How to Get Seasoning to Stick to Chicken

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Sick of your seasoning falling off your chicken?

Seasoning your chicken is the key to tasty chicken! Chicken recipes can be bland and dry without extra flavor that a rub provides!

So how do you make sure the seasoning stays on the chicken in the cooking process?

They are many ways from using egg wash to binding with mayo.

What are the best ways to stick seasonings to chicken?


Define ‘Sticking’ When Seasoning Chicken

The official term for sticking in BBQ culture is referred to as using a ‘binder’.

Applying this in cooking is the same as using glue.

But I want to take it a step further…

I have also included ways to infuse seasoning and powerful flavors in the chicken.

This way we can add a depth of flavor with wet and dry seasonings. Guaranteeing a flavorful chicken every time!


The Top 4 Ways to Get Seasoning to Stick to Chicken

Below are my 4 favorite ways to make sure you don’t lose your seasoning when cooking chicken.

Using Mustard as a Binder for Chicken

Mustard is perfect for sticking rub on chicken!

There are many varieties to choose from with unique flavor profiles. Mustard also contains an acidic ingredient to help tenderize the meat proteins.

My favorite mustards to use are;

– Yellow mustard

– Wholegrain mustard

– Dijon mustard

– Brown mustard


Using Oil as a Binder for Chicken

A coating of oil is a simple, cheap, and effective way to stick seasoning to chicken meat.

Like mustard, there is a variety to choose from.

From mild vegetable oil to fruity and flavorful extra virgin olive oil!

Using Honey as a Binder for Chicken

Have you ever tasted Korean honey soy chicken wings?

This is a great example of when honey is used as a binder and flavor enhancer.

How would you describe the texture of honey? Sticky? There we go!

Note: Honey can burn at high temperatures and direct heat, so be sure to apply a light layer if pan-frying or smoking a chicken breast.


Using Hot Sauce as a Binder for Chicken

Need a bit of heat in your life? Hot sauce is another great binder to stick ingredients and flavor chicken.

It’s also common for hot sauce to contain vinegar which has tenderizing properties.

Picking a hot sauce is hard because there are so many varieties.

I suggest using one that is thick and has sugar or fruit.

Avoid sauces with a thin consistency like Tabasco.


Barbecue Sauce as a Binder for Chicken

BBQ or other sweet sauces are almost perfect to use as a binder.

They are the right consistency for sticking seasonings and will add flavor.

Make a simple sauce with tomato paste, cumin, cayenne pepper, and Worchester sauce.

Use a chicken rub with plenty of kosher salt and brown sugar.


Mayonaise as a Binder for Chicker

Our last but not least binder suggestion is mayo!

This might seem a little weird but hear me out…

Mayo is just an emulsion of fat and oil with a sticky consistency.

This is why it’s a great option for sticking seasoning to chicken pieces.

Note: We have a whole article on cooking a steak with mayo.

The same principles can be applied to chicken!

A Quick Guide to Using Binders on Chicken

– Make sure your whole chicken is fully defrosted.

– Pat all the chicken dry with a paper towel.

– Brush your desired binder evenly on the chicken.


2. Rub a Flavorful Butter Mix Under the Chicken Skin

Applying a butter mix under the chicken skin is a simple and tasty technique

This allows the skin to crisp up while the melted butter and seasoning infuse the meat.

 The skin will restrict losing the melted butter during the cooking time.

Think about infusing chopped parsley and fresh garlic into your butter mixture.

The possibilities are endless!

A Quick Guide to Applying a Butter Mix Under the Chicken Skin

– Soften butter in a mixing bowl.

– Break down with a fork to a smooth consistency.

– Prepare your desired seasonings and add to the butter.

– Mix the seasoned butter mixture evenly.

– Loosen the chicken skin and open it on 1 side.

– Add the butter mixture under the skin on the side you opened.

– Massage the butter under the skin evenly.

– Be careful not to completely remove the skin.

3. Apply a Wet Marinade Before Seasoning

Marinating your chicken is a way of it seasoning it. 

The type of chicken marinade is up to you with endless flavor possibilities!

Think of Asian infusion with lime juice, coriander, and soy sauce.

Or traditional buttermilk, onion powder, and black pepper.

A Quick Guide to Applying a Wet Marinade to Chicken

– Prepare your desired marinade with even flavor and ingredient proportions.

– Completely submerge the chicken and store refrigerated in an airtight container.

– Marinate for up to 24 hours.

Note: Marinating chicken for longer than this can cause the meat to go mushy!


4. Batter or Bread Your Chicken

Who doesn’t like fried chicken?

This is because the flour or batter mixture is often flavored beforehand.

Which is the definition of sticking seasoning to chicken!

A Quick Guide to Battering & Breading Chicken

– Prepare your batter mixture and bread crumbs.

– Select the desired seasonings like dried herbs and a spice mix.

– Incorporate the seasoning into the bread crumbs and batter.

– Dredge the chicken evenly and remove any excess flour.

– Cook to perfection!

Why It’s Important for Seasoning to Stick to Chicken

I hope you liked my ideas for sticking seasoning to the chicken.

Each one has multiple layers of technique with infinite flavor combinations.

But why exactly should I go to the trouble and do this?

Helps Tenderize the Proteins

Chicken can be dry and bland as we all know so the season can help to tenderize the chicken.

Help reduce this by adding moisture when sticking seasoning.

Ensures Even Flavor Distribution

Ensuring an even layer of flavor throughout a dish is a sign of a good chef!

Don’t get too much chili powder in one bite and not enough in the next one…

Food Saftey Advice for Raw Chicken

– Be aware of cross-contamination on surfaces and utensils.

– Do not leave the chicken at room temperature for longer than 30 minutes.

– Use a meat thermometer to measure the internal temperatures.

Smoke On!


Hi, I’m Charlie, I have been meat-smoking and grilling for the past 15 years. I have an array of different smokers, thermometers, and have a love for finding the right wood and charcoal combo My favourite recipes are my EXTRA CRISPY smoked pork belly, juicy pulled pork, smoked brisket, duck poppers, and ANY SEAFOOD I grill).

I loves sharing his tips with beginners, helping them navigate the world of smoking. I find it’s not just about cooking; it’s a quest for that perfect smoky flavor.

You will usually find me playing with the kids, perfecting my brisket bark, or sipping beers with boys around the fire. Can’t wait to share all my delicious smoking and grilling recipes with you!

You can read more about me on our About Us page.

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