The Unique Ice Cream Flavor With Roots In Maryland's Seafood Tradition

Hailing from Maryland, Old Bay seasoning is one of those classic spice blends that can find its way comfortably onto potatoes, seafood, and meat. Made with paprika, red pepper, black pepper, and celery salt, the blend brings a light punchy touch to dishes, while additional spices offer an earthy flavor to homemade recipes like crab cakes and even Bloody Mary cocktails. The zesty combination is a staple in many kitchens throughout New England, but savory dishes and drinks aren't the only places this spice finds its way into. While vodka can be found flavored with the spice, ice cream lovers along the East Coast have taken it upon themselves to make up bowls of ice cream with the blend. And it works.

While Old Bay itself was made in the 1940s, pinpointing the foodie who decided to dump the seasoning into ice cream is a bit more challenging. Regardless, the complementary taste of the seasoned ice cream's sweetness matched with the spice's saltiness offers layers of flavor in each spoonful. It can be tricky to find this uncommonly flavored ice cream outside of the region, but it is easy enough to sprinkle the mixture on top of your next bowl of vanilla ice cream to sample the experience for yourself.

Buckle up for an ice cream adventure

If you want to try making your own ice cream seasoned with Old Bay, you can start conservatively with the spice blend and add a mere teaspoon to the batch. Should the flavor combination agree with your palate, increase the amount added to subsequent homemade ice cream recipes. For an added touch of sweetness, consider swirling caramel into the mix while the ice cream churns in the machine. Can't be bothered making ice cream from scratch? Sprinkle Old Bay on top of a dished-out scoop or fold the seasoning into store-bought ice cream so that each bite is well seasoned. Caramel and chocolate sauce can be a fitting crown to your uniquely flavored creation, and, of course, a dollop of homemade honey whipped cream can help send this treat to the finish line. 

The next time you find yourself traveling along the East Coast, keep an eye out for stores selling Old Bay ice cream like Half Pint Creamery, which has locations in central Pennsylvania, The Daily Scoop in Pasadena, Maryland, and Smith Island Baking Company in Crisfield, Maryland, which ships nationwide. If you're a fan of salted chocolates or chocolate bars made with chili flakes, you may find yourself reaching for this unexpected combination on the regular, and we can't blame you. Sometimes the most delicious recipes come in surprising packages, and Old Bay seasoned ice cream is exactly that.