Simple Spice Blends That Are Cheaper to Make Than Buy

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By the author of The Flat Broke Cookbook and Lifestyles of the Flat Broke and Resilient

If you’re anything like me, you absolutely love a well-seasoned dish of food. But spice blends are super expensive! Just one ounce of taco seasoning in a little packet costs a dollar. You can make your own for a fraction of the price and you can control what goes in it. You can limit the salt and sugar if you want, or even omit it. You can avoid chemical concoctions like monosodium glutamate and simple combine delicious, healthy spices and herbs to create your own delicious concoctions.

Here are some of the simple spice blends that I always keep on hand.

Taco Seasoning

I love, love, love Mexican food and make it at least once a week.  Here’s my personal blend of delicious spices.

  • 4 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp oregano


  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 2 tsp Salt
  • 1/2-2 tsp cayenne pepper

Add salt and cayenne pepper to taste. Cayenne can really turn up the heat!

Burger Seasoning

Do you have a favorite burger seasoning? Mine is pretty simple but my family loves it.

  • 2 tbsp onion powder
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp mustard powder


  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp white sugar

Italian Seasoning

Use this seasoning to jazz up meatballs, chicken, or your favorite Italian soup or sauce.

  • 4 tbsp basil
  • 3 tbsp oregano
  • 2 tbsp thyme
  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • 1 tbps garlic powder
  • 1 tsp sage
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder (trust me)


  • 1 tsp salt

Greek Seasoning

I love this seasoning on grilled chicken, in meatballs, and sprinkled over a greek salad or a hunk of feta cheese.

  • 3 tbsp oregano
  • 2 tbsp parsley
  • 1 tbsp dried lemon zest
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp rubbed dill weed
  • 1 tsp black pepper


  • 1 tsp salt

Season-Anything Salt

This is my own knock-off of my beloved Lawry’s Season-All.

  • 2 tbsp salt
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 2 tsp white sugar
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp celery salt

If you’re watching your sodium you can dial the salt down – that’s the joy of making your own seasoning blends!

Salt-Free Seasoning Blend

This is basically a DIY version of Mrs. Dash. You can remove anything you or your family dislikes when you make your own.

  • 3 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp basil
  • 1 tbsp marjoram
  • 1 tbsp thyme
  • 1 tbsp parsley
  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • 1 tbsp sage
  • 1 tbsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp dried lemon zest
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp cumin


  • 1 tsp savory
  • 1/2 tsp mustard powder

New Bay

If you’re a fan of Old Bay seasonings for your Bloody Marys and seafood, you can make a very similar version of your own using the following:

  • 2 tbsp celery salt
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp mustard powder
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 5 bay leaves
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp mace
  • 1/8 tsp allspice
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon

Ragin’ Cajun

Maybe it’s the Southern gal in me but I absolutely love Cajun food. A lot of it is made with inexpensive base ingredients then beautifully spiced with a seasoning mixture that will get your mouth tingling.

  • 2 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1-2 tsp cayenne pepper


  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar

This is so so so delicious in red beans and rice!

Poultry Seasoning

Sprinkle this seasoning generously on your chicken before baking or mix it into your batter before frying. It’s also tasty on your holiday turkey!

  • 3 tbsp sage
  • 2 tbsp thyme
  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp dried lemon zest
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg


  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp white sugar
  • 1 tsp marjoram

Bulk Spices to Keep On Hand

You can combine the following bulk spices to create almost all of the above with just a few small additions that you probably already have in your spice cabinet. I keep my bulk spices in completely dry mason jars for longevity and freshness.

In smaller quantities I also keep on hand:

  • Sage
  • Marjoram
  • Dill weed
  • Dry mustard
  • Mace
  • Allspice
  • Nutmeg
  • Cinnamon

With these spices, I can create many different meals. My family loves a variety of foods from around the globe and these basics are prevalent in many different cuisines, allowing me to capture a multitude of flavors. When you’re on a budget, it’s important to be able to create variety with the same old, same old basic ingredients, and seasoning is a wonderful, thrifty way to do so.

Be sure to check out any local ethnic grocery stores for bulk spices, as well as the ethnic food aisle in your grocery store.

