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The 41 Best Chicken Spices, Seasonings and Rubs

One of the most frequent questions we get is - "what are the best spices or seasonings for chicken"? This inquiry typically comes from those who are trying to eat healthier and get leaner and chicken is often the protein of choice for these types of meal routines. We know that when you are eating a lot of chicken in your meal rotation it can get awful boring.

So we wanted to break it down for you and arm you with what are the best spices, seasonings and rubs for your chicken. From our experience the spices and herbs, from the first list, work well whether you prefer your chicken grilled, baked or smoked. This list is ideal for an adventurous home chef who loves to experiment creating their own combinations. You use several of these in tandem but we also recommend using smaller amounts at first to see what works best without overpowering a dish.

•  Basil
•  Bay Leaf
•  Cilantro
•  Cinnamon
•  Curry Powder
•  Garlic
•  Lemon Grass
•  Mace
•  Marjoram
•  Onion
•  Paprika
•  Parsley
•  Rosemary
•  Sage
•  Saffron
•  Savory
•  Tarragon
•  Thyme

We didn't list chiles here but for those that crave some heat you can certainly add those for some zing as well.

If you are usually pressed for time, aren't one who likes to experiment from scratch but you still desire mouthwatering flavor, then these chicken seasonings are the way to go. Here you'll find regional seasonings from across the US, salt free variations, some chicken spice blends chock full of heat and others that are south of the border influenced seasonings. Some of these chicken blends are made with as few as 5 or 6 ingredients while others feature the complexity of up to 16 perfectly blended ingredients.

All have been thoroughly tested in our kitchen, on our grill or in our smokers and you'll find them loaded with spicy flavor that will make it virtually impossible to get bored with your chicken.

18 Spice - Like any good grilled chicken rub our 18 Spice Chicken Rub has a bit of sweetness to it from the brown sugar and cinnamon. The brown sugar helps form a nice crust to keep the juices in. There's a nice subtle kick from the variety of chiles we used (ancho, pasilla, de arbol and cayenne). Finally you'll note some very gentle hints of licorice from the fennel with some subtle fruitiness from the ancho and cloves.

•  Adobo Lime Rub - Adobo seasonings are used most often on Southwestern style and Latin American dishes. This one has more of a Puerto Rican influence.

Blackened Seasoning - This a classic bayou blackened seasoning blend. It has perfect pepper balance - cayenne to give you front of the mouth heat, black pepper to tantalize the middle and then white pepper provides that final subtle jolt in the back of your mouth.

Buffalo Wing Rub (salt free) - Developed for those on a low sodium regimen this is ideal for those that also want to bake their wings instead of deep frying them.

Butcher's Best - Has a bit of smoky flavor with a hint of sweetness and sports a delightful, but perfectly balanced, amount of heat.

•  Caribbean Spice (salt free) - Jam packed with island flavor, this blend is not hot and has the added benefit of being a salt free seasoning. Ideal for your grilled chicken or wings.

Habanero Mango - The dried mango gives a bit of tartness to the flavor profile and paired with the Ancho chile gives it a mild fruity flavor. The Ancho Chile also balances out the heat of the Habanero Chile.

•  Honey Chipotle Rub - One of our more popular "beginners" rubs, you'll absolutely love the sweet taste of the honey combined with the smoky flavor of the ground chipotle powder and the Spanish paprika. The granulated honey forms a spectacular perfect crust on your grilled chicken.

Chipotle Rub - Influenced by the flavor and heat of several Mexican chiles this is not really a smoking hot rub but does possess the deep complexities from the smoky flavor of the Chipotle Chile, the mild fruity flavor of the Ancho Chile and the sweet earthy flavor of the New Mexico Chile.

Citrus Seasoning (salt free) - What you'll love about this seasoning is the wonderful combination of herbs, fennel and then the added citrusy twist of lemon and orange zest.

Fajita Seasoning - For an authentic fajita marinade use 1-2 tablespoons of fajita seasoning with 2/3 cup vegetable oil and 1/3 cup vinegar or lime juice. Pour over your chicken and marinate in the refrigerator overnight.

