The BEST Chicken Dry Rub Recipe (Simple Ingredients)

This is the best Chicken Dry Rub for thighs, breasts, wings, or any cut you like! Made from a savory-smoky blend of pantry-staple herbs and seasonings and brown sugar, it’s easy to put together and gives every bite of chicken irresistible flavors.

The right seasonings can make or break your chicken recipes, which is why I like to start them with this easy Chicken Dry Rub.

Just like my Steak Dry Rub, this all-purpose chicken seasoning is easy to make from a well-balanced mix of brown sugar, dried herbs, and savory-smoky spices. I love using it on chicken thighs, chicken breasts, drumsticks, or whole chicken before firing them on the grill, in the oven, or really any cooking method I want. It’s the best way to take my chicken dinner from good to great!

Cooked chicken thighs on plate.

What is a dry rub?

A dry rub is a homemade spice blend made from various dried herbs, spices, seasonings, and sugar. The mixture is rubbed over meat or vegetables before cooking to give every bite more flavor and a delicious crust around the exterior.

Why you’ll love it

No one likes bland chicken, which is why it’s important to start the cooking process with a dry rub. It’s one simple step in the chicken prep time and has a big payoff in the end – deeply flavorful meat with a caramelized crust around the outside.

The best part is that you can throw this simple spice rub recipe together and keep it in your pantry or on your spice rack for months. 

Reach for it whenever you want to impart your chicken dinner with big, bold flavors. It isn’t overpowering, making it a great choice for whole roasted chicken, chicken tenders, grilled chicken thighs, or any cut you love.

Dry rub ingredients labeled on plate.

Ingredients needed

  • Brown sugar – The sweetness from the sugar not only balances the smoky and savory spices in this dry rub but also forms a caramelized crust around the chicken. Without it, your chicken won’t pack as big of a crunch.
  • Smoked paprika – I love the smoky flavor but you can use regular paprika if that’s what you already have at home.
  • Chili powder – This enhances the smoky flavor and adds a hint of heat.
  • Oregano – Use dried oregano so the spice rub has a longer shelf life.
  • Garlic powder and onion powder – Two savory seasonings that pair perfectly with poultry (and pretty much everything else!).
  • Kosher salt
  • Black pepper

Which cuts of chicken work best with this dry rub?

Any kind! Use the rub to season:

  • Legs or drumsticks
  • Breasts
  • Thighs (bone-in or boneless)
  • Whole chickens
  • Tenders

How to make a chicken dry rub

Whisk the sugar and all of the herbs and spices together in a small bowl. Use the blend right away or store it in an airtight glass jar for later.

Enjoy!

How to apply dry rub on chicken

Once the rub is ready, pat your chicken dry with paper towels (the spices stick better to dry chicken). Sprinkle the dry rub on all sides of the chicken and use your fingers to massage the spices into the meat.

Now your chicken is ready for grilling, roasting, air frying, pan-frying, smoking, sous vide, or any cooking method you prefer!

Variations

  • Make it extra spicy – Add up to 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper if you like your chicken extra spicy.
  • Use more dry herbs – Dried sage, thyme, basil, and parsley pair perfectly with chicken.
  • Add a pop of citrus – Add lime, lemon, or orange zest to the chicken rub.
  • Make it a marinade – Stir the seasoning blend together with a glug of olive oil in a large bowl, then add the chicken. Toss to coat and place it in the fridge to marinate for 30 minutes or up to 8 hours.
  • Use it for chicken wings – Just like in my Dry Rub for Chicken Wings, I recommend adding 1 tablespoon of baking powder to the dry rub if you plan on using it for chicken wings. This will help dry out the meat, giving you crispier wings.

Serving suggestions

Use the rub to customize the flavor of any cut of chicken you like! It’s a fantastic choice for these recipes and more:

Need a dipping sauce to serve with your chicken? Use any of these 15+ Delicious Sauces for Roasted Chicken or these 20+ BEST Chicken Dipping Sauces.

Cooked chicken thighs on plate.

FAQs

Should you season the chicken before or after cooking?

Always rub the seasoning blend on the chicken before cooking. This way, all of the flavors can soak into the meat.

How much dry rub do I need?

Be generous with the rub! This recipe makes enough to coat 2 pounds of chicken.

How long can I store chicken dry rub?

This spice rub stays fresh and flavorful for up to 6 months when stored in an airtight glass jar on your spice rack.

More ways to use this rub

The balanced savory-smoky-spicy flavors in this rub also make it a great seasoning blend for:

Cooked chicken thighs on plate.

More dry rubs and seasoning blends

​​​​Did you make this chicken seasoning recipe?

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Chicken dry rub in glass jar with spoon.

Chicken Dry Rub

This is the best Chicken Dry Rub for thighs, breasts, wings, or any cut you like! Made from a savory-smoky blend of pantry-staple herbs and seasonings and brown sugar, it’s easy to put together and gives every bite of chicken irresistible flavors.
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 2 pounds chicken

Ingredients

  • 1 Tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

Instructions

  • Whisk together all the spices in a small bowl.
  • Pat chicken dry with paper towels.
  • Sprinkle with dry rub and pat to coat.
  • Cook as desired.
  • Enjoy!

Notes

This spice rub stays fresh and flavorful for up to 6 months when stored in an airtight glass jar on your spice rack.
Did you make this recipe?Mention @platingsandpairings or tag #platingsandpairings!

Nutrition

Calories: 49kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 0.1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.1g | Sodium: 1767mg | Potassium: 161mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 2043IU | Vitamin C: 0.3mg | Calcium: 43mg | Iron: 2mg

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