Mix vinegar and Old Bay seasoning and use it as a dipping liquid for french fries. Also good for crabs and chicken, though it is definitely best on french fries.

The liquid is somewhat spicy, and if you drink it straight it tastes a little metallic and very spicy/acidic. I very strongly suggest that you don't drink it straight. This recipe seems to be a Maryland thing, since Old Bay is primarily known in Maryland. Specifically, it seems to be a popular choice in the many places that serve boardwalk fries in Ocean City, MD.

In 1939, Gustav Brunn left Germany and arrived in the Chesapeake Bay area. Fifty-one years later, the blend of spices that became the signature of the area was purchased by McCormick & Co.

Traditionally added to seafood, especially crabs and shrimp, Old Bay Seasoning is now used to flavor chicken, corn on the cob, hamburgers, potato salad, french fries (thanks czeano)... anything that you want to taste like the Chesapeake. The taste evokes imagery of small seaside restaurants, beaches, and ocean air.

Old Bay comes in a yellow tin with one vertical and one horizontal blue bar and a red lid. You can buy it in two sizes, six ounces, and one pound. If you can't find it in your area (it's pretty much confined to the Mid-Atlantic states), or don't want to order it from McCormick, you can make your own:

  • 1 tablespoon celery salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • pinch ground dry mustard
  • pinch mace
  • pinch cinnamon
  • pinch cardamom
  • pinch allspice
  • pinch ground clove
  • pinch ginger
Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Store in a sealed container. Makes 4 teaspoons.

Ingredient List and Nutrition Information
Celery Salt (Salt, Celery Seed), Spices (including Mustard, Red Pepper, Black Pepper, Bay (Laurel) Leaves, Cloves, Allspice (Pimento), Ginger, Mace, Cardamom, Cinnamon), and Paprika

Amount Per Serving

  • Calories: 0.0
  • Fat: 0.0 g
  • Protein: 0.0 g
  • Carbohydrates: 0.0 mg
  • Sodium: 160.0 mg

This is the recipe that I always use when cooking steamed shrimp, found on a tin of Old Bay seasoning.

1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons Old Bay seasoning 
1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined, leaving tails on
1 tablespoon butter*


In a medium saucepan, mix the vinegar, water, butter* and Old Bay. Bring to boil on medium heat. Gently stir in shrimp, then cover.

Steam 2 to 3 minutes or just until shrimp turn pink. Drain well.
*I always add butter, even though it isn't included in the original recipe.

Source: Old Bay®

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