25 Recipes Using Old Bay Seasoning That All Southerners Should Know

Grilled Clambake Foil Packets with Herb Butter

Linda Pugliese; Prop Styling: Kay E. Clarke; Food Styling: Anna Hampton

Whenever we see that iconic yellow and blue tin, we know dinner is about to be something good. Really good. Old Bay seasoning is what Southerners like to whip out for Low Country boils, crab cakes, and shrimp dishes. We throw it in deviled eggs and top off a Bloody Mary with a few shakes. Heck, we even sprinkle it over popcorn for a nice little kick.

And speaking of kick, we want to make sure you understand that Old Bay seasoning is not Cajun seasoning. Old Bay has a very specific recipe containing 18 ingredients, while Cajun seasoning has no single proprietary blend, it is typically made up of 10 or fewer ingredients. But here's the thing: you simply can't be afraid to mix it up. If a recipe calls for Cajun seasoning and all you had on hand was Old Bay, what would you do? Take a chance, that's what.

We like to think of Old Bay it as a Jack-of-All-Trades, if Jack was a man we could throw in our purse to battle bland food on-the-go. We've rounded up our favorite recipes that use Old Bay seasoning—so you don't have to. Whether you're hosting a crab boil this summer or a tailgate this fall, these Old Bay-infused recipes are sure to please any crowd of hungry Southerners.

01 of 25

Shrimp Boil Vegetable Bowls

Shrimp Boil Vegetable Bowls
Victor Protasio; Prop Styling: Christine Keely; Food Styling: Tina Bell Stamos

Remove the ceremony from a classic boil, and make it simple for regular dinner rotation. This recipe has everything you love about a classic low country boil, but it serves it up in an easy one-bowl meal perfect for weeknights. You will come to crave this easy approach along with the flavors that Old Bay seasoning lends to the mix.

02 of 25

Crab Boil With Beer And Old Bay

Crab Boil with Beer and Old Bay
Victor Protasio; Prop Styling: Claire Spollen; Food Styling: Torie Cox

It's an unspoken rule down here in the South that you can't have a crab boil without a few hearty scoops of Old Bay seasoning. This is the perfect example of simplified ingredients made to shine with just the right spice combination. And the tradition of the boil has broad appeal.

03 of 25

Shrimp Boil Pasta

Shrimp Boil Pasta
Alison Miksch; Prop Styling: Kay. E. Clarke; Food Styling: Torie Cox

In yet another move to celebrate a delicious, down-home boil, we combined two Southern summer staples—pasta salad and shrimp boil—into a one-bowl meal that everyone will love. Old Bay seasoning delivers yet again with a pasta dish that will bring summer to a winter table.

04 of 25

"Frog Moore" Stew

"Frog Moore" Stew

Frog Moore stew does not contain frogs, and there is some controversy over the origin of the name. What ultimately matters here is that you whip up a batch as soon as possible. The Low Country classic packs a flavorful punch, loaded with red potatoes, fresh corn, smoked sausage, shrimp, and Old Bay seasoning.

05 of 25

Creamy Crab Dip

Collard Dip
Hector Manuel Sanchez

Fresh lump crabmeat might be the star of this easy dip recipe, but the flavor of Old Bay seasoning doesn't go unnoticed. The ingredients of this dip remind us of a classic that offered cream cheese, lump crab and cocktail sauce. This version presents with a fresher approach, and don't forget that using plain Greek yogurt as a sub for sour cream is a healthier option.

06 of 25

Grilled Clambake Foil Packets With Herb Butter

Grilled Clambake Foil Packets with Herb Butter
Linda Pugliese; Prop Styling: Kay E. Clarke; Food Styling: Anna Hampton

We upgraded the typical clambake with traditional low country boil ingredients: shrimp, potatoes, corn, and smoked sausage, such as Conecuh. This magic is wrapped in a foil packet for convenience. Create your dinner in the morning, spend the day in the sun, then throw your foil wrapped goodness onto the beach bonfire.

