Spice, Herb or Flavor Packet Substitutes

I make many of my own spice blends, some from recipes I’ve found or made up, others from recipes I make often. So here they are. 🙂

Please bear with me as this page is under construction!

favorite savory spice blends

Coffee Coriander Steak RubCoffee Coriander Steak Rub: The coffee and spices blend for the most intriguing rub – which oddly, doesn’t really taste like coffee. Even a cheap steak will be great with this extra boost.

Cook's Country Jo Jo Spice Blend xCook’s Country Jo Jo Spice Mixture: Developed for Jo Jos, this spice blend has quite a kick. Use it for potato wedges, fries, chicken breast or just about anything else that comes to mind.

Emeril's EssenceEmeril’s Essence: Depending on the recipe I sometimes use my Cajun Spice mix, above, and other times this recipe from Emeril Lagasse – especially if I’m making one of his recipes!

Greek Seasoning xGreek Seasoning: A fun little blend to bring a few Greek flavors to your kitchen at a moment’s notice, and some great ideas to use it. Liven up just about anything from salads to meats & use it for a dressing.

Hot Smoking Po Boy Spice xHot & Smokin’ Po Boy Spice: Yeah, I use it to season Po’ Boys, and so much more. Simple, but the clear flavors ring true with a bit of bite and a hint of smoke. It’s almost a “house” seasoning at my place.

Italian Seasoning xItalian Herb Blend: Keep this on hand to throw together a quick dressing, spice up easy Italian dishes with a nod and a promise and liven up all kinds of things from eggs to frozen pizza!

montreal-steak-seasoning-2Montreal Steak Seasoning: This little seasoning has it’s roots in the spices used for Pastrami. Intense and beautiful on all kinds of things, this is as close as I can get to the original.

Michael Chiarello's Fennel Spice RubMichael Chiarello’s Fennel Spice Rub: Although I’m not a huge Fennel fan, this spice rub is fantastic on all kinds of things! Vegetables, Hamburgers, Pork, Pita Chips. It’s magic!

Old Bay Seasoning SubstituteOld Bay Seasoning: It’s so much fun to play with a seasoning blend that has so many different flavors – and so many flavors different than the standard ones so normally used.

picklingspicePickling Spice: Perfect for any recipe that calls for this basic ingredient but this blend is also easy enough to customize a bit one way or another! Handed down from me to you!

Poultry Seasoning xPoultry Seasoning: A number of blends to choose from collected from around the net & enough information to customize your own. Go classic or modern from items you have on hand.

Rotisserie Style Chicken6Rotisserie Chicken Spice Rub: Use this for a home-made Rotisserie Chicken (no Rotisserie Needed) or use it on baked or grilled chicken. It’s a little addictive – you might find many other uses!

seasoning saltSeasoning Salt: An absolute basic, found in many kitchens, sprinkle this on just about anything savory. No MSG or strange ingredients, here. This is very easy to fiddle with to adjust to your taste.

Smokin’ Chipotle Taco Seasoning: What can I say? Just make this seasoning! Smoky Paprika, spicy chipotle and all kinds of goodness go into this mix! This goes beyond the classic!

rib-rubSweet Heat Rub for Chicken or Pork: A fun rub that goes great on chicken or pork. The taste is clear and clean with no herbs to muddy up the flavor – you’ll love it best with a sweeter barbecue sauce.

Favorite Baking Blends


Apple Pie Spice xApple Pie Spice: A combination of flavors found in my favorite Apple Pie and other apple desserts. A little goes so well in so many different baked goods it’s a nice time saver.

pumpkin-pie-spice-xPumpkin Pie Spice: Three different blends, including my all time favorite, a classic and the Libby’s standard. So easy to mix your own out of standard kitchen spices. Don’t settle for store generic.

Packet Substitutes


Chili Packet Substitute xChili Packet Substitute: My signature spice blend for a family, not too hot, but great flavor. Feel free to play with it and turn it into your own – it makes a great base for an old fashioned American Chili.

Home-made Fajita SeasoningFajita Seasoning: Free yourself from the packets; Start with this, then customize your own blend and use it for all kinds of things – fajitas of course, but tacos and veggies can benefit, too.

home-made-onion-soup-mixLipton Onion Soup Mix: Make your own and you can control sodium. Or make a vegetarian version. I like this signature blend better than the original and so much cheaper!

taco seasoning xTaco Seasoning: Our family’s rather unique seasoning based off the traditional Mexican Piccadilo. Vary it to your taste and use ingredients that fit your diet/lifestyle. No additives, either!



Dried Citrus ZestDry or Freeze Citrus Zest: Dried zest can work beautifully in spice and herb blends – especially places where you’d normally want just a touch of citrus flavor for a blend.

Hints and helps:


  • Spices can be a big investment, especially when you’re just starting out! Take a peek at What Herbs & Spices Do I Need?
  • Never, ever throw away herbs or spices after six months because some random celebrity chef or site tells you to. Think about it – most spices are harvested once a year. Why toss it, go to the store and buy another jar about the same age? Seriously?
  • When making a recipe you love with a great mix of spices, make more and divide up, label and keep with instructions. (I do this with dry ingredients for things like cornbread, muffins, quick breads, etc., too.)
  • Mixing up your own “batches” of spices and herbs rather than buying packets for your favorite dish is usually cheaper, has fewer questionable preservatives, and quite often tastes better.  You can also customize the blend to your palette.
  • So many herbs are better home-grown and fresh, or home-grown and dried, that it is often not only worthwhile to grow your own, but much cheaper. Dry or freeze your own.
  • Whole spices also keep longer than ground, many for years, so if you seldom use a spice, buy it in the whole form. When your ready to use, grind your own in the blender or a spice grinder and you won’t have to worry about freshness.
  • Know when quality REALLY matters in spices and herbs and shop carefully for those ingredients. There are times you’ll only want fresh and times when dried are better.
  • Make your cooking more frugal by picking up larger jars of paprika, garlic, etc. at the big box grocery store, or packets of herbs and spices in your grocery produce section. Use for your own blends and rubs.
  • Put the amount of spices you think you’ll reasonably use in a reasonable amount in your spice jars, store the rest, tightly closed in a cool, dark cupboard. When you run low on your “working” spices refill from the fresher jar.

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