Do you make your own spice blends?

What are your favorite flavors? What do you like to cook up in your kitchen? Share the spices and blends that you keep on hand in the comments.

Simple Spice Blends That Are Cheaper to Make Than Buy
Picture of Daisy Luther

Daisy Luther

Daisy Luther is an author and blogger. She's the single mom of two daughters and credits extreme frugality and a good sense of humor for her debt-free lifestyle. She is the author of numerous books, the editor of, and is the founder of a small digital publishing company in the emergency preparedness niche.

9 thoughts on “Simple Spice Blends That Are Cheaper to Make Than Buy”

  1. marti baker girl

    Hey Daisy,
    thanks sooo much for this wonderful list. I can hear the “ching ching” as I save gazillions on costly prepared brand name seasonings! I worry about the shelf stable BB dates on my current store bought ones but now this gives me great weaponry to add to my culinary arsenal.

  2. marti baker girl

    O, forgot to ask, I have had a bumper crop of hot peppers this summer. Hot Banana Peppers, Rain Forest Peppers, Ghost Peppers, and Carolina Reaper. Currently I am just drying all of them. As a kid my great aunt always had a bottle filled with vinegar and peppers sitting on their table to season foods once they were on your plate. The last time I canned pickles (which included a lot of cider vinegar and were hot packed), a year later the new Ball lid had rusted through. Can anyone suggest how I can put some of these peppers up in perhaps a vinegar solution, how to do it and what is the best type of bottle/jar combination to use for long term non refrigerated storge? Also, does anyone have suggestions or recipes for how to preserve these extra hot peppers once they are dried? I like to think out of the box so am also considering how to use them to deter critters from my garden and even in a self-defense situation. I saw one youtuber who was making a sauce from the Ghost and Reaper combination and he had to use a gas mask type apparatus because of the heat. The Reaper is so strong that I can smell them even while drying. Any ideas would be helpful and thanks in advance.

    1. That’s amazing that the Ball lid rusted through. I currently have 3-6 year old pickles in my cellar and they’re fine. I’ve recently, like in the last 2 years, started buying Lehman’s lids and to me they’re superior to the others, including Ball and Bernardin. Nice thick rubber ring that doesn’t have any pin holes. I would try again if it was me. I know it’s a lot of time and effort to possibly waste, but, sometimes you just get a bad batch of lids, or anything else.

      1. marti baker girl

        Hi IslandGirl,
        thanks so much for your comment. Like you, for years I have done the pickles and have some as far back as about 3 years. Many times I will get some deterioration of the inside of the lids but never has one rusted completely through to the top. I was also thinking maybe poor quality with the lid. Thanks again.

  3. Great recipe list! I have saved it for future reference. I make several recipes as well and when I was looking for recipes for an all-seasoning blend to replace Lawry’s I found one recipe that called for paprika, and one that called for smoked paprika. I decided to use half of each and was very happy with the results. I love being able to whip up a spice blend at the drop of a hat without running to the store and I’m looking forward to trying the poultry seasoning recipe.

    Here is one of my favorite mixes:
    Dill Dip
    2 teaspoons dill weed
    1 tablespoon parsley flakes
    1 tablespoon onion flakes (I use the dried chopped onion from Costco)
    1 teaspoon Lawry’s seasoned (the season-anything mix above)
    Dash of garlic powder.
    Mix together and place in a ziplock sandwich bag, place 4-5 mixes in a pint jar to have on hand. When needed, mix 1 packet with 1 Cup sour cream (the small one) and 1Cup regular mayo (not Miracle Whip)
    Such an easy fix when you need something quick.

  4. We purchase spices (and other food/supplies) in bulk at a local store originally operated by Mennonites. Fraction of the cost at any grocery store and if they don’t have it in a package that meets our needs, they’ll package what we need.

  5. I started doing this years ago. I looked at the envelope of taco seasoning at the grocery and thought, “Hmm, I don’t know what those multisyllable chemicals are, but I have those spices at home.” If I somehow acquire a store-bought blend and like it, I just look at the ingredients and recreate it (rarely measuring!). They are listed in order from most to least, so that gives an idea of how much of each to use. Spices are a HUGE part of my pantry!

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