DIY: How to Make Everything But the Bagel Seasoning

Do you need a quick, fun weekend project?
Do you need a quick, fun weekend project? Lauren Cusimano
Admit it, how much money have you spent in the past two years on Everything But the Bagel Sesame Seasoning from Trader Joe’s? Even if you’ve switched to more local brands, like the Sprouts Farmers Market or Chompie’s brand, it can still add it. That’s because it goes on everything — mac and cheese, grilled chicken, salad, pizza, whatever. But give that little bottle a turn and you’ll see the ingredients are fairly straightforward.

That means, the whole operation is pretty DIYable.

click to enlarge Behold, the spices section at Sprouts. - LAUREN CUSIMANO
Behold, the spices section at Sprouts.
Lauren Cusimano
And we know, we’re far from the first to advise making your own Everything But the Bagel Sesame Seasoning, but let’s just plug on.

The recipe for this beloved seasoning is a simple, six-parter: regular sesame seeds, black sesame seeds, minced dried garlic, minced dried onion , flaked sea salt, and poppy seeds (watch you don’t have an upcoming drug test to pass in order to meet the bushmen of the Kalahari). And don’t think you can just bust out the kosher salt. A box of Maldon Sea Salt Flakes is recommended up and down the internet.

While busy recipe webpages differ slightly on the ratio, we found this one to be the most common.

1 1/2 tablespoon white sesame seeds
1 1/2 tablespoon black sesame seeds
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon dried minced garlic (or flakes)
1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon dried minced onion (or flakes)
2 teaspoon flaked sea salt

click to enlarge The final result. - LAUREN CUSIMANO
The final result.
Lauren Cusimano
The best part about making something yourself, aside from the cost reduction, is the ability to modify. Need to reduce salt in your diet? Add just one teaspoon of salt. Want your version to look way more goth? Double up on the black sesame seeds. And so on.

The second-best part is going to the grocery store. And what makes this trip more fun than usual is the fact you get to visit the bulk bin section of your favorite food store. We chose Sprouts, and the spices rack certainly delivered.

click to enlarge Can you tell the difference? - LAUREN CUSIMANO
Can you tell the difference?
Lauren Cusimano
When you get your ingredients home, it’s most fun to make little piles out of the six ingredients. Study the different colors, texture, and shapes.

Then you mix, baby. In the end, you get about the same as the Trader Joe’s container — 2.3 ounces or 65 grams.

We did call in an impartial party, and he did think the DIY seasoning was from Trader Joe’s.

Last comes the third-best part, finding an appropriate container for your newly made Everything But the Bagel Sesame Seasoning. Happy shaking.
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Lauren Cusimano is Phoenix New Times' food and drink editor. She is a journalist and food waste writer based in Tempe. Joys include eating wings, riding bikes, knowing everyone at the bar, talking too much about The Simpsons, and falling asleep while reading.
Contact: Lauren Cusimano