Top 10 DIY Spice Blend Recipes For Dinners That Delight

Spices in wooden bowls

( Herbs and spices are the key to any tasty kitchen, particularly for the time crunched. But mixing spices can seem intimidating for those new to cooking and it can be hard to break out of a rut. I know I spent several weeks eating nothing but salt, pepper and cayenne when I lived on my own! While it was delicious, it did get old quick.  I’ve rounded up some of my favourite spice mixes for you to throw together with common ingredients at home to keep on hand. Here are 10 easy homemade spice blend recipes to stock your kitchen with to keep dinners fast, easy and delicious!

Homemade vs Store-bought

There are a number of healthy pre-mixed brands out there (such as Epicure, Mrs. Dash) but some spice mixes contain added sugars, oils and even dyes/colourings. I also like to be able to control the salt content so I like to have a few homemade versions that fit our taste.

If you’re buying pre-made ones, don’t feel guilty! I always keep a couple on hand and there is nothing wrong with that. Just check the ingredient lists and make sure there are no dyes, hydrogenated oils, msg or other things that don’t belong in a spice mix.

How to kick off your spice stock

  • Pick 3 or 4 recipes that really appeal to you. Make an ingredient list, and cross off anything you already have stocked in your cupboard. They are pretty quick to make while you have everything out, so set aside half an hour or so on a free afternoon (or after the kids are in bed) and get to work.
  • I like to use mise en place for all my cooking and baking. Take out all the ingredients you’ll need, and once you are done with a bottle put it away. I don’t know about you but by the time I finish the recipe I’m questioning whether I added everything if I haven’t put them away as I’ve used them! Save yourself the doubt or the doubling up that inevitably happens.
  • Taste! Don’t forget to taste each mix before putting it away to make sure it suits you. You’ll get better at identifying what’s missing or if it needs a bit more salt the more you taste while cooking, so don’t skip this step.
  • Label the jars clearly, and if you’re really organized tape the recipe on to the jar or write the name so you can Google it next time if you really liked it.

How to use

  • Spice rubs are really versatile – I don’t really follow any rules of what spices go with fish, chicken, or meat. If it sounds like a tasty combo to you just go for it!
  • You can also mix them with olive oil and a bit of acid (like lemon juice or apple cider vinegar) in a Ziploc to marinade meat or chicken before you put it in the freezer. Ta-Da! Pre-marinated just like at the store, pull it out the night before and you’re good to go! 
  • For chicken I often use olive oil and the spice rub, and toss it all up in a bowl before throwing on the grill. This works great for leaner meats that are prone to sticking or drying out.
  • Spices mixes can be thrown straight on meat (as a dry rub). Just rub it in, let it sit for a few minutes while you heat the oven or grill and you’re good to go!

Michelle’s Top Picks

Emeril's Essence  - our house favourite! We use it on steaks, fish and seafood and once in a while to season roasted veggies or yam fries. Make a double batch. 

Lemon Pepper

Taco Seasoning

Ras El Hanout -a beautifully rounded blend. Moroccan flavours are a nice meet in the middle in divided households, not too spicy but with some heat and enough depth to satisfy everyone. 

Southwest Rub

Herbes de Provence - a classic French spice that I love in everything from scrambled eggs to pork and chicken. 

Blackening Spice - great for fish that's mild and a bit bland on its own!

Greek Seasoning

Basic DIY chili powder

Montreal Steak Spice - a classic! Definitely on the saltier side but sure makes a grilled steak taste Ah-mazing. 

Do you have a favourite spice blend? Share what it is and how you use it below!

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