You won't believe the incredible flavor this Thai spice rub recipe brings to everything from grilled meat and seafood to vegetables like roasted potatoes and cauliflower. Bright, citrusy, and slightly spicy, this recipe will up your spice rub game!
This article is sponsored by SKS Bottle & Packaging who have some of the coolest bottles, jars, and containers I've seen.
If you've poked around AOC's recipe index a bit you won't be surprised to know that I love spice rubs. It wasn't always that way, though - at first I just didn't know what the fuss was about and I'd just salt and pepper things - maybe add some garlic powder - and call it good.
But then I decided to find out what grilled chicken tasted like with a rub and created a Basic Spice Rub to use for grilling. And that was the end of the salt-pepper-and-maybe-garlic phase for me. The chicken with the spice rub on it blew any other chicken out of the water. Why had I not tried it earlier?
This revelation started me down the road of flavored spice rubs that I could use to enhance the regional flavors of whatever dishes I was serving. Chicken kabobs served with Greek style pasta salad now gets rubbed with Mediterranean Spice Rub before grilling. Pork to be shredded for tacos gets tossed with a Tex-Mex spice rub. And it's the chipotle spice rub that makes this grilled chicken salad extra flavorful.
So next on my list of flavorful spice rubs was an Asian rub. I'm partial to Thai foods (like this easy curry and this pork salad with peanut dressing) because I enjoy the typically light and bright flavors in curries, noodles, and stir-fries.
So I put together the most common of Thai inspired spices like ginger, basil, garlic, lime, and turmeric with a bit of coconut sugar, salt, pepper, and ground red hot pepper for the spice Thai food is known for. And I have to say, it is SO good!! The citrus adds a lovely bright taste and all the spices just meld together for a great overall Thai-ish flavor.
Thai Spice Rub Recipe
Some links in this article are affiliate links and if you click on them I will receive a small commission at no cost to you.
I deliberately kept the ingredients in this Thai spice rub easy to find because making a special trip to an Asian store to get specific ingredients kind of defeats the point of easy spice mixes. So maybe I should be calling this "Thai Inspired" spice rub, but let's just go with it, okay?
Specifically, lemongrass is something you often find in Thai dishes. However, not usually in the same recipe as lime and I really enjoy the lime flavor in Thai foods. So lime is what you'll find in this spice mix (feel free to substitute dried lemongrass).
Dried lime peel in my experience (as well as lemon peel) isn't very flavorful, so I have an option in the recipe to use True Lime which I think really gives this it's bright tang. It's your choice what to use.
You also have the choice in sugars - palm sugar would probably be most authentic, but again is harder to find. Coconut sugar is easier for me to find, so that's what I use, but basic brown sugar can also be used in a pinch.
If you would like to source more traditional Thai ingredients and you don't have an Asian store nearby, Amazon is your friend. Here are some links I found for you:
- Palm sugar
- Coconut sugar
- Dried lemongrass
- Dried lime peel or dried Kaffir lime leaves (though they have a more lemony flavor than lime peel)
- Thai bird chili powder
Once your spices are evenly mixed, it's time to store them in containers, and I really am so excited to share with you a place to get a wonderful variety of glass jars, bottles, and containers of all sizes.
Over the years I have gotten lots of questions about the glass bottles I picture in pantry basic recipes like Spicy Peanut Sauce and Chocolate Syrup, so when SKS Bottle & Packaging contacted me and I saw that they carry glass containers like these (plus so much more), I knew they were a company I'd love to introduce you to!
You can store this Thai spice rub in one large container, but I fell in love with the classic French Square Glass Bottles with cone-lined caps (for a better seal) which come in sizes ranging from 2 ounces to 16 ounces. I wanted to have the option to give a few bottles away of this batch, so I poured the mix into two 2-oz. bottles to give and one 4-oz. bottle to keep.
There are also spice bottles with shaker tops you can choose, which I think would make nice gifts, too, filled with this rub and one or two of AOC's other rubs.
Speaking of gifts, if you are into homemade gifts, you will love browsing the SKS Bottle site! It is full of both glass and plastic bottles that would be perfect for food gifts and beauty gifts.
Let me know what you think of this great resource and what you'd use the containers for!
Ideas to use Thai spice rub (or any rub)
In addition to using spice rubs for grilled or roasted meats, you can sprinkle them on potatoes before roasting (or grilling as potato planks), on corn-on-the-cob before grilling, and on any vegetable you'd like to roast from green beans to cauliflower.
Try adding a rub to ground meat before making it into patties or meatloaf and you can even add a teaspoon into a basic vinaigrette salad dressing.
Specific menu ideas for this Thai rub:
- You can up the flavor of this main-dish Thai salad by rubbing the meat with the Thai spice mix after removing it from the liquid marinade.
- Grilled chicken (rub with the spice rub 30 minutes to 1 hour before grilling, following the directions in this recipe) served with Thai-spiced grilled potato planks and Asian slaw.
- Thai-spiced ribs with a green salad and brown rice (try cooking it with a jar of coconut milk in place of some of the water and a teaspoon of the spice).
How would you use this Thai spice rub?
Easy & Flavorful Thai Spice Rub Recipe
- 1/4 cup kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons coconut sugar palm sugar*, or brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons black pepper
- 2 tablespoons ground ginger
- 2 tablespoons dried basil
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon dried lime zest or 2 teaspoons True Lime crystalized lime**
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1/2 to 2 teaspoons ground hot red chilies cayenne or Thai bird chili powder
- Mix all ingredients in a small bowl until evenly distributed, breaking up clumps as needed.
- Transfer spice mix to small glass lidded containers for storage.
- Stores at room temperature for up to a year.
Other "pantry basic" recipes you may like:
Disclosure: I received product and/or compensation for this post. As always, the opinions, thoughts, and projects are all mine and I will NEVER promote something I don't love and think you will find helpful - promise! This post also uses affiliate links that earn commission based on sales, but doesn't change your price. Click here to read my full disclaimer and advertising disclosure.
Simple Real Food Dinner Menus + Shopping Lists