Sweet BBQ Rub Recipe

Easy Sweet BBQ Rub Recipe takes just 5 minutes to prepare and uses ingredients already in your spice pantry. Why buy a prepackaged mix when you can very easily make your own?

close up of a bottle of sweet bbq rub

Making my own seasonings and sauces have become pretty much a past time. My husband and I love being able to blend our own flavors adjusting each mix with our mood. Since I have a sensitivity to MSG, we have to stay away from prepackaged mixes which is all the same since I pretty much have every spice I need sitting right in my spice cabinet.

Wait. What?? Don’t you have a whole spice cabinet, too? Don’t you?

Well, I must admit, my spice collection is larger than most and because of all the good home cooking we do nightly, we turn them over quite often – well certainly before any expiration date or loss of flavor in most cases.


With herbs and spices, aroma = taste. No aroma = flavorless. No one wants that! 

a close up of a bottle of sweet dry rub

So, we mix up more than a few batches of BBQ rub each season. Some are spicy as with our Smoked Chicken Wings, and others are sweet. We have a Memphis Dry Rub and also a line of BBQ Sauces, and let’s not forget our vinegar based South Carolina Mopping Sauce we use for smoking and grilling our meats. Be sure to check those out, too, while you’re here.

Today, we are mixing up a Sweet BBQ Rub Recipe to use with a crowd-pleasing appetizer, Bacon-Wrapped Pineapple Chicken Shots. I will tell you more in that post but that appetizer has already been requested by my daughter for gameday again next week. Ohhhh, ya baby! Winner, winner – Bacon-Wrapped Pineapple Chicken Dinn…er … Shots for the win! 

Dry rub ingredients surrounding an emply glass bowl.

Since I usually have everything on hand to make the rub, I usually just make a double batch and bottle the rest up and save it for another time. Smoked Pork is a thing with us all year ’round so it never goes to waste – but as you will see tomorrow for our Bacon Wrapped Pineapple Chicken Shots, this mix is also great on chicken, too!

One ingredient you may not have on hand (and which I do highly recommend) is my favorite Smoked Paprika. The difference between smoked paprika and sweet paprika is a world apart and it adds such a delicious smoky flavor to the mix.

For some heat try my favorite Hungarian Hot Paprika. Whoa! That spicy paprika really packs a punch – and we love it. If you have plain or sweet paprika, you will not get much flavor from it but it will still add a nice color.

That’s really why I recommend the smoked paprika. A little bit goes a long way and it’s great in soups and chili, too — so this little workhorse of a spice will not go to waste in your spice closet!!

Mix it up and we are ready to get cooking!

A close up of a bottle of sweet dry rub seasoning blend

Sweet BBQ Rub Recipe

Ronda Eagle | Kitchen Dreaming
EASY Sweet BBQ Rub Recipe takes just 5 minutes to prepare and uses ingredients already in your spice pantry. Don't buy a prepackaged mix when you can very easily make your own. This recipe yields 1/2 cup of seasoning blend.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 5 mins
Total Time 5 mins
Course BBQ, grilling, Seasoning and Sauces
Cuisine American
Servings 8 servings
Calories 45 kcal


  • 1/4  cup  brown sugar , light or dark
  • tablespoon  coarse sea salt [See Note 1]
  • teaspoon ground black pepper
  • teaspoons  smoked paprika [See Note 2]
  • teaspoons  roasted garlic powder [See Note 3]
  • teaspoons  onion powder
  • teaspoon  ground dry mustard
  • 1/2  teaspoon  ancho chili or cayenne pepper , more or less to taste [See Note 4]


  • Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix well. Store in an airtight container or glass jar for up to 6 months.


  1. If you substitute coarse sea salt for iodized (table) salt, reduce the amount by half (since course sea salt has a larger grain size). Use only 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt in the mix instead of 1 tablespoon.
  2. Smoked paprika may be substituted with hot paprika or sweet (plain) paprika. Using hot paprika will significantly increase the heat in this rub. Adjust ratio to your own tastes.
  3. Roasted garlic powder may be replaced with plain garlic powder. I love the roasted garlic flavor.
  4. Ancho chili powder (dried smoked poblano peppers) has a subtle smoky flavor and mild heat for a more pronounced heat in the flavor profile use cayenne pepper and adjust to taste.
  5. Nutrition is calculated based on the recipe as written. Additions, omissions, or substitutions will change the calculated values shown. The addition, omission, or substitution of ingredients will alter the nutritional information shown. Nutrition percentages are based on a 2000-calorie diet. The FDA recommends 80 micrograms of vitamin K.


Serving: 1tbspCalories: 45kcalCarbohydrates: 10gProtein: 1gFat: 1gSaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 721mgPotassium: 76mgFiber: 1gSugar: 7gVitamin A: 735IUVitamin C: 1mgVitamin E: 1mgVitamin K: 2µgCalcium: 15mgFolate: 3µgIron: 1mgZinc: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

10 thoughts on “Sweet BBQ Rub Recipe”

  1. Thanks for the tip on rubbing the wet mustard on the ribs since I dont have dry mustard. Can hardly wait to try it today. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Making some spare ribs and there will be a 4 year old that hates anything spicey. So, I’m looking for a way to make a rub without any heat involved. Can I use your rub and not add any of the spices that have any heat to them and have it still taste good? Can I just use salt, brown sugar and sweet paprika?

  3. I wanted to use your BBQ rub and country rib pressure cooker recipe, however I don’t have dry mustard and neither does the store close to me. Can I substitute with regular mustard and, if so, do I it put on the ribs first and then season? Thank you for any help.

    • Hi Wanda,
      Also called ground mustard. Sorry for the confusion. If you use prepared wet mustard you could use a super light coating of maybe a tablespoon total brushed across all the ribs and then coat with the seasoning.

  4. Sounds great & i agree about the roasted garlic. How ever i will have to use the sweet paprika rather than the smoked and I’ll have to put some other chili powder in that is not the ancho as it too is smoked. Excited to try the pork country stle ribs in the Instant Pot.
    Honestly I’m surprised that if you have sensitivity to GMOs that smoked spices or smoked Foods don’t bother you. I get major migraine head aches any time I eat anything that has smoke seasoning, Liquid Smoke, or has been smoked. I also can’t eat pork if it’s cooked over an open flame, i.e. gas grill.

    • Hi Teena,

      I don’t have a sensitivity to GMOs. I have a sensitivity to MSG which is not in any of the smoked spices I use. The smoked foods we eat come from our own smoker so we know what goes into them. Everyone’s triggers are different though so what isn’t a trigger for me very well may be a trigger for you and vice versa.


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