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Is Old Bay Seasoning Vegan? 3 Common Vegan Ingredients

Did you know that old-bay seasoning has a GreenScore rating of 79/100 with a minimal carbon footprint?

Since its inception in the 1940s, Old-Bay seasoning has been a staple in many households. Though the condiment may have been used in meat dishes in the past, it also pairs well with vegetables. 

But is Old Bay seasoning vegan?

Yes! Old Bay seasoning is most certainly vegan with no animal-based ingredients. It is an intricate mix of savory, (pretty) salty, and (little) spicy flavors that renders a delicious flavor to almost anything. 

Apart from the original flavor, Old Bay also has a few other seasonings, all spicy twists on the original version. As with most seasonings, they are all vegan, which can’t be said for their spin-offs. 

Is Old Bay Seasoning Vegan-Friendly?

In Short: Yes! Old-Bay seasoning is vegan-friendly. Made from a handful of spices and herbs, including celery salt, the seasoning is versatile and can be used in various dishes, from appetizers to drink mixes. 

In saying that, Did you know that Old Bay was created back in 1939 by a German immigrant Gustav Brunn? 

Gustav Brunn was a spice merchant who created Old Bay seasoning for seafood, particularly crab boils.

But it was so versatile that people later used it on meat, especially poultry products, and drink mixes like Bloody Mary.

So it didn’t take long before the Maryland favorite became a household name. 

McCormick & Co bought the rights to the seasoning in 1990. Since then, Old Bay seasoning has been a staple in their inventory and has remained unchanged. 

Old Bay Seasoning has a couple more condiments, including sauces, in their Old Bay lineup. Even though they have varying ingredients, they are vegan-friendly. 

Is Old Bay Seasoning Keto-Friendly?

Yes! Old Bay seasoning is Keto-friendly with 0g carbs per serving. However, that’s just the original seasoning that’s zero carbs.

The nutritional information of Old Bay is:

0g Total Fat, 0mg cholesterol, 140mg sodium, 0g carbohydrates, 0g fiber, 0g protein

The other versions, except the cocktail sauce, have zero carbs and zero sugar.

On the other hand, the cocktail sauce has both sugar(16g) and carbohydrates (20g). 

What are the Ingredients in Old Bay Seasoning?

The ingredients that makeup Old Bay seasoning have been a well-kept secret since the days of Gustav Brunn. Rumor has it that Old Bay seasoning has 18 ingredients; however, McCormick & Co reveals only four of them.

As per their website, the ingredients are:

Old Bay Seasoning Ingredients

While the ingredients aren’t transparent, the manufacturer has assured (in the allergen statement) that (10) sensitive ingredients will be declared and not hidden under spices or natural flavoring. 

Why is it Called Old Bay Seasoning?

Created in 1938, Old Bay seasoning was first branded as “Delicious Brand Shrimp and Crab Seasoning.” However, once it started gaining traction, an advertising friend of the founder, Gustav Brunn, suggested changing the name. Hence it was changed to Old Bay in honor of the steamship line that sailed between Baltimore and Norfolk. 

What Can I Substitute for Old Bay Seasoning?

With its ingredients being such a closely guarded secret, it’s pretty challenging to replicate the exact taste of Old Bay seasoning. 

Anyhow in a pinch, you can reach for cajun seasoning. However, even though it is identical in taste to Old Bay seasoning, it is definitely spicier. Hence, it may not be ideal for those with less heat tolerance. This is because Old Bay has only paprika, while cajun has paprika and cayenne pepper. So you may have to adjust your seasonings accordingly. 

Alternatively, you can make Old Bay Seasoning from scratch with celery salt and paprika. For every 1 tsp of Old Bay seasoning, substitute ¼ tsp celery salt and ¼ tsp paprika. To add more heat, include a pinch of pepper or red pepper flakes. 

Is Old-Bay Seasoning Good for You?

Old Bay seasoning is an ideal condiment to add to your vegetables for that tangy and salty flavor with a little kick of heat. But did you know that spices also have their health benefits

  • Celery seed (used to make celery salt) is a good source of magnesium, calcium, iron, and antioxidants. 
  • Black pepper is rich in vitamins A and C. Piperine present in black pepper can help prevent cancer and improve digestion.
  • Paprika is a rich source of vitamins A and E and iron. 
  • Red Pepper, otherwise called cayenne, contains Capsaicin which helps reduce blood pressure and improve metabolism. 

However, the levels of sodium are worrying. It has 140 mg of sodium which is 7% of the daily value intake for an average person. But, if you are on a low-sodium diet, you may want to skip Old Bay for more low-sodium alternatives. 

old bay seasoning

Frequently Asked Question

Is Old Bay seasoning dairy and gluten-free?

Yes! Old Bay seasoning doesn’t contain wheat or dairy products whatsoever. Hence, they are safe for celiac and lactose-intolerant. 

Does Old Bay have MSG?

No! Thankfully Old Bay doesn’t have MSG, the flavor enhancer. Per the Allergen Statement by the manufacturer McCormick and Co, any presence of MSG would be declared and not hidden under spices and natural flavors.  So, it’s an ideal choice for those who are sensitive to MSG and trying to get rid of them in their diet. 

Is Old Bay seasoning safe during pregnancy?

Old Bay is pretty safe to consume during pregnancy. However, the manufacturer hasn’t revealed the entire ingredient list. So, it pays to do more research to be safer. 


Old bay seasoning is vegan with plant-based ingredients. Not only is it commonly used in meat dishes but also works well with vegetables. From corn on the cob to roasted vegetables, it is versatile enough to use in any vegetable recipe that needs it. 

However, the list of ingredients is pretty much a secret, with the manufacturer listing just 4 of the rumored 18. So, if you are skeptical, recreate this seasoning in your kitchen with two ingredients: celery salt and paprika.

Nevertheless, this spice blend is an ideal addition to your spice cabinet. Next time you make a vegetable boil or roasted veggies, try adding old bay seasoning for a savory touch. 

While you are at it, you may want to check out our article on another flavorful spice blend, Tajin

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