Perfectly-Balanced Homemade Dry Rub

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The key to adding intense flavor to meat is in the rub. A perfectly balanced dry rub does wonders for the flavor, but also seals in the juices and keeps the meat from drying out.

» For more great homemade seasonings, try this Cajun Seasoning, Carne Asada Dry Rub, and Taco Seasoning.

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homemade dry rub

I swear by this bbq rib rub. It’s great on all types of meat, from ribs to wings to pork tenderloin. It adds just the right amount of spice to the meat, without overwhelming the flavor or becoming the star of the show.

We use this dry spice rub on everything, because it’s packed with flavor and adds a perfectly balanced punch of spice to every bite. The spices that go into this rub all work together to create a great flavor profile.

Grilling meat and veggies for a barbecue? Adding this spice rub will give both the veggies and the meat the right amount of flavor, with or without sauce. It’s really all you need to dress up your food.

perfect dry rub for pork or beef ribs

This rub is extremely versatile. You can put it on just about anything – from baby back ribs to chicken wings, steak, prime rib, or veggies. I mix up a double batch and put it in a spice container to use throughout the month as I cook various dishes.

It adds an extra kick to veggies that would otherwise likely be served with just salt and pepper. Just a little sprinkle of this rub on your veggies will really bring out the flavor and make them irresistible.

I would recommend having a few small mason jars to put the rub in. You can even make gifts of dry rub to give away at Christmas or for birthdays and housewarmings. I’ve done this a few different years for my local friends and family and they loved it.

Print the recipe card and attach it to the jar so they can make it themselves when they run out.

dry rub on chicken wings

Why Use a Dry Rub

If you’re wondering why you might want to use a dry rub instead of marinade, there are actually quite a few reasons. If you’ve ever seared a piece of meat before, you know that the liquid from the meat has to dry up or evaporate before you can get a good sear.

That means, the wetter the meat, the longer it will take to evaporate. With a dry rub, you’re avoiding adding extra moisture to the surface of the meat, so a nice caramelized sear will form on the meat quicker.

A dry rub also has more concentrated flavor. Sometimes you’re not looking to add more flavor that will mask the taste of the dish, but you can really punch up the flavor of veggies, or add another dimension to ribs.

Preparing the Dry Rub

If you have a robust spice rack, like I do, you’ll probably always have the right spices to mix this up. If you don’t keep a lot of spices at home, the best way to stock up for this rub is to get your spices from a bulk spice counter, like the ones they have at Whole Foods.

dry rub ingredients

You don’t’t have to buy large quantities of each spice in order to make this rub. I often will mix up just one or two servings at a time, so I never have to have a huge quantity of spices sitting around.

The spices you’ll need are (you can find the quantities for each in the recipe at the bottom of this post):

  • Brown sugar
  • Paprika
  • Salt and pepper
  • Chili powder
  • Onion powder
  • Garlic powder
  • Mustard powder

Most people don’t have mustard powder in their spice rack. You can leave it out if you don’t have it. It won’t affect the flavor of the rub too much. I do recommend getting it though. It has a lot of uses. I mustard powder in my stovetop mac and cheese recipe too.

Add all of the spices to a bowl and mix them thoroughly. I sometimes put them all in a ziplock bag instead, so it’s easier to mix it all together. Then you can sprinkle the rub onto your meat or veggies without contaminating it with your fingers. And you can keep the leftover rub in the plastic bag until you use it again.

homemade dry rub

If you’re looking for a recipe to try this with, my favorite use for this dry rub is pork baby back ribs. Try our recipe for baby back ribs using this dry rub. It adds so much extra flavor that you’ll be convinced never to make ribs without it again.

You’ll also want to try our homemade Bourbon BBQ sauce with these baked baby back ribs. I mean, doesn’t that rack of ribs below look tasty?

>> If you’re planning a barbecue, don’t forget the vegans! Here are a few vegan BBQ recipes that your friends will be happy you made.

