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Homemade Chicken Rub (Easy Rub for BBQ Chicken)

Homemade BBQ Chicken Rub is the perfect seasoning for barbecue chicken. It features a mix of brown sugar, salt, pepper, garlic powder, cumin, chili powder, and smoked paprika for a flavorful homemade spice rub.

Try this BBQ dry rub on your favorite cut of chicken! You’ll love the combination of spices because they offer lots of flavor!

photo of chicken rub in a jar

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Creating this BBQ Chicken Rub

Summer is BBQ season for us. Kevin even commented last night that we hadn’t used the oven for a main course in a while.

I realized how true that is (especially since we bought our Traeger Pellet Grill!), but also that it is totally normal for me to cook outside more often than not during this time of year for a couple of reasons.

I’m not sure which reason is the most important or driving factor:

That I don’t want to put extra heat in the house by turning the oven on when it already seems like the air conditioner is running nonstop.

Or that with “summer” recipes to cook like ribs, brisket, or turkey, burgers, grilled marinated steaks or brats, and grilled chicken there really isn’t much space for popping a casserole or a roast in the oven.

Hot casseroles don’t even really sound that good to me this time of year anyway. We’ve been eating like that all summer. Often, I’ll even cook our veggies on the grill. More than once I’ve made garlic bread on the grill.

Anything I can do to not turn the oven on!

photo of dry rubbed chicken

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The Best Rub for BBQ Chicken!

Summer meals and recipes for backyard barbecues are definitely some of my favorites to make (and to eat!). Part of it, too, is that with all the landscaping we’ve done all summer it was just natural to be outside.

And now that the backyard is done, I like going spending the evening in our backyard to take it all in. It is relaxing to enjoy the view, take care of my plants, and even to have a place to play with Bailey.

I love being in our backyard, so why wouldn’t I want to cook out there when the weather is nice and warm?

Summer might be officially over, but our grilling game is still going strong.

One of the things I’ve made a few times this summer is BBQ Chicken using this super easy and homemade BBQ Chicken Rub. I think it makes the best BBQ Chicken!

Last summer I made a Homemade Southwestern Pork Rub. We used it quite a bit that I was inspired to come up with a version that I thought tasted great on chicken.

photo of ingredients to make chicken rub

BBQ Chicken Rub Ingredients

Homemade spice mixes, like this easy recipe for BBQ Chicken Rub, are simple to prepare and customize according to your personal preference. This chicken dry rub recipe gets its bold flavor from the following simple ingredients:

  • Brown Sugar
  • Kosher Salt
  • Black Pepper
  • Garlic Powder
  • Cumin
  • Chili Powder
  • Smoked Paprika

For the complete ingredient list and detailed instructions, scroll to the bottom of this post for the FREE printable recipe card of this BBQ rub recipe.

photo of a woman making homemade chicken rub

Save this BBQ Chicken Rub to Pinterest!

How to Make Chicken Rub

To make this BBQ chicken rub recipe, simply combine all the ingredients in a bowl and whisk to combine.

I love how you have total control over what goes into the mix. If you don’t like a particular flavor, you can leave it out.

If you want something more peppery, then you can add more pepper to your own tastes. Or if you’re watching your sodium intake, you can decrease the amount of salt in this barbecue rub.

photo of chicken dry rub in a bowl

How to Store this Rub for BBQ Chicken

This simple dry rub for chicken is best stored in an airtight container in a dry place. I love that it stores well in a mason jar so that you can make a large batch ahead of time and use it throughout the year. It also makes a great homemade gift around the holiday season.

It is one of our favorite recipes for chicken seasoning, so I always make a big batch of it so we can keep it on hand as a pantry staple.

My favorite jars for this Homemade BBQ Chicken Rub are these cute Weck Jars! I adore them for storing all of my homemade spice mixes. They’re sturdy, attractive, and stack easily.

photo of pouring chicken rub into a glass jar

How to Use this Chicken Rub

Our favorite use for this dry rub recipe is on this recipe for Easy Smoked Chicken, which uses a whole chicken, but you can use it on any type of chicken cut: chicken thighs, chicken legs, chicken breasts (like skin-on bone-in chicken breasts).

