Turkey Seasoning | The recipe critic

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Look no further for the BEST turkey seasoning recipe you’ll ever make! The combination of herbs and spices in this rub will season your turkey to perfection and it will be your favorite turkey rub.

All the classic Thanksgiving dinner herbs and spices are packed into one perfect blend for your bird! Your turkey will take on the most amazing flavors. I love adding flavorful seasonings to make any meat or poultry taste incredible. Try this fried chicken, this delicious chicken recipe or my favorite Airfryer pork chops for tasty seasoned meat.

Overhead view of turkey seasoning in a small white bowl with a wooden spoon inside and a brown tea towel next to the bowl.

Turkey rub

This turkey rub is a combination of aromatic dried herbs and savory spices. I love the mix of thyme, rosemary, and sage because they’re all meant to sit together on a turkey. There’s just something about their complementary flavors that make Thanksgiving turkey magical!

Rubbing these flavors into your turkey is guaranteed to give you the tastiest bird your guests will ever have. I guarantee you will always be asked to lead the turkey after everyone has tasted this dry rub. And if you’re asked to be in charge of the turkey, you can complete the meal with my grandma’s stuffing, my dad’s potatoes, and these easy 1-hour sandwiches!

Turkey Seasoning Ingredients

The best thing about this turkey spice rub is that you probably have all the spices on hand! These delicious herbs and spices are the perfect combination to enhance the flavors of your turkey. You’ll love the taste of your turkey and this will be your go-to rub recipe for any turkey you cook.

  • dried thyme: The distinct flavor of thyme is perfect for turkey.
  • dried rosemary: Aromatic and delicious with poultry.
  • dried sage: Sage is a wonderful addition to the rub.
  • dried parsley: Parsley is a perfect herb for turkey.
  • Paprika: Love the subtle smokiness the paprika adds!
  • kosher salt: Kosher salt is my favorite for enhancing herbal flavors.
  • Cracked Black Pepper: Always cracked black pepper!
  • garlic powder: Everything tastes better with the taste of garlic.
  • Onion Powder: Onion powder is a perfect spice in this seasoning.

How to make the best spices for turkey

Making this turkey seasoning is the easiest part of your Thanksgiving dinner! It only takes 5 minutes to put it together and you’ll love how fast it is. The best part is that you can make this dry rub ahead of time because it’s ready to use when you need it. Anything you can make for Thanksgiving is a win in my book!

  1. Combine ingredients: Put all ingredients in a bowl and whisk to combine.
  2. To rub: Rub the entire spice mix over a 10-13 pound turkey, making sure to get the top and bottom. Next, cook your spiced turkey according to your recipe.
  3. Store: If you don’t use it right away, keep it in a sealed container for up to 2 months.
First process photo is the dried herbs and seasonings on a plate.  In the second photo, the ingredients are whisked together in a bowl.  The third photo is a close-up of a spoon taking out a spoonful of spices.

Hints and variations

Homemade seasonings are my favorite because you have full control over your end result! You can change the heat level, add extra flavor or even double the recipe so you always have something on hand. Here are a few ideas to change things up with these turkey seasonings.

  • Make Ahead: I like to give this turkey a rub a few weeks before Thanksgiving so it’s ready to go! It’s great to make a large batch of seasoning because you always have it on hand when you want to season poultry, meat or fish.
  • How much spice to use: This recipe makes about ⅓ cup and is good for rubbing on a whole 10-14 pound turkey.
  • Use dried herbs, not fresh: Dried herbs in your spice rack have a much longer shelf life than fresh herbs. Fresh herbs usually have a higher moisture content and can lead to spoilage and mold growth at an early stage.
  • Less salt: If you find it a bit too salty, reduce the salt little by little. Kosher salt is best because you can control the salt taste better than table salt.
  • Make it spicy: Add some spice to your seasoning with a little cayenne pepper or chili powder.
  • Make it a little sweet: Try adding 1 tablespoon of brown sugar to the rub. It adds a touch of sweetness and caramelizes a bit.

Overhead view of turkey seasoning in a small white bowl with a wooden spoon and a brown tea towel next to the bowl.

How to store turkey seasoning

This homemade turkey rub is a custom blend of seasonings for your Thanksgiving turkey. Once you make this at home and see how delicious it is, you’ll never buy store-bought turkey seasoning again! Homemade seasonings are best because the spices are fresher and you can adjust the flavors.

  • In a sealed container: After mixing your ingredients, store the herbs in an airtight container. Store in a cool, dark place and then refrigerate for up to 2 months.

Close-up of a wooden spoon lifting a spoonful of spices.  Next to the bowl is a brown tea towel.

Butter or oil the turkey first

Turkey is always better with the addition of butter or oil as it makes the skin golden brown and crispy! Although it’s not necessary, feel free to rub butter or olive oil on your turkey before adding the turkey seasoning. The extra fat from the butter or oil helps make the turkey tender and rich in flavor. Then generously rub your turkey seasoning all over the turkey and you’re done!

  • Unsalted Butter: I like to use unsalted butter so I can keep the sodium in check.
  • Olive oil: Extra virgin olive oil has the best flavor, but you can use any oil you like.


  • Place all ingredients in a bowl and whisk to combine.

  • Rub the spices all over the turkey, making sure you get the top and bottom. Next, cook your spiced turkey according to your recipe.

  • If you don’t use it right away, keep it in a sealed container for up to 2 months.



Serves: 1

Calories38kcal (2%)Carbohydrates8g (3%)Egg white2g (4%)Fat1g (2%)Saturated fat0.2g (1%)Polyunsaturated fat0.3gMonounsaturated fat0.1gSodium6982mg (291%)Potassium174mg (5%)Fiber3g (12%)Sugar0.4gVitamin A1209IU (24%)Vitamin C7mg (8%)Calcium73mg (7%)Iron2mg (11%)

All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe and nutritional content will vary depending on the brands you use, measurement methods and portion sizes per household.

Class Spices

kitchen American

Keyword thanksgiving, turkey seasoning

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