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.