07 of 25

Fried Deviled Eggs

Fried Deviled Eggs
Micah A. Leal

Old Bay seasoning isn't the standout ingredient in this recipe, but it adds the perfect flavor kick when used in the breadcrumb mixture for these fried deviled eggs. Our Southern tendency to keep the fryer oil hot pays off with this little trick in frying the whites and then topping off with a traditional deviled yolk mixture.

08 of 25

Pickled Shrimp

Pickled Shrimp
Southern Living

We'll take a Mason jar full of perfectly seasoned pickled shrimp any day. Soaked in Old Bay Seasoning, lemon juice, and garlic then marinated in apple cider vinegar and celery seeds – this recipe is sure to make your taste buds tingle. Having this delightful snack on hand for your next margarita party is your next move.

09 of 25

Shrimp Boil Skewers

Shrimp Boil Skewers Recipe
Jennifer Davick

The simple but perfect flavors behind a boil can be easily enjoyed with this skewer idea, and your tail-gating event just got better. You could also serve the ingredients in small cups rather than skewers, making the entire effort just a touch easier. We expect you'll be passing on this recipe to your guests.

10 of 25

Cajun Chicken Pasta

Cajun Chicken Pasta

Ralph Anderson

As always, the secret lies in the seasoning—heavily seasoned Cajun chicken, that is. For a slightly more complex flavor, we recommend switching the Cajun seasoning for Old Bay every now and then. Don't forget, they are not the same, but experimenting with both will shape even the most classic of Southern dishes.

11 of 25

Rinehart Family Low Country Boil

Rinehart Family Lowcountry Boil Closeup
Rinehart Family

This recipe calls for "two cans of Old Bay seasoning," and that's the type of measurement Mama would approve of. Bear and Bo Rinehart of NEEDTOBREATHE grew up in rural South Carolina. The Rineharts celebrate special times of the year with a full low country boil.

12 of 25

The Southern Living Bloody Mary

Southern Living Bloody Mary
Jennifer Causey

Southerners like their Bloody Mary with a kick á la Old Bay. This homemade mix obliges and takes you to shore. Don't forget all your favorite bloody garnishes. We are thinking pickled beans, olives, celery, pearl onions, and a dash of sass.

13 of 25

Old Bay Mayo

Old Bay Mayo
Antonis Achilleos; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall; Prop Styling: Kay E. Clarke

Old Bay seasoning adds a salty, savory flavor to this mayo-based sauce, which is complemented by a slew of fresh herbs, including dill and chives. Lemon zest and juice add brightness to this zingy sauce. Serve this Old Bay Mayo in a ramekin alongside your crab cakes or, for a more elegant touch, dollop a small dot atop each griddled crab cake.

14 of 25

Hot Crab And Artichoke Dip

Hot Crab-and-Artichoke Dip
Antonis Achilleos; Prop Styling: Kay E. Clarke; Food Styling: Margaret Monroe Dickey

This Hot Crab-and-Artichoke Dip will be bubbling to perfection in a flash. For the best-tasting dip, look for freshly picked unpasteurized crabmeat at your local seafood counter. Consider using the dip as a baked potato topper, or as the foundation for a fabulous twice baked potato.

15 of 25

Old Bay Rémoulade With Crudités And Shrimp

Old Bay Rémoulade with Crudités and Shrimp
Johnny Autry; Prop and Food Styling: Charlotte L. Autry

This recipe for Old Bay Rémoulade with Crudités and Shrimp is an ode to those family beach getaways of years ago. Stir together Old Bay seasoning, mayonnaise, and a few pantry staples for an easy sauce that tastes amazing served with steamed peel 'n' eat shrimp or any other fresh seafood. The remoulade can be prepared up to one week in advance.

