Easy Chicken Seasoning Recipe – Sugar Free & Gluten Free

4.72 from 21 votes
Jump to Recipe

Sharing is caring!

This chicken seasoning is great for grilling or roasting any poultry dish. This seasoning is also sugar free, making it a great high heat rub that won’t burn when placed over direct heat for perfect grilled chicken.

Grilled Chicken Seasoning in a mason jar
Mason jars are the perfect storage vessel for chicken rub and seasonings.

But first things first…

Is there a difference between a Seasoning and Dry Rub?

Seasoning is simply a reference to, just that, seasoning a dish. This is generally as simple as adding salt and pepper to “season” a final dish. Often times this can refer to adding a light dusting of other herbs and spices to enhance the flavors of any given protein or vegetable.

In this case we’re using a combination of different dry seasonings (salt and pepper included) to create a blend specifically for chicken or other poultry dishes.

What is a Dry Rub?

A dry rub is a combination of dry spices, herbs, salt, and pepper combined with your preferred flavor profile. The term “Dry Rub and “Seasoning” are often used synonymously. Look on any store bought rub or seasoning and you’ll see similar ingredients. If we’re not using simply salt and pepper, we’re referring to this mix as a Dry Rub.

This is a combination of herbs and spices that we generally apply liberally to our protein of choice. Making a home made rub or seasoning is easy and we follow some basic principles in creating the right rub for your chicken, beef, or pork.

This particular one is fantastic for chicken or other poultry for the purpose of grilling or smoking!


Chicken is like a blank canvass, which is why we find the biggest enhancement to seasoning chicken is salt. Add additional dry spices, and the chicken flavor really pops.

We start with kosher salt for our base. Salt is a very subjective element to the dry rub. If you are sensitive to salt, feel free to cut in half and adjust based upon your preference. As our meat cooks, salt flavor that may seem pronounced when seasoning, ends up tasting just right as the meat sweats while cooking. We then build layers with savory spices such as garlic, sage, and thyme, and then add smoked paprika for a pop of color and smoky flavor.

This is a simple combination that you can build on to add any additional flavors and spices to your liking. Like it spicy? Add some cayenne. Like it bright and citrusy? Add some grated citrus rind. Want more savory? Add chopped rosemary.

Want to know the anatomy of a great dry rub? Check out our Ultimate Dry Rub Recipe.


Combine ingredients in a large bowl and stir to combine. That easy, then add to a storage container and enjoy on your favorite dishes.

Chicken seasoning in a bowl

How and When to Season Chicken

We like to season our meat the night before we grill or smoke, whether it is chicken, pork, or beef. Adding the dry rub gives time for the salt and other flavors to incorporate into the meat. But you can also add seasoning just before you are cooking, it just won’t have the time to have slowly penetrate into the meat as a dry brine.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is this Chicken Seasoning Sugar Free?

Yes, it sure it! When grilling, or cooking hot and fast, sugar in a dry rub can cause the meat to caramelize and burn quickly before the meat is done cooking. Since chicken can take a bit longer to cook on high heat, we eliminate the potential for burning by keeping the rub sugar free.

Is this Chicken Seasoning Gluten Free?

Yes! Gluten can be hidden in ingredients in store bought dry rubs. That’s why it’s always safest to make your own from scratch. That way you control the ingredients and can insure it fits within your dietary needs. Individual herbs and spices are generally gluten free to begin with. But when you get those store-bought combinations they can be hidden in the form of an anti-caking agent. These can also contain wheat based ingredients. So if you’re sensitive to gluten, your safest bet is to make your own seasonings and dry rubs from scratch.

What is this Dry Rub best on?

Grilled Chicken – This is great on a gas grill over propane, or over direct charcoal, for hot and fast grilling. Once sugar is added to a dry rub it can cause the flames to scorch or burn during this style of grilling. Use sugar when going low and slow, like this all purpose rub.
Roasted Chicken – Great in the oven for similar reasons as above.
Ground Poultry – If doing grilled chicken or turkey burgers, this is a great way to add flavor. Simply add the seasoning to the ground meat before you form into patties.
Roasted Turkey – Also a great seasoning to add to turkey whether smoked, grilled, or in the oven.