Oven Baked Baby Back Ribs

If you need a large batch of this rub, the recipe is scale-able. You can make as much rub as you need just by adjusting the quantities. If you’re making many racks of ribs for a party, just double or triple the dry rub recipe.

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homemade dry rub

Homemade Dry Rub

This homemade dry rub is packed with flavor and adds a perfectly balanced punch of spice to every bite.
4.28 from 172 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Sauces
Cuisine: American
Keyword: BBQ
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 29kcal
Author: Laura


  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard powder you can leave this out if you don’t have it


  • Mix all spices together until well combined. Rub onto ribs, chicken, or veggies.



  • Double or triple the recipe to have spice left over.
  • Leftover spice can be kept for later in an air tight container or ziplock bag.


Calories: 29kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 602mg | Potassium: 100mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 1171IU | Calcium: 21mg | Iron: 1mg

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dry rub spices

38 thoughts on “Perfectly-Balanced Homemade Dry Rub

  1. Helen @ says:

    5 stars
    I love how simple this is but I can imagine it really packs a punch of flavour. Terrific!

  2. Jessica says:

    5 stars
    This recipe is really excellent! I use dry rubs all the time. It’s such an easy way to add flavor without much extra work. Can’t wait to try this blend!

  3. Cathleen says:

    5 stars
    I have never thought of making it myself. This is so perfect, I love that it uses all of the ingredients that I usually have on hand.

    • Laura says:

      You can leave the rub on for a couple of days before it will get soggy. I always leave the rub on for 24 hours to intensify the flavor.

  4. Ms Belle says:

    5 stars
    I tried this few weeks back and making it again today:). My husband very picky about his baby back ribs, but this one is a winner.

      • KAM says:

        I don’t handle anything TOO SPIC veryvwell… I like the idea of BROWN SUGAR however wonder about the rest..
        I have a very sensitive stomach

      • Laura says:

        The paprika and the chili powder can make this rub spicy, so if you don’t like spicy, you would need to use a sweet paprika and a mild chili powder. With a mild chili, there is really no spiciness to this rub.

  5. Chris Kuntz says:

    5 stars
    This is a very good rub, It has a little bite, but you can increase it by adding a little more chili powder.

    • Laura says:

      Yes, it can definitely be adjusted to suit your spice level, that’s the great thing about making your own rub.

  6. Becky says:

    Laura, I am planning to use this recipe on beef ribs I bought yesterday. I will apply rub today and make it tomorrow. But we don’t have a grill-can I sear this on the stovetop and finish off in the oven with a BBQ sauce?

    • Laura says:

      Hi Becky. If it’s a rib rack, you can follow our cooking guide here: I don’t usually sear ribs before cooking in the oven, opting instead of a low slow cook in the oven to get tender fall-apart ribs.

    • Angela Morris says:

      Hi Sophie, the ribs bake at 275 degrees F. If you want to read more here is the link to that recipe. I hope you enjoy them.

  7. Datdamwuf says:

    I’m hoping the ribs come out OK. I used this recipe for dry rub but it looked nothing like the photo, followed the amounts exactly in the recipe. Yours looks red, mine looks more white than red. It seemed pretty salty to me so I didn’t put much on. Hope it works out OK. How your rub looks so red with only paprika, brown sugar and chili powder is beyond me. The only thing missing is the mustard. Did you perhaps double the amount of salt that should go in??

    • Laura says:

      I just made up another batch to test the ratios and it turned out exactly as red as it always does. It definitely needs 2 tsp of salt. The salt is the flavor factor. How red it turns out has to do with the paprika. Mine is bright bright red. Don’t worry about the color though, it will still taste great.

    • Duck says:

      There is chili powder and then there is chile powder. One has cumin and other spices and one has only ground chilis. One intended to make chili and one is a source of chile. I’m not splitting hairs, really.

  8. b pierce says:

    made this rub without the chlli powder
    and tasted it before i put the ribs in the oven
    WOW !!! what a great flavor !!!!THX !!

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