How about you guys, do you use Italian Seasoning? Are you up for a fresh, homemade version, something that can become not just Italian Seasoning, but your own signature blend? I love mixing up my Homemade Italian Seasoning Blend to have on hand to jhuzz up so many things.
And maybe you’d like to have your signature blend made with the freshest ingredients and all done on a budget? Then you’re definitely going to want to blend up your own!
About Homemade Italian Seasoning:
Ah, ciao, my frugal friends! Today, we’re going to dive into the aromatic world of Italian seasoning. Imagine yourself strolling through the rolling hills of Tuscany, with a pinch of good sense and a sprinkle of savings.
Homemade Italian Seasoning Blend is made from basic ingredients that you probably have right in your pantry and takes just a few minutes to toss together. I think you are probably going to want to make up a batch of Homemade Italian Seasoning Blend and keep it on hand.
I learned something interesting when I posted this. According to Wikipedia (take that with a grain of salt or maybe a dash of oregano) in Italy the only place Italian Seasoning is to be found is in the American markets. Hmm…maybe everyone has more time over there (or is more conscious of local heritage recipes.) I love that we’re a melting pot of people and food!
How to Use Homemade Italian Seasoning:
I don’t know about you guys, but there are two ways I usually cook Italian:
- I find a marvelous recipe and really do it right – sometimes one of the many fresh, quick Italian recipes, or other times a fabulous slow-simmered masterpiece. Recipes like those usually call for specific spices and herbs.
- Other times, I throw together a quick dinner with a nod and a promise: making chicken cutlets, doctoring (or making a quick fresh) tomato sauce, or otherwise trying to get dinner on the table in a jiffy!
I do the latter more than you’d think, for someone who has a blog full of recipes! But I love to have my Homemade Italian Seasoning Blend on hand when I want to add some of that Italian flair but only have minutes to get something on the table.
I’m sure it’s saved lives, like the lives of my folks who are going to seemingly expire right before my eyes if they don’t eat at 5:00 on the dot! They start circling like hungry sharks around 4:30 or so, so it’s a big deal if dinner is late. Since they love Italian, I use this seasoning blend a lot. I even use it to “doctor up” a jarred sauce every now and then.
Here are a dozen of other ways my Italian Seasoning comes out to play!
- Pasta: Sprinkle it over your favorite pasta dishes, and they’ll taste like they came straight from Nonna’s kitchen.
- Marinated Magic: Mix it with olive oil and lemon juice for a budget-friendly marinade for beef, chicken, or pork.
- Promote Preservation: Marinate or pickle veggies, maybe these marvelous Marinated Artichoke Hearts or these Zesty Brussels Sprouts, or a mix like classic or Chicago-style giardiniera.
- Get to the Meat of the Matter: Use your Homemade Italian Seasoning Blend with & chicken, pork, or other meats, sprinkled or rubbed on (maybe with a little olive oil)before cooking, no matter the method. Grill, roast, bake. saute or braise.
- Pizza Pizzazz: Add to a pizza sauce or just sprinkle a little over pizza, especially a frozen or “dull” carryout pizza.
- Roasted Veggies: Toss your Italian seasoning with veggies before roasting, and they’ll come out of the oven singing…its especially good with Brussels sprouts.
- Breadsticks or Garlic Bread: Mix it into butter, slather it on breadsticks or Italian bread, heat it, and watch your friends devour them like Roman emperors at a feast.
- Salad Dressing: Mix up your own Vinaigrette (like the one on this post on my Favorite Antipasto Salad) and impress guests without breaking the bank. Dress a salad: sprinkle some over greens mixed with cucumbers, tomatoes, etc.
- Pasta Salads: Doctor up a dressing or start from scratch using this blend for an intensely flavored Tortellini Antipasto Salad.
- Soups: Elevate your soups with this flavorful blend and turn them into a hearty hug in a bowl. This will pair well with so many soups. Minestrone, Fagioli, Sausage & Bean. The list goes on and on. Check out my main Soup, Chowder & Chili Menu.
- Sensational Sauces: Boost your homemade pasta sauce or store-bought marinara with a dash of Italian seasoning. I love this seasoning with like my Pan Roasted Cherry Tomatoes.
- Grill Guru: Season your grilled meats and be the barbecue champion of your neighborhood.
There is a myriad of ways to use Homemade Italian Seasoning Blend, and I’ve only scratched the surface! Let’s just say it’s a handy thing to have around, especially when you don’t have the time or inclination to measure out a lot of ingredients, and/or fresh ones aren’t available. When I use Homemade Italian Seasoning Blend in a recipe that has a lot of Italian spices, I just add up how many teaspoons of spices are in the recipe and substitute the same amount of my Homemade Italian Seasoning Blend.
Making Italian Seasoning:
This Homemade Italian Seasoning Blend is the one I use often, and it has pretty much the whole gamut of Italian flavors. Feel free, of course, to customize this to your own taste!
- If you want, you can add a bit of dried lemon peel or use some lemon pepper to this recipe.
- A few dried bell pepper flakes or a touch of fennel are other herbs sometimes used in Italian Seasonings.
- And of course, you can fiddle with the proportions of herbs, too.
