This iconic poultry seasoning has stood the test of "thyme"––and has plenty of it.
Bell's Seasoning
Credit: Courtesy of Bell's Foods

In the world of spice mix blends, Bell's Seasoning is an icon. Its yellow cardboard box is immediately recognizable, and though it's been around for more than 150 years, the recipe remains the same. If you have never heard of or used Bell's Seasoning—or you only break it out at Thanksgiving—allow us to give you a crash course in its many culinary applications. Here, we're sharing everything you need to know about this versatile poultry seasoning, including its spice composition and how to properly store it.

What is in Bell's Seasoning?

Bell's Seasoning has just seven ingredients: rosemary, oregano, sage, ginger, marjoram, thyme, and pepper. It's gluten-free, salt-free, vegan, and has no additives or preservatives. And according to Darryl Harmon, the executive chef of Clinton Hall and Slate in New York City, Bell's Seasoning gives food a robust taste. "When activated with extra virgin olive oil, lemon, and sea salt, it takes the flavor to the next level," he explains.

How can you use Bell's Seasoning?

The obvious answer here is, of course, turkey—after all, there's a red-and-blue illustration of the fowl right on the product's packaging. Since 1867, Bell's Seasoning has been a part of Thanksgiving celebrations, particularly in New England; the spice blend was invented by William G. Bell in Boston. Harmon uses Bell's Seasoning in his Thanksgiving turkey marinade to give it a traditional flavor. "When marinating the turkey, I mix Bell's Seasoning with extra virgin olive oil and lemon," he says. "Next, I rub the mixture under and on the skin two days before cooking. Each day, I also inject the turkey with the marinade, as well."

Bell's Seasoning can, however, be used for more than just turkey—though the Thanksgiving applications don't stop there. Harmon uses the spices in his sweet sausage and Cheddar cornbread stuffing, which he serves on the holiday. Beyond November, Bell's Seasoning can also be used to make chicken salad, Bloody Marys, pumpkin soup, and even flavored butter.

Does Bell's Seasoning expire?

On each package of Bell's Seasoning, you'll find a "best by" date on one of the end flaps; heed that date, and toss yours out if it is old. Dried spices lose their flavor over time, which is why Harmon tries to use up his box of the spice mix within a year. For the best results—and to ensure the spices stay fresh over the course of the product's full shelf-life—store Bell's Seasoning in a cool, dry place.


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