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Turkey Rub Recipe

Nothing beats the tantalizing aroma of a turkey roasting in the oven, especially when it's coated with a savory rub. This rub recipe for turkey offers a delightful blend of herbs and spices that provide a burst of flavor to every bite. Perfect for any holiday or family gathering, this rub is sure to make your turkey the star of the feast.

Turkey Rub Recipe
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Most of the ingredients in this recipe are common pantry staples, such as kosher salt, brown sugar, and an array of dried herbs including thyme, rosemary, and sage. Paprika might be one ingredient you need to check for, it gives a smoky flavor and a beautiful color to the rub. If you don't have these on hand, they're easily found in the spice aisle of any supermarket.

Ingredients for Turkey Rub Recipe

Kosher salt: Enhances the natural flavors of the turkey.

Brown sugar: Adds a hint of sweetness and helps with the browning of the skin.

Paprika: Provides a light smoky flavor and a vibrant color.

Black pepper: Adds a slight heat and depth of flavor.

Dried thyme: Gives an earthy and slightly floral flavor.

Dried rosemary: Delivers a pine-like fragrance and taste.

Dried sage: Gives a robust flavor and pairs well with turkey.

Garlic powder: Provides a mild and sweeter taste compared to fresh garlic.

Onion powder: Contributes a savory depth to the overall flavor profile.

One reader, Demetra Talbot says:

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This rub recipe for turkey is a game-changer! The blend of spices creates a burst of flavor that elevates the turkey to a whole new level. It's easy to make and adds a delicious depth to the meat. I highly recommend trying it for your next turkey dish!

Demetra Talbot

Techniques Required for Making a Turkey Rub

How to make the rub: Combine the kosher salt, brown sugar, paprika, black pepper, dried thyme, dried rosemary, dried sage, garlic powder, and onion powder in a small bowl and stir until well combined.

How to apply the rub: Rub the spice mixture all over the turkey, ensuring to also rub it under the skin for maximum flavor infusion.

How to store the rub: The spice rub can be prepared up to 2 months in advance and stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.

How To Make Turkey Rub

To make this turkey rub, various herbs and spices such as thyme, sage, paprika, and rosemary are combined. This also works well with chicken, beef, & pork.

Preparation: 5 minutes
Cooking: 1 minute
Total: 6 minutes



  • 1tbspkosher salt
  • 1tbspbrown sugar
  • 1tsppaprika
  • 1tspblack pepper
  • tspdried thyme
  • tspdried rosemary
  • 1tspdried Sage
  • ½tspgarlic powder
  • ½tsponion powder


  1. Place all the ingredients in a small bowl. Stir until combined.

  2. Rub the spice mixture all over the turkey, as well as under the skin, then cook as desired.

  3. Spice rub can be made up to 2 months in advance.


  • Calories: 8.72kcal
  • Fat: 0.11g
  • Saturated Fat: 0.04g
  • Monounsaturated Fat: 0.02g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.04g
  • Carbohydrates: 2.07g
  • Fiber: 0.43g
  • Sugar: 1.15g
  • Protein: 0.16g
  • Sodium: 6.11mg
  • Calcium: 11.81mg
  • Potassium: 21.28mg
  • Iron: 0.44mg
  • Vitamin A: 8.14µg
  • Vitamin C: 0.30mg

Crucial Technique Tip for Preparing Turkey Rub

When applying the rub to the turkey, make sure to get it under the skin as well. This will help to infuse the flavors more deeply into the meat. Also, don't forget to apply the rub inside the cavity of the turkey. This will help to season the bird from the inside out, resulting in a more flavorful and aromatic dish.

Time-Saving Tips for Preparing This Turkey Rub Recipe

Prep ahead: Prepare the spice rub in advance and store it in an airtight container. This will save time when you're ready to cook the turkey.

Butterfly the turkey: Butterflying the turkey will help it cook more evenly and reduce the overall cooking time.

