History

Bell’s Seasoning | A New England Thanksgiving Classic

A New England spice blend classic dating back to 1867, Bell’s Seasoning has been making Thanksgiving taste good for nearly 150 years.

By Aimee Tucker

Nov 15 2021

bells seasoning thanksgiving

Bell’s Seasoning

Photo Credit : Aimee Seavey
The New England Thanksgiving shopping list may vary from one year to the next (“Is this the year we try to convince Nana she’ll like homemade cranberry sauce?” some of you may be wondering), but there’s one thing we can most definitely be sure of — for turkey and stuffing fans, that list will include a box of Bell’s Seasoning.
Bell's Seasoning | A New England Thanksgiving Classic
Bell’s Seasoning

Bell’s Seasoning History

One of the oldest spice mixes in the country, Bell’s dates back to 1867, when William F. Bell of Newton, Massachusetts created the blend from an old family recipe. Since then, nothing has changed…and come to think of it, neither has the box. Immediately recognizable with its colorful, (now) vintage looking label, lettering, and hand-drawn turkey, Bell’s is the throwback that never left.
Vintage Bell's Seasoning
A Bell’s Seasoning newspaper ad from 1902.
Bell's Seasoning Box
Bell’s Seasoning, with its spout to nowhere. Lift up the flap, and you’re met with the wall of the box. Press that down, though, and you’re all set.

Just What is Poultry Seasoning Anyway?

So what’s in Bell’s Seasoning? Each box contains a savory, salt-free, and all-natural blend of rosemary, oregano, sage, ginger, marjoram, thyme, and pepper with no added preservatives, additives, or artificial ingredients. Combined, the aroma is pure Thanksgiving. No really, I mean that. When I asked my co-workers to weigh in on what a whiff of Bell’s smells like to them, the answers were things like chicken, turkey, stuffing, the holidays, and “something exotic.” And since it was created a mere 4 years after President Abraham Lincoln declared Thanksgiving a federal holiday in 1863, maybe it’s fair to say that Bell’s had a subsequent hand in establishing the official savory, spicy profile of the holiday season?
Bell's Seasoning | A New England Thanksgiving Classic
Bell’s Seasoning
I guess I can’t say that for sure, but Bell’s has certainly won a spot in the hearts and stomachs of New Englanders, both local and transplanted elsewhere. To elaborate, a few years ago we ran a recipe for cornbread stuffing, and a reader named Susan had this to say about it: “Cornbread stuffing? Look out, Yankee Magazine–you’re turning into Southern Living. Cornmeal is for johnnycakes, not stuffing! My Rhode Island and Massachusetts grandmothers always used a firm white bread such as Pepperidge Farm (or homemade), lots of onions, salt and pepper, and plenty of Bell’s Seasoning, made in East Weymouth, Massachusetts. Now, that’s a Yankee recipe!” Susan, we agree that stuffing sounds mighty good. Are you a fan of Bell’s Seasoning? Note: Can’t find Bell’s where you live? You can order a box right from Bell’s online. Love the taste of Bell’s Seasoning in your stuffing but crunched for time on Turkey Day? They also offer up a line of ready-to-make stuffing mixes (there’s even a Gluten-Free Stuffing!), plus turkey brine, turkey gravy, and more. Gobble gobble! This post was first published in 2015 and has been updated. 

SEE MORE: Scenes from a New England Thanksgiving | Table Style TipsTurkey FAQ | A Thanksgiving Cheat SheetSam Hayward’s Roast Brined TurkeyIs There a Difference Between Dressing and Stuffing?