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What Is Old Bay Seasoning?

Know Your Ingredients: Old Bay Seasoning

If you love shore food like I do, then chances are, you're familiar with Old Bay seasoning. But what exactly is it, and how did it attain the cult status that it has today?

Old Bay Seasoning is a proprietary spice mix that's become a seafood staple. The blend, which was named after the Chesapeake Bay, was first created in the 1940s by a Baltimore spice merchant, and soon became a popular accoutrement among East Coasters for steamed, hard shell crabs. In the 1990s, spice company McCormick purchased the brand, preserving its distinctive yellow box and logo, but bringing Old Bay to supermarket spice aisles across America.

The recipe of the mix is a closely-guarded secret, but there have been many attempts to recreate the exact blend of cinnamon, ginger, mustard, bay leaves, celery seed, laurel, and black and red pepper. Old Bay is often used in fish and shellfish dishes, corn on the cob, and French fries — although modern-day recipes call for the seasoning in everything from eggs to stir-fries. How do you use Old Bay?

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Rebecca-M-Gruber Rebecca-M-Gruber 4 years
My favorite spice mix of all time. As a Maryland girl, it is key to making steamed crabs the best Summer meal — ever — but I love it on French fries (after a splash of vinegar), corn, chicken, popcorn, crabcakes, and just about everything!
morgan_marti morgan_marti 5 years
I love it on peel n' eat shrimp with butter! yum :)
muddmz11 muddmz11 5 years
I like to use Old Bay on chicken for flavor without calories, although I think it is high in sodium. I've also used it when baking sweet potato fries but I always prefer a spray of cooking oil, fresh ground pepper, sea salt and paprika. It's nice once in a while for some variety.
AmberHoney AmberHoney 5 years
First let me say I'm a food lover of any ilk. Next Jay about covered it, except I just roasted some lemon boy tomatoes with Old Bay then made some chunky sauce with eggplant, zucs and bells (all from my gorgeous garden) and it was pretty tasty.
kurniakasih kurniakasih 5 years
For fish and shrimp dishes... They're ok, but yah, I like my 'secret' family blackening seasoning better. ;)
stellaRuby stellaRuby 5 years
On the rim of glass for a Bloody Mary
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