5 Best Spices For Chicken

Deborah Olayiwola
Deborah Olayiwola
Deborah is a content marketing specialist, with a passion for the food niche, she writes engaging content that celebrates the joy of food and its power to bring people together. Having worked on different projects. Her curiosity and creativity shines through in her writing.
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Chicken is a versatile protein choice popular in various cuisines worldwide but can only be enjoyed by using the appropriate spice for chicken. Its incredible versatility has earned its place as a beloved protein in dishes around the world. It can have many flavors, from succulent roast chicken to spicy chicken curry. Central to making the most of your chicken dishes is the choice of chicken spices and herbs used in making them. 

South African Spice


What Spices Pair Well with Chicken?

When pairing spices for chicken, some classics have stood the test of time. Common herbs like rosemary, thyme, and basil offer aromatic qualities that complement chicken’s natural flavors, they are the staple spices for chicken. With its woody aroma, rosemary is a perfect match for roasted chicken. Conversely, thyme adds earthiness to grilled chicken, while basil brings a fresh and sweet note to chicken salads.

Ground spices like paprika, cumin, and coriander introduce depth and complexity to chicken dishes. With its rich and smoky profile, paprika is ideal for seasoning chicken before grilling or pan-frying. Cumin’s warm and earthy flavor enhances chicken in Mexican and Indian recipes. Meanwhile, coriander’s citrusy notes brighten up roasted or grilled chicken.

5 Common Spices for Chicken

Italian Herb Blend (with Thyme and Oregano)

This classic blend typically includes dried basil, oregano, thyme, rosemary, and garlic. It adds a Mediterranean flair to your chicken dishes, perfect for roasted or grilled chicken.

Cajun Seasoning (with Paprika and Cayenne)

Cajun seasoning is known for its bold and spicy flavor. It typically contains paprika, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and various herbs and spices. It’s fantastic for blackened chicken, jambalaya, or adding a fiery kick to fried chicken.

Lemon Pepper Seasoning (with Black Pepper)

Lemon pepper seasoning combines zesty lemon and aromatic black pepper. It adds a refreshing and tangy flavor to chicken, making it the best for grilled chicken breasts, chicken wings, or even a simple roasted chicken.

Curry Powder (with Cumin and Coriander)

Curry powder offers a mix of spices like turmeric, coriander, cumin, and fenugreek. It’s perfect for creating flavorful chicken curry, skewers, or marinating chicken for a rich and aromatic profile.

Herbes de Provence (with Thyme and Rosemary)

Herbes de Provence is a delightful blend of dried herbs commonly found in the Provence region of France. It includes thyme, rosemary, marjoram, basil, and savory. This blend imparts a fragrant and earthy flavor, making it ideal for roasted or grilled chicken and chicken soups and stews.

Should I Season Chicken?

Seasoning chicken is not just an option in the cooking process; it’s crucial. Seasoning not only enhances the flavor of the chicken but also helps to bring out its natural taste. A well-seasoned chicken is a flavorful chicken.

It’s important to distinguish between seasoning and marinating. Seasoning involves adding salt, pepper, and spices to the surface of the chicken just before cooking. Marinating, on the other hand, involves soaking the chicken in a flavorful liquid mixture for an extended period to infuse it with flavor. Both techniques have their place, with seasoning being the quicker option for busy cooks.

African spices
African spices

Do You Put Spices on the Chicken or in the Flour?

When it comes to seasoning chicken, there are two primary methods: Applying spices directly on the chicken and mixing spices with flour for coating.

Applying Spices Directly on the Chicken

Applying spices directly on the chicken is a straightforward method. It involves rubbing or sprinkling the spice mixture directly onto the chicken’s surface before cooking. This method allows the spices to adhere well and creates a flavorful crust.

Mixing Spices with Flour for Coating

Mixing spices with flour is a common approach for dishes like fried chicken. The flour is a carrier for the spices and provides a crispy texture when the chicken is fried.

Pros and Cons of Each Method

Each method has its advantages and disadvantages. Applying spices directly on the chicken is quick and convenient, ensuring even distribution of flavors. On the other hand, mixing spices with flour provides a coating that adds flavor and texture but can be less even in distribution.

Knowing when to use each technique depends on the specific chicken dish you’re preparing. For instance, applying chicken spices directly works well if you’re making a spicy grilled chicken. However, if you’re aiming for crispy fried chicken, mixing spices with flour is the way.

Healthy Spices For Chicken

Spices and herbs not only enhance flavor but can also contribute to your health. Here are some healthy options to consider:

Turmeric for Anti-Inflammatory Properties: Turmeric contains curcumin, which is known for its anti-inflammatory properties.

Garlic for Immune Support: Garlic is prized for its immune-boosting properties. It lends a spicy and savory taste to chicken, particularly in roasts and braised dishes.

Oregano for Antioxidants: Oregano is rich in antioxidants and adds a robust, slightly peppery flavor to the chicken. It’s excellent in Mediterranean-inspired dishes.

Tumeric helps boost the immune system
Image from Unsplash


How to Add Spice to Cooked Chicken?

Adding spice to cooked chicken doesn’t have to be challenging. Here are some techniques:

Sprinkling Spice Blends on Cooked Chicken

Sprinkle spice blends or herbs over cooked chicken for a quick flavor boost. This works well for grilled, roasted, or sautéed chicken.

Preparing Flavorful Sauces or Glazes

Create sauces or glazes with spices, herbs, and other ingredients like honey, soy sauce, or vinegar. Drizzle these over your cooked chicken for a burst of flavor.

Adding Fresh Herbs as a Finishing Touch

Fresh herbs, such as cilantro or parsley, add a pop of color and freshness when sprinkled over cooked chicken just before serving.

Does chicken need a lot of seasoning?

The level of seasoning required for chicken is a matter of personal preference, with some individuals favoring a lighter touch to highlight the natural flavor of the chicken, while others opt for more seasoning to create a bolder and more robust taste, influenced by factors such as the specific recipe, flavor intensity of spices, cooking method, and planned accompaniments all determine the quantity of spices for chicken.




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Deborah Olayiwola
Deborah Olayiwola
Deborah is a content marketing specialist, with a passion for the food niche, she writes engaging content that celebrates the joy of food and its power to bring people together. Having worked on different projects. Her curiosity and creativity shines through in her writing.

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