This simple, flavorful blackening seasoning recipe is fantastic on fish, chicken, steak, and even roasted veggies!
Whenever I order salmon in a restaurant, I always ask to have it blackened.
This seems to mean different things at different restaurants – sometimes they simply throw it on the grill grates (which still adds yummy flavor) but what I’m always hoping for is that they rub it with a good blackening seasoning.
Blackened seasoning has an amazing amount of flavor and typically a lot of spice – a combination that is difficult for me to resist.
What is blackened seasoning?
Blackening seasoning is a mix of spices and herbs and is usually spicy. It’s most commonly used as a rub for chicken, fish or steak. It’s widely available for purchase but it’s often cheaper to make your own, plus you can control how spicy it is as well as the sodium levels.
If you do choose to purchase it, this one called “Black Magic” comes highly recommended. They used it to smoke a whole turkey, and I’m definitely on board for that!
What is blackening seasoning made of?
A mix of dried herbs such as thyme and oregano, plus ground powders such as garlic and onion. Paprika is almost always used, as well as varying amounts of cayenne pepper which adds heat.
This recipe also uses smoked paprika, which adds a wonderful smoky flavor!
Is blackening seasoning the same as Cajun seasoning?
They’re very similar and can often be used interchangeably. Cajun seasoning tends to be spicier than blackened, although much of that depends on the recipe and how much cayenne is added.
How to Make Blackened Seasoning
It only takes a few minutes to make your own homemade blackened seasoning and it’s much better (and cheaper) than what you could buy at the store. To make your own, you’ll mix the following spices together then store it in a small glass jar. Save empty spice jars so you’ll always have an easy container on hand.
- smoked paprika
- cayenne pepper
- garlic powder
- onion powder
- black pepper
I love to make a batch of blackening seasoning to keep on hand for an easy weeknight meal. Although I mostly use it as a blackened fish seasoning on salmon or mahi-mahi, I also love it on shrimp and or for preparing blackened chicken.
It’s also wonderful tossed with roasted vegetables. If I’m blackening my main course, I’ll leave the side dishes without it so there’s a good overall flavor balance to the meal. I’ve even gone so far as mixing into mashed potatoes, stirring it into soups for a boost of flavor and as a popcorn seasoning!
The point is, it’s a versatile seasoning that can be tailored to your own tastes and used in any number of dishes.
How To Blacken Foods
For meat, simply brush melted butter onto your meat, then dredge or brush the dry rub over the surface of your meat, then prepare it as desired. For vegetables, toss them with a little oil and seasoning, then either grill or roast them. It makes for a flavorful, healthy meal without much effort.
This simple blackening seasoning recipe makes a great gift, too. I’ve been known to mass-produce small jars of it for Christmas and birthday gifts; I’ll even grab one to take as an extra hostess gift at a party. Another idea is to make two jars of complimentary spices and give them as a set. Lemon Pepper Seasoning is one that I use often.
Many of my friends make sure to let me know when they’re out so that they never have to go too long without some (I’ve started referring them to the blackening seasoning recipe so they can make it themselves in a pinch).
Keep this blackening seasoning on hand for anytime you're making a quick, healthy meal. It's wonderful on fish, chicken, steak or even sprinkled over roasted vegetables.
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 2 tablespoons smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, cut in half if you prefer less spicy
- 1 teaspoon thyme
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- Mix all ingredients together and store in a cool, dry place. Will stay fresh for three months if sealed well.
- To use: coat whatever meat or fish you’re using with extra-virgin olive oil, just enough to coat, then coat liberally with spice mix. Grill, broil, roast or saute as desired.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 27Total Fat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 534mgCarbohydrates: 6gNet Carbohydrates: 3gFiber: 3gSugar: 1gProtein: 1g
This data was provided and calculated by Nutritionix.
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Thursday 24th of March 2022
Why two paprikas? I am just about to run out of my current store-bought blend, and it appears to be no longer available. And there's nothing like it in my local stores...small towns are boring. I use this on mahi-mahi, then blacken it in a cast iron skillet (olive oil now instead of butter, of course.) And I use that to make fish tacos. Unbelievable! So I desperately need more. But I don't have "normal" paprika, just a huge container of smoked. Any reason I can't just use smoked for all of it? (I also have a huge container of turmeric that I have to figure out how to use.)
Saturday 30th of April 2022
You definitely can, it'll just have a stronger smoke flavor to it.
Sunday 2nd of August 2020
Excelent mix of spices, I've used it on many types of protein and very good for blander vegy's like zucchini. Great for Blackened Cod/Mahi.
Friday 17th of April 2020
Hi Kristy, blackind seasoning is only the first step. Blackening is how it is cooked. After the product is covered with the seasoning it's dropped into a white hot cast iron pan with no oil what so ever. If you don't have a monster ventilation system do it outside !!! And you blackin both sides, you are actually burning the seasoning to a Kristy crust, lol pun intended. And if the product is Xtra thick Finnish in the oven.
Wednesday 6th of May 2020
Hi Steve, that's definitely one way to do it! But most restaurants and home cooks use a seasoning, although I've enjoyed it the way you've described it as well. It's delicious both ways!
Wednesday 31st of July 2019
I came upon your site while searching for a copycat recipe for Pappadeaux restaraunts' dry rub recipe. Years ago, while waiting for a flight connection, I stopped in Pappadeaux in the airport and ordered some wings. I asked to have the sauce on the side. I tried a first wing with no sauce, and the wing was so good I skipped the wet sauce entirely. When I got home, I searched for a copycat recipe with no luck. I wrote to Pappadeaux asking for the recipe and they turned me down.
Today I was browsing some recipes for tonight's dinner and I recalled the wings. I searched again. Your site came up. Is this a Pappadeaux copycat?
Tuesday 13th of August 2019
I'm afraid it's not, although I've never had nor heard of Pappadeaux so I can't say if it comes close or not. Please let me know if you try it and how it compares!
Saturday 3rd of November 2018
Ok I’ll not lie, I no longer use salt or pepper when I’m cooking. Instead I use the blackening seasoning. I do have to adjust the amount I use but, everything just has more flavor
Monday 5th of November 2018
Love that! I agree, it really does add so much more flavor. Glad you're enjoying! Cheers - Kristy