Seasonings for Successful Chicken

  • By: Jack Mancuso

Seasonings for Successful Chicken - Cuso Cuts

Chicken. Where to even begin? If you watch my pieces on TikTok, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube, you already know I love cooking with chicken. There are fairly straight-up recipes like smoked chicken breast. Or we can dive deeper into the grill and smoker a little more with perhaps my favorite part of the chicken, the wings, baby!

Chicken The Ultimate Multi-Tasker

People will talk about cooking high-end cuts of meat like Wagyu. Don’t let all that bravado fool you. Chicken is a multi-tasking meat. You can grill it, bake it, fry, barbecue it, or boil it. Once the meat is done, what you do with it depends on your creativity (or current craving). It is no wonder that chicken is the most common protein in the world, a distinction that’s remained since the Middle Ages. 

How to Use Chicken

There could well be volumes of books exploring chicken recipes. Some of the ways of using chicken include:

  • Braised
  • Chicken salad
  • Fajitas
  • One pan wonders
  • Poached
  • Salad topper
  • Sandwiches
  • Shish kabob
  • Stir fry

Well, you get the idea. The question remains, how do you season chicken? The answer depends heavily on how you prepare the meat, the flavor profile you hope for, cultural influences, and your own little twists.

Herbs & Spices that Pair with Chicken

If you walk to your pantry right now, you’ll probably find a lot of spices commonly used for chicken, like basil, celery salt, dill, sage, thyme, and rosemary. Truth is, there’s probably nothing you couldn’t try with chicken; understanding the results could go either way. Also, if you ask 100 people how to season chicken, you’re going to get 100 (or more) responses. Everyone chimes in with an opinion and stories of what Mama used to do. 

Let’s just look at a few:

  • Cayenne: Spicy, smoky, and fruity. Of course, you see it in rub recipes, but it also goes into stew. 

Our Cuso Hot Honey, Spicy Garlic Buffalo, Maple Bourbon, and Dust Seasonings all contain cayenne. If you’re thinking along these lines, check out our “make your own” 3-pack.
  • Chili Powder: Brings depth and warmth to your dish. Think roast chicken or Mexican soup, for example. 
Cuso’s Dirt ® Seasoning and Tequila Lime Habanero Seasoning have chili powder. Try the Tequila Lime with lemon-lime marinated chicken.
  • Garlic Powder or Granulated Garlic: When you want that garlicky background without too much salt or heat, garlic powder is your friend. It pairs well with nearly every other spice. 
Cuso’s Dirt®, Hot Honey, Spicy Garlic Buffalo, Maple Bourbon, Dust, Lemon Pepper, and Tequila Lime Habanero Seasonings have granulated garlic or garlic powder. The Dust, in particular, makes for great chicken skin.
  • Lemon Zest: Pairs well with chives, lemon verbena, parsley, rosemary sage, and basil.
Cuso’s Lemon Pepper and Tequila Lime Habanero Seasoning contain lemon. 
  • Onion Powder or Granules: Where you see garlic, you can nearly bet onion powder is in the recipe too. They’re a magnificent pair. 
Cuso’s Hot Honey, Maple Bourbon, Dust, Lemon Pepper, and Tequila Lime Habanero spices have onion granules. Many of these flavors are great on fish, too.
  • Paprika: pairs well with ginger, allspice, cumin, parsley, rosemary, and basil, just to name a few. 
Cuso’s Hot Honey, Cuso’s Dirt ®, Spicy Garlic Buffalo, Maple Bourbon, and Dust Seasonings include paprika. It gets hard to decide on so many flavors, which is why we offer a four-pack and six-pack to fill your spice cupboard with richness.
  • Pepper: The King of Spices works particularly well with lovage, dry mustard, ginger, cardamom, and cloves (just to name a few). 
Cuso’s Hot Honey, Maple Bourbon, Tequila Lime Habanero, Lemon Pepper, Dust, and Cuso’s Dirt ® Seasoning include this ingredient. 
  • Salt: If pepper is the King, then salt is the Queen. Pairs with lemongrass, chives, chili powder, cloves, nutmeg, onion powder, and mind (again, this is only the beginning)
Cuso’s Grass, Hot Honey, Lemon Pepper, Garlic, and Dust Seasonings contain salt. 

This is a very abbreviated list. There are so many more herbs and spices you can use on chicken. As you read recipes, you’ll find more. 

Mix and Mingle:

It is a rare discovery to find just one herb or spice on chicken. People mix and match with flavors they like and ones with which they’ve had success. At Cuso, we’ve created a line of 10 scrumptious seasonings, each one of which has more than one application. Sometimes, those get mingled, too!  If you’d like to play with all ten, we have a variety pack just for you. These seasonings fill your pantry with possibilities.

PitMaster’s Memo: Chicken Dressed Down

I would be remiss to mention you don’t have to go crazy every time you cook chicken. Sometimes “casual day” is best. Bake the skin (all over) with salt and pepper. This chicken not only tastes lovely, but because it’s “plain,” you can use it in many other preparations like chunky chicken salad.

Some Side Dishes for Chicken

Farro salad

Fettuccini alfredo

Lemon garlic spinach

Maple roasted carrots

Parmesan Brussels Sprouts

Roasted green beans

Salt & pepper vinegar crispy potato 

Scalloped potatoes

Some Drinks that Pair with Chicken

Brown ale

Orange Old Fashioned

Pale ale


Sparkling grape juice

Sweet tea


White Wine

Links to Chicken Dish Recipes

Alfredo Chicken Wings

Chicken Parm Garlic Bread

Grilled Chicken Thighs

Pesto Butterflied Chicken Drumsticks

Sassy Smoked Chicken Legs

Spatchcock Chicken

Spicy Chicken Sandwich

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