This turkey rub is a blend of savory spices that come together to make the ultimate poultry seasoning. Homemade spice rub will add plenty of flavor to your Thanksgiving turkey, and also works well with chicken, pork and beef.
When I want to make a turkey that’s sure to impress, I use my homemade turkey rub as the primary seasoning agent. I serve my turkey with classic side dishes such as sweet potato casserole and cranberry relish for a memorable meal.
There are so many different ways to prepare a turkey, from brining to roasting to deep frying and more! This turkey rub turns an ordinary roasted turkey into something extraordinary. Best of all, it takes just 5 minutes to make!
How do you make turkey rub?
This rub is super easy to make and contains ingredients that you probably already have in your pantry. Place salt, brown sugar, paprika, black pepper, thyme, rosemary, sage, garlic powder and onion powder in a bowl. Stir to combine. Store the spice mix for later use, or use right away.
How do you use a rub on a turkey?
Generously apply the seasoning to the outside of the turkey, then use your hands to rub it into the skin and meat. I also recommend loosening the skin of the turkey breast and thighs, and putting some of the rub under the skin against the meat for added flavor.
Can you season a turkey the night before?
You can absolutely season a turkey the night before, in fact, I recommend doing this whenever possible. Leaving the rub on the turkey overnight allows for the salt and spices to penetrate the meat and makes for a more tender and juicy cooked bird. Place the rub on your turkey, then loosely cover it with plastic wrap and store it in the fridge for up to 24 hours before you plan to cook it.
What flavors go well with turkey?
Turkey pairs well with a lot of sweet and savory flavors such as brown sugar, maple, chives, thyme, rosemary, parsley, sage, basil, paprika, pepper, garlic, onion, lemon, and oregano. This spice blend is primarily savory, with just a hint of brown sugar to offset the salt, herbs and spices. The added bonus of the brown sugar is that it will help to create a golden brown crust on the turkey.
Turkey rub variations
I happen to love this spice blend exactly as it’s written, but you can absolutely use other flavorings to customize this recipe to your taste.
- Sugar: You can use maple sugar, muscovado sugar or coconut sugar instead of the brown sugar. You can also blend honey, agave syrup or maple syrup with the spices to make a wet rub.
- Herbs: Feel free to add other herbs to the mix such as dried parsley, basil, marjoram, savory or oregano.
- Spices: Other great additions to this rub include cayenne pepper, mustard powder, smoked paprika or chili powder.
- Wet Rub: You can mix your spice blend with 2 tablespoons of olive oil or melted butter to make a wet rub.
I like to make a double or triple batch of this rub and use it all year long on roasted chicken, pork tenderloin and roast beef. Make your holiday turkey extra special this year with this spice blend, and you’ll be sure to get rave reviews.
Side dishes to pair with your turkey
Turkey Rub Video
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
- 1 1/2 teaspoons dried rosemary
- 1 teaspoon dried sage
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- Place all the ingredients in a small bowl. Stir until combined.
- Rub the spice mixture all over your turkey, as well as under the skin, then cook as desired.
- Spice rub can be made up to 2 months in advance.