Use a meat thermometer: Invest in a good meat thermometer to ensure the turkey is cooked to the perfect temperature, saving you from overcooking or undercooking it.

Brine the turkey: Brining the turkey in advance will not only save time during the cooking process but also result in a juicier and more flavorful bird.

Invest in quality tools: Sharp knives, sturdy cutting boards, and reliable kitchen gadgets can streamline the cooking process and save time in the long run.

Substitute Ingredients For Turkey Rub Recipe

  • kosher salt - Substitute with sea salt: Sea salt has a similar texture and flavor to kosher salt, making it a suitable replacement.

  • brown sugar - Substitute with maple syrup: Maple syrup can add a similar sweetness and depth of flavor to the rub.

  • paprika - Substitute with smoked paprika: Smoked paprika can add a deeper, smokier flavor to the rub.

  • black pepper - Substitute with white pepper: White pepper has a milder flavor and can be used as a substitute for black pepper.

  • dried thyme - Substitute with dried oregano: Dried oregano can provide a similar earthy and slightly minty flavor to the rub.

  • dried rosemary - Substitute with dried savory: Dried savory has a similar piney and peppery flavor to rosemary.

  • dried sage - Substitute with poultry seasoning: Poultry seasoning often contains sage along with other herbs, making it a suitable substitute for dried sage.

  • garlic powder - Substitute with granulated garlic: Granulated garlic has a similar texture and flavor to garlic powder.

  • onion powder - Substitute with dried minced onion: Dried minced onion can provide a similar onion flavor and texture to the rub.

Presenting Your Turkey Rub Recipe Perfectly

  1. Elevate the turkey: Present the turkey on a bed of fresh herbs and edible flowers to add color and visual appeal.
  2. Garnish with citrus: Add slices of orange and lemon to the platter for a pop of color and a refreshing aroma.
  3. Incorporate seasonal vegetables: Surround the turkey with roasted root vegetables and brussels sprouts for a rustic and inviting presentation.
  4. Utilize elegant serving platters: Choose serving platters made of natural materials such as wood or slate to create a sophisticated and organic feel.
  5. Artfully arrange the sliced turkey: Fan out the slices of turkey on the platter, layering them to create a visually stunning display.
  6. Add a touch of gold leaf: For a luxurious touch, delicately place gold leaf on the turkey or around the platter for a touch of opulence.
  7. Enhance with fresh herbs: Sprinkle the platter with fresh herbs such as parsley, thyme, and rosemary to add a burst of color and fragrance.

Essential Tools for Making a Turkey Rub

  • Cutting board: A flat surface for cutting and preparing ingredients.
  • Chef's knife: A versatile knife used for chopping, slicing, and dicing ingredients.
  • Roasting pan: A deep, oven-safe pan used for roasting the turkey in the oven.
  • Meat thermometer: Essential for checking the internal temperature of the turkey to ensure it is fully cooked.
  • Mixing bowl: Used for mixing and combining the spices to create the rub for the turkey.
  • Basting brush: Used to apply the spice rub onto the turkey evenly.
  • Aluminum foil: Can be used to cover the turkey while roasting to prevent over-browning.
  • Oven: Used for roasting the turkey to perfection.

Storing and Freezing Your Homemade Turkey Rub

  • To store the turkey rub, place it in an airtight container or a resealable plastic bag. This will help maintain its freshness and prevent the spices from losing their potency.

  • When stored properly in an airtight container, the turkey rub can last for up to 2 months at room temperature. However, for optimal flavor, it's best to use the rub within 1 month.

  • Make sure to store the container or bag in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight and heat sources. Exposure to light and heat can cause the spices to deteriorate faster.

  • If you want to extend the shelf life of the turkey rub, you can store it in the refrigerator. When kept in the fridge, the rub can last for up to 6 months.

