How to Make BBQ Seasoning

5 from 10 votes

Fire up the flavor with this easy homemade BBQ seasoning blend! Perfectly crafted for a smoky, savory flavor to add your meat and veggies!

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Learn how to make BBQ seasoning with the perfect blend of smoky spices! If you’re looking for an easy way to add big flavor to your favorite dishes, look no further than this delicious BBQ seasoning/dry rub. With just a few simple ingredients and some mixing, you can create a unique and flavorful dry rub seasoning that will take your bbq game to the next level.

BBQ Seasoning in a spice jar with the lid on.
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Making your own spice mixes at home is easy and often tastes 10x better than store-bought. I often find bbq seasoning to either be too sweet, spicy, or overly smoky, making balance a key factor for me. Plus, making homemade seasoning blends is a fun way to experiment with different amounts of spices until you get that just right combo! My bbq dry rub recipe is smoky, with just a hint of sweetness from the brown sugar, making it perfect for all your favorite meats – chicken, shrimp, burgers, and even some veggies.

WHY you should learn how to MAKE BBQ DRY RUB

  • Perfect for grilling and baking. While BBQ is often most heavily associated with grilling and the summer months, it also makes a great seasoning for baking year-round.
  • Homemade seasonings are cost-effective. Making dry rub at home is an easy way to save money. You likely already have all the individual seasonings in your pantry, which will help you avoid spending money on pre-made blends.
  • Control quality and freshness. Storebought seasonings may contain additives and preservatives like anti-caking agents. Making BBQ dry rub at home ensures your seasoning contains only fresh, good-quality ingredients.

Ingredients to make BBQ SEASONING

  • Smoked paprika: Adds a deep, smoky flavor to the seasoning.
  • Brown sugar: Provides sweetness and helps create a caramelized crust on the meat when cooked. Brown sugar contains molasses, producing a richer flavor than regular sugar.
  • Paprika: May also be known as sweet paprika; this spice adds a mild and slightly fruity flavor.
  • Chili powder: This spice blend of dried chili peppers and spices adds smoky heat to the seasoning.
  • Ground cumin: Cumin is a warm spice with a slightly nutty and earthy flavor. It’s often used in Mexican and Indian cuisine but also pairs well with the other ingredients in this dry rub recipe.
  • Garlic powder: This popular seasoning adds a pungent and slightly sweet flavor to the BBQ rub.
  • Cayenne pepper: Cayenne adds a touch of heat and a pleasant bitterness that complements the rest of the ingredients.
  • Salt and pepper: Added to balance the rest of the ingredients and enhance the overall flavor of the dry rub.
Spices for seasoning blend in individual bowls: smoked paprika, brown sugar, paprika, chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and cayenne.


  1. In a large bowl, add the smoked paprika, brown sugar, paprika, chili powder, ground cumin, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, and salt and pepper.
  2. Mix all the ingredients in a small bowl until well combined. Store in an airtight container for up to one month.
2 image collage of spices in a bowl before and after combining.


  1. Start with fresh spices. Whenever possible, use fresh spices for a more intense flavor. Even though herbs and spices have a long shelf life, they can lose their flavor and potency after expiration.
  2. Switch out the brown sugar. Consider swapping it with another richly flavored sweetener like coconut or maple sugar. These sweeteners add a depth of flavor.
  3. Bring on the heat. Increase the cayenne pepper if you want a little more spiciness. But start low and increase to taste, being careful not to overdo it.
  4. Swap a different type of chili powder. For a more refined taste, try making your own chili powder. Or experiment with different brands. Chili powder is a blend of spices like powdered chili, cumin, oregano, and garlic powder, and the formula differs between brands, producing slightly different results.

recipes to make with BBQ RUB

Small spice jar of homemade bbq seasoning blend with a spoon overfilling with some.


To maintain the freshness and flavor of BBQ seasoning, store it in a cool, dry place in an airtight container. A glass jelly jar or spice jar is an excellent container for this BBQ dry rub.


Use BBQ seasoning within a month for the best flavor. It can last up to 3 months if properly stored; however, it may still harden due to brown sugar.


Yes! You can freeze the dry rub to prolong shelf life. Store it in an airtight container or freezer bag, removing as much air as possible, and place it in the freezer for up to 6 months.


Can I double this recipe?

Yes, you can double the recipe for BBQ seasoning to make a larger batch. Just adjust measurements correctly and use a larger container to store the seasoning. Keep in mind that brown sugar may cause the seasoning to clump up and harden if it’s not stored correctly.

Can I use the seasoning as a marinade instead of a dry rub?

While this BBQ seasoning is best as a dry rub, you can mix it with olive oil and vinegar for a marinade. Just note that the flavor may be slightly different with the inclusion of other ingredients, but it still adds delicious flavor to meats.

Besides meats, what else can I use this BBQ dry rub on?

You don’t have to limit this rub to meats only. Try it on oven-baked potato chips, sweet potato fries, or kale chips. It would also add great flavor to pasta chips.

Top down view into a jar with bbq spice blend.

This quick guide shows you how to make BBQ seasoning with just a few ingredients and simple preparation for all your summer grilling needs. Make this today and create a delicious and unique flavor for your next barbecue with the best BBQ seasoning recipe! Better yet, consider doubling the recipe and follow my tips for proper storage for the best flavor.

Other spice mixes to try:

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How to Make BBQ Seasoning

Fire up the flavor with this easy homemade BBQ seasoning blend! Perfectly crafted for a smoky, savory flavor to add your meat and veggies!
5 from 10 votes
Servings 8 tablespoons
Calories 26
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
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  • In a small bowl mix all ingredients together until well combined. Store in an airtight container for up to one month.


Calories: 26kcal, Carbohydrates: 6g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 1g, Saturated Fat: 0.1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.3g, Monounsaturated Fat: 0.2g, Sodium: 311mg, Potassium: 105mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 3g, Vitamin A: 1652IU, Vitamin C: 0.2mg, Calcium: 20mg, Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate. It will vary based on cooking method and specific ingredients used.

Cuisine American
Course: Spices, Tutorial

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  1. Salma says:

    Can’t wait to make this, it looks like such an easy recipe with ingredients already in my pantry!

    1. Yumna J. says:

      You’ll have to let me know what you think when you make it, Salma!