This is my best ever recipe for blackening seasoning. I have played with several different variations of the recipe over the years, and this is the best one yet. Use this flavorful blackening seasoning recipe on your favorite fish, chicken, and beef. Elevate your meats, and take it to the next level by blackening them. Blackening seasoning is widely available in stores, but they just don’t compare to a freshly ground homemade recipe.

Blackening seasoning

What Does Blackening Mean?

Blackening is a cooking technique whereby a protein (originally fish) is brushed with butter and dredged in a mixture of ground herbs and spices that is then seared over high heat in a cast iron skillet. The combination of blackening seasonings and butter cooked over high heat gives the food its signature dark appearance and amazing flavor. Blackened foods develop a dark flavorful crust with herbal undertones and a bit of heat.

Blackening Seasoning vs Cajun Seasoning

There is some misperception out there that blackening seasoning is just another word for Cajun seasoning. They do share some similarities and both are from Louisiana, but they are not the same seasoning. Creole seasoning is another popular seasoning blend from the area that is occasionally mistaken for the same thing as blackening and Cajun seasoning. 

Creole seasoning is often the mildest of the three and puts more emphasis on herbal flavors. Cajun seasoning tends to be the hottest of the three and relies more on the use of peppers. 

Blackening seasoning typically lands somewhere between these two. Blackening seasoning was developed to help promote a dark flavorful crust while searing at high heat. It is uncommon to see the addition of sugar in blackening seasoning, because the sugars will tend to burn at high heat giving a bitter taste.

The Origins of Blackening Seasoning

Chef Paul Prudhomme originally developed and perfected the blackening process and blackening seasoning. Chef Prudhomme developed and popularized the blackening process at his famous K-Paul’s Louisiana Kitchen in New Orleans. Although Chef Prudhomme used redfish in his original blackening recipe, the blackening process is also amazing with beef, poultry, and other fish proteins such as salmon.

What is in the Recipe for Blackening Seasoning?

Recipe for blackening seasoning

Blackening seasoning is a blend of herbs and spices. A typical recipe is made with paprika, garlic and onion powder, dried thyme and oregano, ground black pepper, salt, and cayenne pepper. 

There are many different variations of this recipe that may include herbs such as basil and parsley. Other cooks may prefer a spicier version, and kick it up with crushed chillies or other dried hot peppers. If you prefer blackening seasoning to have a smokier flavor, try substituting smoked paprika for paprika, or add a pinch of cumin to the recipe. 

I personally enjoy the additional heat and flavor that comes from adding white peppercorns to my version of the recipe. Customize your own blackening seasoning blend by adjusting the ratios or by adding and subtracting ingredients to suit your taste. 

How to Make Blackening Seasoning

Step 1: Gather Ingredients

Blackening Seasoning Ingredient Overhead
  • Paprika
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion Powder
  • Cumin
  • Black peppercorns
  • White peppercorns
  • Kosher salt
  • Dried thyme
  • Dried oregano
  • Red pepper flakes

Step 2: Grind Herbs and Spices Using Mortar and Pestle

recipe for blackening seasoning prep

Use a mortar and pestle to grind the peppercorns, salt, thyme, oregano, and red pepper flakes individually. I have found that grinding each ingredient separately allows the herbs and spice to grind quicker and more evenly. Grind each of these ingredients into a fine powder, and then add them to a mixing bowl. 

I have found that by grinding these ingredients, it develops a more aromatic and intense blackening blend. Grinding also breaks down the herbs and spices providing a finer blend that is easier to evenly apply to the protein.

If you do not have a mortar and pestle, you can substitute the black and white peppercorns for ground black and white pepper.

Step 3: Combine Remaining Ingredients

Recipe for blackening seasoning mixed in bowl

Add the paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, and cumin to the mixing bowl. Mix the blackening seasoning with a whisk until well combined.

Step 3: How To Store Blackening Seasoning

Store blackening seasoning in a sealed airtight container that is in a cool dry place. The blackening season will last 1-2 years, but this will vary based on the age of the herbs and spices used in the recipe. Try not to make too much at one time, because the potency of the seasoning will start to decline after approximately 3-4 months.

Blackening seasoning recipe

Blackening seasoning is quick and easy to prepare, and a must-have spice blend that brings an amazing bold and spicy flavor to your favorite seafood and meats. Personalize it by adjusting the recipe ratios to develop your best ever blackening seasoning recipe. For example, these recipe proportions are perfect for Michelle and others we have served, but I prefer it a bit spicier. I add more red pepper flakes to make it a little hotter.

Blackening seasoning for salmon
Yield: 1 cup

Recipe for Blackening Seasoning

BEST EVER RECIPE FOR BLACKENING SEASONING

This is my best ever recipe for blackening seasoning. Use this flavorful blackening seasoning recipe on your favorite fish, chicken, and beef to elevate your meal.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 tsp Black peppercorns
  • 2 tsp White peppercorns
  • 2 ½ tsp Kosher salt
  • 2 tsp Thyme
  • 4 tsp Oregano
  • ½ tsp Red pepper flakes
  • ½ cup Paprika
  • ½ tsp Garlic powder
  • 1 tsp Onion Powder
  • ¼ tsp Cumin

Instructions

    1. Grind the black peppercorns, white peppercorns, salt, thyme, oregano, and red pepper flakes separately using a mortar and pestle. Grind them into a fine powder, and add to a medium size mixing bowl.
    2. Add paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, and cumin to the mixing bowl and whisk until well combined.
    3. Store in an airtight container for 1-2 years until ready to use.

Notes

For additional heat, add 1/2 a teaspoon of cayenne pepper to the recipe.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

8

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 27Total Fat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 878mgCarbohydrates: 6gFiber: 3gSugar: 1gProtein: 1g

About the Author:

Our founder, Steve brings his experience as a Red Seal Chef to our Best Ever Food channel. Learn more about Steve here…