Toasted Spice Rub - Michael Chiarello

Total Time
Prep 5 mins
Cook 3 mins

This spice mix from Michael Chiarello and NapaStyle goes well in many different dishes. It and his Fennel Spice are mixes well-worth keeping a steady supply of!


  1. Read this recipe all the way through before beginning, get your spices and equipment (skillet, plate, blender, alternate method grinder, and storing container) ready.
  2. In a small, heavy skillet over medium heat, toast the fennel, coriander, and peppercorns.
  3. Watch carefully, because when the fennel turns a light brown you’re going to work quickly: turn on the hood exhaust fan on your stove, then add the red pepper flakes and stir well for 30 seconds.
  4. Turn the mixture onto a plate to cool.
  5. When cool, place mixture in a blender together with the chili powder, salt, and cinnamon; blend until all are evenly ground.
  6. (Alternately, you can use a spice mill/coffee grinder/mortar and pestle to grind the fennel, coriander, peppercorns, and chili flakes, then toss resultant powder with the remaining ingredients).
  7. Transfer the spice rub into a glass jar and store in a cool, dry place; you can also freeze the mixture.
  8. Note: if you prefer a mixture that is less spicy-hot, make sure you use mild California chili powder and/or begin with fewer red pepper flakes, then add to your preference; California chiles in powder are generally less hot and more sweet.
  9. On chicken: sear a chicken in a little olive oil, let cool, pat the rub generously over the bird, then roast it.
  10. Use as dry rub or dry marinade: rub into meat or poultry, refrigerate 4 hours, bring to room temperature, then roast, pan-sear, or grill.
  11. Finishing rub: blend with just enough olive oil to make a paste, then use as a marinade or to finish grilled steaks and seafood.
  12. Other uses: toss with vegetables before pan-roasting, or add to soups and stews.
Most Helpful

I made this recipe back in August 2014 and have been using it for a few months now. I had a store-bought can of the original NapaStyle version and this is a perfect replica. That said, the fennel flavors do not appeal to everyone; and the reviews I get from dinner guests proves this to be the case. It really is great on chicken and pork. I use it a couple of times a month both on oven baked and grilled meats. Make a small batch and give it a whirl, it's a nice change from the usual.

toss01bx January 13, 2015

Julesong, This absolutely sounds wonderful!! I love the idea that it can be used in so many different ways. I will be making it real soon. Love, Becky

becky watkins December 02, 2006