Learn how to season chicken with dry rub, including whole chicken, boneless cuts, and bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts and thighs.
Chicken is a versatile protein that can be prepared in a variety of ways, from grilling and baking to deep frying and air frying. Seasoning chicken properly is important to ensure it's delicious.
In this article, I share the best ways to season chicken, using whole chicken, boneless skinless chicken breasts and chicken thighs, and bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts and thighs. You will also find several chicken and chicken rub recipes.
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Why Season Chicken
The purpose of seasoning chicken is to enhance the flavor of the meat. Chicken is a mild-tasting protein, so adding spices and herbs can help to make it more flavorful. Seasoning also helps to tenderize the meat and can add moisture to it.
When seasoning chicken, you can use a variety of spices and herbs to create a complex flavor profile.
I like to season a whole chicken with dry rub. Dry rubs are made by mixing a variety of spices, such as salt, garlic powder, black pepper, and paprika.
- Dry the chicken: To apply the dry rub, remove the whole chicken from its packaging and pat it dry with paper towels. This will help the rub to adhere to the skin and will help make the skin crispy.
- Butter or olive oil: Once the chicken is dry, brush the outside of the chicken with melted butter or olive oil.
- Apply the rub: Apply the dry rub all over the chicken, under the skin, and inside the cavity. To get under the skin, gently loosen it from the meat using your fingers, then spread the rub evenly under the skin layer.
- Refrigerate (optional): If you have time, let the seasoned chicken sit in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to an hour to allow the spices to penetrate the meat. When you're ready to cook the chicken, remove it from the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature before cooking.
To cook a whole chicken, you can oven roast, pressure cook, slow cook, sous vide, and even grill.
Chicken Breasts, Thighs, and Drumsticks
Seasoning chicken breasts, chicken thighs, and drumsticks (legs) is very similar to seasoning a whole chicken but even easier.
- Dry the chicken: Pat it dry with paper towels.
- Butter or olive oil: For skin-on chicken, brush the outside with melted butter or olive oil. This will help create a crispy skin. You can still do this with skinless chicken, but it's optional.
- Apply the rub: Apply the dry rub all over the chicken. Rub the mixture all over the chicken breasts, making sure to get the spices on all sides.
Try one of these tasty chicken recipes:
Dry Rub Recipes
All-purpose chicken seasoning is great to keep on hand. Try a variety of seasoning blends, including poultry seasoning, an Italian seasoning blend, taco seasoning, or even steak seasoning in a pinch.
If you don't have an all-purpose seasoning on hand, you can make your own homemade chicken seasoning. To make a basic chicken seasoning on the fly, try garlic powder, onion powder, oregano or parsley, paprika, salt, and ground black pepper.
Try one of these homemade spice blends:
No matter what cut of chicken you're cooking, it's important to make sure it reaches a safe internal temperature. The USDA recommends cooking all poultry to an internal temperature of 165°F. To check the internal temperature of your chicken, use a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat.
Cooked chicken can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days or in the freezer for 4 to 6 months.
Tressa Jamil says
Love the write up!
It all looks and sounds amazing!