The Best Chicken Seasoning
This Chicken Seasoning is a simple way to add the best flavor to chicken! You can mix up this easy rub recipe in just minutes, using ingredients that you probably have in your kitchen.
Chicken recipes are a dinner time staple, and a good chicken seasoning or chicken marinade makes all the difference when it comes to preparing juicy, flavorful chicken. I love using a dry rub when seasoning meat because it’s an easy way to add lots of flavor.
Homemade spice blends are so simple to make and allow you to control the ingredients, salt and flavors. My Pork Rub, Taco Seasoning, and Cajun Seasoning are other favorite seasoning mixes that I like to make from scratch.
The Best Chicken Seasoning
This chicken seasoning is extremely versatile! You can use it to season just about any cut of chicken, including chicken breasts, chicken thighs, chicken tenders, chicken drumsticks, or when cooking a whole rotisserie chicken, such as this Instant Pot Whole Chicken or Crockpot Whole Chicken.
This chicken rub also works with a variety of cooking methods. It’s the perfect seasoning for Baked Chicken Breast, Baked Chicken Thighs, Grilled Chicken, Grilled Chicken Thighs and Air Fryer Chicken. You can even use it to season slow cooker chicken or Instant Pot Chicken!
Chicken Seasoning Recipe Ingredients
- Brown Sugar: The brown sugar helps to caramelize the outside of the chicken, which makes it especially juicy and flavorful. It also adds a touch of sweetness, which my family thinks is delicious. If you prefer a seasoning without sugar, you can omit the brown sugar.
- Paprika: You can use sweet paprika or smoked paprika, depending on your flavor preferences. Smoked paprika will lend a smoky flavor.
- Dried Oregano: Or try Italian seasoning, which is also delicious in this recipe.
- Garlic Powder: For flavor.
- Onion Powder: For flavor.
- Salt: I always err on the side of using less salt to keep my recipes on the healthy side. You can adjust the amount of salt to your tastes and dietary needs.
- Black Pepper: Freshly ground black pepper will give you the best flavor. You can buy an inexpensive pepper grinder with whole peppercorns at most grocery stores.
- Cayenne Pepper: For a bit of heat. We’re using a small amount, so that the chicken won’t be too spicy.
- You can add 2 teaspoons of chili powder to this recipe for a bit of Tex-Mex flavor.
How to Season Chicken
Once you have the seasoning ingredients mixed together, you’re ready to season some chicken!
- Start by patting the chicken dry using paper towels.
- Rub a small amount of olive oil over the chicken to help the seasoning stick to the meat.
- Use about 1 tablespoon of the seasoning mix per pound of chicken. You will need more seasoning for smaller pieces of chicken since there is more overall surface area per pound of meat.
- You can cook chicken right away, but for the most flavorful chicken, let the meat marinate in the seasoning rub for one hour, and up to 12 hours, before cooking. Be sure to refrigerate the chicken while it marinates.
- If you are using chicken with skin, try to rub some seasoning under the skin to flavor the meat.
- For food safety, discard any unused rub that has come in contact with raw chicken or your hands as you handle raw chicken.
I like to make a batch of this chicken seasoning to keep on hand for busy days. Having a dry rub ready to go can make dinner prep especially quick and easy!
Store the seasoning in an airtight container in a cool, dry place, such as a cupboard or spice drawer. I usually store it in a small jar or small zip-top bag. Label the container with the date that you made the dry rub and the name of the seasoning. You don’t want to be wondering whether that small jar contains taco seasoning or chicken seasoning later on.
How Long Does this Seasoning Blend Last?
Assuming that the spices used are fresh and won’t soon expire, homemade chicken seasoning will last for about 6 months when stored properly.
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and whisk or stir until well blended.
- To use, generously rub over chicken thighs, breasts, drumsticks, or tenders or a whole chicken before cooking. You can first rub some olive oil over the chicken to help the rub stick to the meat better.
- For the most flavor, let the rub marinate on the meat for 1 hour (and up to 12 hours) in the refrigerator before cooking. Discard any rub that has come in contact with raw chicken or your hands when rubbing on the chicken.
- Cook chicken as desired, such as in the oven, on the grill or in an air fryer, Instant Pot or slow cooker.
- Recipe makes enough rub to season about 5 pounds of chicken breasts or thighs. A rule of thumb is to use about 1 tablespoon of rub per pound of chicken. This will vary somewhat depending the cut of chicken since smaller pieces, such as wings, have more surface area per pound.
- Store extra chicken seasoning rub in an airtight container for up to 6 months in a cool, dry place.
Loved this recipe on grilled chicken. Going to try it on pork tonight.
I’m so glad you enjoyed it! You might also like my pork rub recipe. 🙂
We LOVED this seasoning!! I put some on a whole chicken and then roasted it, and I also added some to the coating for some homemade chicken nuggets and my family loved them. They are so picky so that’s a huge win for us, thanks!! I’m making an extra large batch of the chicken nuggets now to keep in the freezer and I spent 5 minutes searching my browser history from two weeks ago to make sure I had the exact recipe. I bookmarked it this time lol. Used half the amount of brown sugar and it was sweet enough for us. I also love that I was not bombarded with advertisements while navigating your website like so many of the other food blogs out there!
This is the second time making and using this Rub. My family loves the chicken that comes from the air fryer with this rub on it. I made a double batch and put it in a jar for next time. I also cut the recipe out and put with reg made recipes. Thank you!
This seasoning was delicious! Thank you!
Tried it, loved it! Was preparing chicken last-minute and was happy to find a rub that didn’t require hours of marinating. It probably only sat for 15 minutes before going on the grill – and it was still packed with flavor! This is being added to my rotation. Thanks!
I made this for the first time this week and we loved it. My husband said you can make that chicken every week. This dry rub is delicious
This rub made the chicken smell great as it was baking and it tasted just as great!! Thank you!
Sorry, it’s me again! Forgot to rate this rub 5 stars!!
I am going to try this recipe tonight.
can i use this for chicken that I am going to shred and freeze for a reception?
Yes, you can.
I’d like to try this on skinless chicken in a smoker with a water pan… Any suggestions on how to keep it from drying out?
Try using this chicken seasoning like any dry rub in your smoker.
Can you use real onion as opposed to onion powder?
No, dried seasonings work best since this is a spice rub recipe.
Hi, it was a last minute to marinate some thighs & drumsticks chicken for a BBQ and don’t have much time so I found your recipe the first one I clicked on so put together the ingredients and followed the directions oh, about 2hrs marinade then brought it to our BBQ potluck and I received some good compliments of the seasoning on my chicken so yeah it turned out “Liked” by all. It’s simple recipe and it’s flavorful. I will use thhis recipe again.
Love this combo of spices and brown sugar. I do plan to make 10X also for the future. So handy to have it all ready. It’s that good! I use this rub on pork and beef too.