The BEST Salmon Dry Rub Recipe (Salmon Seasoning)

Take your salmon dinners up a notch with this easy Salmon Dry Rub! It’s made from a simple blend of smoky and zesty spices and complements fish beautifully. 

Want the secret to making restaurant-worthy salmon dinners at home? It’s all about the seasoning! Use this easy Salmon Dry Rub to take all of your salmon dishes up a notch and infuse every bite with zesty and smoky flavors.

This salmon dry rub recipe is easy to make using a simple blend of smoky and warm spices, brown sugar, and lemon zest. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the spice blend over the salmon filet, then bake, sear, broil, grill, or sous vide until the salmon is flaky and tender. In the end, you have an impressive piece of fish with flavors that everyone will love!

What is a dry rub?

A dry rub is a blend of ground spices and granulated sugar used to add extra flavor to meat, like chicken, beef, pork, and seafood. The spice mixture is rubbed all over the outside of the meat before it’s cooked either right away or after it’s left to marinate. After it’s cooked, the dry-rubbed meat should have layers of smoky, tangy, and/or spicy flavors, as well as a caramelized crust around the exterior from the melted sugar.

Ingredients for salmon dry rub on plate before stirring.


All you need is a short list of simple spices to make this salmon seasoning, such as:

  • Smoked paprika – Regular or sweet paprika works, too.
  • Garlic and onion powder – These two spices give the rub a baseline of savory flavors. This savoriness, while completely delicious, also helps to balance the stronger flavors.
  • Brown sugar – The sugar is key here because when it melts, it forms a crispy, caramelized crust all around the cooked salmon.
  • Cumin – For warmth.
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • Mustard powder – Mustard pairs surprisingly well with salmon. Drizzling my Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce over salmon adds a divine and vibrant element, as does the mustard powder in this spice rub recipe.
  • Lemon zest – This is optional, but it adds a refreshing pop that compliments the salmon so well.

You can use the seasoning on skinless or skin-on, boneless, and center-cut salmon filets.

Look for salmon that has a vibrant orange-red color and moist-looking flesh. As for farmed vs. wild-caught salmon, wild-caught Pacific or Atlantic salmon is always best because of its quality and flavor!

Prepared Salmon dry rub in bowl with whisk.

How to make dry-rubbed salmon

Begin by whisking the spices, sugar, and lemon zest together in a small bowl. Either use the blend right away on a salmon filet or store it in an airtight jar in your cupboard for later.

When it’s time to use the dry rub, use your hands to rub some of the spice mixture over the exterior of the salmon.

Broil the dry-rubbed salmon until it’s opaque and cooked through (with an internal temperature of 125ºF). Enjoy!

Prepared dry rub in small bowl next to salmon filet.

Flavor variations

  • Extra spicy – Add a pinch of cayenne to the blend.
  • Zesty and tangy – For extra tang and vibrancy, use both lemon and lime zest in the spice blend.
  • Sugar free – Omit the brown sugar or replace it with honey.
  • Make it a marinade – Stir the spices together in a large bowl with a generous drizzle of olive oil. Pop the fish in the bowl, allow it to soak up the flavors from the marinade for 30 minutes, then cook!
  • Add herbs – You can give the spice blend a refreshing element by stirring in fresh or dried parsley, dill, cilantro, or rosemary.
Two uncooked salmon filets coated in dry rub.

Frequently asked questions

How much of the salmon spice rub should I use?

You’ll need to use 1 tablespoon of the seasoning mix for every pound of salmon.

How long does salmon dry rub last?

The dry rub can be stored for up to 6 months in an airtight jar at room temperature. Keep it in a cool, dry place or where you keep your other spices.

Can you use the dry rub for more than just salmon?

Absolutely! The wide range of warm, smoky, and tangy flavors in this rub means that it would pair well with my Air Fryer Shrimp and on other types of fish, like tilapia or haddock, for fish tacos.

How do you know when salmon is done cooking?

You’ll know the salmon is done when a meat thermometer registers the internal temperature at 120ºF to 125ºF. If you don’t have a thermometer, press a fork gently into the cooked salmon. The flesh will flake easily when it’s done.

Serving suggestions

This dry rub is especially perfect on grilled salmon dinners but you can, of course, use it on all kinds of salmon recipes. Use it to uplevel any of these salmon dinner ideas:

Once the salmon is ready to eat, serve it with a Tomato Cucumber Salad, Lemon Risotto, or any of these 45 Sides for Salmon.

Two seared salmon filets on plate next to bowl of salmon dry rub.

More ways to season salmon

While these 15 Sauces for Salmon add big flavor to simple salmon recipes, any of these seasoning blends will do just as good of a job and are easier to put together. Give any of them a try when you want to add restaurant-quality flavor to any salmon recipe:

Did you try this salmon seasoning?

If you loved this salmon dry rub I would appreciate it so much if you would give this recipe a star review! Also, be sure to snap a picture of your finished dish and share it with me on Instagram using the hashtag #platingsandpairings and tagging me @platingsandpairings.

For more great Platings and Pairings recipes, be sure to follow me on  Instagram, TikTok, Pinterest and Facebook.

Prepared dry rub in small bowl next to salmon filet.

Salmon Dry Rub Recipe

Take your salmon dinners up a notch with this easy Salmon Dry Rub! It’s made from a simple blend of smoky and zesty spices and complements fish beautifully.
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes


  • 2 Tablespoons smoked paprika (or sweet paprika)
  • 2 Tablespoons garlic powder
  • 1 Tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon mustard powder
  • Optional: Zest of 1 lemon


  • In a small bowl, whisk the spices until well combined. Store in an airtight container or jar for up to 6 months.
  • Use 1 Tablespoon seasoning for every pound of salmon.
  • Broil for 5-6 minutes or until the salmon is opaque and cooked through.
Did you make this recipe?Mention @platingsandpairings or tag #platingsandpairings!


Small Bowl


Calories: 180kcal | Carbohydrates: 39g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 0.4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 2357mg | Potassium: 665mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 14g | Vitamin A: 6932IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 113mg | Iron: 6mg

Leave a Comment

Recipe Rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.