Old Bay Peanuts


Over the summer, Alex came home from a weekend in Maryland with a container of Old Bay-flavored peanuts. As we devoured them, fingers covered with spices, I thought: I must recreate these.

Old Bay Seasoning is a 70-year-old Maryland specialty most often sprinkled on blue crabs and crab cakes. The mixture contains 18 herbs and spices supposedly designed to suit seafood so well that 1940s-era Marylanders would eat the free crabs that bars offered, and, due to the spice mix’s saltiness, order more drinks. The most prominent flavors  are celery salt (vegetal, salty), paprika (sweet, earthy), mustard (pungent, hot), and red pepper (spicy). I also taste a citrus-y zestiness that probably cuts through the fishiness of a crab and also does great things for the richness of peanuts, the quintessential bar snack when there are no free crabs around.

Procrastinator that I am, it took me months to actually pour some spices into a bowl, add peanuts, and bake. But unlike most procrastination, this one had an advantage: these peanuts make a welcome addition to holiday appetizer tables, and they have serious gift potential, especially for Maryland ex-pats and those whose tastes run towards the flavor combination in a Bloody Mary.


Old Bay Peanuts
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1 cup
This recipe is easily doubled.
  • 1 cup roasted unsalted peanuts
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2½ teaspoons Old Bay Seasoning
  • pinch cayenne
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  1. Preheat the oven to 250°F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine the peanuts, salt, Old Bay, cayenne, sugar, and olive oil. Toss to distribute the spices and coat all the peanuts with them. Pour the nuts onto the prepared baking sheet and spread out into one layer. Bake for 30 minutes, stirring once. Cool on the baking sheet for 15 minutes so the spices stick. Scrape into a bowl to serve, or store in a jar for future eating.


Posted in: Easy!
  • Inspiralized

    I would love to do this with almonds also! I’m going to pour out all my dry nuts and make a medley of this! Thanks for sharing.

  • http://aweekfromthursday.com/ heidi

    I was just looking at my container of Old Bay and sighing, “what am I going to do with all of that?” This will be perfect for entertaining! Thank you.

  • Jo

    The nuts look super yum but I’m even more interested in the potholder. Do you know where I can get one just like yours?

    • http://www.biggirlssmallkitchen.com/ BGSK

      They’re very rare and expensive. Just kidding! I made them myself with a weaving kit from my mom.

      • Jo

        You are a woman of many talents!!

  • http://www.foxeslovelemons.com/ Lori | Foxes Love Lemons

    I just bought that bowl last week :) I had intentions of using it as a food prop, but somehow it looked really cute in the bathroom as a jewelry holder. Might have to pick up another one.

    Love this recipe! I’m thinking it would be a great Thanksgiving app.

    • http://www.biggirlssmallkitchen.com/ BGSK

      I love the bowl! I have to say, I have seen it in a lot of food photos on Pinterest, so I guess we’re not the only two who like it :)

      • http://www.foxeslovelemons.com/ Lori | Foxes Love Lemons

        Me too – ever since I bought it, I’ve noticed it all over Pinterest. I also picked up the turqoise one. We can never have too many little, interesting bowls, right?

  • Jennifer

    My husband’s aunt gave us a small can of Old Bay peanuts for Christmas and I LOVED them, but I looked them up online and they’re somewhat expensive. I figured I could probably make them myself and came across this recipe. They are SPOT on – absolutely perfect. And way cheaper than buying them since I can buy all the ingredients at Costco. The only change I made was leaving out the salt since I used already salted peanuts. I have my 3rd batch in the oven right now.

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