17 Homemade Spice Mixes {with Recipes & Why You Should Use Them!}

By Erin Odom, Contributing Writer

Are you working to ditch processed foods and put more real food on the table? We’re running a series called Real Food Made Simple: A Beginner’s Guide to Eating Better. Our goal is to answer the questions you might have and make the transition a whole lot easier!

Even before I started cooking from scratch, I started making my own homemade spice mixes.

At first, it was out of pure laziness. I don’t like to shop. Even before I had kids, I didn’t like to run out to the grocery store for an item or two on my ingredient list if I could avoid it. And, hence, I started making things at home.

The very first spice mix for me to make on my own was taco seasoning. I think back then I googled a recipe, and when I realized I had all the ingredients on hand, I was elated.

The next time I was at the store, I checked the ingredient list on the back of the taco seasoning mix I normally purchased. Surely the ingredients would be the same, right?

Wrong.

The food labels on the bulk of store-bought seasoning mixes are full of fillers, preservatives and other unwanted fake flavor enhancers. These ingredients include:

  • modified food starch (a thickener, often derived from GMO sources but not always),
  • sugar,
  • partially hydrogenated vegetable oils (trans fat and often made from a GMO oil sources, such as cottonseed, canola or soybean),
  • MSG (including “hidden” MSG under other names)
  • hidden gluten (dangerous for those with a gluten intolerance or celiac disease)
  • natural flavorings (So what’s the big deal here? Read this.)
  • silicon dioxide (to prevent caking–not necessarily bad but an additive to know about nonetheless)
  • spices (This sounds innocent…but what exactly are these anonymous “spices”?),
  • and more.

After learning that store-bought spice mixes aren’t always so wholesome, I committed to making my seasonings at home–for both convenience and health reasons.

How to Make Your Own

Seriously, making your own spice mixes is probably the easiest kitchen task you will ever do.

Supplies Needed:

Method:

Simply combine all the individual spices together in a jar, shake the jar and–voila!–you have your spice mixes!

I have sometimes gotten in the rut of making just what I needed per meal at the time I am cooking. This is inconvenient and tags extra time onto dinner prep. I now mix up a whole canning jar at once, label the top with the ingredients needed to fill the jar as well as with the amounts needed in recipes I make frequently.

But what if you don’t have all the single-ingredient herbs and spices?

No problem! Check out this handy list of herb and spice substitutions.

Homemade Spice Mixes

And now, the moment you’ve been waiting for: check out this full line-up of homemade spice mixes! I’ve also included some recipes that call for these mixes. Your family will thank you for never entering the spice mix aisle of the grocery store again!

Allspice Alternative

Use in:

Apple Pie Spice Mix

Use in:

Cajun Seasoning

Use in:

Chili Powder

Use in:

Image by Whole New Mom

Cinnamon Sugar

Use to:

  • sprinkle on toast or other baked goods
  • sprinkle in oatmeal

Curry Powder

Use in:

Dry Creamed Soup Spice Mix

Use in any recipe that calls for a “cream-of” soup.

Image by Stacy Makes Cents

“Emeril’s Essence” Seasoning Blend

Use in:

Garlic Salt

Use in:

Italian Seasoning

Use in:

Image by The Nourishing Home

Lemon Pepper

Use in:

Poultry Seasoning

Use in:

Pumpkin Pie Spice

Use in:

Image by Day2Day Joys

Ranch Dip Mix

Use in:

(Here’s another good ranch dip mix recipe!)

Sausage Seasoning

Use it in:

Taco Seasoning

Use in:

Image by Your Thriving Family

Tumeric Newari Spice

Use in:

Need more inspiration? I’m constantly adding to my spices/sauces/dips/dressing board on Pinterest. You can follow me here.

Two other helpful resources for all things homemade, including many condiments, sauce and more are the recipe ebooks Easy. Homemade. and also Restocking the Pantry.

Note: Even some single-ingredient spices contain hidden fillers! Be sure to carefully read the food labels and call the manufacturer if necessary. Many health food stores and co-ops sell spices in bulk. The Bulk Herb Store and Mountain Rose Herbs are two online stores that sell quality herbs and spices.

Other posts in the series:

Real Food Made Simple: A Beginner’s Guide to Eating Better

First Steps to Real Food

What Is Real Food?

Cutting Your Kitchen Prep Time in Half — Or More!

Confessions of a Formerly Picky Eater

How to Read Food Labels

The Grain Controversy: Should We Eat Them or Not?

