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This homemade chicken rub recipe adds the best flavor to air fried, baked, grilled, and smoked chicken recipes. It takes a few minutes and common ingredients to make. Use this dry rub reasoning to make up to 8 pounds of flavorful chicken like my dry rub wings, dry rub chicken legs, dry rub chicken breasts, and air fryer chicken thighs. Store it in an airtight container or spice jar for up to 6 months.
Why Make This
- Control salt, flavor & ingredients: one of the reasons I love to make homemade spice blends for everything from Cajun seasoning to blackening seasoning and even ranch seasoning is because you get to control all the ingredients. This recipe is MSG free and has a great blend of spices to season chicken
- Versatile: use it on all types of protein beside chicken. Plus, it tastes great whether you are air frying, baking or grilling your chicken.
- Easy Recipe: this homemade rub takes less than five minutes to make and works with your favorite cut of chicken.
You probably have most of these dry rub ingredients in your pantry. If not, they are easy to get from the spice aisle at your local market.
- Smoked Paprika: this adds a smoky flavor. I don’t substitute regular paprika for smoked.
- Cayenne Pepper: this adds the spicy kick. If you want to make this dry rub spicier, feel free to add more. You can also add less for a less spicy dry rub recipe.
- Natural Ancient Sea Salt: I’m using fine, kosher sea salt.
- Chili Powder
- Black Pepper
- Garlic Powder
- Onion Powder
- Italian Seasoning
- Dried Thyme
You can get the full list of ingredient amounts and instructions from the full recipe card at the end of the post.
How to Make Chicken Spice Rub
- Add the spices to a small bowl or an airtight container like a mason jar or spice jar
- Mix the spices to incorporate them
Top Cooking Tips & FAQs
- My general rule of thumb is to use 1-2 tbsp per pound of chicken part. For a whole chicken, I use 1 tbsp per pound.
- For best results and maximum flavor, let the chicken dry rub sit on the chicken, but no worries if you’re short on time. I’ve used this with and without letting the dry rub sit on the meat
- Use olive oil or another oil to help it stick to the meat.
- Store in an airtight container for up to 6 months in a dry place
- Use fresh spices: Make sure that your spices haven’t expired. It makes a difference in the overall taste
- Sauce optional: this homemade dry rub works well if you choose to top your meat with barbecue sauce or buffalo sauce. But, you can eat this without any sauce on the cooked chicken.
For maximum flavor, I let my dry rubs sit on the chicken overnight (or at least 4 hours).
However, you can absolutely use this dry rub and cook immediately.
Think of a dry rub as a dry marinade (dry brine). Similar to wet marinades, it changes the flavor of the meat and can turn bland chicken into some of the best chicken. The salt in the dry rub also helps the chicken retain moisture while it’s cooking.
It’s always a good idea to apply dry rub to your raw chicken before cooking as it helps with flavor and moisture retention. For added flavor, you can add a few sprinkles of dry rub to the finished meat in the same way you might add a finishing salt.
Recipes using Dry Rub Seasoning
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Best Chicken Rub Recipe
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- Add all of the spices to a spice jar
- Mix to incorporate
- Store in a cool, dry place for up to 6 months
The nutrition facts come from entering the recipe ingredients into Spoonacular API, a database of food ingredients. They may vary for any recipe based on the exact product used. The keto sweeteners I use have 0g net carbs & are not included because sugar alcohols do not impact most people. This is provided as a courtesy, but you can do your own calculations if you wish!