Is It Possible To Substitute Creole Seasoning For Cajun Seasoning?

With about 40 types of globally relevant herbs and spices, and a ton more local ones, it's virtually impossible to own every type of seasoning blend (via McCormick Science Institute). While Berbere, Cajun seasoning, and chili powder are the most popular spice mixes in the world, according to Matador Network, the wide variety of worldwide cuisines call for all kinds of different blends. 

According to Bon Appétit, ground spices begin to lose their flavor after three months, while whole spices take about eight months. Buying new mixes for just one recipe can lead to a lot of wasted spices in your pantry, and the cost of seasonings can add up quickly. It's very likely that at some point in your culinary journey, you'll have to substitute the seasoning a recipe asks for with something you already have in your kitchen. Some are more easily replaceable than others –- for example, nutmeg can replace cinnamon in a pinch, while basil, oregano, rosemary, and ground red pepper are needed to substitute for Italian seasoning (via A Sweet Pea Chef).

When it comes to Cajun seasoning, it would be logical to assume Creole is a suitable replacement since the cuisines have some overlap. But since there is a subtle difference between the two seasonings, can you really use them interchangeably?

Cajun seasoning is Creole's spicier sister

Cajun and Creole seasonings both came from a plethora of different cultures. Cajun seasoning was influenced by French, Native American, West African, and Caribbean cultures, according to MasterClass, after French immigrants in Louisiana merged their cuisine with other cooking styles. A multitude of ingredients are used to give Cajun seasoning its spicy kick, including paprika, garlic powder, cayenne, black pepper, thyme, oregano, and onion powder (via The Recipe Critic).

Creole seasoning, on the other hand, has more of an herby touch. Daring Gourmet shares that the blend includes oregano, basil, thyme, and rosemary, in addition to spices like paprika, cayenne, and black pepper. While Cajun seasoning was heavily influenced by French cooking in New Orleans, Epicurious explains that Creole seasoning draws inspiration from the entire southern United States.

So can you replace Cajun seasoning with Creole seasoning? The short answer is yes, MasterClass explains, as they feature many of the same ingredients. However, with Cajun seasoning being spicier and Creole more earthy, there will be a slight difference in flavor. While Bites of Wellness shares that you can substitute the two, you can also add red pepper flakes to Creole seasoning to make it taste more like Cajun.