My husband’s blackened seasoning recipe is our go-to spice blend for its hit of savory heat that adds loads of flavor to dishes like blackened salmon, chicken, or pasta.
Back in the 1980s, American celebrity chef Paul Prudhomme brought blackened dishes to the masses with his popularization of Louisianna’s Cajun and creole cuisine. Rest assured, blackened does not mean burnt. It’s simply the method of sprinkling seafood or meats with a paprika and cayenne pepper spice blend that’s then cooked on the grill or seared in a hot cast iron skillet, creating a crust of flavor that embodies Southern cuisine.
My husband’s homemade blackened seasoning (aka magic dust) is a fixture at our house for flavor-bomb dishes like Blackened Salmon, Blackened Seafood Pasta, and Blackened Fish Tacos with Creamy Avocado Sauce. It’s a mix of paprika and cayenne pepper with onion and garlic powders, salt and pepper, and dried herbs that add a shot of spiced heat to shrimp, fish, chicken, and vegetables. While it was pretty easy to find in U.S. grocery stores back when Prudhomme was around, I have a harder time finding it on store shelves today. That’s why it’s a good thing it’s so easy to make at home.
What Is Blackened Seasoning
Blackened seasoning is a mix of paprika and cayenne pepper with other spices used on fish and meats for major Cajun seasoning flavor. It’s easy to adjust the ingredient amounts to make it milder or hotter depending on your taste buds. Cajun spice and blackened spice are nearly the same and can be used interchangeably.
What’s In This Blackening Seasoning Recipe
- Paprika: I use sweet paprika. Try smoked paprika for a more dominant smoky flavor
- Cayenne pepper: Use more or less depending on your heat tolerance
- Garlic powder
- Onion powder
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Dried thyme
- Dried fennel seeds: Fennel adds a light and lemony aromatic note
Additional Ingredients for Blackening Spice
- If adding more herbs or other ingredients, increase the paprika and cayenne pepper in proportion to those added
- Use smoked paprika instead of sweet paprika. Or, use half of each.
- Try dried oregano or basil in the mix
- Add 1 teaspoon of brown sugar for a sweetened seasoning mix
- Try adding cumin for an earthy note
How to Make Blackened Seasoning
- Crush the dried thyme and fennel seeds between your fingers to release their aromatic notes.
- Mix the spices, herbs, salt, and peppers in a small bowl and toss to mix and combine.
- If you have a mortar and pestle, it’s worth the extra step to give the spice mixture a few grinds to release the oils.
- Double or triple the recipe and store blackening seasoning in an airtight container in a cool, dry place for up to 1 year.
When to Use Blackened Spice
Blackening spice is a popular flavor dust for proteins like burgers, steaks, salmon, and shrimp. Grill it, pan-sear it, or bake it—blackened spiced food tastes great every which way.
- Blackened Salmon
- Blackened Seafood Pasta
- Buffalo Chicken Drumsticks (use as a seasoning)
- Blackened Fish Tacos with Creamy Avocado Sauce
- Spicy Fish Tacos
If you make this recipe, please let me know! Leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating on this recipe below and leave a comment, take a photo, and tag me on Instagram with #foodiecrusheats.
- 1 tablespoon sweet paprika
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 ½ teaspoons onion powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme , gently crushed
- ¼ teaspoon fennel seeds , gently crushed
- Add the spices to a small bowl and mix well. Store in an airtight container in a cool dark place for up to 3 months.
- Optional: Lightly crush the spices with a mortar and pestle to open the flavors even more.
- To use, pat the surface of your protein dry then drizzle with oil or butter. Sprinkle evenly with the blackening spice and sear, grill, or bake.
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