What's Really In Italian Seasoning?

If you are a cooking enthusiast, you're probably familiar with Italian seasoning. This Mediterranean-influenced spice blend is often used when preparing Italian or Italian-ish dishes like lasagna bolognese or chicken ribollita, without the need for multiple spice jars. Easily available in basically every supermarket, the ingredient is great in other, non-Italian dishes as well, suitable any time you want to add a punch of herby flavor with minimal effort — but the key is knowing what goes into the mix so you can be certain it will work well with your recipe's other flavors.

While there is no exact recipe for Italian season, Bon Appétit explains the herbs traditionally incorporated are oregano, basil, rosemary, thyme, and marjoram. Popular brands like McCormick or Badia include these ingredients in their Italian seasonings (both of them also add sage and savory to the mixture). But if you're not a fan of one or more of these herbs or have a dish you know really won't work with a particular flavor, it's possible to custom blend your own Italian seasoning.

How to make your own Italian seasoning

Preparing your own Italian seasoning to match your taste and flavor profile for a dish is actually very easy. By mixing two or three tablespoons of the dried spices listed above (oregano, rosemary, thyme, basil, and marjoram, in case you forgot) you will have enough to last quite a while. You can add or subtract whatever herbs you like, including more of your favorite or eliminating one of the herbs all together — as we said, there is no official recipe for Italian seasoning, just a set of "usual suspects," (via  Bon Appétit).

Versions of the mix (both store-bought and homemade) also sometimes include black pepper, dried or powdered onion, and dried or powdered garlic, and those looking for something a little spicier can seek out a version with chili flakes (or Calabrian chili peppers for a very Italian touch, as recommended by Slender Kitchen). According to Spend With Pennies, if stored properly in a tightly sealed container in a dark place, this mixture can last for at least six months in excellent condition.