  • For even longer storage, you can freeze the turkey rub. Transfer the rub to a freezer-safe container or resealable plastic bag, removing as much air as possible before sealing.

  • When stored in the freezer, the turkey rub can maintain its quality for up to 1 year. However, keep in mind that the spices may lose some of their potency over time.

  • To use the frozen turkey rub, simply remove it from the freezer and let it thaw at room temperature. Once thawed, give the rub a good stir to redistribute the spices evenly.

  • Always label the container or bag with the date of preparation so you can keep track of how long the turkey rub has been stored.

How To Reheat Leftover Turkey

  • Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Place the leftover turkey on a baking sheet and cover it with aluminum foil. Bake for about 20-30 minutes, or until the turkey is heated through. This method helps to retain the moisture in the meat and prevents it from drying out.

  • If you have a microwave-safe dish, you can reheat the leftover turkey in the microwave. Place the turkey in the dish and cover it with a damp paper towel. Microwave on high for 1-2 minutes per pound, or until the turkey is heated through. Be sure to check the temperature of the turkey with a meat thermometer to ensure it has reached a safe internal temperature of 165°F (74°C).

  • For a quick and easy method, you can reheat the leftover turkey in a skillet on the stovetop. Heat a small amount of olive oil or butter in the skillet over medium heat. Add the turkey and cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the turkey is heated through.

  • If you want to add some extra flavor to your leftover turkey, try making a quick turkey soup. In a large pot, sauté some onions, carrots, and celery in a little bit of olive oil until softened. Add the leftover turkey, along with some chicken broth or turkey stock. Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce the heat and let it simmer for about 20 minutes. Season with salt, pepper, and any other herbs or spices you like.

  • For a tasty and creative way to use up leftover turkey, try making turkey quesadillas. Shred the leftover turkey and mix it with some shredded cheese, diced tomatoes, and chopped cilantro. Place the mixture between two tortillas and cook in a skillet over medium heat until the cheese is melted and the tortillas are crispy. Serve with salsa, guacamole, or sour cream for dipping.

Interesting Fact About Turkey Rub Recipes

The spice rub for turkey can be made up to 2 months in advance. This allows for convenient meal preparation and ensures that the turkey is well-seasoned when it's time to cook.

Is Making Turkey Rub at Home Cost-Effective?

The rub recipe for turkey is highly cost-effective for a household. The combination of common pantry spices makes it an affordable option. With a rating of 9/10, it offers great value for its simplicity and versatility. The approximate cost for a household of 4 people is around $5, making it a budget-friendly choice for a flavorful turkey dish.

Is This Turkey Rub Recipe Healthy or Unhealthy?

This turkey rub recipe is relatively healthy compared to many other seasoning blends. The ingredients are primarily herbs and spices, which are naturally low in calories and fat. The small amount of brown sugar adds a touch of sweetness without significantly increasing the overall sugar content. Additionally, using a rub instead of a marinade or brine can help reduce the sodium content of the turkey.

However, there are a few areas where the recipe could be improved to make it even healthier:

  • Reduce the amount of salt to lower the sodium content
  • Use smoked paprika instead of regular paprika to add depth of flavor without increasing the need for salt
  • Include a small amount of cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes to boost metabolism and add heat
  • Incorporate more antioxidant-rich herbs and spices, such as turmeric or ginger

To make this recipe even more nutritious, consider the following suggestions:

  • Use a portion of the rub to season vegetables like sweet potatoes, carrots, or Brussels sprouts to roast alongside the turkey
  • Stuff the turkey cavity with fresh herbs, lemon wedges, and garlic to infuse the meat with additional flavor and nutrients
  • Opt for a pasture-raised or organic turkey to ensure the highest quality meat and minimize exposure to antibiotics and hormones
  • Pair the turkey with a variety of colorful, nutrient-dense side dishes to create a well-rounded, healthy meal

Editor's Opinion on This Turkey Rub Recipe

This rub recipe for turkey is a perfect blend of savory and aromatic flavors. The combination of kosher salt, brown sugar, and a variety of herbs and spices will infuse the turkey with a delicious depth of flavor. The versatility of this rub allows for it to be used on various cuts of turkey, and its make-ahead capability adds convenience to meal preparation. Whether roasting, grilling, or smoking, this rub is sure to elevate the taste of the turkey and impress your guests.

