What Is Cajun Seasoning? A Quick Primer on Cajun Spice

Wrangle your alligator and polish your fan boat, because we are heading down to the bayou. It’s time to answer the question:

What is Cajun seasoning? 

Cajun seasoning is a necessity for any serious home cook’s spice rack. You may have seen the classic Cajun seasoning brands on store shelves: Tony Chachere’s, Louisiana, and the threateningly named Slap Ya Mama. But what is in Cajun seasoning? Most Cajun seasoning is a spice blend of black pepper, white pepper, cayenne pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, and paprika. Depending on the brand or the recipe, the measurements may differ, and a few different stray dried herbs may be added as well. But those are the basics if you want to experiment and make your own.

Is Cajun seasoning spicy?

Anything with cayenne in it is going to be at least a little spicy, so, yes, Cajun seasoning can be spicy, depending on how much cayenne is in the mix. 

Cajun vs Creole seasoning 

If you live somewhere outside of Louisiana and you see Cajun or Creole food on a menu, odds are that the terms are being used interchangeably. But they’re actually different cuisines that come from different areas and people.

“Cajun” is derived from “Acadian.” The Acadians were French settlers who were exiled from Canada and established a home in southern Louisiana in the late 1700s. Creole can mean many things. It comes from the word “criollo,” which roughly translates to “from here.” Back in the day, it meant a person born in the Louisiana colony as a descendant of French or Spanish parents. 

Cajun food came to be defined as a rural or homey style of cooking. It includes things like smoked meats, boudin sausage, jambalaya, and crawfish boils. Creole cooking blends multiple sauces and herbs, borrowing from the many influences in cosmopolitan New Orleans. European, African, Native American, Italian, Spanish, German, and Caribbean touches can pop up in dishes like redfish courtbouillon, shrimp creole, and dark roux-based gumbo. 

But the question of Cajun vs Creole seasoning comes down to the blend of herbs and spices. Creole seasoning consists of oregano, bay leaf, basil, thyme, rosemary, parsley, and paprika. It’s typically mild. Cajun seasoning, as we already discussed, is a spice blend of black pepper, white pepper, cayenne pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, and paprika. Either way, I’m happy to pour that stuff on whatever I’m eating while doing Adam Sandler “Cajun Man” impressions.

About the Author

Will Morgan

Will Morgan, a freelance contributor to Sporked, is an L.A. based writer, actor, and sketch comedy guy. Originally from Houston, TX, he strongly believes in the superiority of breakfast tacos to breakfast burritos. Will traveled the world as one of those people that did yoyo shows at elementary school assemblies, always making a point to find local and regional foods to explore in whatever place he was, even in rinky-dink towns like Tilsonberg, ON. Will spends his birthdays at Benihana’s. Let him know if can make it.

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  • Thank you for explaining that Cajun food is influenced by a lot of different kinds of food. We’re trying some Cajun food on our vacation this coming week. I’ll be sure to delve more into these dishes so I can appreciate them more when we try them. https://www.cajunfoodtours.com/restaurant-tour-lafayette-la/