Dry rubs are best consumed in six months or less in a large mason jar or airtight container. Store in a dark and cool location to prevent any moisture from trying to evaporate which can cause clumping.

Easy Homemade Chicken Seasoning in a mason jar

Other Recipe Inspirations with Rub

Feeling inspired? You can check out all our chicken and poultry recipes, or browse some of our highlights.

More Seasonings for Chicken

If you like this recipe we’d truly appreciate it if you would give this recipe a star review! And if you share any of your pics on Instagram use the hashtag #vindulge. We LOVE to see it when you cook our recipes. 

Want to save this recipe?
Just enter your email and get it sent to your inbox! Plus you’ll get new recipes from us every week!
Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.
Easy Homemade Chicken Seasoning in a mason jar
4.72 from 21 votes

Easy Grilled Chicken Seasoning (Dry Rub)

Recipe for grilled chicken seasoning. This is a great dry rub for hot and fast grilling. It is also sugar free and gluten free. 
Prep: 5 minutes
Total: 5 minutes
Servings: 2 cups


  • ½ cup kosher salt
  • ½ cup coarse ground pepper
  • ¼ cup smoked paprika
  • ¼ cup granulated garlic, (not garlic powder)
  • 2 tablespoons ground sage
  • 1 tablespoon ground thyme


  • In a bowl, combine all ingredients and stir, making a point to mix thoroughly. Store in a mason jar in a cool dry place. Will last for six months. 


Salt – Salt is a subjective taste and not all kosher salts are the same weight and size. We use Diamond Crystal Kosher salt. If all you have is table salt, adjust the portions down to no more than 1/4 cup of table salt. We suggest starting this recipe with only 2 tablespoons of table salt and adding from there based on your salt preference.
Storage – This seasoning will last up to six months storied in a cool dry cupboard. If the dry rub clumps, then shake the container up prior to using. 


Calories: 296kcal | Carbohydrates: 69g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 28333mg | Potassium: 1490mg | Fiber: 24g | Vitamin A: 7167IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 405mg | Iron: 14mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: chicken seasoning, dry rub, seasoning
Servings: 2 cups
Calories: 296
Keyword: chicken seasoning, grilled chicken dry rub, homemade dry rub
Like this recipe? Leave a comment below!

mary cressler headshot


About Mary

I'm Mary, a wine/food/travel writer, Certified Sommelier, mom of twins, former vegetarian turned BBQ fanatic, runner, founder of Vindulge, and author of Fire + Wine cookbook. Thanks for stopping by!

You May Also Like:

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


    1. That’s because it’s judging a “serving” as the whole portion, which is 2 cups. We’d never expect anyone to use 2 cups of this rub on any individual portion of food.
      If you were using it on a chicken breast, for example, you’d only need about 1 tablespoon of the rub. In that case the calorie numbers would be a small fraction of what you see in the nutrition label. These labels are based on the full ingredient list. Definitely not a perfect solution, but just good for estimating.

  1. Question

    You say this is sugar free, but in the nutrition guide is shows 3 grams of sugar. Where is this coming from?

    1. Audra that’s a great catch. We just recalculated and adjusted to reflect -0- sugar as none of the seasonings had sugar in it.

    1. Generally we use one tablespoon per pound, so roughly two teaspoons per kilo would be a rough equivalent for chicken. We generally like a liberal coating of the seasoning all over the chicken, so it depends on how seasoned you like it.

  2. 5 stars
    Definitely need to have some of this on hand when I finally get to grilling again!!! It sounds amazing.

  3. 5 stars
    I’ve never tried making my own seasoning blend but this seems pretty simple and doable.

  4. 5 stars
    Love that this is a gluten-free and sugar-free dry rub – and that it lasts for several months!

  5. 5 stars
    Chicken always tastes better with a dry rub! This sounds easy enough, and it lasts 6 months so that’s awesome. I’ll have to try it!