Best Dry Rub Spice Mix

When you need a boost of flavor, look no further than this best dry rub spice mix recipe. It works perfectly with chicken, pork and beef.

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Best dry rub spice mix in a glass jar with wooden lid and spoon.

Why this Spice Mix is the Best

I came up with this spice mix over ten years ago. I was working on a simple roast chicken recipe and wanted a dry rub that could be thrown together in seconds to give chicken a sweet-salty tang and a nice brown color. Little did I know that I would keep using this same simple spice rub for so many other things – steaks, pork chops, chicken wings, etc… Why do I keep using it? Because I haven’t found a better spice mix that is just as easy to throw together. This is the best dry rub spice mix that I have ever used, and I know I will continue to use it over and over again. 

Ingredients on a counter - salt, pepper, dry mustard, paprika and brown sugar.

Simple Ingredients

There is nothing unusual or extraordinary about the ingredients in this spice seasoning. There are just five simple ingredients that can be found in any relatively well-stocked pantry – salt, pepper, brown sugar, paprika and dry mustard powder. Sometimes the best things in life are the simple things. 

Five white dishes with spices in them and an empty glass bowl with spoon in the center.

How to Use

While this rub was intended for chicken, it’s really tasty on pork and beef too. My Summer Ale Chicken recipe was where it first appeared, but since then I’ve put it on pork chops and ribs and it’s delicious on chicken wings too before slathering them with a sauce. It works on any meat with delicious results. Rub it on the meat dry and let it sit for a little while or a long while. Then just cook on the grill, in the oven, in an air fryer or in a skillet. No need to over-think it – this is an easy-going spice blend.

Spices mixed in a glass bowl with a spoon and an empty glass jar next to it.

How to Store

Once the sugar and spices are mixed together, pop them into an airtight container to store. You could put it into an empty spice jar or dress it up in a more stylist glass jar if you prefer. This rub will last indefinitely at room temperature as long as you keep it away from moisture or insects that are attracted to sugar.

Best dry rub spice mix in a glass bowl with a spoon and an empty glass jar next to it.

A Perfect Homemade Gift

If you like this spice rub, you could even make an enormous batch and put it in jars as gifts for friends and family. Don’t tell them how simple it is to make. Just tell them it’s the best dry rub spice mix!

Best Dry Rub Spice Mix

  • Prep Time: 5 m
  • Total Time: 5 m
  • Servings:


  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard powder
  • 2 tablespoons coarse sea salt or kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons coarsely ground black pepper


  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl, stirring to blend.

  2. Store in an airtight container.

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Comments (33)Post a Reply

    1. You can use coarse or fine salt in the spice mix. If you’ve purchased kosher salt, there’s no need to grind it. Some sea salts are in very large crystals which could be ground, but you should be fine either way.

  1. Sounds easy! I have never used a dry rub before. How much time should one allow from putting rub on meat until grilling or broiling? Can’t wait to try this.

    1. Hi Maureen. I rub the spice mix on pork or meat 1 hour before cooking and chicken for about 30 minutes to let it absorb into the meat and poultry.

  2. I will have to try this. My favorite seasoning mix that I use is smoked paprika, garlic powder, lemon pepper, and salt. Since it is only me, I use one teaspoon of each. I especially love this on salmon. I coat the top and sides and then pop it in my air fryer. Since I am supposed to cut down on salt, sometimes I will leave out the salt and it is still delicious! Can’t wait to try this new mix….thank you!

  3. Hi Meredith! I have a family member with a mustard allergy. Is there something you could suggest for me to use instead? Love your air fryer recipes! Thanks.

  4. 5 stars
    I’ve always made a similar rub but used chili powder instead of dry mustard. The dry mustard is a welcome change. The chili powder made everything have a Tex-Mex flair. Thanks Meredith!

  5. 1 star
    Do u realize those of us on lo-salt diets are only allowed 2000 mg per day? This rub is 1996 mg per serving. Yikes!

    1. Hi PJ. The nutritional calculation is based on 1 tablespoon of the spice mix. Chances are you will not be consuming that much of the spice mix in 1 meal, it would probably be closer to ½ teaspoon or less per serving which would be around 333mg of sodium. In either case, you can control the salt and add less or omit it all together to cater to your personal dietary needs.

  6. 5 stars
    Hi Meredith! I tried your rub mix on pork. Very good! Then I tried it on chicken. Very good! Then, as I reached for the salt and pepper mills, I decided to put some on the potatoes I was frying. Even better! Now I’m excited to try it on vegetables. I’m old fashioned and like to use recipe cards. I always add the name of the friend a recipe came from. I have a lot with Meredith on them, like just another friend. Thank you for sharing your great recipes!

    1. Hi Tina. Rub the spice mix into the chops and let them rest at room temperature for 30 minutes. Spritz with a little oil and air fry at 400°F for 12 minutes for 1-inch pork chops. Flip over halfway through. For thinner cut chops I would reduce the time to about 8 minutes.

  7. Thanks! I enjoy making my own “spice mixes” to have ready, sometimes in an instant, when I’m running behind. This one looks perfect to keep on hand. The only alteration I’ll probably make is to lower the salt to 1 teaspoon or maybe even less. I like to minimize my salt intake.

    Thank you for all your recipes, videos, cooking and baking tips.

  8. Thank you for an easy recipe Meredith. I am 81 and live alone. Yesterday I cooked a chicken in my air fryer coated with this rub and it turned out wonderful.

  9. I’m looking forward to trying this! I makes me cringe when I see the salt content in ready made mixes, but the beauty of homemade is that you can adjust it to your liking. Thank you!

  10. I just made this Dry Rub today to marinate Ribeye Chops, and rub was absolutely delicious on the chops. This is now my “To Go” dry rub for all of my meats.

  11. Would a sugar substitute work in this rub or can it be omitted? I was thinking of Swerve or Monkfruit.
    Looking forward to trying this rub, especially on roasted veggies.

    1. I have never tried it with a sugar substitute, but if you like the taste of the substitute chances are you will like it in the spice rub. I would say you could use a brown sugar substitute or just omit it all together from the spice mix.

  12. Hi Meredith,
    I have been making and using your rub mix since I first saw it months ago. It is the best in my opinion.
    In fact, I made a big batch, put it in spice jars, labeled it listing ingredients/directions
    and gave it to friends for Christmas. They all had very favorable comments and and use it often.

  13. 5 stars
    This rub is amazing! I have made it many times and now just keep a container of it in the pantry. I especially love it on ribs, either cooked in low heat in the oven or on the grill. Yum!

  14. 5 stars
    I’m on my second batch of this rub. It’s great on just about everything. I’m not able to BBQ in my small yard & this rub gives everything a different smoky flavor. Love it.

  15. 5 stars
    We use this rub on our ribs in the pressure cooker and they are amazing! We do cut down on the salt b/c i am on a very low sodium diet but cutting down the salt doesn’t affect the flavor at all.

  16. 5 stars
    Hey Meridith, I spatchcocked a chicken today, using your directions and used your recipe for the dry rub–It turned out excellent! I cut the salt in half and Couldnt be more pleased. Thank you so much for the recipe!

  17. Does the Coleman’s dry mustard have a stronger taste than say McCormick or just store bought dry mustars?

    1. Coleman’s mustard powder does have a bit of pungent taste to it from the mustard seeds and is a top brand for mustard powder. You can use any brand of mustard powder for this recipe.

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