talk about why you should do it.
Companies charge more for spice blends than for individual spices. So especially if you use a lot of spices and buy them in bulk, you'll save so much mixing your own blends.
Control Over Ingredients
Whether you have food allergies or sensitivities, or want to avoid fillers (like starches and flow agents), or want to eat only organic, making your own spice blends is perfect. Sorting through ingredients on spice labels can be a harrowing experience for anyone on a special diet.
When you make your own spice mixes, you can easily customize for special diets, taste, source organically and/or wild-crafted if desire, and avoid fillers.
When you make your own seasoning blends, they are typically much fresher than store bought. Especially when you grind the individual spice ingredients yourself (like cumin and coriander), the flavor of the blends will really shine.
Things You'll Need to Make Your Own Spice Blends
Making your own spice mixes/seasoning blends is really easy, but there are a few tricks that will help you have better success.
You can either make your spice blends completely from scratch, or you can use other recipes as a starting point. Either way, you'll want to have the following things on hand:
- spices (of course!)
- jars or other preferred containers (note that a 4 oz. jar will hold about ½ cup of spice blend)
- bowls for blending
- measuring spoons and / or cups
- spice grinder
- spoon for stirring (measuring spoons could do double duty here)
- labels for the jars (optional but super helpful)
What Are the Best Spice Jars
There are so many jars to choose from--which one should you choose? One could get a major headache trying to decide.
Well, I haven't tested all of them (maybe in the future??) but a reader wrote in to tell me that she bought these spice jars and loves them. She said that she loved them so much that she bought two sets!
It has great reviews and they check out on Fakespot.....a great idea to try them if they fit what you are looking for!
How to Make Your Own Spice Blends
Use a Store Bought Spice Blend as Your Foundation
One great way to make your own spice blend recipe is to develop one from a blend you already love.
Just read the label of your favorite blend, gather the ingredients, and get going.
Ingredients are listed by volume from highest volume to lowest, so while you won't have the exact measurements to use, you can make good guesses. You can use other similar recipes in cookbooks or online to guide you as to what the likely proportions are, or just play around until you get what you like.
For example, if your favorite spice label says, "parsley, onion powder, garlic powder, black pepper", you could start with 1 Tbsp parsley, 1/2 Tbsp onion powder, 1 tsp onion powder, and 1/8 tsp black pepper, and see how that tastes.
Combine Several Recipes to Make Your Own
Piggybacking off of other recipes is a great way to make your own spice blends.
Either pick one recipe to copy or tweak, or combine a few recipes that look good and meld them together to make your own recipe.
When combining several recipes, add up the ingredients of all of the recipes on a spreadsheet, and then divide the ingredients by the number of recipes you used.
Looking at a bunch of recipes online can be a great starting point. Often you'll find something really special in one or two to make your recipe shine.
When looking up recipes online to use as a starting point, check the reviews. However, that can be tricky since some bloggers falsify reviews by changing wording or star reviews (terrible, eh?), and some reviews are not that helpful.
For example, "that looks so great" is not as valuable of a review as "I made this for my family and we all loved it." However, again, if the wording of the reviews have been edited by the blog owner, then those rave reviews don't mean much.
Side note: I never do that kind of thing, so if you see a good review on my site, it's legit ;).
Develop a Blend from a "Recipe" You Regularly Use
Do you always use the same combination of seasonings on your veggies, eggs, or salad?
Simply make a larger version of what you already use and place it in a jar and viola--your seasoning blend is ready for you the next time you need it.
Add Some Sweetener
While not necessary, adding just a pinch of sweetener to your spice blend can give great results. I know some might bristle at this. For example, I sometimes get asked, "Do you really need to put a sweetener in everything?!"
The answer is no, I don't have to do it, and you don't have to either, but often it's a great idea.
The slight bit of sweetness balances the spices and adds a little something to it, in the same way that a little salt brings out sweetness (think salted caramel and salted chocolate--yum!) Depending on the sweetener that you use, it can also promote caramelization for cooked dishes, creating a tasty crunchy brown finish.
Add Some Salt
Salt is a great foundation for many seasoning blends, but don't use too much of it. Salt should enhance the flavors of herbs, peppers, and sugars without overwhelming it.
Of course, you can omit the salt if needed and allow people to add their own to taste, depending on the blend.
Toast Your Seeds
To enhance the flavor of your blend, make sure to toast spices like cumin, coriander, fennel seeds, clove, whole peppercorns and other larger spices in a pan over medium heat. This will add an huge depth of flavor to your homemade spice mix.
Grind the Spices
Use a coffee grinder to grind ingredients like peppercorn, cumin, coriander, and larger dried herbs like basil, rosemary, sage, and bay leaves into a fine powder. Not only will your seed ingredients (peppercorns, fennel, cumin, coriander) be a lot fresher, but your ingredients will mix more easily and larger ingredients won’t sink to the bottom of your jar.
Test Your New Spice Blends the Right Way
Of course you are going to want to test your spice blend blend before putting the final stamp of approval on it. It's great to do this using small batches of plain foods. Scrambled eggs, rice, or cauliflower rice are great options for this.
Store Your Blends Properly
Make sure to store your blends in an airtight container, preferably glass. Mason jars work well and of course everything is better in a mason jar.
If your spices happen to clump, you can blend them using a spice grinder or mortar and pestle before using them. Alternatively, you can store your spice blends in shaker jars, adding a few dried beans to each jar to absorb any moisture.
Any homemade blended seasonings where you ground any seed spices fresh will have the best flavor within two weeks, but if you store them airtight, they should do quite well for longer than that.
How To Make Homemade Spice Mixes
- measuring spoons
- various spices
- Develop recipe using tips above.
- Toast seed spices.
- Grind larger spices and herbs.
- Combine spices.
- Store in airtight containers.
Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy and is merely an approximation. Optional ingredients are not included and when there is an alternative, the primary ingredient is typically used. We cannot guarantee the accuracy of the nutritional information given for any recipe on this site. Erythritol carbs are not included in carb counts since they have been shown not to impact blood sugar. Net carbs are the total carbs minus fiber.
Some of Our Favorite Homemade Spice Mixes
Here are some of my favorite spice mixes that we make all the time. I highly recommend you try these.
(you'll never buy packets again!)
(super basic - no special peppers needed)
(so good, our Indian friends wanted the recipe!)
(a no nightshade twist for your tacos and more)
(this recipe is simply amazing. One of our all time favorites--and soon to be yours!)
great in so many things
this quest for the best surprised all of us!
Can't get enough of homemade spice blend ideas? This post has 35 Homemade Spice Mixes plus tips on how to use them. From savory to sweet, there's something for everyone!
Where to Buy Spices
Bon appetit and have fun with your new homemade spice blend adventures!
Note: This post was originally written on March 11, 2011. It was (not a very good post and was thankfully) rewritten with new images on August 19, 2021 with almost completely new information.