Ode To Lawry’s Seasoned Salt

If I could only take one seasoning with me into the apocalypse. . . the end of the world. . . a camping trip, or, well, just my kitchen, it would be a shaker of Lawry’s Seasoned Salt.

My version of the Book of Eli would end with Denzel taking a bottle of Lawry’s to Alcatraz and reciting the secret blend of spices.

With our household of two, we’ve never bought bulk of much. We were Costco members for a couple years. The quality of the products are great, but when our membership expired we didn’t rush to renew it. Usually I just buy a new thing when we run out of the old one. Now, I have a back-up for things like dish soap and toothpaste.

Around here, the stores seem to be stocked ok, especially the smaller neighborhood stores. I’m happy to see them limit items like toilet paper and bags of rice. Don’t be the asshole that hoards things when people need them now.

I did buy a backup shaker of Lawry’s Seasoned Salt.

Lawry’s Seasoned Salt originated at Lawry’s The Prime Rib restaurant in Beverly Hills in 1938. The family served it along the table salt and pepper and servers added it to salads prepared table-side (you can read more in their newsletter). The ingredient list on the back of the bottle is rather vague: Salt, sugar, spices (including paprika and turmeric), onion, corn starch, garlic, natural flavor, and extractives of paprika. It proudly claims that it contains NO MSG which is not a plus in my book, but I’ll forgive that.

You can use Lawry’s to season anything. Meat, seafood, tofu, veggies, croutons, etc. The flavor of Lawry’s isn’t too anything and nothing is particularly identifiable. It does make things taste, at best, great and at worst, better.

My favorite testimony to Lawry’s occurred in culinary school. Our instructors assigned each of us to do a class presentation where we created a dish to share. By far, the most popular dish was a dip. My classmate confided in me that it was mostly cream cheese and Lawry’s.

Some people talk shit about Lawry’s. Some of us keep it on hand and know that they, too, would want more of our trick Lawry’s dip.

Here are some of the other seasonings I keep on hand: 

Hot Curry Powder: This is just a bottle I happen to have bought at Penzey’s. I like to sprinkle it on veggies I roast. Last week I made omelettes filled with cheese and leftover veggies in my fridge such as roasted potatoes and cabbage that I sprinkled with curry powder.

Soup base: We know you can make your own vegetable and meat broths. Some of us are probably not going to do that. You can purchase bulky boxes or cans of broth or just get a soup base. One of my culinary teachers told us that’s what a lot of the commercial broths are made from, anyway. He encouraged us to keep a high quality base in our fridge to boost soups and sauces.

Berbere: A hot Ethiopian spice blend. There’s nothing else that tastes like Berbere. Of course you can purchase berbere at the local Ethiopian grocery stores in the Twin Cities. It’s one of my favorite flavors. Immaculate Bites’s Ethiopian Lentil Stew made with berbere is one of my go-to recipes.

Old Bay: Excellent on seafood. Great on anything else. I love the forward celery salt note and heat.

Dried onion and garlic: Nice to have in a pinch. Granulated garlic also burns less easily than fresh. Onions and garlic last a while and seem easy to find here, still, but these are convenient to have in your pantry.


  1. Val - Corn, Beans, Pigs & Kids

    We’re big fans of Lawry’s at our house too and always have a bottle on hand. Interesting story about the origin. I never knew! And now I’m going to have to search for the cream cheese and Lawry’s dip recipe!

  2. katie

    As a kid my dad would order onion rings when we were out to dinner, and he would ask them to mix lawrys and sour cream for him to dip. As a high schooler I would do the same to dip with pizza. My true love is onion mix and sour cream, but lawrys is definitely my side piece.

  3. Sarah

    I’m going to have to look for Berbere! Out of curiosity, what is it not a positive thing for you that Lawry’s is free of MSG?

    • JB

      Because MSG is awesome. Chemically identical to the glutamate found in nature. Reports to the contrary are pseudo science and somewhat racist in origin.

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