Steak Seasoning

For steak that’s out of this world, a good dose of steak seasoning is a game-changer. Here’s a balanced, flavor-forward steak seasoning recipe to whip up and use on steaks, veggies, salmon, and more!

Jar of Steak Seasoning on the Counter, and in the Background, a Raw Seasoned Steak and a Spoon With More Seasoning on a Cutting Board

Simply Recipes / Jen Causey

A judicious dose of basic steak seasoning transforms a promising choice cut from a disappointment to a slam-dunk. It’s the dynamic, primal interplay of juicy seared red meat and assertive coarse salt that makes eating a perfectly cooked steak so satisfying. When you have a jar of steak seasoning on hand, you’re never far away from a steakhouse-level dinner at home.

Here’s our basic mix for steak seasoning that walks the line between Montreal-style and Chicago-style. Whip it up at home you’ll find yourself reaching for it often. It’s both bold and understated–working with the meat and never upstaging it. It’s fun to sprinkle on more than just steak, too!

Jar of Steak Seasoning Next to a Spoonful on the Counter

Simply Recipes / Jen Causey

What Is Steak Seasoning?

In a nutshell, it’s mostly salt with some spices and herbs mixed in. Steak seasoning is different from steak dry rub in that steak seasoning is primarily salt accented with spices and herbs, while dry rub has a higher ratio of seasonings to salt. 

Dry rub is usually applied more liberally, while steak seasoning is used with more discretion. Both are terrific ways to flavor a steak, but steak seasoning is the one that’ll deliver more of the true essence of the meat.

Montreal Vs. Chicago Seasoning

It turns out that in the world of steak seasoning mixes, few things are absolute except enduring appeal. The roots of this style of steak seasoning are an indirect path.

Montreal seasoning is indeed from Montreal, Canada, home of Montreal smoked meat. This cured and smoked beef brisket, similar to pastrami, is a beloved deli staple there. A story goes that a cook in Montreal’s Schwartz’s deli seasoned his own steak with the smoked meat seasoning on a whim, eventually arousing the curiosity of customers. Today, Montreal seasoning appears in plenty of variations. 

The popular McCormick’s Montreal Steak Seasoning sold in bottles in the US is a little heavier on the salt and lighter on the seasonings than many Canadian recipes for home cooks, but that’s where the inclusion of pepper, coriander, garlic and onion powders, and herbs came from.

And then there’s Chicago steak seasoning, another popular blend found in spice aisles across America. This one is murkier as far as specific origins. Chicago is famous for steakhouses, but the ingredients in Chicago steak seasoning vary quite a bit. Visually, it tends to include more red spice (from mild red peppers) than Montreal seasoning.

Bowl of Steak Seasoning Next to Cutting Board With a Seasoned Raw Steak and a Spoonful of Steak Seasoning

Simply Recipes / Jen Causey

Creating a Winning Steak Seasoning

In building a steak seasoning to hit all the marks, Simply Recipes test kitchen developer Nicole Hopper played around with combinations and settled on a mix with just the right levels of heat, spice, and salt: “Overall, the seasoning is well-balanced. It hits those savory, umami notes with little lingering heat on the sides of the tongue. It has a nice earthiness and slight brightness from the coriander and herbaceousness from the thyme, while the mustard powder adds to the depth of flavor–it’s hard to pick up on it as a distinct flavor specifically, but it helps round it out and add a little zing.”

How to Use Steak Seasoning

  • Pull the meat from the fridge about 30 minutes before cooking it. This helps take the chill off, allowing the meat to cook more evenly so a steak isn’t tough on the outside yet cold and rare inside. Apply the seasoning when you take the steaks out to rest so it can settle into the meat.
  • Get the ratio right. Nicole recommends 1 tablespoon seasoning per 1 pound of steak. Sprinkle the meat with the seasoning all over, not just on the broad top and bottom sides. Get the edges, too.
  • For the best stovetop steaks, baste with butter near the end of cooking in the skillet. "Butter basting helps pick up any of the seasoning that might have fallen off the steak or stuck to the pan so that you don't lose any of that flavor," Nicole says. 
Jar of Steak Seasoning on the Counter, and in the Background, a Raw Seasoned Steak and a Spoon With More Seasoning on a Cutting Board

Simply Recipes / Jen Causey

Seasoning Beyond Steak

This seasoning has uses that go beyond steak. Try it on any of the following:

  • French fries
  • Steamed or roasted vegetables
  • Salmon
  • Chicken
  • Pork chops or pork loin

Classic Steakhouse Sides 

Steak Seasoning

Prep Time 5 mins
Total Time 5 mins
Servings 10 servings (serving size: about 1 1/2 teaspoons)
Yield 1/3 cup

Kosher salt is what gives this steak seasoning its teeth. The brand makes a big difference: Morton’s has compact, denser crystals, while Diamond Crystal has lighter, more delicate crystals. If you don’t have a scale, go by the specific volume measurements for the brand you’re using. Avoid using table salt or fine sea salt in this recipe.

Don’t use fine garlic and onion powders (the very powdery white kind). Choose the ones labeled granulated garlic or granulated onion. These have a coarser, sandy texture that lets their flavor come through more in the seasoning.


  • 32g coarse kosher salt (2 tablespoons of Morton's or 3 1/2 tablespoons of Diamond Crystal, see recipe note)

  • 1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes

  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme

  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander

  • 1 teaspoon granulated garlic powder (see recipe note)

  • 1 teaspoon granulated onion powder (see recipe note)

  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard powder


  1. Combine the ingredients:

    Whisk all of the ingredients together in a small bowl until evenly combined.

    Bowl of Spices Whisked Together

    Simply Recipes / Jen Causey

    Bowl of Steak Seasoning

    Simply Recipes / Jen Causey

  2. Store: 

    Transfer the seasoning to an airtight jar or container. Store in a cool, dry place. For the best flavor use within 6 months.

    Steak Seasoning in a Jar Next to the Jar Lid on the Counter

    Simply Recipes / Jen Causey

  3. To use the steak seasoning:

    Sprinkle generously over steaks on all sides, using 1 tablespoon seasoning per 1 pound of steak. Ideally, let the seasoned steaks rest at room temperature for 30 minutes before cooking. 

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    Bowl of Steak Seasoning With a Spoon Next to Cutting Board With a Seasoned Raw Steak

    Simply Recipes / Jen Causey

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
7 Calories
0g Fat
1g Carbs
0g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 10
Amount per serving
Calories 7
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 1241mg 54%
Total Carbohydrate 1g 1%
Dietary Fiber 1g 2%
Total Sugars 0g
Protein 0g
Vitamin C 1mg 3%
Calcium 12mg 1%
Iron 0mg 3%
Potassium 30mg 1%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. In cases where multiple ingredient alternatives are given, the first listed is calculated for nutrition. Garnishes and optional ingredients are not included.