Steak Seasoning Recipe

This Steak Seasoning recipe will have your family and friends declaring you the steak master! It can be whisked together in 5 minutes with pantry friendly spices, is easy to customize, eliminates MSG and anti-caking agents and stores for up to 6 months.  Best of all, it elevates every juicy steak hot off the grill with its savory paprika, garlic-herb caramelized crust WITHOUT overpowering the steak!

showing how to make steak rub recipe by whisking all of the seasonings together in a bowl


 

Watch How to Make Steak Seasoning Recipe

  • FLAVOR. The robust, crust of seasonings translates to stand-alone drool worthy steaks. Even my sauce-loving husband eats these steaks plain!
  • BALANCED.  The steak rub is packed full of aromatics, complex warm, earthy notes, sweet yet smoky nuances, and a kick of heat without overwhelming the beefy goodness.
  • QUICK.  Whisk the spices together in 5 minutes and reap the rewards for months.
  • PANTRY FRIENDLY.  You probably have everything you need right now!
  • HEALTHIER THAN STORE-BOUGHT.  Zero MSG, anti-caking agents, and other additives.
  • LESS EXPENSIVE.  Forget the gourmet spice rubs, this recipe is divine and less expensive, especially if you purchase bulk spices from Costco.
  • 100% CUSTOMIZABLE. Make this recipe perfect for YOU!  Watching your sodium?  Reduce the salt.  Like heat? Add more cayenne, etc.
top view showing how to season steaks with steak rub on a wire rack
  • Kosher salt: KOSHER salt is a must for steaks because it aids in dry brining (see FAQs), doesn’t clump like table salt, enhances all the seasonings, tenderizes the steak, and creates a beautifully crispy seared crust by drying out the exterior.
  • Garlic powder:  is made from dehydrated garlic and lends the signature, garlicky flavor that compliments the beefy richness.
  • Onion powder: is dehydrated, ground onion to bring the aromatic flavor.
  • Black pepper:  adds a peppery kick without the fiery heat.
  • Cayenne pepper: this will not make the steak rub spicy, but adds just a kick of heat to bring all the flavors forward.
  • Smoked paprika: is rich, mild, sweet, and smoky made from smoked pimento peppers dried over oak fires then crushed.  It is not spicy, just flavorful.
  • Paprika: traditional paprika is used in combination with smoked paprika to add additional flavor without overpowering the steak with smoky notes.
  • Chili powder INTERNATIONAL WARNING: American Chili powder is a blend of chilies, spices and herbs with a ratio of one-part cayenne to seven parts the other spices.  Chili powders sold in other parts of the world, however, are 100% chili pepper/cayenne and 8X hotter than American chili powder! So, please use American-style chili powder to make this recipe or your mouth will be on FIRE!
  • Ground coriander: mild, slightly sweet with hints of citrus to brighten the steak spice rub recipe.
  • Dried thyme: the minty earthiness with sharp grass, wood, and floral notes cuts through the warm spices.  
  • Dried rosemary: piney, peppery, lemony, and woodsy with hints of citrus, lavender, sage, and mint to compliment the robust seasonings.
top view of steak seasoning ingredients in a bowl:  kosher salt, garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, chili powder, pepper, cayenne pepper, thyme, rosemary and ground coriander
  • Cayenne pepper substitute: substitute with 1-2 tablespoons red pepper flakes, 1 ½ teaspoon ancho chile powder or 1 teaspoon chipotle chile pepper.
  • Paprika substitute: if you don’t own smoked paprika, substitute with regular paprika. However, I would not substitute regular paprika with smoked paprika unless you’re looking for more smoky, Cajun flavoring.
  • Chili powder: may be omitted completely. Add an extra pinch of cayenne.
  • Ground coriander substitute: may be substituted with 1 teaspoon ground cumin.
  • Rosemary substitute: may be substituted with dried oregano.
