5 Spice Rubs That Make Chicken Mind-Blowingly Delicious




Cooking a big batch of chicken breasts on Sunday is one of the easiest ways to prep protein for your entire week. But eating the same thing day after day is boring as hell.

Enter: spice rubs. Whip up several of these mixtures so you can roast Creole chicken, mocha chicken, Middle Eastern chicken, and barbecue chicken all at once.

Here’s the drill: Preheat your oven to 350°F. Coat each boneless, skinless chicken breast with the spice rub of your choice (see below), then spray very lightly with cooking spray to help the spices stick.

Bake the chicken until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast reads 165°F, 15 to 20 minutes, depending on the thickness of the chicken. Store excess rub in an airtight container.

These rubs work equally well with bone-in, skin-on chicken, and on the grill. The cooking times will vary with other methods; just aim for the 165°F internal temperature.

Easy as that! Banish bland chicken forever with these insanely tasty combos:

Smoky Red Rub
This rub from John Stage, founder of the famous Dinosaur Bar-B-Que in Syracuse, New York, combines paprika, cayenne, and sugar for a caramelized, spicy-sweet coating.

In a medium bowl, combine…
2 Tbsp smoked paprika
2 Tbsp Kosher salt
2 Tbsp sugar in the raw
1 Tbsp chili powder
2 ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 ½  tsp granulated garlic
1 ½ tsp granulated onion
⅛ tsp cumin
½ tsp celery salt
⅛ tsp cayenne pepper

Makes about ½ cup


Middle Eastern Rub 
This mix from chef Troy Guard of Denver’s TAG restaurant brings Middle Eastern flavor to the table with ground sumac, a tangy spice you can buy on Amazon or at a specialty spice store like Penzy’s.

In a medium bowl, combine…
1 Tbsp Kosher salt
1 tsp paprika
½ tsp ground sumac
½ tsp onion powder
½ tsp garlic granulated
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
½ tsp dried parsley
½ tsp sugar

Makes about ¼ cup

Mocha Brown Sugar Rub 
Coffee and Mexican chocolate lend a rich taste to this rub. Add a little ancho power and it’s like a mariachi band of flavor in your mouth. Eric Brennan, head chef of Post 390 in Boston, says the chocolate helps the seasoning stick to the chicken.

In a medium bowl, combine…
½ cup pre-ground coffee
2 Tbsp light brown sugar
2 Tbsp Kosher salt
1 ½ tsp ancho chili powder
1 ½ tsp ground anise seed
2 Tbsp grated Mexican chocolate, like Taza, available at most grocery stores

Makes about 1 cup

Autumn Spice Rub 
Harness the deep, savory flavors of fall with this complex combo of spices, via Daven Wardynski, executive chef at the Omni Amelia Island Plantation.

In a medium bowl, combine…
½ cup ground coriander
2 Tbsp ground allspice
2 tsp ground cloves
1 bay leaf, ground
2 Tbsp ground cumin
3 Tbsp freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp ground cinnamon

Makes about 1 cup

Creole Rub 
Love the taste of jambalaya? Check out this potent Louisiana-inspired rub from Dinosaur Bar-B-Que’s John Stage.

In a medium bowl, combine…
¼ cup paprika
¼ cup granulated garlic
2 Tbsp granulated onion
1 ½ Tbsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp white pepper
2 Tbsp dried oregano
2 Tbsp dried thyme
1 Tbsp light brown sugar
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp ground cumin

Makes about 1 cup

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