16 of 25

Crab Cake Bites With Old Bay Mayo, Chives, And Lemon

Crab Cake Bites with Old Bay Seasoning
Antonis Achilleos; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall; Prop Styling: Kay E. Clarke

Form the crab cakes one day in advance, and store them, covered, in the refrigerator. This not only saves prep time but also ensures they are properly chilled, which helps them hold their shape. Versatile enough to fit in at a daytime brunch or evening dinner party, these crab cake bites are naturally festive.

17 of 25

Chesapeake Bay Crab Cakes

Chesapeake Bay Crab Cakes
Southern Living

The secret to making sure you get the most value for your lump crabmeat in this recipe is to make sure you don't overmix it with the other ingredients. Tossing until just combined creates a better texture and less monotonous tasting crab cake. These crab cakes are the perfect party-ready appetizer, but they can also be served as a main dish.

18 of 25

Chicken And Sausage Gumbo

Chicken-and-Sausage Gumbo
Ralph Anderson

This is one of those recipes that could use Old Bay seasoning in place of the Cajun seasoning that is recommended. We want to remind you that there is no need to have seafood in a dish in order to use Old Bay. Just give it a try with chicken and sausage to see what we mean. You may have to buy a lot more of it...

19 of 25

Viet-Cajun Crawfish Boil

Viet-Cajun Crawfish Boil

The bright flavors of Vietnam are married to Cajun tradition in this fusion take on a traditional boil. Old Bay seasoning is expected, but lemongrass and fish sauce? It is surprising how easily the Asian tastes meld with the Cajun, making this version of a boil and must-do.

20 of 25

Cornbread Crab Cakes

Cornbread Crab Cakes
Jennifer Davick; Styling: Buffy Hargett

The taste of cornbread alongside Old Bay and lump crab has got to be one of the most satisfying to the palate. Using light cornbread crumbs won't weigh down the texture of this take on our beloved cakes. If you are a fan of trying all the crab cakes possible, put this version at the top of your list.

21 of 25

Shrimp And Andouille Gumbo Dip

Shrimp-and-Andouille Gumbo Dip
Brian Woodcock; Styling: Rachael Burrow

This dip is a delight, especially with fresh bread. Can you see this in a sourdough bread bowl with chunks of tangy bread on the side? This has everything it needs to taste authentically like gumbo, and the Old Bay is optional as it calls for Creole seasoning. But we expect you to make a batch for the potluck and one for your sister's tailgate party, so why not try both approaches?

22 of 25

Cajun Chicken Cassoulet

Cajun Chicken Cassoulet
Iain Bagwell

This is the part where we tell you that Old Bay seasoning needs to be on the table, also. You don't necessarily have to use it as part of your ingredients. A sprinkle here and there throughout the meal is going to bring an already delicious plate of food the zing it needs.

23 of 25

Air Fryer Popcorn Shrimp

Air Fryer Shrimp
Southern Living

Prior to immersing the shrimp in the air fryer, toss the breadcrumbs in oil. This helps the outer coating of the shrimp get brown and crispy without steaming, which makes the fried shrimp soggy. Small shrimp are easy to find in your supermarket's freezer aisle. You can substitute larger shrimp but you will need to increase the time in the air-fryer by a few minutes.

24 of 25

Crab And Bacon Linguine Recipe

Crab-and-Bacon Linguine
Victor Protasio; Prop Styling: Claire Spollen; Food Styling: Torie Cox

Your guests need the option of sprinkling Old Bay on their serving of this spectacular dish. This might qualify as the perfect entree for your favorite friend's birthday, served al fresco. Consider a salad of fresh greens and baguette with a lofty crumb as filling sides.

25 of 25

Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya

chicken and sausage jambalaya
Photographer: Jen Causey, Prop Stylist: Josh Hoggle, Food Stylist: Ruth Blackburn

As with our gumbo example, the use of Old Bay is all up to you. Perhaps you need to make sure it's on the table, giving each diner a chance to choose the flavors they prefer in their jambalaya. On the other hand, can the Creole seasoning be replaced by Old Bay? We're not going to stop you from making this recipe your own.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles