The Best Dry Rub for Fish and Seafood

Spice Mix

This make-ahead spice rub for fish and seafood is great on everything from salmon and halibut to shrimp and scallops! It keeps for a LONG time, too. Try it!

Photography Credit: Irvin Lin

Fish and seafood cook fast, which makes them especially great for weeknight meals. Even better? When you give that fish or seafood a punch of flavor with a spice rub.

While you can buy commercially-made spice rubs, it’s satisfying (and economical) to make your own blend, because then you can customize it to your own taste!

Seafood rub recipe - overhead spice in glass jar

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WHAT’S IN THIS SPICE BLEND?

This fish and seafood rub leans heavily on the celery salt, which plays really well with the briny taste of seafood and fish. It also has a complex blend of garlic, ginger, paprika, and dry mustard as well as a few hints and notes of earthiness from allspice, nutmeg, and black pepper.

WHAT’S THE BEST SALT FOR SEAFOOD RUB?

I use Diamond Brand kosher salt, which is a light and clean-tasting salt with a larger grain. It’s the standard salt you’ll find in professional kitchens and restaurants. If you typically use Morton Kosher salt then you will have to adjust the ratios to account for the differences in grain. 

If you can’t find Diamond brand salt, reduce the salt to 1 1/2 teaspoons of the brand of salt you have on hand, then taste the rub. If the rub tastes flat, increase the salt to your liking.

If you think the rub needs more salt than the 1 tablespoon listed in the recipe, feel free to add up to 2 tablespoons of salt to the mixture.

CUSTOMIZE THE RUB

As with all spice rubs, you can customize the blend to your own taste:

  • Omit the cayenne if you don’t like spicy things.
  • Consider more pepper or reduce the kosher salt as desired.
  • Add additional herbs and spices such as dried dill, parsley, thyme, or oregano, which will make the rub more herbal.
  • Add coriander or lemon zest for a citrus touch.
  • Crumble and grind down dry bay leaf if you want a grassy pine note.

USE THE FRESH SPICES FOR THIS RUB

Pantry herbs and spices have a shelf life! Spices don’t necessarily go bad, but they do lose potency and flavor. For this rub, you definitely want to use fresher dried herbs and spices.

Most spices last a good two years in a dark pantry, depending on what sort of herb or spice it is. The best test is to take a pinch of the spice and crush it with your fingers into your palm. Give it a whiff; if the herb or spice smells dusty or doesn’t have a lot of odor, it’s not worth keeping around. Toss it and get some new stuff.

Pro tip: Use an airtight glass jar to mix the ingredients together and you’ll save on cleanup!

Dry rub for fish - colorful spices in bowl

HOW LONG DOES THIS RUB LAST AND HOW SHOULD I STORE IT?

That depends on how old your herb/spice is! Store this spice rub in an airtight container in a dark pantry, clearly labeled with the date. If the spices you used are fresh, the rub should last a good two years, though hopefully you’ll use it all up before that. If your spices aren’t quite that fresh, the rub won’t last as long.

THE BEST SEAFOOD FOR THIS RUB

This rub is great on most firm flesh fish suitable for grilling, like salmon, tuna, or halibut. It’s also great on shellfish like shrimp, crab, or scallops.

HOW TO USE SEAFOOD RUB

Drizzle a little bit of oil over the fish or shellfish, then sprinkle as much rub on as you want. Grill or cook in the oven as you normally would!

NEED SOME INSPIRATION?

Three More Rubs to Know:

The Best Dry Rub for Fish and Seafood Recipe

  • Prep time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 2/3 cup

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon Kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons celery salt
  • 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
  • 4 teaspoons granulated garlic, not garlic salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

Method

1 Mix: Place all the spices in an airtight glass jar and shake gently to combine.

2 Store: Store for up to 2 years.

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Irvin Lin

Irvin Lin is an IACP award-winning photographer, food writer and recipe developer, blue-ribbon baker, public speaker, and occasional social media consultant. His blog is Eat the Love and his first cookbook is Marbled, Swirled and Layered.

More from Irvin

4 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Laura

    It was amazing! Do you think that this would go okay on chicken as well?

    xxxxxyyyyy

    Show Replies (1)
  2. LYIMMO

    AMAZING. CAN I SUBSTITUTE ALL SPICE WITH CAJUN?

    Show Replies (1)
All Purpose Spice Rub for Fish and Seafood - labeled glass jar with spice rubThe Best Dry Rub for Fish and Seafood