31 Delicious Dry Rub Recipes for Grilled Chicken

Geb's BBQ

Dry rubs infuse grilled chicken with bold flavors and create an irresistible crust. Here are 31 mouthwatering dry rub recipes to take your barbecue chicken to the next level.

How to Apply Dry Rubs to Chicken

1. Pat Chicken Dry

Remove chicken from packaging and pat very dry with paper towels. Rub won’t adhere well to moist chicken.

2. Coat Generously with Rub

Sprinkle and pack on the dry rub generously over all sides of the chicken so it’s fully coated. Rub it into the skin.

3. Let Sit 10-30 Minutes

Let chicken rest for 10-30 minutes after applying rub to allow flavors to penetrate. The longer it sits, the more flavor.

4. Grill as Usual

Grill chicken using direct then indirect heat. Baste with sauce in the last 5-10 minutes if desired. Enjoy!

15 Savory Chicken Dry Rub Recipes

These flavorful rubs pair wonderfully with grilled chicken.

1. BBQ Chicken Rub

  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper

2. Jerk Chicken Rub

  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp thyme
  • 1 tbsp allspice
  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg

3. Greek Chicken Rub

  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp dried basil
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper

4. Italian Chicken Rub

  • 1⁄4 cup grated Parmesan
  • 2 tbsp dried basil
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1 tsp black pepper

5. Chili Lime Chicken Rub

  • Zest of 2 limes
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1⁄2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1⁄2 tsp salt

6. Southwest Chicken Rub

  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1⁄2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1⁄2 tsp black pepper
  • 1⁄2 tsp salt

7. Tapatio Chicken Rub

  • 1⁄4 cup paprika
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp salt

8. Cajun Chicken Rub

  • 2 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt

9. Chicken Fajita Rub

  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1⁄2 tsp oregano
  • 1⁄2 tsp salt
  • 1⁄4 tsp cayenne pepper

10. Tandoori Chicken Rub

  • 1⁄4 cup paprika
  • 2 tbsp curry powder
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp ginger
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1⁄2 tsp cayenne

11. Chicken Shawarma Rub

  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tbsp ground coriander
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1⁄2 tsp black pepper
  • 1⁄2 tsp salt

12. Pesto Chicken Rub

  • 1⁄4 cup pesto sauce
  • 1 tbsp lemon zest
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1⁄2 tsp salt
  • 1⁄2 tsp pepper

13. Chicken Adobo Rub

  • 2 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • 2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1⁄2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1⁄4 tsp ground cinnamon

14. Moroccan Chicken Rub

  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp ginger
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1⁄2 tsp cayenne
  • 1⁄2 tsp salt

15. Chicken Satay Rub

  • 1⁄4 cup peanut butter
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp turmeric

16 Sweet and Savory Chicken Rub Recipes

These rubs use brown sugar, honey, or maple to add delicious sweetness to grilled chicken.

16. Brown Sugar Barbecue Rub

  • 3 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper

17. Sweet and Smoky Rub

  • 3 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp dry mustard
  • 1⁄2 tsp salt

18. Maple Bacon Chicken Rub

  • 3 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 2 tbsp maple sugar or brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1⁄2 tsp salt
  • 1⁄4 tsp pepper

19. Honey Sriracha Chicken Rub

  • 3 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp sriracha sauce
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • Pinch of salt

20. Jerk Honey Habanero Rub

  • 3 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 habanero pepper, minced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp dried thyme
  • 2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1⁄2 tsp salt

21. Orange Ginger Chicken Rub

  • Zest of 1 orange
  • 3 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp minced ginger
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1⁄2 tsp salt
  • 1⁄4 tsp pepper

22. Chipotle Maple Chicken Rub

  • 3 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 canned chipotle pepper, minced
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1⁄2 tsp salt

23. Brown Sugar and Bourbon Rub

  • 1⁄4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp bourbon
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1⁄2 tsp cayenne pepper

24. Honey Ginger Soy Rub

  • 3 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp minced ginger
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1⁄4 tsp Chinese five spice

25. Hawaiian Chicken Rub

  • 1⁄4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1⁄4 tsp ginger

26. Apple Butter Chicken Rub

  • 1⁄4 cup apple butter
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1⁄2 tsp onion powder
  • 1⁄2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1⁄4 tsp salt
  • Pinch of pepper

Make Your Own Signature Chicken Rub

Use these base ingredients to experiment creating your own signature rub:

Sweetener

1-3 tbsp brown sugar, honey, maple syrup

Smoky

1-2 tbsp smoked paprika, chipotle powder

Herbs and Spices

1-2 tbsp chili powder, cumin, garlic, onion, pepper

Zip

1 tsp cayenne, mustard, ginger

Seasoning

1 tsp salt

Mix and match different combos to find your perfect blend. Adjust to taste. Get creative with ingredients like coffee, citrus zest, peanut butter, and more.

Tips for Using Dry Rubs on Chicken

  • Pat chicken very dry before applying rub
  • Rub generously over entire surface
  • Let sit 10-30 minutes for flavors to penetrate
  • Grill over direct high heat to sear, then indirect to cook through
  • Brush with sauce only during last few minutes

Spice up your grilled chicken with these bold dry rub recipes. What’s your go-to homemade or store-bought rub? Share your recipes and tips for making perfectly rubbed chicken below!

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About the Author: Staff Reporter