Enhance Your Turkey Rub Recipe with These Unique Side Dishes:

Mashed Potatoes: Creamy mashed potatoes with a hint of garlic and chives, topped with a dollop of butter.
Roasted Vegetables: Colorful medley of roasted vegetables, including carrots, bell peppers, and zucchini, seasoned with herbs and olive oil.
Cranberry Sauce: Homemade cranberry sauce with a touch of orange zest and cinnamon, adding a burst of tangy sweetness to the meal.

Alternative Recipes to Try Instead of Turkey Rub

Savory Beef Stew: This hearty stew is perfect for a cozy night in. Packed with tender beef and flavorful vegetables, it's a comforting meal that will warm you up from the inside out.
Citrus Grilled Chicken: Marinated in a zesty citrus blend, this grilled chicken is bursting with flavor. It's the perfect dish for a summer barbecue or a light and refreshing dinner option.
Mango Salsa: Fresh, vibrant, and full of tropical flavors, this mango salsa is the perfect accompaniment to grilled fish or chicken. It's a refreshing and colorful addition to any meal.
Creamy Mushroom Risotto: Indulge in this rich and creamy risotto, packed with earthy mushrooms and savory Parmesan cheese. It's a comforting and elegant dish that's perfect for a special dinner at home.

Perfect Appetizers and Desserts for a Turkey Rub Meal

Stuffed Mushrooms: These savory bites are filled with a delicious mixture of cream cheese, garlic, and herbs, then topped with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese for a crispy finish.
Caprese Skewers: Fresh mozzarella, juicy cherry tomatoes, and fragrant basil leaves are threaded onto skewers and drizzled with a balsamic glaze for a simple yet elegant appetizer.
Decadent Chocolate Mousse: Indulge in a rich and creamy chocolate mousse, topped with a dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkle of cocoa powder. This elegant dessert is perfect for a special occasion or a romantic dinner.
Velvety Lemon Tart: Savor the tangy and refreshing flavor of a velvety lemon tart, with a buttery crust and a zesty lemon filling. This delightful dessert is a burst of sunshine on a plate, perfect for brightening up any meal.

Why trust this Turkey Rub Recipe:

This recipe is a trusted choice for your turkey because it features a well-balanced blend of kosher salt, brown sugar, and a medley of aromatic herbs like thyme, rosemary, and sage. The combination of paprika, black pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder adds depth and complexity to the flavor profile. The versatility of this spice rub allows for a range of cooking methods, ensuring a delicious outcome every time. Plus, the option to prepare the rub in advance showcases its convenience and practicality.

Share your thoughts on this Turkey Rub Recipe in the Recipe Sharing forum and let us know how it turned out for you!
How long can I store the spice rub?
You can store the spice rub in an airtight container for up to 2 months in a cool, dry place.
Can I use this rub for other meats besides turkey?
Absolutely! This rub works well with chicken, pork, and even beef. Just adjust the amount of rub based on the size of the meat.
Can I use fresh herbs instead of dried ones?
Yes, you can use fresh herbs instead of dried ones. Just keep in mind that the flavor intensity may differ, so you may need to adjust the quantities to taste.
Should I rinse the rub off the turkey before cooking?
No, there's no need to rinse off the rub before cooking. Simply pat the turkey dry with paper towels to remove any excess moisture before applying the rub.
Can I use this rub for a vegetarian dish?
While this rub is designed for meat, you can certainly experiment with using it on roasted vegetables or tofu for a flavorful twist. Adjust the salt quantity to suit your taste preferences.

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