The 66 Best Chicken Spices, Seasonings and Rubs
One of the most frequently asked questions we get is "What are the best seasonings or spices for chicken?" This question typically comes from those who are trying to eat healthier and chicken is often their protein of choice for many of their meals. We know from firsthand experience that when you're eating a lot of chicken it can get awful boring. We're here to help you cure your taste bud boredom.
If you are usually pressed for time (let's face it, who isn't?) or aren't very comfortable yet experimenting with using spices from scratch then you're probably more interested in a list of chicken seasonings and rubs that will give you mouthwatering flavor even when you're in a pinch for time. Here you'll find regional seasonings from across the US, Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, India, Latin America, the Mediterranean and the Middle East. You'll find savory blends, sweet blends, some with a blast of heat and even some wonderful salt free variations. Some of these chicken blends are fairly simple with as few as 5 or 6 ingredients while others are a bit more complex with up to 18 perfectly hand blended ingredients.
Every seasoning and rub has been thoroughly tested in our oven, on our grill or in our smokers and you'll find them loaded with spicy flavor (but not necessarily hot) that will make it virtually impossible to get bored with your chicken. We have classified the seasonings below to help satisfy your preferred flavor profiles.
The American Kitchen
These spices are a bit more traditional and familiar to your American palette. They're very versatile and not too off the wall. They incorporate flavors from across the country including Southwest Seasonings, Blackened Seasoning from down south, and a few rubs that are incredible if you are grilling your chicken. There are also a few rubs that will give you that all American chicken taste, especially if you like your chicken baked. If you are ready to try something a little more out of your comfort zone keep reading to join us while we explore how chicken is prepared around the world.
From the Caribbean, Mexico and Latin America
When you think about chicken dishes from the Caribbean, Jamaican jerk chicken probably comes to mind. It's full of flavor and has a kick to it. If you like things a little spicy or just want the authentic Mexican taste then one of our Mexican seasonings might be calling your name. Mexican chiles are incorporated into many dishes to give the food that unmistakably hot and spicy flavor. These chiles are added to almost every dish imaginable, especially Mexican Mole chicken. This dish includes a mole sauce made from a blend of chiles, nuts, spices and a small amount of unsweetened chocolate. Limes and corn are also added to many traditional Mexican dishes.
Indian Spice Blends
Indian cuisine is very diverse depending on what part of India you are in, but they all have some similarities. Due to religious reasons, many people in India do not eat beef, and therefore chicken is a substantial part of many dishes. Lately, Indian cuisine is incorporating more vegetables to accompany their chicken. Because of the diversity there are many types of dishes prepared in India but one of the more popular, chicken curry, is made by cooking the chicken in a mixture of curry powder, coconut milk and yogurt and usually served with rice.
Traditionally in some parts of Africa, cattle, sheep and goats were used for currency and therefore not eaten. This may play a part in why chicken is a popular dish. Most chicken dishes are in the form of a thick stew that is served atop a piece of flatbread. One staple food in most African countries is called fufu. It is a circular, flat piece of dough that is made by boiling cassava, yams, or plantains and then pounding them into this dough-like consistency. When eating fufu, a small piece is taken and rolled into a ball and then dipped into a soup or sauce.
Middle Eastern Spices
Because pork is prohibited in both Islam and Judaism, lamb and chicken are eaten in the Middle East. These meats are most commonly served in the form of a shish kebob (chunks of roasted or grilled meat on a stick). Shish kebobs are normally a street vendor or restaurant food, and are not typically made at home. The seasonings that are used in the Middle East contribute to a wonderful savory and spicy, but not hot, flavor in their dishes. Cinnamon, cloves, cumin, and black pepper are used when making stews; and chile peppers are used, but only occasionally.
From the Mediterranean
When many people think of Mediterranean cuisine, the Mediterranean diet comes to mind. The Mediterranean diet was originally inspired by the dietary traditions of the Greek island of Crete and southern Italy around the 1960s. At that time, their rate of chronic disease was among the lowest in the world and life expectancy was among the highest. Because of this, many people wanted to imitate their style of cooking in order to get the same health benefits. This style incorporates large amounts of vegetables and grains with small portions of meat, like chicken, or fish and is known for its simplicity.
Asian cuisine typically refers to East Asian cuisine (Chinese, Japanese, and Korean). The staples of Asian cuisine are rice, noodles, vegetables, sauces and seasonings. Tofu, made from soybeans, is another frequently prepared food. These staples are then paired with meat such as chicken. Traditionally, Asian cuisine uses spices and seasonings such as fresh ginger root, garlic, scallion, white pepper and sesame oil.
Best Spices for Chicken
Below we also made a list of individual spices for your chicken. From our experience, the spices in this 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.
If you're looking for quick and easy chicken recipe ideas you'll love some of these: Crispy Cajun Chicken, Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches, Grilled Basil Chicken, Provencal Chicken, Easy Chicken Curry, Quick Thai Chicken, Smoky BBQ Chicken Pizza, Sweet and Spicy Caribbean Chicken
We hope this list can bring a little excitement to your otherwise somewhat ordinary routine of preparing chicken and take your taste buds out of their comfort zone. There are so many different styles and traditions when it comes to cooking chicken and with this list we hope you never get bored of your chicken ever again! Feel free to leave us comments about what worked for you and any questions you might have.
Related PostsWhat Are the Top 25 Salt Free Seasonings?
What Spices Go with What Meat?
How Much Spice to Use and When to Add It
The 8 Best Spices to Help You Lose Weight
How to Store Spices