Flippin' the Bird (salt free) - This chicken seasoning blend has an almost magical touch that only dried herbs can give to chicken and here we used marjoram and rubbed sage. Marjoram is one of the few herbs that may actually be better dried than fresh and rubbed sage is our favorite sage to work with.

•  Garlic Herb - Many of our customers who are on a low sodium diet love the versatility of this seasoning and they tell us that they keep a shaker of it on the dining room table in place of their salt shaker!

Habanero Chile Seasoning (salt free) - This is a fiery spice blend for those that love not only the heat of the habanero but also its fruity, citrusy flavor and its flowery aroma.  Ideal when you're in the mood for some authentic Yucatan, Mexico inspired flavor.

•  Jamaican Jerk - One of our best sellers during the busy summer grilling season, this makes a sensational  jerk chicken! You can use it as a dry rub or use it to make a jerk marinade.

Kickin' Chicken - This is a delightful chicken dry rub that has a hint of sweet heat and all of the ingredients are finely ground and then perfectly hand blended. This eliminates any flavor explosions while also sticking to the meat better - there is nothing worse than having a good portion of your blends on the bottom of the grill.

Lemon Pepper (salt free) - One of our best selling pepper blends the citrus combination of these culinary favorites compliments your chicken whether at the stove, on the grill or on the table.

•  Madras Curry (salt free) - Madras Curry Powder in usually found in braises, marinades and sauces but it does make for a superior Madras Chicken.

•  Manzanillo Seasoning (salt free) - One of our most popular and highest customer rated seasonings, this versatile spice blend  makes for an excellent Mexican dry rub that provides lots of spicy flavor without being a hot rub.

Mediterranean Dry Rub (salt free) - This salt free rub will give you a hint of the flavor of the Mediterranean and can be used as a dry rub or web rub. Wonderful on chicken, fish or pork chops.

Moroccan Chicken - You’ll find a touch of sweetness balanced by some earthiness and some very subtle undertones of heat. Hand blended from Spanish paprika, cumin, kosher salt, cinnamon, fennel, cayenne pepper, coriander, brown sugar and clove.

•  Salt Free Adobo Seasoning - Adobo is a seasoning blend with a south of the border flair and it is generally rubbed or sprinkled on chicken or pork and can also be used to season your black beans, guacamole, chili meat (beef or turkey) or tacos.  

Poultry Seasoning (salt free) - Also frequently referred to as Chicken Seasoning or Stuffing Seasoning as it is wildly popular around thanksgiving.

Southwest Seasoning (salt free) - Perfect when you want the flavor of the region but don't have the time to create a dish completely from scratch. We especially love this with chicken tacos, enchiladas and tostados.  

Smoky Citrus Salt - This is a robust gourmet flavored salt that has been a huge hit with both our product testers and our customers. Has the zing from the lemon, lime and orange zest along with some subtle smoky flavor from the smoked salt.  

Sweet Tweetie - This 12 ingredient blend has a hint of sweetness to it and you get just a bit of heat from the red pepper flakes as well as the delicious subtle heat of ground brown mustard seed which also gives a pungent flavor.

•  Tandoori - In the U.S., Tandoori chicken is probably the most common dish we think of as the classic Indian dish. Our classic Tandoori Masala is also commonly referred to as Tandoori Spice or Tandoori Rub.

•  Texas Chicken - A Texas BBQ typically means mounds and mounds of meat. Texans have learned through the years that you don't want to overpower the flavor of your chicken with the rub but instead use it to enhance the natural flavors of the meat. With this classic Texas chicken rub this is exactly what you get.

Tikka Masala - The word “Tikka” translates to “bits or pieces” while the translation for “Masala” is a “mixture of spices”. The key to this dish is to marinate the chicken chunks in a mixture of yogurt and spices. The marinated chicken is then baked in a tandoor oven or sometimes grilled. The color of the Tikka Masala sauce is usually orange and comes from the addition of turmeric, paprika or tomato puree.

We are constantly testing out new chicken seasonings and rubs for the backyard grill, the smoker, the oven and even the Foreman grill. Check out our collection of list of chicken recipes to find creative ways to use all this new knowledge or peruse through all of our chicken rubs!



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1. Anonymous User on 9/20/2013, said:

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2. Anonymous User on 7/11/2013, said:

Nice Guides !
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