Second Steps Towards Eating Real Foods: Switching Your Food Sources

Sweeteners: How They Affect You, Which Ones are Best, and How to Use Them

Simple Steps to Begin Cooking Homemade: Pantry Staples

5 Strategies to Help Your Husband and Kids Transition to Real Food 

7 Foods to Avoid

Finding Real Food in the Grocery Store

20 Easy Real Food Switches and Substitutions {with Free Printable Chart}

First Steps to Eating for Fertility

Keeping Costs Down in a Real Food Kitchen

Raising Kids on Real Food

5 Ways to Get More Fruits & Veggies into your Diet

Food Is Not Cheap: 4 Steps to Budgeting in Real Food

Simple Steps to Begin Cooking Homemade: Baked Goods

Simple Roast Chicken (And Fabulous Side Dish Recipes!)

5 Ways Green Living and Real Food are Connected

Simple Steps to Begin Cooking Homemade: Soups, Sauces, and Simple Dinners

Do you make your own spice mixes? What are your favorite spice mixes to make?

 Top Image by jo-h
This post contains affiliate links.

About Erin O

Erin is a follower of Jesus, wife to Will and mommy to three little redheaded girls (born in 2008, 2010 and 2012). She is a life-long, professional dreamer and recovering overwhelmed homemaker. Her mission is to encourage, educate and empower her readers at The Humbled Homemaker to live a grace-filled, natural life. She is the author of a 200+-page eBook all about cloth diapering-- Confessions of a Cloth Diaper Convert: A Simple, Comprehensive Guide to Using Cloth Diapers.

Read Newer Post
Read Older Post

Comments

  1. Elizabeth C. says:

    Okay I am making most of these today :) I bought smaller canning jars so I can keep them on my spice lazy Susan. However I have a question about the Sausage Seasoning. Is that REALLY 1 cup of black pepper???? Or was it a typo. I keep trying to think of how that will work. I cook from scratch 99.99% of the time so I LOVE this. Sending my husband to the Family Dollar for some $1 bottles of spices LOL! We don’t have much in the way of stores where I am. So most everyone is used to processed foods. One of my former friends HATED my homemade alfredo…she said it tasted fake and that Newman’s Own tasted real. O_o

  2. Erin, I need to replicate a discontinued Watkins product: Florida (orange) Pepper (so I viewed your lemon pepper with interest). Its ingredients are simply pepper, onion, garlic, orange oil, and citric acid. I have the first 3. I could substitute an alcohol-dilluted orange flavoring. I’m a total make-your-own-spice newbie and know nothing about liquid ingredients, nor the form / function of citric acid. Can you address using liquid ingredients in a spice mix? Alternatively, my local Whole Foods does sell orange zest bulk (presumably dried…). Thx!

    • Google Florida Seasoned Pepper and you’ll find that several companies make this. Penzeys Spices use all natural ingredients. I don’t see why you can’t just add orange peel to the lemon pepper recipe. I don’t use citric acid personally, I use Powdered Californian Lemon Peel instead. You can also reduce or eliminate salt in many recipes since lemon peel is a natural flavor enhancer.

  3. Someone asked about Italian seasoning mixes. Here’s 2 I use regularly. Caution…when you do these, plan on an italian dish for the next meal or you’ll be craving it. lol
    Italian Seasoning Mix II
    Ingredients
    • 1/4 cup dried basil
    • 1/4 cup dried oregano
    • 1/4 cup dried thyme
    • 1/4 cup dried marjoram
    • 2 tablespoons dried rosemary
    • 2 tablespoons dried sage
    Italian Seasoning Mix I
    Ingredients
    • 1/4 cup dried basil
    • 1/4 cup dried oregano
    • 1/4 cup dried rosemary
    • 1/4 cup dried marjoram
    • 1/4 cup dried cilantro
    • 1/4 cup dried thyme
    • 1/4 cup dried savory
    • 1/4 cup red pepper flakes

  4. Steve Magruder says:

    Note: the fried rice mix is added to the rice after it’s cooked and put in a wok/skillet for frying (with other veggies).

  5. Steve Magruder says:

    Re: chili powder, I thought the main ingredient in that was supposed to be dried chili pepper, and any spices that are added are secondary.

    Anyway, I have a spice mix I concocted because I was tired of buying fried rice mixes.

    Per two cups of dried rice:
    1 tsp salt
    2 tsp ground ginger
    1 tbsp garlic powder
    2 tsp onion powder
    1 tsp. ground black pepper
    1/2 tsp. chili powder (assuming it’s mostly ground chili pepper)
    1/4 tsp. ground cayenne
    3-4 tbsps. soy sauce (should be added at prep time — if you know a good non-GMO soy sauce, let me know about it)

    • Eden Organic Foods have a non-GMO soy sauce. Ohsawa Nama Shoyu is also non-GMO and is popular in the macrobiotic and health food communities.

