10 Store-Bought Spice Rubs and Blends Kitchn Editors Swear By for Grilling Season

updated Jul 16, 2020
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Credit: Joe Lingeman

I recently bought a tiny indoor grill and have taken up grilling with a vengeance. My go-to spice rub for everything from chicken to cottage cheese to vegetables has been chaat masala, tandoori masala, lemon, salt and pepper, but the novelty of the flavors is starting to wear out. Which got me thinking: What are the best rubs and spice mixes out there? For guidance, I turned to my fellow Kitchn staffers for their top picks, which include everything from unconventional pantry staples to unusual and exciting spice blends. And the best part? They’re all readily available on most major retail sites. If, like me, you’re looking to up your grilling game this summer, you’ll definitely want to add these flavorful finds to your grocery list!

Credit: Amazon

1. Spicewalla Honey and Herb Salmon Rub

“I don’t make salmon all that often, but when I do, it’s got this stuff all over it. Made with brown sugar, honey powder, smoked paprika, thyme and more, it’s the perfect blend of sweet and savory. Also: Rub a bunch of carrots with olive oil and this blend before roasting. You won’t be disappointed.” — Lisa Freedman, Lifestyle Director

Buy: Spicewalla Honey and Herb Salmon Rub, $9

Credit: Amazon

2. Jacobsen Salt Co.

“Not a rub per se, but I love infused salts for flavoring both meats and vegetables. Right now I am using Jacobsen Sea Salts, specifically Cherry Wood Smoked Sea Salt and Infused Sea Salt Black Pepper, a lot for grilled chicken and eggplant.” — Meghan Splawn, Food Editor, Skills

Buy: Cherry Wood Smoked Sea Salt and Infused Sea Salt Black Pepper, starting at $15

Credit: Amazon

3. New York Shuk Rosey Harissa Spice

“This isn’t specifically a rub, but I love NY Shuk Rosey Harissa mixed with a little smoked salt. It has a tiny hint of heat with floral and smoky undertones that are perfect for livening up chicken breast and pork tenderloin.” — Kelli Foster, Food Editor, Plan & Prep

Buy: New York Shuk Rosey Harissa Spice, $19

Credit: Amazon

4. Lawry’s Seasoned Salt

“I always keep a jar of Lawry’s Seasoned Salt on hand. We use it to flavor frozen tots and fries, and also for seasoning popcorn!” — Grace Elkus, Deputy Food Director

Buy: Lawry’s Seasoned Salt, $7

Credit: Amazon

5. McCormick California Style, Lemon Pepper with Garlic and Onion

“I recently started keeping a bottle of lemon pepper in my pantry to use in all kinds of dishes. It’s peppery, aromatic and has a bold lemony flavor that brightens up any dish. I like to use it not only as a final seasoning to sprinkle over fish, chicken and veggies, but as a seasoning rub as well. Rub fish in lemon pepper and cook it in a grill pan, and you have a bright, lemony dinner that needs no other seasonings.” — Jesse Szewczyk, Studio Food Editor

Buy: McCormick California Style, Lemon Pepper with Garlic and Onion, $3

Credit: Amazon

6. The Spice Hunter Mexican Seasoning Blend

“I always reach for Spice Hunter’s Mexican Seasoning Blend. It’s a blend of herbs and spices that I use in everything from tacos to casseroles to grilled fish. While it adds the flavors of onion, garlic, herbs and chile peppers, I have control in seasoning the dishes because the spice blend is salt free.” — Patty Catalano, Contributor

Buy: The Spice Hunter Mexican Seasoning Blend, $9

Credit: Walmart

7. California Olive Ranch Extra Virgin Olive Oil

“When it comes to grilling season, and well, cooking in general, I’m a purist. I like to keep it simple and straightforward with olive oil, salt and pepper, and let the grill bring out the flavor. I can always tell a difference, though, when I use California Olive Ranch olive oil — it’s so flavorful on its own, that just a touch of salt and pepper is all you need to bring out the flavors of gorgeous summer produce.” — Rebecca Longshore, Director of Audience Growth

Buy: California Olive Ranch Extra Virgin Olive Oil, $9

Credit: Amazon

8. Jansal Valley Vadouvan French Curry Blend

“I love Vadouvan because it’s can work just like a spice rub. Rub it on chicken or fish. Add it to simmering coconut milk and stir-fried vegetables. Add it to soups. It’s so versatile, delicious and easy to use.” — Amelia Rampe, Studio Food Editor

Buy: Jansal Valley Vadouvan French Curry Blend, $9

Credit: Instacart

9. Seasoned Pioneers Zahtar Spice Blend

This za’atar is my absolute favorite. Whenever I’m running low, I make sure to pick up a backup pouch at Whole Foods so I’m never without it. A combination of sumac, sesame seed, thyme and sea salt, it’s the perfect mixture to sprinkle over veggies hot off the grill. I also love to sprinkle some on homemade hummus or roasted chickpeas.” — Lauren Kodiak, Managing Editor

Buy: Seasoned Pioneers Zahtar Spice Blend, $5

Credit: Amazon

10. Heath Riles BBQ Competition Rib Bundle

“Since getting a huge variety box of these rubs for Father’s Day, my father-in-law is obsessed with them and can’t stop using them. He mixes and matches them and uses them on everything from ribs to chicken to even burgers.” — Sheela Prakash, Senior Contributing Food Editor

Buy: BBQ Competition Rib Bundle, $85