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9 Substitutes for Cajun Seasoning and Homemade Recipe

Finding a good Cajun seasoning substitute can be difficult. Most recipes call for a cup of Cajun seasoning, which is usually full of robust spices like cayenne pepper.

If you don’t like things too spicy or are out of Cajun seasoning, you may struggle to find a recipe that doesn’t leave your dish tasting bland.

This article shows you eight substitutes for Cajun seasoning that will make any dish full of flavor.

About Cajun Cuisine

Cajun cuisine has its roots in the French-Canadian immigrants who settled in Louisiana in the 18th century. These immigrants brought their unique cooking style with them, influenced by the food of their homeland.

Cajun cuisine has since evolved [1] into its distinct style, with influences from French, African, and American cuisines .

What Can You Substitute for Cajun Seasoning?

1. Creole Seasoning

creole seasoning

Creole seasoning is a staple in Cajun food. Compared with Cajun seasoning, Creole seasoning typically contains thyme, while Cajun seasoning doesn’t.

Creole seasoning is a blend of spices and flavors unique to Louisiana. The spice blend contains different herbs and spices, including:

  • Garlic
  • Onion
  • Paprika
  • Black pepper
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Oregano

Creole seasoning is savory and flavorful, and you can use it to season chicken, fish, rice, and vegetables.

2. Adobo Seasoning

adobo seasoning

You can easily find Adobo seasoning in Mexican and Filipino cuisine. Adobo seasoning contains different spices, including chili peppers, black pepper, and paprika.

You may want to use Adobo to flavor chicken or pork dishes. Apart from this, you can also use this bold seasoning to add flavor to soups and stews or use it as a dry rub for grilled meats.

3. Old Bay Seasoning

old bay seasoning

Old Bay seasoning is flavorful but not too spicy, it is versatile, and each recipe varies. The most common ingredients in this spice mixture include:

  • Black pepper
  • Paprika
  • Celery salt

If you want a non-spicy substitute for Cajun seasoning, try Old Bay seasoning. It goes well on seafood, chicken, or other meats.

It’s also a great way to add an umami flavor to vegetables.

4. Chilli Powder

chilli powder

Chilli powder is a single spice that gives your food an extra kick. It’s often used in savory dishes, like curries and stews.

Manufacturers grind up dried chili peppers into a powder. They can make chili powder from any type of chili pepper, the most common of which is cayenne peppers.

Chilli powder is available in many varieties, and the heat level can vary from mild to very hot. Some brands of chili powder also contain other spices, such as cumin or oregano.

5. Jerk Seasoning

jerk seasoning

Jerk seasoning is a popular spice blend used in Jamaican cuisine. It contains allspice, thyme, scotch bonnet peppers, and other spices.

You can use Jerk seasoning to flavor chicken, pork, beef, and fish. Jerk seasoning includes scotch bonnet peppers, while Cajun seasoning usually omits the allspice and contains cayenne peppers instead.

The difference in peppers and spices means the two aren’t 100% interchangeable, but it’s a great alternative if you’re out of Cajun spice.  

6. Rogan Josh Seasoning

rogan josh seasoning

Rogan Josh seasoning is found in Indian cuisine. It contains various spices, including:

  • Cumin
  • Coriander
  • Cardamom
  • Cloves
  • Chili peppers

It has a deep, rich flavor and is often served in a curry with rice or naan bread. The spice blend usually features dried Kashmiri chilies but shares many ingredients with Cajun seasoning.

If you have a leftover mix from Indian curry, it will serve as a substitute in a hurry. However, the spice levels aren’t mild.

7. Quatre Épices

quatre epices

Quatre Épices (French for “four spices”) is a blend of:

  • Ground black pepper
  • Cloves
  • Nutmeg
  • Ginger

French chefs source the freshest ingredients to pack a powerful flavor.

This spice mix is common in the cuisines of Normandy and Burgundy, and you’ll taste it in dishes such as pâtés, quiches, and vegetable gratins. You can also use it to flavor poultry, pork, and lamb dishes.

This option is perfect if you want flavor but less heat. Without the cayenne pepper and paprika, this option is gentler yet rich in flavor, and it still carries the French influence just like Cajun seasoning.

8. Smoked Paprika and Thyme

smoked paprika and thyme

Don’t have Cajun seasoning at home? You can replace it with smoked paprika and thyme. It will give you lots of flavor without too much heat.

This spice, plus the thyme, will remind you of Cajun seasoning even if you don’t have the other ingredients at home.

9. Homemade Cajun Seasoning

There are a few reasons why you might want to make your Cajun seasoning.

  • It can be difficult to find a good Cajun seasoning at the store
  • You can control the ingredients and how spicy or mild your mix is
  • You can make a large batch and store it for future use

If you plan to make the Cajun seasoning, try and source the freshest spices you can.

There are a variety of different spices that you can use, but only a few that are essential to the flavor of Cajun seasonings, such as cayenne peppers.

smoked paprika and thyme

Homemade Cajun Seasoning

Yield: 6 tablespoons
Prep Time: 2 minutes
Total Time: 2 minutes

Make your own Cajun Seasoning at home!


  • 2 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 tablespoon thyme


Once you have all the ingredients, you will want to start mixing them in a clean bowl or crush them up using a pestle and mortar.


You can store the homemade spice blends in an airtight container, make sure to label it with the date so you know how long it will stay fresh. A good rule of thumb is to use the spice blend within six months.

You can also freeze them [2], which will ensure the spices stay fresh for a longer period.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 14Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 1060mgCarbohydrates: 3gFiber: 1gSugar: 0gProtein: 1g


Be sure to leave a comment and rating below. I appreciate your feedback!

Final Thoughts

Whether you’re out of cajun seasoning or want to try something different, these are the perfect alternatives.

Each option is a great substitute for Cajun seasoning as they’re easy to find and full of robust flavors.

I’m Jennifer Schlette, a Registered Dietitian and Integrative Nutrition Health Coach. I love cooking, reading, and my kids! Here you’ll find the healthiest recipes & substitutions for your cooking. Enjoy, and be well, friends!

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