There are plenty of other recipes that this seasoning blend would taste good with. You could also use it for a chicken sheet pan dinner with veggies.

And, I definitely think it would be work experimenting to create a BBQ Pulled Chicken version of Crockpot Mexican Chicken to use for Pulled Chicken Sliders, like these Honey Pecan BBQ Sauce Chicken Sliders. I’ll report back if I try it and it is a success.

You could probably even use this all purpose rub for chicken on meats other than chicken if you wanted to. I have definitely my best dry rub for pork on a few other things (grilled skirt steak and these Smokey Grilled Sweet Potato Wedges).

photo of chicken grilled with dry rub on a place with a jar of chicken rub next to it

Try this Easy Rub for BBQ Chicken!

Next time you’re looking for a bbq seasoning recipe, give this Chicken Rub a try! Did you love the spice level or the slightly smokey flavor? Leave a comment below and give it a review for others to see what you thought of this blend of spices.

On Instagram? Share your photo and tag me with @goodlifeeats and #goodlifeeatsrecipes. I’d love to see your photo of this fresh squeezed strawberry lemonade!

photo of homemade dry rub for chicken in a black bowl with a spoon and jar

More Homemade Spices

If you want to try your hand at making a few more homemade spice mixes, besides this Homemade BBQ Chicken Rub, for your pantry or gifting purposes, here are a few recipes that you might want to check out:

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What are your favorite homemade spice mixes?

photo of dry rub for smoked chicken in a jar

BBQ Chicken Rub

Yield: 2 cups
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes

Homemade BBQ Chicken Rub features a mix of brown sugar, salt, pepper, garlic powder, cumin, chili powder, and smoked paprika for a flavorful homemade spice rub.


  • 1 1/4 cups Brown Sugar
  • 1 - 3 tablespoons Freshly Ground Black Pepper, depending on heat preferences
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons Chili Powder
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons Kosher Salt
  • 1 tablespoon Cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Smoked Paprika
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon Garlic Powder


  1. Add the brown sugar, black pepper, chili powder, kosher salt, cumin, smoked paprika, and garlic powder to a medium sized mixing bowl.
  2. Using a wire whisk, mix until well combined.
  3. Alternatively, you may sift the spices together with a mesh strainer or flour sifter or another method is to add all of the ingredients to a food processor and process until well mixed.
  4. After combining, transfer the mixture into a clean, dry container that has a lid (such as a glass jar).
  5. Store the Homemade BBQ Chicken Rub covered in a cool, dry place, such as a pantry or spice cabinet.


Use this as a dry rub on chicken drumsticks or on a whole chicken (make sure to get some under the skin and inside the cavity for a whole chicken). Cook the meat on your grill or smoker as you normally would.

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Nutrition Information
Yield 32 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 32Total Fat 0gSaturated Fat 0gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 0gCholesterol 0mgSodium 516mgCarbohydrates 8gFiber 0gSugar 7gProtein 0g offers recipe nutritional information as a courtesy and is an estimate only. This information comes from online calculators. Although makes every effort to provide accurate information, these figures are only estimates.

Did you make this recipe?

I’d love it if you let me know what you think! Snap a photo and tag me on Instagram at @goodlifeeats with the hashtag #goodlifeeatsrecipes so I can see what you’re cooking up in YOUR kitchen!


Tuesday 6th of September 2022

Threw this on some chicken quarters and grilled them. Very tasty and easy to put together! I think I am going to try this on salmon and grilled corn salad on the side.


Tuesday 6th of September 2022

Happy to hear you liked it! Thanks for stopping by!


Sunday 16th of December 2018

Awesome rub, we’re enjoying tremendously.  Thanks 


Friday 21st of December 2018

So glad you like it!

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