Behind the Seasoning: Italian Seasoning
with Matt Osier
Social Spice Guy
Italian Herbs or Italian Herb Blend, Italian Spices or Italian Spice Mix…by whatever name you call it, it’s an American pantry staple. Italian cooking has become so popular that Italian seasonings are a must-have in every American kitchen. If you’re looking for Italian Sausage seasoning or how to make Italian seasoning, or even how to use Italian Seasoning, we’ve got you covered. While we carry dozens of different Italian spices, some, like Crushed Red Pepper and Italian Herbs, are essentials. Others, like Italian Truffle Salt, we simply love so much they’ve earned a place in the spice rack at home.
What goes into Italian Seasoning?
Herbs are the perfect way to add distinctive flavors, while not overpowering a dish. If you were cooking in Tuscany you might use a fresh assortment of herbs, but having dried Italian seasoning on hand makes Italian flavors accessible to cooks in every region and any kitchen. We mix the herbs classically used in Italian kitchens to create a “magnifico” seasoning blend, we call Italian Herbs. This is a frequently used favorite. But if you’re wondering how to make Italian Seasoning, start with these ingredients and then explore adding garlic or crushed red pepper until you find your perfect recipe for Italian Spices.
Essential Italian Spices and Seasoning Blends
If you're looking for Italian seasoning for dressing, the search is over. Sugar, red bell peppers, onion, garlic, basil, and black pepper give this salad seasoning big flavor. The traditional Italian herbs: oregano, basil, thyme, and rosemary are there too. Perhaps the best part of this dressing seasoning is that you can use it for both classic vinaigrette and a creamy dressing or dip.
Just when you thought it couldn’t get better…pesto seasoning. It’s not a substitute for fresh pesto but gives you that classic pesto flavor in a sprinkle. How do you use this Italian inspired seasoning? It’s perfect for topping pasta or to sprinkle on pizza. For a new spin on garlic bread, brush a baguette with olive oil, generously top with Pesto Sprinkle, and bake at 300 degrees for 7 to 10 minutes.
When it comes to the recipe for Italian sausage, fennel is key. One of the best (and perhaps most surprising) things about this seasoning is that it makes a great addition to vegetarian pasta or pizza sauce. With the classic flavor of Italian sausage, it adds body without using any meat or meat products—making it suitable for all!
Perhaps better known as “pizza pepper,” this is a must-have for spicing up Italian food. Interesting tidbit: the crushed red pepper we all know and love isn’t a specific type of chile pepper. Its bold flavor comes from a variety of chile peppers, coarsely ground and blended together. Keep it in reach for any dish that needs a little kick of heat.
Our Favorite Recipes with Italian Seasoning
Sauces and Pastas
Subtle Rustic Red Sauce: This simple but delicious sauce is infused with flavor from garlic, Cantanzaro Herbs and South Fork Italian Sausage Spice. Serve this over pasta or try our Chicken Gran Paradiso recipe. If you want the sauce thicker (say for pizza) just add a bit more Tomato Powder
Easy Alfredo Sauce: This family friendly favorite sauce can be made in about the same amount of time as it takes to boil the pasta water and cook your pasta. Leave it plain or dress it up with shrimp or chicken.
Italian Style Vegetarian Farro Soup: This hearty vegetarian dish is packed with savory vegetables, tomato, and healthy ancient grains. Herb bouillon gives the broth a full flavor while a sprinkle of Italian Truffle Salt adds decadence.
Roman Pepper Steak Marinade: If you are looking for a perfect Italian steak recipe, look no further. Our Roman Pepper Steak Seasoning is peppery as promised—with a kick of heat from black, white, and crushed red pepper. While your steak is on the grill, reduce the leftover marinade for a quick pan sauce. Serve with a simple salad or kick it up with a dinner inspired by Rome, Bistecca Alla Griglia Pizzaiola (Grilled Steak in Tomatoes).
Check out our recipe section for more great ideas using our flavorful Italian seasonings.
"What's the best seasoning for..."
We hear this question a lot, so if you're feeling creative, try these ideas to add a new twist to your home cooking:
Italian Seasoning for Chicken:
Italian Dressing Blend: Sure, you can make a classic vinaigrette with this seasoning, but it also packs a flavorful punch in chicken dishes. Try it sprinkled straight onto your chicken or mix it into breadcrumbs as a seasoning for chicken parmesan.
California Fennel Pollen: This is a more exotic ingredient and many people aren’t familiar. But if you like the licorice-like, sweet flavor of anise and fennel, you should try this. Sometimes called “the spice of the angels,” it has an almost luxurious flavor. Use a light hand and add to marinades or sprinkle over your finished chicken or fish dish.
Italian Seasoning for Pizza and Pasta:
Onion & Garlic Tableside Sprinkle: When most people think of Italian food, they think of garlic. But, just like salt & pepper complement each other, garlic is even better with a little onion. We mix strong white onion with sweet, roasted garlic; then top it off with minced green onion for a bit of freshness and color. Whether you’re making a tomato based sauce or simply sprinkling this over the finished dish, keep this in reach for all your Italian inspired meals.
Tomato Powder: This genius ingredient is simple but powerful. You know those recipes that only call for a tablespoon of tomato paste? Fear not, you can make as much or as little as you need. This powdered version of tomato is perfect for thickening a pasta sauce or adding a little extra flavor as needed.
Italian Seasoning for Sausage:
Barnegat Bay Butcher’s Rub: This seasoning was inspired by the flavors of that Italian favorite, prosciutto. The bold flavor of garlic and pepper is tempered by the aromatic and sweet flavors of spices we typically think of as baking spices but which have been used for generations when seasoning meats: cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove.
Minced Dehydrated Garlic: If you’re mixing up your own seasoning for sausage, garlic is a must. Pair this with some salt, paprika, and fennel seeds for Italian style sausage. Then use your sausage for meatballs, cooked and ground in sauce, or in casings.