- Notice there is no salt in the blend, so you can add as much or as little salt as you’d like to in your recipe.
I know there are quite a few herbs and spices in this blend, so if you use Italian Seasoning often, feel free to multiply out for as much as you’d like so you have enough to keep on hand for a while and won’t have to measure it out as often.
I always suggest you try a smaller amount, though, to start, just to make sure you love it as much as I do. From there, tinker a bit if you want. Maybe you’re a real garlic person – add more. Or maybe you’re a spicy tomato! (My Dad said that when we were watching a movie with a sultry woman in it. “She’s a real spicy tomato.” It just popped into my head as I was writing this lol!) If you are, add more red pepper flakes. Make it your own.
Storing Italian Seasoning:
The enemy of any dried spices and herbs is sunlight, moisture, heat, and air exchange. And of course time. If you can control the first four, you’ll buy yourself more time. Like all spices and herbs, this should be stored in a dark, cool, and dry space in an airtight container.
If you make a larger quantity of Italian Spice Blend, stash it away in a jar and have a “working” jar with a smaller amount of the blend. As you use that smaller quantity up, refill from your larger jar.
Saving Money on Homemade Italian Seasoning:
There are times when you absolutely need the best quality ingredients in a mix, and there are times when savvy shopping can save you a bit of hard-earned cash. Making your own spice mixes is one of those times.
- Buy in Bulk: Purchase the dried herbs and spices in bulk or larger containers to save money. Often, larger quantities are more cost-effective than smaller amounts. This is especially true in items most used, and for standard “American” cooking, some of the most used items are paprika, onion, and garlic powder. These are building blocks for many spice blends as well as rubs for barbecue or grilling.
- Grow Your Own: Consider growing some of the herbs, like oregano, parsley, thyme, rosemary, marjoram, mint, oregano, and basil, in your garden or in pots. This not only saves money but also provides you with fresh herbs whenever you need them and with the exception of basil, these all dry beautifully at the end of the season. If you plan right you may be able to bring herbs inside to overwinter. Generally, the cost of a plant is about the same amount as a small packet or bundle of herbs from the refrigerated section of the produce department.
- Buy Whole Spices: Seldom used spices (this works for chiles, too) can be bought in whole form if available. Most will keep for literally years in a glass jar, tightly lidded, in a cool, dark cupboard. Grind as needed and you’ll never have to toss old jars that have lost their oomph. If a spice will not break down to a powdery substance, shake it through a small strainer.
- Check in Different Areas: Check various areas of the store: You will almost always find dried spices and herbs in the baking aisle, but check any “ethnic” areas as well as the produce aisle. Many groceries sell dried spices and herbs in cellophane packets near the produce.
- Shop Around: Do check your big box stores for surprising deals. Also if you have access to any markets, especially Asian, Middle Eastern, and Latino markets, they may have stellar pricing and may have items not found in a regular chain grocery.
- Watch Sales: Spice sales do happen sporadically throughout the year, but generally, most producers offer specials, sales, coupons, and Catalinas in the Spring. Watch for them. A Catalina, if you are not familiar, is a piece of paper that is generated when an item is bought. That slip of paper will key you in on current or future sales (maybe unadvertised otherwise.)
- Be Wary: There’s a lot of advice online to buy spices in very small amounts from measure-your-own bulk jars. To buy all spices and herbs this way is generally insanely expensive. Consider this only if a one-off spice or herb is needed.
- Skip Expensive Brands: Don’t be swayed by fancy packaging or expensive brands. Check the ingredients and opt for the most affordable options available. Be wary of items sold in large bins for $1.00 for a small jar. They may or may not be cost-effective compared to buying in bulk, for instance.
- Know Your Spices & Herbs: While this covers buying spices and herbs, know how long they are good for and how to store them properly. Never toss spices or herbs after a year on the advice of a celebrity chef. I’ve written extensively on these subjects. Follow this link and scroll to the bottom of the pages to “You May Also Like.”
I hope you’ve enjoyed this post on Italian Seasoning Blend! If you make this zippy spice blend, I’d love it if you’d check back and let me know how you like it and how you use it. And if you’d share this post, that would be great, too! If you would like to see more of my spice & herb blends, check out Spice, Herb & Flavor Packet Substitutes. I’m always adding as I go along!
Take care all, and happy cooking!
Homemade Italian Seasoning Blend
- Total Time: 10 minutes
- Yield: about 1/4 cup 1x
- Category: Spice Blend
- Cuisine: Italian
If you routinely make recipes using fresh garlic and onion, omit garlic and onion powder. Notice there is no salt, add if you wish.
- 1 tablespoon dried basil
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon dried parsley
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/4 teaspoon dried marjoram
- 1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
Mix all together. Gently shake before using as settling will occur. Use as you would any Italian Seasoning. Store in a tightly covered jar in a dark cupboard to preserve freshness.
If desired, add a bit of dried lemon or substitute lemon pepper for lemon, a few dried bell pepper flakes or a touch of fennel.
When using this, or any dried herbs, gently crush in the palm of your hand to help release the oils in the dried herbs before adding to recipe.
Keywords: Italian, Salad, Salad Dressings, Spice & Herb Blends.