  • Add brown sugar: 1 tablespoon may be added for additional sweetness. I recommend additional cayenne to balance the sweetness.
  • Add ground mustard: Add 1 teaspoon for a pleasant sharpness.
  • Add ground cumin:  is warm, earthy, nutty, with a hint of both sweet and bitter.
top view of mixing steak seasoning recipe together in a bowl
  • 1. Step 1: Measure. Add all of the steak rub seasonings to a small bowl.
top view of steak seasoning ingredients in a bowl:  kosher salt, garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, chili powder, pepper, cayenne pepper, thyme, rosemary and ground coriander
  • 2. Step 2: Combine. Whisk the seasonings together until they are thoroughly combined.
showing how to make steak seasoning recipe by whisking the spices together until evenly combined
  • 3. Step 3: Use or Store. Use the steak seasoning recipe immediately and/or store any remaining rub in an airtight container for later use.
showing how to store steak seasoning recipe in a jar
  • Adjust measurements to taste:   Bump up the garlic, add more or less cayenne, increase the rosemary, etc.   
  • Pay attention to the brand of Kosher salt: Morton’s brand has compact, denser crystals, so you will only need 2 tablespoons.  Diamond Crystal has lighter, looser crystals, so you will need  3 ½ tablespoons.
  • Scale up or down: This steak rub recipe is perfect to make in bulk because it lasts for so long.  Double triple, quadruple, the recipe by increasing the quantity on the sliding scale in the recipe card. Alternatively, scale the recipe down if desired.
  • Apply the seasoning early. It’s best to season steak 60-90 minutes ahead of grilling to allow for dry brining in which the salt dissolves the seasonings and carries them deeper into the steak. If you don’t have this kind of time, season immediately before cooking. You should NOT add the steak rub early and let the steaks rest if you don’t have 60 minutes, or only a partial brine will be accomplished and the surface of the steaks will be wet. (Read more in FAQs Section)
  • Pat the steak rub. Pat, don’t rub the seasonings around or they will clump on the surface of the meat.
  • Meal Prep: Steak can be spice rubbed up to 48 hours ahead of time on a baking rack, refrigerated uncovered, then allowed to rest at room temperature for 60 minutes before grilling
  • The rub isn’t just for steak! This “steak rub” is also fantastic on grilled chicken, chicken wings and pork.
showing how to season steak with steak rub by patting into steaks elevating on a rack
  • Steak rub:  The obvious choice is to season any cut of steak with the rub before grilling or searing.
  • Roast rub: Season chuck roast, brisket, or any other cut of beef with the steak seasoning before searing, then continuing to braise, oven roast, smoke or grill.
  • Pork rub: Season pork chops before grilling or pan searing, pork shoulder before searing and braising or pork loin or pork tenderloin before searing and oven roasting or slow cooking.
  • Chicken: Apply to chicken breasts, thighs, or chicken wings for instant flavor before cooking.
  • Add to a marinade:  Make a quick wet rub marinade by whisking together 1 tablespoon seasoning, 2 tablespoons olive oil, zest and juice of one lime and 1 tablespoon reduced sodium soy sauce. Use for 1 to 1 ½ pounds of protein.
  • Vegetable seasoning:  This steak seasoning is fabulous with sautéed peppers and onions, roasted with cauliflowerpotatoes, butternut squash, sweet potatoes, broccoli, etc. and sprinkled on any of your favorite skillet veggies. 
  • Rice:  Add a sprinkling to your favorite rice to pump it with flavor. You can also go with low carb cauliflower rice or quinoa.
  • Beans:  Flavor black beans, kidney beans, green beans, etc. with a dash of seasoning.
showing how to use steak seasoning recipe by grilling steak with the steak spice rub until golden on the outside