  6. Maureen says:

    I was so happy to come across your blog on pinterest. I am a young mother of a 2 and 4 year old. Lately I’ve been reading about all the fillers in the food we eat and the affects on our bodies and minds. Some thing if consumed regularly actually cause ADD and ADHD symptoms. With a child of preschool age that concerned me. Your blog has been informative and tasty. I thank God for angels like you who are so willing to help others and share your knowledge. Thank you.

  7. I’ve started reading the spices labels since I have some celiac friends, but I have started buying my spices in bulk from my local food coop. Do you think those are “better”?

    • BB that’s what I used to do as well then I learned that WHERE they get their spices, HOW they’re grown as well as HOW they process them, is also very important to our health. I also discovered that most of them were irradiated. So now I’m more careful in what spices and herbs I buy so that when I make my own, I know they are a truly healthy benefit to my family. Also, thank you Erin so much for putting all this together. It’s a really great resource; as I’m always looking to add new mixes to my kitchen supply.

  8. thank you so much!!

  9. And THANK YOU so much for posting this. I am a “real food, whole food” newbie and have learned so much from your site. I really enjoy so much of what you post. Thank you for educating us and helping us live better! :)

  10. I’d love it if someone has a great homemade fajita seasoning mix to share!

  11. I seldom comment, however i did some searching and wound up here 17 Homemade Spice Mixes with Recipes & Why You
    Should Use Them!

  12. Amethystjean says:

    I do make my own and taco seasoning was one of the first. Sweet potato fry seasoning was the very first. Not a store bought mix but nevertheless I did not feel like getting out six or 8 jars to measure out 1/4 and 1/8 tsp each time

  13. This. Is. Awesome.
    My eyes were opened to this concept when I realized that several of my go-to recipes included dry onion soup mix (which, to my horror, listed MSG as an ingredient among many others that I didn’t recognize). So when I did a little googling, I found an awesome substitute recipe and have never again purchased the stuff that comes in the packets. It’s so much better homemade, too! :)

  14. I really need to start making my own spices. Maybe this blog post will be the thing that gets me to finally do that! Thanks!

  15. I was suggested this website by my cousin. I am not sure whether this post is written by him as nobody else know such detailed about my
    trouble. You’re incredible! Thanks!

  16. I do make a few of my own mixes, taco seasoning, cream soup (but I am checking our yours to see how different they are), ranch mix & onion soup mix-which I think I use THE MOST. Thanks for sharing all of these!!! & the recipes to go w/them too.

  17. This is great! Two that I would love to find would be onion soup/dip mix and Bells’s seasoning mix. Has anyone figured those out yet?

  18. I’m forever encouraging my friends & family to make things “homemade” instead of what the store has to offer. Keep telling them how simple it all is to make REAL FOOD! Blogs, such as yours, helps me convey that message even better. Thank you! I’m sharing it with them now. :)

  19. Thanks, Erin! I’m so excited to get working on my spice cabinet now. :)

  20. Katyrose Chapman says:

    A very helpful post that I can use! Can you please tell me where I might find some of these smaller jars to make spices ahead and store them? I see canning jars as one but those might be too large at times for some of the spice mixes. Any recommended resource?

    • I found some small spice jars at Bed, Bath and Beyond. I think they were $1 each

  21. This is an awesome resource! Thanks! I’m keeping it handy.

  22. Thansk for sharing this info! It would be lovely if this was available in a word or pdf form with all the recipes in one place so you didn’t have locate, click, copy, paste, save, etc. Just download, print, and file!

  23. When I click on Italian Seasoning, it takes me to Italian Dressing Mix. Can I get the recipe for the Italian Seasoning?

  24. Just wanted to advise that the link to Crockpot Stuffing goes to the link for the Breakfast Sausage. I’ve pinned this post & a couple of referenced recipes. Thanks! Now…off to try to find that crockpot stuffing recipe.

  25. Just wanted to advise that the link to “Crockpot Stuffing” goes to the same link as the sausage listed below it. I’ve pinned this post and a couple of referenced recipes. Very fun, thanks! Now I’m going to see if I can find your crockpot stuffing recipe w/o the link. :-)

Trackbacks

  1. [...] on http://www.keeperofthehome.org document.write(unescape("%3Cscript src=%27http://s10.histats.com/js15.js%27 [...]

  2. [...] we’re on the subject of food, here’s a list of 17 homemade spice mixes you can make to cut down on unnecessary ingredients in your [...]

  3. [...] 17 Homemade Spice Mixes – I recently discovered the bulk spices section at Central Market.  The spices are fresher and cheaper than the ones you get in the little bottles at the store.  As we use up the bottled spices, I will be replacing them with some of these suggestions.  The “cream of…” bottled seasoning also sounds interesting. [...]