Kola Nut Spice Rub

Meet our new favorite nut
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100% would make again
Kola Nut Spice Rub
Photo: Rachel Vanni/Tasting Table

So what is a kola nut, you ask? It's the fruit of the kola tree commonly used to flavor beverages such as, you guessed it, cola. While you may have a hard time getting your hands on the actual fruit, you can find a powder of the dried and ground kola nut online.

In this spice blend from Jon Feshan, chef of Kola House in NYC, kola nut powder is mixed with ground chiles, smoked paprika and fennel seeds for a smoky and spicy flavor with just a hint of cola. We love it as a dry rub for chicken, but you can use it on everything from veggies to fatty fish, as well as mix it into mayo for a killer sandwich spread.

To learn more, read "Go Nuts."

Kola Nut Spice Rub

Recipe adapted from Jon Feshan, Kola House, New York, NY

Yield: ½ cup

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes


1 dried New Mexico chile, stemmed and seeded

1 dried guajillo chile, stemmed and seeded

¼ cup kosher salt

2 teaspoons granulated sugar

1 tablespoon smoked paprika

1½ teaspoons ground cumin

1½ teaspoons cayenne pepper

1½ teaspoons ground fennel seeds

1½ teaspoons kola nut powder


1. In a small skillet, toast the chiles over medium heat until fragrant, 2 minutes; transfer to a spice blender with the salt. Grind until the chiles are well incorporated into the salt, then transfer to a small bowl with the sugar.

2. To the skillet, add the remaining spices and toast until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to the bowl with the chiles and stir to incorporate. Use immediately or store in an airtight container in your pantry.

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