Best Seasoning for Steak FAQs

Should I oil or season steak first?

When preparing a steak, season the steak before adding any oil or fat. This allows the seasonings to penetrate the meat and the kosher salt to work its dry brining magic, including drying out the surface of the steak for better browning. Once the steak is seasoned, you can grease the grill with vegetable oil or add it to a cast iron skillet to sear, then add butter to baste if desired.

How long do you leave a rub on a steak?

Steak seasoning should either be applied:

1. Just before grilling (no longer than 3 minutes (not ideal). This will create a solid crust on the steak, but will not promote tenderization or pull the flavor through the steak.
2. 60-90 minutes before grilling while the steak comes to room temperature.
3. Up to 24 hours before grilling, refrigerating the seasoned steak on a baking rack, uncovered, then bringing to room temperature before grilling.

Options 2 and 3 will create the most tender, deeply flavored steaks through a process called dry brining. This simply means the salt in the steak rub pulls the moisture from the steak to the surface of the meat (the steak will look wet) where it mixes with the seasonings, dissolves the salt, then pulls the seasoning solution back into the meat for deep seasoning (see below).

You should NOT add the steak rub and let it sit unless you have 60 minutes, otherwise, the salt will pull the moisture from the meat onto the surface without having time to reabsorb back into the meat.

Will a dry rub tenderize a steak?

A dry rub will tenderize steak if:

1. It contains kosher salt
2. Is allowed to rest on the steak for at least 60 minutes, up to 24 hours.

This will result in a process called dry brining which accomplishes three goals:

1. Deep seasoning:  the moisture of the steak breaks down the kosher salt and other water-soluble elements in the seasoning on the surface of the meat. This glaze eventually seeps back and penetrates deep into the meat as the salt moves from an area of high concentration (the surface of the beef) to a lower concentration (inside the beef), resulting in deeply flavored steak.
2
. Tenderizes:  the salt breaks down the cell proteins so they can no longer contract when cooking which allows the cells to hold onto more water resulting in juicier steak..
3
. Golden crust:  the salt draws the moisture into the beef, and away from the surface, resulting in a drier surface which has a quicker and deeper Maillard reaction, unlocking complex flavors and creating a crispy, golden seared crust– the hallmark of any well-cooked steak.

How much steak seasoning do I need for one steak?

You will need 1 tablespoon of steak seasoning per pound. Depending on the size of your steak, such as New York Strip, top sirloin and similarly sized steaks, this is about ¾ tablespoon per steak. Of course, you can always use more or less to suit your personal preferences.

How can I tell if my steak seasoning recipe is still fresh?

To see if your steak seasoning is still fresh, pay attention to the appearance and smell.  The spices should be as vibrant as when they were whisked together. If they are starting to fade and look dull, your seasoning may be starting to lose flavor.

If you suspect your blend is going stale, it’s time for the sniff-test.  Crush or rub a small amount in the palm of your hand.   It should smell bright and fragrant.  If the scent is weak and the flavor is lackluster, then it’s time to whip up a new batch.

showing how to use steak seasoning by cooking steak with the steak rub

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top view of mixing steak seasoning recipe together in a bowl

Steak Seasoning

This Steak Seasoning recipe will have your family and friends declaring you the steak master! It can be whisked together in 5 minutes with pantry friendly spices, is easy to customize, eliminates MSG and anti-caking agents and stores for up to 6 months.  Best of all, it elevates every juicy steak hot off the grill with its savory paprika, garlic-herb caramelized crust WITHOUT overpowering the steak!
Servings: 10 tablespoons
Total Time: 5 minutes
Prep Time: 5 minutes

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Ingredients

  • 32 grams coarse kosher salt (2 TBS of Morton's or 3 ½ TBS of Diamond Crystal)
  • 2 Tablespoons garlic powder
  • 1 TBS EACH regular paprika, smoked paprika, onion powder, chili powder
  • ½ TBS EACH (1 ½ tsps) pepper, dried rosemary, dried thyme, ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (will not be spicy, add more for spicy)

Instructions

  • Make seasoning: Whisk all of the seasonings together in a small bowl.
  • To use: Elevate steaks on a baking rack placed over a baking sheet. Liberally sprinkle steak seasoning on all sides of the steak (top, bottom and sides) and pat into the meat (don't rub). Use approximately 1 tabelspoon per pound of steak.
  • Dry brine: For the best steaks, let them rest once seasoned for 60-90 minutes uncovered at room temperature, until the kosher salt dissolves and the steaks look dry.
  • To store: Store steak seasoning in an airtight container for up to 6 months.

Video

Notes

  • Substitution:  The coriander can be omitted if you don’t keep it stocked or swapped with 1 teaspoon ground cumin. 
  • Caution:  You should NOT add the steak rub early and let the steaks rest if you don’t have 60 minutes, or only a partial brine will be accomplished and the surface of the steaks will be wet. (Read more in FAQs Section).  Instead add the steak rub immediately before cooking (within 3 minutes). 
  • Meal Prep: Steak can be spice rubbed up to 48 hours ahead of time on a baking rack, refrigerated uncovered, then allowed to rest at room temperature for 60 minutes before grilling.

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