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This simple dry rub recipe only requires one spoon for measuring and makes enough seasoning to generously coat multiple pounds of meat. With a blend of barbecue spices like paprika, garlic, cumin and brown sugar, it adds big flavor with little effort.

I have made my homemade dry rub recipe for many years, and always use it when I make smoked pulled pork, roast chicken, oven baked pork tenderloin, Spatchcock smoked chicken, chicken wings, pork ribs, and my Thanksgiving turkey.

Close up of the dry rub ingredients - kosher salt, brown sugar, paprika, garlic powder, cumin, and black peppercorns.
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Why Make Homemade Dry Rub?

  • Concocting your own signature spice mix allows you to customize the flavor profile. Adjust the ratios of sweet, spicy and savory to suit your taste buds.
  • Homemade also ensures quality ingredients without unnecessary preservatives or anti-caking agents. You can control the amount of salt and use higher quality spices.
  • This simple dry spice rub saves money compared to store-bought blends. Just mix up a batch and store it in a mason jar in the pantry to have on hand whenever grilling season rolls around.
  • Brown sugar is the secret ingredient. It adds just a hint of sweetness to balance out the salt and other flavors and helps form a wonderful crust.

So ditch the generic rubs and whip up this easy blend of barbecue spices. Your meat will thank you with finger-lickin’ flavor!

Close up of the dry rub ingredients - kosher salt, brown sugar, paprika, garlic powder, cumin, and black peppercorns.

Dry Rub Ingredients

The combination of spices in this homemade rub includes:

  • paprika
  • garlic powder
  • kosher salt
  • brown sugar
  • chili powder
  • cumin
  • mustard powder
  • black pepper
  • dried thyme
Close up of the dry rub ingredients - kosher salt, brown sugar, paprika, garlic powder, cumin, and black peppercorns.

How to Make the Dry Rub

Making your own dry rub couldn’t be easier. Just mix all the ingredients together in a small bowl. 

Store the homemade spice blend in an airtight container away from heat and light to preserve freshness. It will keep for up to 3 months.

For the best flavor, ensure your dried spices are fresh.

Recipe Tip

Recipe Tip

You can make big batches of this recipe! It doubles or triples well. Store excess in sealed bags or glass jars.

A hand sprinkling the spice blend over raw spatchcock chicken on a baking sheet.

Using the Dry Rub

This versatile blend of barbecue spices can be used on all kinds of meat. It’s fantastic on pork shoulders, ribs, chicken and steak.

To use, pat meat dry and generously coat all sides with the rub right before cooking. For best results, allow meat to marinate for at least an hour after applying the rub.

Because there are no wet ingredients, the rub adheres nicely to the meat and forms a flavorful, textured crust when seared or grilled at high heat.

spatchcock chicken cooked with homemade dry rub seasonings.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use table salt instead of kosher salt?

Yes, but reduce the amount slightly as table salt is finer.

How spicy is this rub?

It has a low level of heat from the chili powder. Add cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes to make it spicier.

What meats work best with this rub?

It’s fantastic on pork and chicken but also works well with salmon, shrimp, burgers, and steak.

How long does homemade dry rub last?

Store in an airtight container up to 3 months.

Can I use fresh herbs instead of dried?

This rub is intended to be made from dried spices and herbs only.

What if I don’t have mustard powder?

Leave it out or use 1 teaspoon prepared yellow mustard and use rub as a paste.

Can meat be cooked immediately after applying rub?

Yes, but you can coat any meat with the rub, wrap it tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for an hour or overnight for best flavor. 

Do I need to oil the meat first?

No, the rub will adhere well to a clean, dry surface. When making baby back ribs, chicken breasts, or pork chops, I will often coat them in a thin layer of mustard before applying the rub.

What if the rub seems too salty?

The rub has the perfect amount of salt, but if you are on a reduced salt diet, you can reduce or omit the salt until it suits your taste or dietary needs.

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One Spoon Dry Rub

Prep5 minutes
Total5 minutes
Servings 8 servings
This versatile dry rub is quick and easy to put together, goes great on chicken, pork or steak, and isn’t full of preservatives like you may find in a pre-made store brand blend.


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Enter your email below and I’ll send it straight to your inbox. Plus you’ll get great recipe ideas from me every week!
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  • Combine all ingredients.
  • Rub over surface of meat at least 1 hour prior to cooking. Otherwise store in airtight container for future use.


Makes enough rub to cover a whole chicken or two slabs of ribs. Double if cooking a turkey.


Calories: 22kcal, Carbohydrates: 4g, Sodium: 892mg, Potassium: 94mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 1185IU, Vitamin C: 0.2mg, Calcium: 27mg, Iron: 1.8mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Did you make this? Leave me a comment below

This recipe was originally published in November 2017 and has been updated with helpful information, ingredient and process photos, as well as recipe tips. Don’t worry – the recipe hasn’t changed!

Hi! I’m Krissy.

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  1. 5 stars
    So far I’ve used this on chicken thighs and steak and it’s amazing! I won’t ever bu from the store again.

  2. 5 stars
    great rub. smoked a chicken with it and it was memorable. only thing is when you mix up the ingredients, it makes about one half cup and thats being generous with the spices.

  3. 5 stars
    This stuff is fantastic. I put it on a pork butt/shoulder. Bake it 275 degrees for 6-8 hours, or 170-175 degrees, fat side up. This rub is so excellent on it. It’s so good, that I seasoned it on pork butt/shoulders and gave to families as Christmas presents! Great easy meal once all seasoned and directions provided! Easy peasy!

  4. Did your DutchOven Roasted Chicken recipe on coals outside,UNBELIEVABLE!!!!!Will do it camping next time we go.Can’t wait for more of your outside dutch oven recipes

  5. 5 stars
    I have loved this rub for a few years now and I use it regularly on grilled chicken and it always turns out well. Thanks for such a great staple.

  6. 5 stars
    Used this rub to bake a whole chicken in a dutch oven. I used most of the rub on the chicken, but reserved three table spoons for another dish. I marinated the chicken for about four hours and stuffed it with lemon slices and garlic cloves; the flavor was incredible!
    We deboned the chicken and used the white meat for a stew by adding it back to the pan with all the drippings etc (including the lemon peels and garlic cloves) added chopped tomatoes, onions, and great northern beans. Amazing! Add some cheddar cheese!
    For the dark meat, I just shredded the meat and simmered it slowly along with drippings for a sauce, added one cup brown rice and slowly added boiling water until the rice was moist. Amazing! Add some parmesan cheese!
    Finally with that leftover seasoning I saved, I made a second stew with venison and heirloom mushrooms…then thickened the broth with butter mashed potatoes – AMAZING! Add cheese!
    This rub is a winner! Thanks!