Make Your Own Mixes for Soup, Seasoning, Dressing, & Dry Rubs

Linda explores food facts, folklore, and fabulous recipes one ingredient at a time.

Three Separate Beginnings, One Common Goal

The history of dry seasonings, soup mixes, and rubs begins with not one but three individuals of differing backgrounds. But all of them had a common goal: to create nutritious, flavorful seasonings that are pure and packaged conveniently for the home cook.


In 1838, Carl Heinrich Knorr opened a factory in Heilbronn, Germany; there he and his staff dried and prepared chicory for the coffee industry. Carl began to experiment with drying vegetables and spices and, in 1873, launched the first Knorr dried soups brand across Continental Europe. In 1912, the Knorr Company introduced the bouillon cube. Home cooks could now make broth/stock without hours of simmering. Knorr products are now sold throughout the world; their website boasts that 320 million people use their products every day.


August Schilling emigrated from Bremen, Germany to San Francisco, California in 1870. There, at the age of 16, he was employed by the J. A. Folger Company (yes, the company famous for coffee). August was soon recognized as thoughtful, intelligent, and innovative and soon became a partner in the company. In 1879 George F. Volkmann joined the company as a shipping clerk. Two years later, Folger and Schilling decided to go their separate ways. Schilling and Volkmann formed the partnership of A. Schilling & Company, manufacturers of coffee, tea, baking powder, spices, and extracts.

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Willoughby M. McCormick, the founder of McCormick & Company, was born on July 12, 1864, in Dover, Loudoun County, Virginia. His first job was as a clerk in a general store. From there he decided to go into business on his own in the manufacture of flavorings and extracts. In 1889 he launched his own company and just seven years later issued the first McCormick's Cookbook and purchased the F.G. Spice Company of Philadelphia. The Great Baltimore Fire of 1904 all but destroyed the business, but McCormick was determined; he rebuilt and started the business anew 10 months later.

Why Make Your Own?

If prepackaged dry rubs, soup mixes, and seasonings are so convenient and easy to find, why bother to make your own? That's easy:

  • Cost: You can make your own mixes for much less than the cost of a tiny packet from the grocery store.
  • Health concerns: When you make your own you can control the amount of sodium. And, if there is a particular ingredient that you don't like (or are allergic to) you can omit it easily.
  • Portion size: Most prepackaged mixes make enough for a family of 4. What if you are cooking for 1, 2, or 6?
  • Christmas gift-giving: Homemade mixes are a wonderful way of sharing your passion for good cooking with those you love. If someone on your gift-list lives in a dorm, lives alone or enjoys camping/traveling, a collection of soup or seasoning mixes would make a great stocking stuffer.

Soup Mix Recipes

  • Potato
  • Dry onion
  • Cream of chicken
  • Cream of mushroom
  • Instant vegetarian broth
  • Minestrone
  • Creamy potato, chive, and bacon
  • Chicken noodle
  • Broccoli Cheddar
  • Pea, scallion, ginger
  • Creamy tomato basil
  • Mushroom, beef, and couscous
  • Thai coconut milk with rice

Potato Soup Mix

Based on user reviews, I have adapted this recipe from Allrecipes:


  • 1 3/4 cups instant mashed potato flakes
  • 1 1/2 cups dry milk powder
  • 2 tablespoons chicken bouillon granules
  • 2 teaspoons dried minced onion
  • 1 teaspoon dried chives
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon seasoning salt

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  1. Combine potato flakes, dry milk, bouillon granules, onion, chives, pepper, thyme, garlic powder, and seasoning salt in a bowl and stir to mix. Pour into a 1-quart jar.
  2. Attach the following instructions: To serve, place 1/2 cup soup mix in a bowl. Stir in 1 cup boiling water until smooth.

Dry Onion Soup Mix

This dry onion soup mix from TheCountryCook is a perfect substitute for the 1-ounce envelopes of onion soup mix you get at the store. Yes, of course, you can use it to make soup; it's also the basis for that “almost famous” onion soup dip.

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Cream of Chicken and Cream of Mushroom

KottintheGarden didn't like all of the unpronounceable ingredients on the label of her favorite cream of fill-in-the-blank soup. So, she devised powdered mix recipes that taste just as good but are a lot better for you.

Instant Vegetarian Broth Mix

The author of the blog LifeCurrents is a vegetarian devoted to eating healthy, recycling, and home cooking. This recipe for instant vegetarian broth is low-calorie and gluten-free. Yum yum!

Eight More Soup Mix Ideas

Here's a blog that gives us eight recipes for almost instant soups. Add the mix to boiling water, simmer, and you could have one of these to eat. Can you believe it?!

  • Minestrone
  • Creamy potato, chive, and bacon
  • Chicken noodle
  • Broccoli Cheddar
  • Pea, scallion, ginger
  • Creamy tomato basil
  • Mushroom, beef, and couscous
  • Thai coconut milk with rice

Seasoning Mix Recipes

  • Taco
  • Sloppy joe
  • Au jus mix

Taco Seasoning Mix

Rachel Paxton is my hero. She blogs at CreativeHomemaking, a site that gets over 180,000 views per month. Her homemade taco seasoning tastes just as good as the stuff you buy at the store but costs only pennies.

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Homemade Sloppy Joe Seasoning

Shell is “not quite Susie Homemaker” and has developed a recipe for the dry seasonings you need to make sloppy joes.



  • 2 cups chili powder
  • 1/4 cup paprika
  • 3 tbs. dry mustard
  • 1 tbs. cumin
  • 1 tbs. onion powder
  • 2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 5 tsp. beef bouillon
  • 2 tsp. pepper


Combine all the ingredients and store in an airtight container!

To enjoy: Combine 2 tbs. of Sloppy Joe Seasoning with 1 lb of ground beef or turkey and 1/2-3/4 cup of ketchup.

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Homemade Au Jus Mix

Kitchenfullofsunshine is a cute blog with a ton of recipes and menu ideas. Jessica's recipe for homemade au jus mix (the stuff you use to make French dip) is a perfect copycat of the prepared mixes sold at the grocery store.

Salad Dressing Mixes

Macheesmo has developed three dry herb/spice blends so that you can create your own fresh and healthy Ranch, Italian, and Greek salad dressings.

Dry Rubs

Save money and express your culinary creativity by making your own dry-rub mixes for chicken and ribs.

Dry Rub for Chicken

Judy Hanneman is a professional photographer, food writer, and cookbook author. She loves to experiment in the kitchen and has created an easy-to-make, flavorful rub for roast or grilled chicken.

Dry Rub for Ribs

Carole is a “writer, storyteller, home chef, and recipe developer, budding photographer, occasional crafter who loves family and friends, parties and tablescapes, and all things blog.” And she has developed a great spice rub for ribs. Don't let the long list of ingredients scare you. They are all easy to find and worth putting together.

© 2017 Linda Lum


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